Detroit Red Wings vs. Vancouver Canucks @ Rogers Arena
After a stellar win against the Avalanche with Cory Schneider in net, the Canucks look to continue on that win against the Red Wings. Meanwhile the Red Wings look to add to their 3-game win-streak with another against the Vancouver team.
Near the end of the first period, Daniel Sedin gets his 9th goal of the season off of a pass from his twin Captain Henrik.
When you think all was going well, Keith Ballard tripped over himself at the Vancouver blue-line and gave the puck up to Justin Abdelkader, who helped Dan Cleary earn his 3rd goal of the year. This third line had been truly something ever since Mike Modano picked up the Red Wings' system. And then Nicklas Kronwall tucks in another goal for his team while the middle of the ice was open in the Canucks' zone. Tomas Holmstrom started the play from their blue-line, and Pavel Datsyuk sneakily gets his pick in to free up Kronwall.
But that Detroit lead was short-lived. Tanner Glass makes the shot to the net from along the boards and Mikael Samuelsson found the puck and got the heel of his blade enough on it to tip it into the net past Jimmy Howard. Tanner Glass earned his point of the season, and Ryan Kesler earned his first assist of the year.
I think Vancouver has found their former blazing PK. Ever since the lock-out, the Vancouver PK has been brilliant - except for last season (or last, last season) where it was horrid to look at. After many SH-chances, Manny Malhotra finally scores a SHG on his breakaway. Malhotra picked Datsyuk's pocket and summed up all his confidence to give back the lead to the home team. But not long after did the Red Wings level the ice again. With Dan Cleary screening Roberto Luongo, Jonathan Ericsson makes his shot from the blue and sees it fly past Luongo and into the net.
For the past couple of years, the third line has been the weakest in terms of offence for the past couple of years. But this year this is not the case. After Raffi Torres earned his first hat-trick a couple of nights ago and Malhotra earned his third goal, Jannik Hansen got his first goal of the season with a pass from Malhotra. That goal not only energizes the team and crowd after Kronwall got his second of the night, but also got the ball rolling again for the home team.
As much as you may dislike the Detroit team, you have to respect (if not admire) the way that they play. It's very possessive and they protect the puck more than they play the shooting game. And even when things don't go according to plan, they find a way to make it work for them and keep it away from their opponent. It's quite brilliant actually.
I didn't expect so many fans cheering for Detroit tonight at Rogers Arena. I'm used to hearing some cheers, but it sounded as if a third of the stands were there for the team in red. Shows just how diverse the crowd is getting, I guess.
This game has also awoken the big Swede at the blue, Alex Edler. Up at the point, he released a wrister that snapped through the air and the screens into Howard's net for Vancouver's first PPG of the night. Sweet! Right after Luongo came up with a big save on a short-handed breakaway from the Wings. And on right on the heels of the first PP, Vancouver got another which Malhotra scored on for his second of the night.
Tonight, fatigue finally caught up with the Wings after playing just last night and winning against the rejuvenated Edmonton Oilers. One team had their legs for the full 60 minutes, the other team had as much leg beneath them as their body would allow. There's only so much hockey one can play so brilliantly in a row. Howard played very well, but the men in front of him lost their legs a bit.
(1) Ryan Kesler
(2) Manny Malhotra
(3) Nicklas Kronwall
My 3 stars:
(1) Manny Malhotra
(2) Justin Abdelkader
(3) Ryan Kesler