Saturday, December 11, 2010

It's not pretty, but the Wings hold on

Update: Topham from Lions in Winter recapped the game and I thought it'd be fun to see it from the other side, so here is his recap

First period
- YES! FSD Feed!
- True confession time: I thought the game started 7:30 PM Eastern as usual. Woke up 7:25 from a nap and was horrified to learn that the game had already started.
- I lost the first ten minutes, but it didn't sound like I missed anything good judging from the people in my twitterfeed.
- I was in time to see the Habs take the lead, the Wings were caught standing around after a faceoff, the Habs got to the puck first and Moen made a smart play behind the net, banking it off Jimmah before he could get in place.
- After that we saw a couple of minutes of what I feared from this game. The Habs were first on pucks, stressing the Wings and making them make bad passes and make mistakes.
- What seemed to turn the period around was something as rare as a hit from Rafa. Plekanec tried to bank the puck off the boards and walk around him and Rafa decided to stop him with a hip check. The check was not late and a clean hip check, but Plekanec tried to avoid it and just narrowly failed. He got thrown around by the minor impact. He decided to lay on the ice and do his best "play dead"-impression while occationally peaking up at the ref to see if he was going for it. Luckily the ref was not.
- Of course, to demonstrate how this was not a dirty hit, the FSD team showed us Laraque's attempted murder on Kronner from last year. Painful, painful memories.
- The Wings got going a little after that. They got some better chances, but Price stood tall and saved every opportunity. Some credit should also go to the Habs, who kept the Wings to the outside very nicely.
- With a little less than five minutes left, the Wings got a PP. They didn't manage all the perfect set-ups and it got cleared a few times, but they got to some great shots. But, yet again, Price was too good.
- Right after the PP ended, the Habs took another penalty. As Mick said "I wish they didn't call that". It was weak. The PP started badly though, but that only lead to Plekanec taking a penalty, giving the Wings a long 5-on-3.
- The 5-on-3 got some good chances, but the Wings played it too tight, didn't get the D switch fast enough and by not moving their feet enough, they made it easy both for Price and for the tight 3-man box of the Habs. After a Habs timeout, they got better puck movement, but gave the puck away with ten seconds left of the period. Luckily, the Habs gave it back. Homer got it behind the net, passed it to Pasha on the other side and he put it in from for Nick, who had snuck in. It was initially a little confusion about the time, left, but Nick got it in with 1.2 seconds left of the period. Tie game at the intermission.

Second period
- The Wings started the period with a few seconds of PP. Due to a broken Habs stick they stayed in the zone for a minute. And when the Habs finally got it out, they promptly took a too many men-penalty.
- The PP got nothing, but the Wings kept pressing. Abdelkader threw it out to Buckets, the pass was a little too far in for him, so he dived after it, stopped it and passed it to Kronner from his knees. Abs went to the net and Kronner scored with a perfect shot in the top corner. Price was whining about goalie interference, but there was no contact and Abs was outside of the crease (not that the crease technically matters these days, but neither players, announcers or refs seem to have read the rules).
- Cheli was in the box with Ken and Mick early in the second. Great stuff. And you just know that Mick is gonna be on fire when the Habs are in town. I mean, half his stuff is Believeau-stories already, so this must be a holiday for him.
- Loved the atmosphere tonight. Saw some people whine about the Habs fans there, but I love it. As a European I am used to seeing fans of both teams at games and I think it creates a louder and more dynamic atmosphere.
- After the goal, the game went back and forth. The Habs managed to create some chances with their speed, the greatest on a flurry in front of Jimmah, but James made some great saves. The Wings had some great chances too. Neither team managed perfect plays, many of the best chances came off broken plays, but the energy was great and both teams were flying.
- With a little more than six minutes left, E took a really obvious, really dumb hooking penalty. The first half of the PP scared me. The Habs had some amazing keep-ins in mid air. Thankfully, Helmer took the puck out and killed time like only he can. Most underrated killer in the league? The Habs got another great chance later and hit the post, but when E came out, the puck ended on Pavels stick. He put on the dynamo and rushed himself to a half-breakaway. Instead of dangling, he roofed it shortside on an unbelievable backhand shot. 3-1.
- The Wings got another PP before the end of the period, but got nothing on it.
- Once on that PP and once towards the end, Nick killed great Habs chances in ways that made it look easy as shit. The guy is a fricking miracle. As I said on Twitter, take some time to think of the fact that you get to see Nick and Pavel every game. Those two guys are undescribable, and truly unique players that constantly blow our minds. We should be so thankful. We don't even realize how lucky we are, I know I don't.

Third period
- The Habs came out flying in the third. They were fast on the puck, pressured hard and had the Wings on their heals. Only great play from Jimmah kept them from scoring.
- Seven minutes in, the Habs had a long period of pressure. The Wings had a broken stick and just couldn't get it out. When they finally did, two guys went to change and Flip and Stuart couldn't decide on who should cover Pouliot. So he just took a huge shot and scored.
- The Habs kept on pressing. They were faster on the pucks and they had some amazing keep ins. All credit to them for that. But the Wings were on their heals and did lack a little burst of energy. It wasn't a pretty period. Luckily, Jimmy was on top of his game.
- I have said this before, but now I really mean it: I am done with Jiri Hudler. He does nothing. Nothing at all. In the second he even turned back on a breakaway. Bench him, trade him, send him back to Russia, give him an all expenses paid African safari. I don't care, just get him away from the ice! NOW!
- The Halak trade has obviously worked out well for the Habs since Price has been good, but it is still a shockingly bad trade. They traded a good goalie for a Danish guy. Who the fuck does that? If there was a Dane on my team I'd be giving away players to which ever team was willing to take the Dane off my hands.
- With two minutes left, Stuart made a terrible mistake giving the Habs a 2/3-on-1. Jimmy stood up and delivered two HUGE saves.
- With less than a minute left and the goalie pulled, the Habs tried to take a 10 men on the ice-penalty, but instead Eaves scored in the empty net.
- This wasn't a pretty game for the Wings. They had one good period and they got mauled in the third, but they held on and got a win. Great teams win even on bad days and it was great to see them pull this one out.

Play of the game
Dan Cleary's diving/knee pass to Kronner befor the second goal.

Player of the game
Jimmy made a ton of huge saves tonight. He is the reason the Wings won.

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