The Detroit Red Wings close out the 2013-2014 regular season with a solid 3-0 shutout victory over the St. Louis Blues.
Much of the first period was a defensive battle from both sides. Detroit would get themselves on the board first, at 13:30, when St. Louis turned the puck over in the neutral zone and it was carried back into the Blues’ zone by Pavel Datsyuk. He threw a cross-zone pass up to Brian Lashoff at the point, who put a shot at goaltender Ryan Miller. It would deflect off the body of Justin Abdelkader who was screening Miller, and pop up over him into the net to make it 1-0 Detroit. Shots through one period of play were 7-4 in favor of St. Louis.
The second period was much of the same from the first, both sides playing a gritty, defensive game. Detroit would strike again, this time late in the period. At 16:19, Riley Sheahan brought the puck into the offensive zone up the wing. He put a shot through the feet of Carlo Colaiacovo, which Miller never saw, and put it in far-side for the 2-0 lead leaving the period. Shots after two were tied at 13 a side.
The Red Wings would get St. Louis on their heels for much of the third period, and would take advantage of it to seal the win. At 12:43, coming into the Blues’ zone, Datsyuk fed a pass to the front of St. Louis’ net, with a streaking Abdelkader flying in on Miller. He’d redirect the pass around Miller, good for a 3-0 lead in the game and his second goal of the afternoon. St. Louis would fail to muster any offense in the remainder of the game, and Detroit would take their final game of the season 3-0, giving Petr Mrazek his second NHL career shutout. Final shot totals were 23-21 in favor of the Blues.
This is a huge win for them going into the first game of the playoffs later this week. It gives them 93 points on a season that many had already counted them out on back in February, and that just seemed to get more difficult with injuries the more they pushed. Babcock has shown tremendous coaching ability this year as well, being able to take this group of kids with virtually no NHL experience and turning them into a speedy group playing well beyond their years. He should be a strong candidate for the Jack Adams award this season.
Game one of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals will start on Thursday for the Red Wings and Boston Bruins. See you in the playoffs, Nation!