Remember a few days ago when Red Wings Nation was panicking about dropping four straight decisions? Haha, me neither.
Red Wings 5 Blues 3
The Wings have now won back to back games and appear to have righted the ship after an ugly beginning of March.
It was a bunch of guys you wouldn’t normally count on for offense that got the ball rolling for the Wings tonight.
Just 2:34 after the Blues opened the scoring on Adam Cracknell’s first career goal, Ruslan Salei tallied his second as a Red Wing.
A good hard forecheck led to the puck being sent back to Salei at the point, and he didn’t waste any time getting rid of it. Halak might have been surprised that the stay-at-home defenseman was launching a shot on net, and it eluded him high and in for a goal.
Sixteen seconds later, the Wings fourth line gave them a 2-1 advantage. Justin Abdelkader drove the puck into the zone on the forecheck and then threw it towards the front of the net. Darren Helm beat two Blues to the puck and chipped it up and over Halak.
After the teams combined for three goals in just under three minutes, they played the next 26 minutes without one.
Niklas Kronwall scored the only goal of the second period after a designed play where Pavel Datsyuk drew attention his way before dishing to Kronwall at the point. His slap shot may have deflected off a Blues’ player before beating Halak.
David Backes narrowed the margin with his 25th goal of the season after a good shift in the offensive zone by the Blues. Great snap shot by Backes, and he is going to be a pain in the Red Wings side for years to come. He is truly becoming one of the games best power forwards, and this year was named to his first All Star Game.
Matt D’Agostini tied the score on a tip of a Kevin Shattenkirk point shot, which set the stage for an exciting finish.
Pavel Datsyuk scored his second game-winning goal in as many nights on a play that St. Louis Blues colour commentary man Darren Pang foreshadowed just seconds before.
Pavel Datsyuk picked up the puck along the right boards in the Blues end and then split the check of two Blues defenders. It was at this point that Pang, obviously sensing what was about to come, said “Uh oh…”
Uh oh was right, if you are a Blues fan or player. Datsyuk dangled the last defender in his way and sniped one past Halak to give the Wings the lead and the win.
Capping their second goal flurry of the night, Justin Abdelkader took the puck in on a one-on-one and scored to give the Wings the insurance goal just 80 seconds after they had taken the lead.
The game nearly ended in disaster, though, as Jonathan Ericsson propelled David Backes into Jimmy Howard late in the third period. The flying Backes’ skate came up and hit Howard high up in the chest, dangerously close to his neck. The play had “Clint Malarchuk” written all over it, but thankfully, Jimmy was okay. By the way, don’t open that link if you are the least bit squeamish.
The Red Wings Henrik Zetterberg has now gone 5 games without recording a point. I think he is on the verge of going on one of his patented streaks where he carries the team to victory for a stretch of games, based on how he played the last couple of nights.
Johan Franzen, also producing at a pace that’s less than what we expect of him, played much better tonight, especially in the third period.
The Wings are off until Wednesday when they play the Capitals at home. They are expecting to have Rafalski and Eaves back in the lineup then.
The Off Wing View’s Three Stars
3. Justin Abdelkader 1G, 1A – Great game from Abby, whose hard work often goes unnoticed.
2. Pavel Datsyuk GWG, 1A – Two straight GWG’s for the magician.
1. Niklas Kronwall 1G, 2A – I pick on Kronwall’s defensive lapses a lot but I think he’s been very solid lately and it’s showing on the scoreboard as well. I believe strongly in creating offense by playing strong defense first, and Kronwall has been doing that.