The Detroit Red Wings stick it to the Buffalo Sabres in the season opener, and hold on late to win it 2-1!
The Red Wings, while coming out and dominating a lot of the play in the neutral zone, had a hard time early on keeping the puck in the Sabres' zone. But once they got rocking, they shook them up hard. Their PK looks phenomenal now, as they killed off a 5-on-3 early on in the period, making great plays to retrieve and clear pucks. The first Red Wings goal came at 12:05, as Cory Emmerton brought the puck into the zone with speed, and flung it into the slot in front of the net. Mikael Samuelsson deflected the pass over Ryan Miller and in for the Red Wings' first goal of the season, bringing them up 1-0. Niklas Kronwall also got an assist. Just 36 seconds later, at 12:41, Pavel Datsyuk worked his way into the slot, putting the moves on the defenders, and let off a beast of a backhand that beat Miller short-side for the 2nd goal of the night. The goal was unassisted. They ended the period on another PK for an interference call to Kyle Quincey, but maintained the lead in shots 8-5.
The second period saw much tighter play from both sides. The Red Wings' PK continued to impress, killing off every penalty thrown at them, and they made great opportunities for themselves bringing pucks into the zone and getting the shots on net. It looked like they'd get their first power play goal in the season opener, but the goal was disallowed and a goaltender interference penalty was issued to Danny Cleary for bumping over Miller after the puck had passed him and was at the goal line. The PK once again did work and killed it off with spectacular puck-clearing though. Cory Emmerton was awarded a penalty shot late in the period that was wasted as he threw the puck right into Miller. Ending the period with another 5-on-3 from a delay of game from Emmerton, the Red Wings' PK looks simply stellar so far. They ended the period again leading in shots, 18-15.
Both teams came out in the 3rd and played a very tight defensive game; the Red Wings to hold their lead, and the Sabres to avoid getting blown out. The Red Wings then opened the floodgates on Miller and peppered him with shots for a short period, but got nothing through. The Sabres found a way to cut the lead though. Jimmy Howard took the puck behind the net and messed up his pass, giving the puck away. It was taken by Zemgus Girgensons and roofed over a scrambling Howard at 12:36 to cut the lead to 2-1. Through a good Sabres PK and then the inevitable 6-on-5 in the closing moments, the Red Wings were able to hold onto their lead to win the season opener 2-1.
Even with the sluggish start, once they got their footing, the Red Wings fired on all cylinders. The offense had trouble against a skilled goaltender later on, but this game is a good preview as to what may come this season.
Next game is Friday night against the Carolina Hurricanes at 7 o'clock. See you then, Nation!