Full Team Effort Leads to Wings Win

General Manager Ken Holland chose to stand pat at today’s trade deadline, and let 3 p.m. pass without making a single move. His reasoning was that, when healthy, this team is already a Stanley Cup contender, and has plenty of depth in their 23 skaters in Detroit as well as those available to them in Grand Rapids. Tonight, the team he assembled showed that he was right.

Red Wings 7 Kings 4

All four lines contributed in one way or another to the Wings thorough dismantling of the Los Angeles Kings. The Wings were without leading scorer Johan Franzen (his wife gave birth to their first child yesterday) and Brian Rafalski (back spasms), but it didn’t matter in this one.

The Kings made what might be the biggest move of the deadline, shipping out their 2008 first round pick (Colton Teubert), their 2011 first round pick, and a conditional 2012 3rd round pick for the 245 pound Dustin Penner. Penner was not able to get to Los Angeles in time to join the Kings for the game, but I doubt his presence would have mattered much.

The Wings made news of their own today, locking up starting goalie Jimmy Howard for two more years at $2.25 a season. For the guy who is currently leading the league in wins, that is a hell of a deal.

It was the Kings who got on the board first, scoring on an early power play after a Joe Louis-esque bounce off the Staples Center end boards went right onto the stick of Michal Handzus. Jimmy was able to make the first save, but the rebound went up, off his arm and in.

The Wings quickly responded, scoring two goals in rapid succession to take the lead, which they never relinquished.

The first goal was a softy by Drew Miller that showed why it is so important to put the puck on net as often as possible. He threw it into Jonathan Quick’s feet from the goal line, and it slipped past him and in. Shortly after, Jiri Hudler slapped a puck on net, and Quick came charging out to play it. Before he got there, Danny Cleary tipped it down and through his legs for his 22nd of the year.

The Wings specialty teams took over from there, as Lidstrom and Datsyuk scored power play goals followed by a Darren Helm short-handed snipe. Lidstrom’s tally was the 250th of his career.

Miller added his second of the game right after Helm’s goal, making it his first multi-goal game in his NHL career. Not bad considering he was a healthy scratch on Saturday against Buffalo.

Jiri Hudler added a goal just as another LA penalty expired on a sweet feed from Jakub Kindl.

The Wings kind of stopped skating from then on, happy to coast in on a 7-1 win, but gave up three straight goals at the end of the third period to make the final score much closer than the game actually was.

Tough to blame Howard on any of the four goals, as two were a result of bad bounces and the other two came off blown coverage.

Other than the final couple of minutes it was a total domination by the Wings tonight. Let’s keep the winning going as the California trip continues on Wednesday.

The Off Wing View’s Three Stars

3. Jimmy Howard 35 saves – I don’t care that he let in 4, I really don’t. The team quit playing in the final couple of minutes leading to his inflated goals against, and he made some absolutely enormous saves while the game was still in reach for LA.

2. Darren Helm GWG, 1A, +2 – Hurricane Helm did it again, as he continues to improve on his breakaway touch.

1. Drew Miller 2G, +2 – Miller’s first career 2 goal game earns him the final 1st star of February. Look for the month’s 3 star report up sometime tomorrow evening!

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Trade Coverage, the Final Hour

3 Stars for February!