USA TODAY Sports
Corey Perry breaks out of his slump and the Ducks win their first regular season game in Detroit in five years.
First Period Recap:
Viktor Fasth looked sharp on the few big saves he had to make, but Jimmy Howard looked sharper. More than anything, it was because the Ducks threw a lot at him. Andrew Cogliano had the first great chance, deflecting a Ben Lovejoy shot-pass that looked a lot like the goal that tied the Chicago game. Teemu Selanne and Ryan Getzlaf also came close to scoring early on. Perhaps the most tantalizing chance came shorthanded off the stick of Daniel Winnik, who escaped from the corner with the puck and showed goal-scorer patience dragging it around the front of the crease, only to be robbed by Howard's right pad.
The Ducks' penalty kill as a whole looked good, and the Detroit power play . . . let's just say the absences of Nick Lidstrom and Thomas Holmstrom (to retirement) as well as Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi (to injury) are noticeable. While killing the Ducks' second penalty, Ryan Getzlaf forced Damien Brunner to take a penalty of his own, which led to a good four on four wraparound chance from Selanne and a couple of decent power play chances for Sheldon Souray. He IS NOT afraid to shoot the puck.
Second Period Recap:
Patrick Maroon made his first noticeable offensive play with a well-intentioned pass to Kyle Palmieri that unfortunately handcuffed him. It wasn't too long after that before the Wings' Joakim Andersson scored his first NHL goal on a play that saw Palmieri without a stick and Toni Lydman trying to block Jacob Kindl's shot when he should have been trying to cover the pass to Andersson.
Right after Detroit's goal, things started looking good when Matt Beleskey chipped a puck up the boards to himself, but he botched the attempt by electing to move the puck to his backhand and taking a relatively weak shot that Howard smothered. From the ensuing faceoff, Getzlaf manufactured a backhand pass the likes of which mere mortals can only dream of making and found Beleskey in the slot, who made up for his missed opportunity with a quick strike goal.
Later on, Holland sent the puck over the glass and himself into the box, where he watched as Tomas Tatar pocketed a power play goal to give the Wings their second lead of the game. Just over a minute later, Ian White broke his stick and sent the puck straight to Beleskey, who found Perry hanging out below the left circle. Once he got the puck, Perry just stood there for what seemed like an hour, uncontested, before deking around Howard and stuffing it in the net. Tie game.
Holland had his best chance of the game when Selanne found him in the slot, but Howard was equal to the shot. As the period wound down, the Red Wings had a few great chances to take the lead, starting on the power play, but they ended up passing themselves out of shooting position. Not long after, Luca Sbisa attempted to hold the offensive blue line but couldn't, giving Damien Brunner a glorious opportunity that he stick handled himself out of. Whew. Shortly thereafter, Brunner looked dangerous again, but Bryan Allen deftly swept the puck away.
And what period would be complete without a "How did the Ducks not score?!?" moment? Bobby Ryan put the puck between Howard's legs, but it came out on the wrong side and sat in the blue paint long enough to make Brian Hayward (I assume it was him) scream in agony. I was right there with him.
Third Period Recap:
The Ducks came out flying in this one, scoring two goals in the second minute of the period. The first one came off a beautiful give and go between Cogliano and Saku Koivu, giving Cogs goals in three straight games. A shift and a half later, Ian White turned the puck over to Ryan, who set up his own give and go with Selanne. The end result was a Brett Hull-esque bullet from Ryan that Howard made the initial save on, but Bobby was able to pot the rebound from his knees. 4-2 Ducks.
Shortly thereafter, Getzlaf hit the crossbar, and a little while later Selanne forced a turnover that almost led to a dangerous chance. Fasth turned in perhaps his best work of the night when he turned away Drew Miller on a two on one. A couple of failed power plays later, the Ducks found themselves staring down an empty net, which Cogliano took advantage of, for his second goal of the night.
The Good: Corey Perry scored a goal, the top two lines put on a forechecking clinic, Bryan Allen didn't make any serious mistakes, the penalty kill looked awesome, newcomers Holland and Maroon didn't look out of place, and Joe Louis Arena did not feel like Mordor. Can you believe they outshot the Wings in Detroit? And is there anything in the world more satisfying than watching Red Wings fans evacuate their own building like it was on fire?
The Bad: Some spotty coverage on the first goal, and still a couple of unnecessary penalties. Nothing to cry about, considering how most of the game was played.
The Ugly: The power play still doesn't look good. They're taking shots, sure, but not good ones. Fortunately, the Ducks outplayed their opponent at even strength so they didn't need the PP to come through. One of these nights though, they are going to need their power play. Anyone else think Bruce Boudreau should consider putting Selanne and Getzlaf on the same PP unit?
Next Game: Saturday, February 16, 2013 @ Nashville 5:00pm