Abdelkader Provides Spark in Win

The Detroit Red Wings won their 18th straight home game tonight in a 4-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers. Though it wasn't a pretty game, Detroit got a huge boost from the physical play of Justin Abdelkader.

He took on Ryan Jones after a big hit on Ian White, dropping the mitts and hanging on against the much stronger Jones. It energized his team and they went on to take a 2-0 lead on goals by Johan Franzen on a powerplay and Cory Emmerton on a scramble. Abdelkader drew an assist on Emmerton's tally, driving to the net and jamming a shot on goal resulting in a rebound and a wide open net for Emmerton's 6th of the year.

Edmonton eventually scored on one of the most idiotic plays I've ever seen.

Jakub Kindl went for a line change while the puck was deep in the Edmonton zone, right after Ben Eager hit Dan Cleary into the Detroit bench door. For some reason, our hero Jonathan Ericsson decided to challenge Ben Eager to a fight. First of all, Ericsson would get stomped by Eager in a tilt. Second, he was the last man back! Why in the love of Gordie Howe is this guy not aware of what's going on in the game! He saw Kindl go for a change, Ian White came on, but at that point they were both right by the door, and even Darren Helm couldn't catch Sam Gagner on a breakaway. That's how far ahead Gagner was after a great outlet feed from the Oilers defence. Cleary did not return to the game.

Joey MacDonald made an awkward poke check attempt after Gagner lost the puck for a moment. Gagner had no problem burying a backhander over the sprawled Wings goaltender.

Gagner struck again, amazingly, on a second rebound in the slot, smacking a backhander of the post and net-cam for a 2-2 tie. The Red Wings were sloppy in the second and let the young Oilers run around.

In the third, the Oilers got a steady dose of Abdelkader. He absolutely destroyed Taylor Hall standing still and drew a penalty on Eric Belanger.

Detroit went on to get a scrappy goal by Drew Miller, his 11th of the season. Abdelkader was in on this one too, bringing the puck out front again and firing on Nikolai Khabibulin. The puck sat behind his skates and Miller dove to jam it in for a 3-2 lead. 

And then, the unthinkable happened; Henrik Zetterberg shot a puck into the net. Right between the goalposts. The fans cheered, the red light went on and for a second, Hank looked like he forgot what it was like to score. He had one goal in 24 games before tonight, and only has ten on the year, which is funny because somehow Miller and even Niklas Kronwall (he has ten also) have the same amount of goals.

The Red Wings then shut down the Oilers with puck possession and dogged determination in the offensive zone, cycling with ease and grinding down the opposition.

The Red Wings now face the Anaheim Ducks at the Joe Louis Arena on Friday, going for a 19th straight home win, which would be one off the NHL record of twenty games. Myself and my Ducks fan brother are going, and so help me, if the Ducks somehow win, something is going to hit the fan. And I'll never hear the end of it. You know how brothers are...

The Checking Line - Red Wings Edition


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Kyle Busch