Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY SPORTS
There was a moment in this game where you almost felt ready to surrender. Twenty-four years of prior history hitting a tipping point where it had to be deprioritized with the future in mind. Now, granted, there’s a lot of reason to still argue that’s still a valid mindset to have, but a huge comeback against the Winnipeg Jets by the Detroit Red Wings meant that, at least from a standings perspective, there isn’t reason to panic just yet.
The Red Wings were pouring it on against the lowly ex-Thrashers from the get-go, in no small part because of the two penalties that Winnipeg took in the first six minutes. But Detroit wasn’t able to capitalize on either powerplay, and seconds after Jonathan Ericsson stepped out of the box for the home side’s first penalty of the night, newly-acquired Jets forward Marko Dano, who was left alone in front of Petr Mrazek, easily roofed home a one-timer to open the scoring.
Matters were made even worse five minutes later. Tyler Myers, who is notable for being big and, well, having a long reach as a result of being big, dangled around Henrik Zetterberg and fired a wrister before Danny DeKeyser could react. After twenty minutes, it seemed like Detroit were well on their way to their fourth consecutive loss.
But the team pushed even harder than they did in the second period, outshooting Winnipeg 13-6 in the ensuing twenty. What’s more important, though, is that two of those shots went into the back of the net. Dylan Larkin (bless his untarnished soul) started the rally with his twentieth goal of his rookie season, and six minutes later, a shot by Jonathan Ericsson somehow fumbled its way into the back of the net after bouncing off Michael Hutchinson and Paul Postma.
The Wings had all the momentum going into the third period, but for a while, it wasn’t amounting to anything. With four and a half minutes to go, though, Tomas Tatar set up Justin Abdelkader, who made no mistake in putting away the game with his 17th goal of the season.
Overall, it was a much improved night from the Wings, who have obviously been struggling of late. They outshot the Jets by ten, dominated at the draw, stayed relatively disciplined, and didn’t give up at any point. Even Mrazek had a bounceback game, stopping 23 of 25.
Motor City MVP
I don’t want to say that Justin Abdelkader is making me eat my words for being shocked that he made Team USA, because there are still a ton of better options. But he’s admittedly been quite good over the past few games, and tonight was no exception. He had the primary assist on Larkin’s rally-starting goal, and obviously scored the game winner. His underlying numbers weren’t overly brilliant compared to his teammates, but it also helps that everybody (other than Gustav Nyqvist, for some reason) had a great night in that regard.
See You Next Time
The Wings had one great period against Columbus, and two tonight. But for their game on Saturday against the Rangers, they’re definitely going to need to bring a full night of effort to the table. Oh, and they’re going to need a lot of coffee, too; this one is a 2:00 PM start. See you then!