The gorilla is now off of Pavel Datsyuk’s back as his 12-game scoring drought is over. Datsyuk’s two goals and Jimmy Howard’s 23 saves led the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center.
The win also snaps the five-game losing streak on the road for the Red Wings (10-7-1), which was their longest since 1987.
At first, it looked as if the Red Wings’ play would lapse over from Thursday in San Jose as they trailed 1-0 as Mike Richards (not Jerry’s Seinfeld’s pal Kramer) scored a shorthanded goal early in the first period. Jiri Hudler missed the pass that was won on the face-off by Henrik Zetterberg and Richards beat Hudler for the puck and went in alone to beat Howard with a backhand.
The lead was all of 37 seconds as the Red Wings continued the attack on the power play when Datsyuk scored to end his 12-game scoring drought. Nicklas Lidstrom ripped a shot from the point that was tipped-in by Tomas Holmstrom as it was stopped by Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick, but Datsyuk put in the rebound to tie the game.
The Red Wings got a 2-1 lead on the power play as Tomas Holmstrom, who was behind the Kings’ cage, found an open Niklas Kronwall, who was in the slot with Kings’ players between him and beat Quick with a tip-in. Kronwall’s goal was also the eventual game clincher.
The deciding moment of the game came when Anze Kopitar went in on Howard, but Brad Stuart dove to poke the puck away giving the officials’ a (or no) reason to award Kopitar a penalty shot. Puck met the Glove as Howard stopped Kopitar, keeping the game 2-1. There was a big “Whew” after the save on Kopitar.
Justin Abdelkader scored the insurance goal for the Red Wings on a wrist shot. Brendan Smith joined in on a 2-on-1 and tipped the puck over to Abdelkader, beating Quick on a wrist-shot. Datsyuk scored the final goal with 4:54 left in the game as he put in a snap-shot.
This game was a must-win for the Red Wings, who were in a funk for the past two games. Howard recovered from Thursday’s game in San Jose as he played great and made some great saves. The save on Kopitar’s penalty shot also charged up the team who played relentlessly.
A big plus for the Red Wings was that they solved Jonathan Quick, who’s arguably one of the top goalies in the NHL. Quick owned the Red Wings last season with a 3-1 record with a .932 save percentage, including a 51-save shutout at T”he Joe”.
Congratulations to Brendan Smith as he got his first NHL point on an assist to Justin Abdelkader’s goal in the third period. Smith played a lot more relaxed and showed why he was the Red Wings’ first round pick in 2007. Smith has so much upside to his game, he has the potential to be a bigger version of Kronwall.
Pavel Datsyuk has to have a boost of confidence tonight after his two-goal performance. It’s now Henrik Zetterberg’s turn to find a way to light the lamp as he had found the net once in his last 10 games.
Todd Bertuzzi was off the injured reserve list and inserted into today’s lineup after missing the last six games with sinus infection and swelling on his ear. In his place, defenseman Ian White was placed on the injured-reserve from the injury to his right cheekbone last Saturday against Dallas.
The Red Wings play their final game of their four-game road trip tomorrow night against a familiar team in the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center. On November 5th, the Red Wings ended their six-game losing streak against the Ducks with a 5-0 win at the Joe Louis Arena. The Ducks are on a three-game losing streak and are sitting in last place in the Pacific Division.
The Ducks are led by another ageless European star in Teemu Selanne. He currently leads the team in scoring with six goals and 12 assists in 18 games. Even though Selanne’s found the fountain of youth, the team’s other stars are suffering from scoring slumps as Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan have netted a combined 16 goals this season.
It’s a perfect opportunity for the Red Wings to press the foot on the accelerator.
About the Author: Alex lives in Hockeytown, USA. He is a huge Red Wings fan going back to the 1985-86 season when they were dead last with 40 points. He has seen the transition from the 'Dead Wings' to one of the top franchises in sports. You can also follow him at twitter.com/alexmuscat73.