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Three Questions: Wings-Avs

by Michael Caples / Detroit Red Wings
How did the game change so drastically?

For the first 20:23 of Sunday’s game, the Red Wings looked like they may have run into trouble.  They gave up goals in the first 30 seconds of both the first and second periods, and the sell-out crowd at Joe Louis Arena was growing quiet.  Then, the Avalanche got into penalty trouble, and the Wings jumped at the opportunity.  Defenseman Scott Hannan went to the box, and the Wings’ power play unit went to work.  Pavel Datsyuk drew another penalty on Ruslan Salei for hooking, and during the delayed call, Dan Cleary redirected a Nicklas Lidstrom wrist shot into the back of the net for his 10th goal of the season.

Scoring on the delayed call meant that the Wings would have a full two-minute power play, with Salei serving the full duration of his hooking call.  Hannan seemed to disagree, and was sent to the sin bin for unsportsmanlike conduct.  His mistake gave the Wings a five-on-three advantage, and they wasted no time in tallying the game-tying goal.  It was Lidstrom to Cleary once again; the Wings’ captain played give-and-go with Datsyuk multiple times, then blasted a one-timer that Cleary once again got his stick on.  Cleary’s 11th goal of the season tied it up, and though the Wings weren’t able to finish on the rest of the five-on-four power play, the game’s momentum had swing drastically in favor of the Wings.

What was the save of the night?

The play that may have won the game for the Wings wasn’t a goal, but a gigantic save by goaltender Chris Osgood.  Just a few minutes after the Wings had tied the game with Cleary’s power-play goals, Colorado winger Marek Svatos found himself with the puck at the Detroit blue line, with nobody near him.  Svatos walked in on Osgood slowly, and then snapped a quick wrist shot heading for the top-right corner.  Osgood flung his glove up, and robbed Svatos from scoring a goal that would have killed the Red Wings’ comeback.

The save grew to be even more important, when Marian Hossa scored almost immediately after the TV timeout following Osgood’s big play.  Hossa took a pass from Valtteri Filppula, cut to the slot, and fired a wrist shot past goaltender Andrew Raycroft for his 32nd goal of the season, and the go-ahead goal for the Red Wings.   It was the final stage of the game turnaround, and it wouldn’t have happened without Osgood standing tall against Svatos.

Who was the Wings’ player of the game?

I’m going to go with captain Lidstrom.  In the first period, he had two shots that missed on a big five-on-three advantage.  One went just wide of the Colorado net, and one he rang just off the post.  But he didn’t let that stop him from still firing the puck on goal.  He was the man responsible for both of Cleary’s goals, firing them into positions that allowed the Wings’ rugged winger to get a stick on the puck.  He fired four shots on goal throughout the game, and, as usual, he ate up a lot of ice time, playing 28:00. 

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