Wings Tame the Wild in Dominating Fashion
It was the type of game you could only dream about, as far as the Detroit Red Wings are concerned.
What began as a game that could still be turned around after the first period, turned into domination in every aspect of the game as the Wings crushed the Minnesota Wild in 6-0 victory at home.
Surely, the Minnesota bench lost a bit of confidence as Valtteri Filppula scored off a Zetterberg and Kronwall assist 35 seconds into the first period. The forward would get his 20th goal of the season, but maybe he was just lucky.
The Wild tried to regroup, but that led to no positive results as Brendan Smith earned his first NHL career goal before the end of the first period, giving Detroit a 2-0 advantage.
One could speculate what might have been said to the Wild during the first intermission, but whatever it was quickly flew out the window. Goals from Darren Helm, a second effort from Filppula and lone slap shot effort from Ian White, gave the Wings a 5-0 advantage before the second period ended.
Josh Harding, who was in net for the injured Niklas Backstrom (groin), was surprisingly still on the ice after 40 minutes. It wasn't until Henrik Zetterberg scored early in the third, that the Wild pulled Harding from the game. Playing for the remainder was Matt Hackett, who didn't let anything past him.
On the other side of the ice, Jimmy Howard earned his sixth shutout of the season facing 19 shots. He gave a great deal of credit to his offense though.
The Wings haven't looked as sharp as they were last night in a few games. Before their win in Columbus, they lost on the road to Chicago and at home to Colorado. They still hold the lead in the division, and second in the conference, but those are both tight races as teams try to secure home ice advantage for the playoffs.
St. Louis is only two points behind Detroit in the division, and Vancouver is only a point ahead in the conference. If anything, the Wings and all their fans should look at last night's game as an example of what this team is able to accomplish minus a few star players. Nicklas Lidstrom (ankle) and Pavel Datsyuk (knee) were both absent last night, but the team didn't appear to be slowing down.
The Wings play Chicago on Sunday, and if anything they will want the momentum of last night's game to carry on through then. It may also be in their favor that it will be a home game. The two teams are currently split in the season series.