Wings Quell Avalanche, Win 3-2
One had to figure coming into this evening's game that the Detroit Red Wings were going to show some spirit, perhaps even two games worth. It would've been the least they could after their embarrassing showing in front of their own fans yesterday. Sure enough, the Wings played with passion and put their 7-1 drubbing from Chicago behind them and pulled out to a 3-0 lead on the Colorado Avalanche, holding on for a 3-2 final.
The Wings would rely heavily on the superb play of netminder Jimmy Howard, who was pulled from yesterday's game through no real fault of his own. It seems coach Mike Babcock simply decided to let Howard start the process of getting ready for tonight rather than leave him in for the Easter morning massacre, and tonight it paid off. The Detroit goaltender played excellently, weathering everything Colorado threw at him early on, giving his team the chance to secure a lead, which they happily obliged.
The Wings began the scoring in the 1st when Justin Abdelkader struck the puck in mid-air--below the crossbar also, didn't even go to review--and past Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov. Seems someone forgot to tell Abby the Tigers game had already ended, but the Wings would gladly take the goal. Then, in the 2nd period, Detroit got a break when Johan Franzen threw a puck out in front from behind the Colorado net. With two red jerseys bearing down on the crease, Danny Cleary got his stick to the puck and buried it to extend the lead to 2-0. The trio of Red Wings goals would be capped off by a guy who has been very dry of late. With Gustav Nyquist weaving Datsyukian-like magic in the offensive end, the final recipient would be Damien Brunner. Nyquist found the Swiss star and his shot flew clean past Varlamov to pull ahead to a 3-0 lead.
That would end Varlamov's night, with J.S. Giguere coming on in relief of the beaten netminder. Detroit continued to find points to apply pressure, but admittedly it did seem as thought the Wings eased off the throttle from that point on. In the early stages of the 3rd, Colorado would strike on the powerplay, ruining Jimmy Howard's bid for his third shutout of the year on a play that looked as though it could have easily been blown dead for interference by the Avs. Detroit's lead would shrink further in the waning minutes, as the Avalanche would empty their net and get rewarded with another goal, bringing the lead down to 1. Thankfully the Wings were able to clamp down and hold off the rest of the Colorado siege and stop their winless skid at home before going back on the road.
Even though the Red Wings came away with the victory tonight, it did not however appear to be a great game organization-wise. Detroit is still showing too many defensive holes and the offense is still a bit sloppy, but it was a vast improvement from yesterday's debacle. It will be interesting to see if Wings GM Kenny Holland is active before the Wednesday trade deadline, or if he decides to sit on his hands and gamble with what he's got and what he'll be getting back once injuries heal.