Jimmy Howard extremely sharp, records shutout as Red Wings blank Flyers 3-0

RED WINGS vs. FLYERS
26 SOG 30
0/4 POWER PLAY 0/4
33 FACE-OFF WINS 40
28 HITS 23
21 BLOCKED SHOTS 10
8 GIVEAWAYS 3

1st Period

Evenly matched first couple of minutes. Seemed as both teams were being cautious to begin play given the playoff implications on the line. Dylan Larkin used his blazing speed to enter the offensive zone, wheel around in behind the Flyers’ goal and feed Henrik Zetterberg a great pass in front, but Steve Mason was there to make a great save. Pavel Datsyuk got a center-ice face-off, the puck found its way to Darren Helm and he dumped it into the offensive zone. Brad Richards did some great fore-checking and forced a Flyers turnover that saw the puck pinball around in front of the net, and Helm got his stick on it to put the good guys on the scoreboard first. Jakub Voracek headed to the box for tripping. The Wings got a few opportunities on the man advantage, but couldn’t cash in with a goal. Tomas Jurco headed to the box for tripping. The Red Wings’ penalty kill kept the Philadelphia power play at bay. Helm had a great shorthanded opportunity on the Flyers’ man advantage and Luke Glendening gave some great effort to kill time shorthanded as the power play was nearing its end. Justin Abdelkader and Claude Giroux both headed to the box with offsetting minors and 4-on-4 play transitioned into the second period.

2nd Period

No damage done by either team during 4-on-4 play. Abdelkader headed to the box for interference. Andreas Athanasiou got a breakaway opportunity on the Philadelphia power play and wouldn’t let the chance go to waste as he put the Wings up by two goals. Jimmy Howard made a great glove save on a Sean Couturier blast. Radko Gudas headed to the box for slashing. The Wings got some chances on the man advantage, especially from the stick of Larkin, but Mason was there to make a great pad save. Another breakaway chance came Detroit’s way as Helm looked to go five-hole on Mason, but that was stopped and Glendening came in after Helm to try his effort, but Mason stopped that attempt as well. Datsyuk headed to the box for tripping. Philly got a few chances on the man advantage, their best chance came when Voracek rang a wrist shot off the crossbar. Howard prevented a Giroux rocket from hitting the twine. Michael Raffl headed to the box for slashing, but not much occured on Detroit’s man advantage.

3rd Period

Lots of back and forth action from both teams to start the third. Nyquist had a great chance with a slick move to escape a defender and he put a shot on goal, but Mason was there to make the blocker save. Danny DeKeyser headed to the box for high-sticking. The Wings’ penalty kill kept the Flyers off the board. DeKeyser and Wayne Simmonds both headed off with offsetting minors after they had a little scuffle with one another. Howard made two great saves during 4-on-4 play. Abdelkader stuck up for his teammate Larkin after Raffl collided with him on the way to the benches, and this led to Abby and Raffl heading off with double-minors. Simmonds gave Abby a shot to the head while he and Raffl were in their scuffle, so Simmonds went to the box as well and put the Red Wings on the power play. No damage done by Detroit on the man advantage, though. Matt Read put a puck on net and Howard held his ground and kept the puck from crossing the goal line. The Flyers came right back at Howard, but he was there again to make the stop. Kyle Quincey shot a puck all the way down ice from behind Detroit’s net, it banked off the boards and found its way into the Flyers empty goal.

What’s next?

The Red Wings will be right back on the ice tomorrow night as they head to Boston and do battle with Brad Marchand and the Boston Bruins. The contest could very well determine who is the 3rd team in the Atlantic, who is the final wild card team in the East or who might just flat out miss the Playoffs completely.

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