Photo Credit: Rick Ostenoski/USA TODAY SPORTS
You’d think a game against a bottom feeder like the Columbus Blue Jackets would have been a little easier than this one, but alas, this matchup was a bit closer to call than you’d expect. The Red Wings persevered, though, and scored all their goals with fewer than five skaters in a 2-1 shootout victory.
A well fought first period effectively went down the drain in its closing minutes, when Boone Jenner picked up the opening tally for Columbus. In this case, Alexey Marchenko found himself the victim of a failed battle with Jenner, losing the footrace and being pushed aside by his younger opponent who whipped a howitzer past Petr Mrazek almost immediately after getting control of the puck. Things looked like they would get worse before they got better, too; Niklas Kronwall put his team in a tough position after hooking Jack Johnson in the second period, with the team gaining momentum but still trailing.
Somehow, it couldn’t have worked out better.
Riley Sheahan delivered a breath of new life into this game, thanks in no small part to the previous scapegoat in Marchenko. An interception and chipped up through-puck to the friendly neighbourhood PK specialist led to a breakaway and Sheahan’s eighth goal of the season, which not only tied the game for the Wings but finally gave them their first shorthanded goal of the year.
The push didn’t end there for the Wings, who flooded the still-alive Curtis McElhinney with 29 shots on goal throughout the game. Unfortunately, no more of their traditional attempts went in during regulation or overtime, so the game headed to a shootout. Pessimism was warranted after the bonus round’s opening effort when Pavel Datsyuk failed to hit the net with his shot. But Mrazek was hot, and the Red Wings persevered thanks to another goal from Sheahan and a dagger from…
Play of the Game
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) February 24, 2016
This is why the Wings drafted Andreas Athanasiou. Absolutely disgusting hands, and they’re only going to get more better as he gets more confident.
Motor City MVP
You have to go with Riley Sheahan, don’t you? The game-tying goal, the go-ahead shootout goal, a team-leading six shots on net, and a positive possession player. Hard to top a night like that, don’t you think?
See You Next Time
The Red Wings get a few days off, as they prepare to take things outside! Their next game will be the Stadium Series matchup against the Colorado Avalanche. Puck drop is at 8:00 on Saturday Night. We won’t be going anywhere, though; stay tuned for deadline coverage and a coverage surrounding the other festivities that happen before the big game!