Depleted Wings Beat Lowly Jackets

The Detroit Red Wings started slow and ended strong in a 5-2 victory over the last place Columbus Blue Jackets tonight.

Johan Franzen got his first point in five games on a first period goal, which was quickly followed by a tally by Rick Nash, who by the way still plays for the Jackets.

The Red Wings played a sloppy second period and the score remained 1-1. Although they were missing Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Kyle Quincey (Ericsson doesn't count), the players that replaced them were very good in this game, most notably Brendan Smith. More on that in a bit.

The Blue Jackets scored a shorthanded breakaway goal due to the fact that Jiri Hudler sucked tonight and can't skate fast, two things that don't add up. Derek McKenzie took advantage of Hudler and burned him with ease and buried a shot past Joey MacDonald, who made the start instead of Jimmy Howard. 

On the same powerplay, Niklas Kronwall answered with a backhander to tie the game. Henrik Zetterberg then scored from a ridiculous angle and Jan Mursak got his first of the year forty seconds later all alone out front. Valtteri Filppula rounded out the scoring in a similar situation to Mursak's goal.

Hudler was also scorched on another powerplay for the Wings. Playing the point on the man advantage because of his shot (apparently), he totally overcommited to a loose puck and MacDonald bailed him out with a huge breakaway stop.

Now we know why Quincey was picked up; to take Hudler's spot on the powerplay.

On to Smith.

He was a workhorse tonight. he joined the rush, had a few shots on net and made some smart passes. He did not look out of shape. In fact, if I re-did the depth chart as of RIGHT NOW I would have Lidstrom, Kronwall, White, Smith, Stuart, Kindl, Janik, our conditional 7th round pick, and Ericsson. Smith really impressed me and I hope he sticks around for the playoffs.

Weird stat of the game: Detroit apparently had only 2 hits the entire game. Good work Columbus stats guy.

The Checking Line - Red Wings Edition


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Kyle Busch