Red Wings Cruise To Victory After Unbelievable Third Period

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Photo Credit: AP Photo

The Red Wings' offense simply exploded in the third period last night. It was looking for sure like we were going to see overtime. It started out as a very frustrating game because leads were very short lasting, and the Wings did not seem like themselves. They were in the single digits for shots in both the first and second period. That's never a good sign.

The scoring started in bizarre fashion. Jarolslav Halak tried to bank the puck off of his stick to the back corner behind the net, but it ended up going into his own net. The puck went off the heel and tip of his stick and right into his net. It was an unfortunate bounce for Halak, but it give the Red Wings the 1-0 lead. Drew Miller Received credit for the goal.

The Blues would come right back just under two minutes later to tie the game at one thanks to a goal from Brad Boyes. And thanks to some heroics from Jimmy Howard in the dying second of the first period, the game remained tied at one going into the second period.

A strong shift on the power play for the Blues paid off just about halfway into the second period. It was one of those shifts when you are just waiting for the puck to end up in the net and it did thanks to a nice chip in goal from Brad Winchester. But the Red Wings would eventually come back later in the period with back to back goals of their own to regain the lead. Abdelkader tipped in a point shot from Rafalski to tie the game with his third goal of the season. Later in the period, Rafalski stole the puck at the blue line and got the puck to Dan Cleary who let off a beautiful slap shot goal over the shoulder of Halak to make it a 3-2 Red Wings lead.

Dan Cleary is simply on fire right now. He looks like a natural goal scorer out there. Everything continues to go his way. The beautiful goal to make it 3-2 turned out to be one of two goals he scored last night as he picked up his 8th and 9th of the season. But I digress...

Unfortunately the trend of back and forth hockey continued as the Blues responded with a goal of their own less than a minute after Cleary's first of the night. Brad Boyes completed a beautiful backhanded pass to Andy McDonald who went forehand to backhand himself. And so the third period would begin with the score tied, but it would not end that way.

Both Howard and Halak were playing solid hockey between the pipes to keep the game tied at three through the first half of the third period... but then came the offensive explosion.

First it was Dan Cleary. What else can I really say about him that I haven't said in the past few weeks? He is carrying a hot stick right now. Then it was Henrik Zetterberg who showed his patience as an all star veteran by deking out of the way of Eric Johnson along the boards and skated towards the net with the puck and let go of a snap shot to make it 5-3 less than a minute after Cleary broke the tie. Then remarkably just a minute after that thanks to some undisciplined play on the Blues behalf the Wings scored again to make it 6-3 on a power play goal from the point by Brad Stuart. But the Wings weren't even done there. A minute later they scored on another power play to make it 7-3. This time it was a tip in by Tomas Holmstrom.

And so the game turned out as a big surprise. Many fans including myself were almost positive that this one was going to overtime. Not only did the Red Wings win it in regulation, but they capped off that win with an exclamation point. It was a strange game indeed, but if you are a Wings fan, those four minutes of goal scoring late in the third period were certainly four minutes to remember.