The Detroit Red Wings drop a second straight decision, this time 5-4 to the Montreal Canadians.
The entirety of the first period, the Red Wings looked completely lost. Montreal would get on the board at 5:14, when Tomas Plekanec took a pass in the slot in front of Jimmy Howard, unchallenged by any Detroit defenders, and had plenty of time to place his shot over the glove of Howard, which he lowered a second too soon for the 1-0 lead. They’d do it again at 14:11, again from Plekanec, on a 4-on-4 when the Red Wings turned the puck over leaving their zone, had it come back in the form of a nice give-and-go to the side of Howard, and a wrister over his shoulder top-corner to make it 2-0 leaving the period. Shots through one were 9-8 for Detroit.
While managing to score, the second period didn’t go much better for Detroit. They’d get on the board to start the period, at 1:28, when the Canadiens turned the puck over this time, and it came to Riley Sheahan, who let off a wrister in the top-corner short-side as Carey Price was already down on his knees, to make it 2-1 Montreal. The Canadiens would strike back though, at 11:03, as the Wings lost a faceoff in their own zone, and Niklas Kronwall was interfered with on the play and knocked down with no call. The puck skittered back to David Desharnais, who flicked it into the far-side of the net around traffic to make it 3-1 Montreal. Shots through two periods were 20-18 for the Red Wings.
The third period was an explosion of offense from both sides. Detroit would open the period by cutting the deficit to one again, at 1:24, when Tomas Tatar took the puck through the slot, waiting out a defender and letting off a wrist shot to the stick side of Price and in to make it 3-2 Canadiens. He’d do it again roughly three minutes later, at 4:30, when he took a pass from the side of the net to the front, and let off a wrist shot to the far-side on Price and in to tie the game 3-3. Montreal wouldn’t take it laying down though, as they put another up at 5:47, when the linesmen missed an offsides on the play as Montreal rushed the net. Max Pacioretty let off a shot that deflected off Kronwall on its way to the net and past Howard for the 4-3 lead again. They’d do it again at 11:15, when the Wings lost another defensive zone faceoff. A shot would be let off from the point as no one covered the slot, when Thomas Vanek flew through and easily redirected the shot past Howard for the 5-3 lead. Detroit would start the comeback fight at 11:36, when Johan Franzen came into the Montreal zone late, and took a well-placed pass from Gustav Nyquist and let off a shot in the slot to the far-side and past Price for the 5-4 score. They would take a late penalty, and ultimately fail in the 6-on-5 attempt in the last minute, to seal the 5-4 loss, and lose out on yet another big 2 points.
Tonight’s game was an inverse of how they normally play; they came out in the first and played like crap, but finished strong in the third. They looked like a team that didn’t even know they were playing a game tonight, especially a game with such big ramifications. They need to get it together, and now. The margin for error is all but gone now. We need every last point available, and a bit of a blessing from the hockey gods, to even have a chance at the playoffs. Next game is Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, an even bigger game than tonight. See you then, Nation.