- It was nice to see Zetterberg throwing a hit on the opening shift. Well, really, it was nice to see him on the ice at all.
- The Wings did not start particularly well. I don’t know why I even bother pointing that out any more.
- I really, really liked Cleary’s goal. It was hard-working and “ugly.” In hockey, that equals beautiful.
- The Wings’ first PK was phenomenal. I’m pretty sure they had more chances during those 2 minutes than LA did. They had 3 or 4 good breaks into the Kings’ zone. What a turnaround the PK has had since the start of the season and last year.
- The play that led to the Wings’ second PK was ridiculous. I’ve seen the replay numerous times now, and I still can’t figure out how the puck didn’t go into the net. While that was going on (as well as a similar play on the Kings’ ensuing powerplay), I kept wondering where Brad Watson and his intent to blow were. Seriously.
- After their last-second goal to end the first, the Wings kind of went to sleep and left Jimmy Howard out to dry.
- During one of the intermission shows, Mickey York announced that we were under a, "severe cuddle alert." I'm not making this up.
- Howard nearly gave me a heart attack in the third when he got stung by that shot.
- Brad Watson, I still hate you. Just so you know.
- Oh boy was Jimmy Howard on fire tonight. He got lucky on about a bazillion plays, but like Mickey always says, “you have to be good to be lucky, and you have to be lucky to be good.”
- Darren Helm is the fastest man alive. I don’t care about Usain Bolt. I’ve decided.
- Was Ville Leino even on the ice tonight? I think I saw him once. And he gave the impression of potentially being useful before disappearing without doing anything.
- You'd like to think that the Wings would be feeling like their backs are against the wall with the standings looking the way they are. The sure didn't look like it with their play through the last two periods tonight. All the recently-healed guys in the world won't make a difference if the team doesn't show up to play every night.
- If ever there was a game the Wings didn’t deserve to win, I’d say it was this one. I don’t recall that happening once this season. It was a nice change from what was happening a while ago when the Wings were playing well and still not winning.
- I’m really glad I stayed up to watch the game. I suspect I’ll feel differently tomorrow at work. Thank you, Darren Helm, for preventing it from going to OT.
- I wonder how Team USA's feeling now about choosing Quick over Howard.
- Winning this game was huge, especially since it didn't turn into a three-pointer. It places the Wings only 3 point behind the Kings for the 8 spot.
1. Obviously the big news is the return of Zetterberg and Cleary. Filppula’s return a couple of weeks ago gave the team a boost, so what kind of effect will getting two key guys have on the team?
Well, Cleary kind of made an impact, I’d say. Memo to the other injured Wings: now that’s how you make a comeback from IR. Z was pretty noticeable in the first period, but seemed to fade afterward. It was nice to actually have a legitimate second line for a change, though.
2. When is Nick Lidstrom going to score a goal again? It’s been the better part of a decade since he put one in the net, and I’m going to copy/paste this into every GP until he does.
No. I should probably just start copy/pasting my answer here too.
3. Not only did the powerplay not help the Wings on Tuesday against Anaheim, it hurt them when they gave up a shorthanded goal and completely lost their focus. I asked this before that game too, but when is the powerplay going to become an actual advantage for the Wings again? Hopefully the return of Cleary and Zetterberg will spark things since there’ll actually be a legitimate second unit. At least up front anyway.
The powerplay still makes me sad. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
4. Datsyuk sleepwalked through the last game (and several others before that). He’s starting to try my patience, which is kind of a feat because he’s one of my favorite players. Will Zetterberg’s return give him the spark that he’s been lacking?
He definitely looked livelier during the first period, but faded after that. I thought he might have some of that Eurotwin synergy going with Z there, but he was largely invisible for the second half of the game. He did manage to take two penalties, although the second one was a pretty weak call.
5. Babcock’s going with Howard again tonight. I’m not particularly surprised about it. He looked shaky on Tuesday, but I had kind of a feeling that Babcock would go back to him to show that he still has confidence in him. Otherwise it sends the message that the first time you screw up, you’re out, and I don’t think that’s the kind of pressure he wants to put on his rookie goalie. However, if Jimmy falters again, I’ll be looking to see Ozzie in net next time around. How will Howard rebound from his first less than stellar game in a while?
Oh, I’d say he rebounded pretty darn well. How about you?
Cookies and Cupcakes for Jimmy Howard
Good? Lucky? I don’t care. He stole the show tonight. I’m going to go ahead and proclaim this his best game ever. I know he was scrambling and doing numerous Hasek impressions, but…good lord was he good tonight. I really wanted him to get the shutout. It would’ve been amazing.
An Extra Stick Tap for Darren Helm
He made the play with his ridiculous speed racing in to prevent Quick from playing the puck in the corner. He then managed to finish for a change. He’s had a great string of games. What an effort on that shift.
Todd Bertuzzi gets the Golden Facepalm
He took the penalty that led to the Kings’ goal late in the third that broke Jimmy's shutout. It was his second penalty of the game.
What I Learned:
Mike Babcock is a genius. I mean, we all kind of knew that already, but I know there were a lot of people questioning his goalie decision today.