- Ozzie looked good early in the game. He made some downright awesome saves. Then he let in that second goal. Oh, Chris, why must you torment me so? He did get things together after that and made some other timely saves.
- The Devils’ first goal was the result of blown defensive coverage. I’m looking at you, Homer.
- Homer did, however, manage to redeem himself with an absolutely gorgeous tip-in for his 200th career goal during the second period. After geeking out about the beauty of the tip-in, I paused to wonder about what my enjoyment of that says about my mental state. However, I decided that nothing good could come from investigating that avenue, so I quickly returned to my usual pastime of not thinking.
- Draper’s goal was the result of a nice second effort. I always like it when guys like Drapes score.
- Patrick Eaves also scored a goal. As Mickey said, “There’s a reward for gutting it out.” I’m still not 100% sure why he was wearing the cage on his helmet after crashing into the boards, but I was glad to see him back on the ice. I like his signing more and more all the time.
- After the first period, I was concerned that Marty Brodeur was planning on pitching a shutout against the Wings to tie Terry Sawchuck’s record. This would’ve been simply unacceptable. The Wings did not look good at all at the start of the game. I was pleasantly surprised that they were able to dig themselves out of their 2-goal hole and at least earn a point.
- Brad Stuart saved a goal after Ozzie somehow let it bounce over his head and land smack in the crease. The puck was inches from crossing the goal line when he scooped it out. It turned out that that play was worth a point in the standings.
- I have absolutely no idea why Ville Leino was selected to go in the fourth round of the shootout. I would’ve gone with Eaves or Cleary over him any day. You know, someone who’s demonstrated an ability to play hockey recently.
- During the second period, there was a play (that I really can’t describe) in which the puck squirted out in front of the Wings’ vacant net. We couldn’t see the rest of the zone because of the camera angle, so I naturally assumed that there would be a Devil there waiting to pounce on the loose puck. Instead, Nick Lidstrom was there to scoop it up and I was greatly relieved. I feel like this is the story of my life.
- Mickey and Ken also spent some time debating whether or not a save that Brodeur made during the ’95 Finals on Kris Draper was a goal. Mickey wants the entire series to be replayed on that stupid show on FSN. He adamantly claims that it was in the net. Oh, Mickey, I love you.
- Pav was the only Wing to score in the shootout. Zetterberg, Bertuzzi (who pulled an awesome move but missed the net), and the aforementioned Leino were stopped by Brodeur. Ozzie got beaten on a couple of fantastic moves from Devs forwards. Despite that softie he let in in the first period, I was pretty pleased with his performance tonight.
- How much better has Ericsson looked since getting paired up with Nick Lidstrom? Of course, he’s paired up with Nick Lidstrom, so that probably has something to do with it. But still…he’s stepped things up lately.
- One of these games, the Wings are actually going to show up to play the first period. One of these games…
- During his post-game interview, Patrick Eaves had his long hair hanging all over in front of his face. It was driving me crazy just looking at it. I know from experience that that is the most annoying thing ever. I wanted to just reach through my TV screen and brush it out of his eyes. As I was typing that sentiment on TweetDeck, John Keating went and said the exact same thing. I was thoroughly disturbed even though I can’t quantify exactly why.
1. Well, the good news is that it appears that Ericsson will be playing tonight (Does anyone even want to think about what the defensive lineup would’ve looked like if he wasn’t able to go tonight?). Of course, I won’t really believe that until I see him skate a shift, but I’m cautiously optimistic. However, it looks like Rafalski’s still going to be sitting out, so we’ll be seeing more of Jakub Kindl. I’m less terrified of this than I would have expected myself to be, and I don’t think holding him out of an extra game is the worst thing in the world. The last thing the Wings need is for his sore back to turn into another long-term injury. Still, the question needs to be asked: how’s the defense going to do tonight?
Again, the defense wasn’t the problem tonight. For the most part, the whole defensive unit was pretty invisible. That’s exactly how I like my d-men. It usually means that they’re not making mistakes. Kindl again looked fine. He also had three minutes more ice time than Derek Meech did for what it’s worth.
2. The Wings have had some issues lately running into backup goalies who play far above their ability against the team. Now that they’re facing a true top of the line goalie in Martin Brodeur, will they be able to catch a break or two?
Brodeur was good, but not unbelievable. No softies, but he wasn’t tested much until the third period.
3. The Wings have a long and storied history of mirroring the ability of their opponents. New Jersey’s currently sitting fourth in the Eastern Conference and boasts one of the best goalies in the league. Will the Wings show up to match their level of play tonight?
This was a horrendous question. I don’t even know how to answer it. I’m leaning toward ‘no’ though.
4. It appears that Chris Osgood will be starting tonight. How will he look after seeing Jimmy Howard get three straight starts?
As stated above, Ozzie made a ton of good saves. He did, however let in that one weak goal, which marred his performance a little.
5. This is the last day of Todd Bertuzzi’s free pass from me. How will he choose to use it? He’s had a decent few games since scoring that goal in the shootout, so here’s hoping he keeps it up.
I didn’t really notice him much during the game. While I have previously stated that I prefer my defensemen that way, I like to see a little more action from the forwards. On the plus side, he didn't do anything that made me yell at the TV, though. He pulled a great move in the shootout, but couldn’t finish. Even though I offered him another week of no criticism. For the record, I also offered this to Leino prior to his attempt, but had no takers. This is mildly relieving because I don’t like feeling constrained with my words.
6. Mike Babcock appears to have decided to reunite the Flying Circus line. Any time I see the Eurotwins out on the ice together it makes me happy. Will it be a glorious reunion that brings joy to all the good little Wings fans out there or will the concentration of scoring ability on that line relegate the rest of the forward units to a level of abject ineffectiveness? Only time will tell.
They didn’t spend the whole game together and Babcock seemed to be shuffling the lines a bit. I was hoping their little reunion would help wake Datsyuk up, but he didn’t do a whole lot tonight.
7. The Devils are holding a pre-game ceremony honoring their 1995 Cup team. It’s nice of them to wait until the Wings came to town. Oh well, if they had to lose that ’95 series to set up the run they went on afterward, I’m okay with it. However, the Wings have another tradition of being completely listless after pre-game ceremonies. Will they be unfocused as a result of the celebration, or actually come to play?
Hmmm…they sleepwalked through the first period and most of the second and then miraculously woke up in the third. I hate writing about this all the time.
Cookies and Cupcakes for Patrick Eaves
He came back from his ankle injury only to suffer some sort of mysterious facial injury in the first period. He responded by returning with a cage on his helmet and scoring a huge goal for the Wings. He was all over the place tonight.
An Extra Stick Tap for Brad Stuart and Tomas Holmstrom
Stuart gets the tap for saving that goal. Plain and simple. He also played pretty darn well the rest of the night. Homer was up to his usual antics all night, and except for that defensive lapse had a fantastic game. Plus, he scored his 200th goal and I really think that’s worth at least a stick tap. I really hope Eaves shares his cookies and cupcakes with them.
Ville Leino gets the Golden Facepalm
This was tough because I had a hard time singling any particular Wing out. However, Leino made a bunch of lousy turnovers again and continued his streak of uselessness. He also failed in the shootout. And I’m really starting to dislike him. I refuse to maintain objective here.
What I learned:
That I am irrationally amused by brilliant hockey plays. And that I need to get a life. Okay, so maybe I knew all of that already....