Photo Credit: Raj Mahta/USA TODAY SPORTS
It’s become do or die for the Red Wings, as a loss meant that the other Eastern playoff teams would start clinching spots, and coming off of a devastating 4-3 loss to Montreal on Tuesday, the Wings could not afford another one.
So, they begin an epic trek to the playoffs with a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild tonight, a game that saw many Wings fans grow more and more nervous as the game crept to the finish line, but Detroit pulled it off.
The Wings needed to start off with the lead, because leads make everyone feel better. So, who better to kick it off than our pal D-Boss on the power play, whose shot deflected off of Ryan Suter, and knuckled into net to open the scoring.
The luck continued for the Wings in the second, as Gustav Nyquist made an excellent feed from behind the net to Tomas Tatar at the faceoff dot, and from a funny angle, Tatar managed to squeeze it in for a 2-0 lead.
Tatar’s goal. Great play by Nyquist. pic.twitter.com/Cp33BuRxGM
— Kyle WIIM (@KyleWIIM) April 2, 2016
It wasn’t all sunshine and roses though, as with a bit over three minutes remaining in the middle frame, Jonas Brodin scored from the point to cut the lead in half, and the pressure was on.
But don’t worry, Riley Sheahan has your back! A Jonathan Ericsson shot hopped onto the stick of Sheahan, and he buried it in front, and Wings fans could breathe easy again, as the team had a two goal lead, the safest lead in hockey.
That’s right, I got you, as a two goal lead is actually the most dangerous lead in hockey. Mikael Granlund proved this midway through the third when he scored on a nice shot past a screened Jimmy Howard, and the Wild were back within one.
Thankfully, the Wings didn’t immediately sit on the one goal lead, as they got so many chances at an insurance goal that the Leafs fan in me had flashbacks of Game 7 and kept seeing Matt Frattin breakaways. First, a Larkin breakaway. No dice! Then, a Mike Green pass to a wide open, net driving Darren Helm in front. Turned aside! The Wings could not buy an insurance goal. The Wild turned it on late with the goalie pulled, and even though they got really close to a tying goal, they could not get anything into the net, and the Wings would pull away with the victory.
The Wings definitely held the shot advantage in this one, as they had a 57.53% 5v5 Score-Adjusted Corsi For. Sure, the Wild were in the second half of a back to back, and sure, all three goals Detroit scored were a bit lucky, but with the way things are looking, this team is going to need a lot of luck if they want to make the playoffs.
MOTOR CITY MVP
Riley Sheahan deserves the honours, as he scored the game-winning goal, and also had an assist on the Tatar goal. He had a 64.62% 5v5 Score-Adjusted Corsi For, although in favourable zone starts. Also, he has five points in the last five games, all coming in Detroit’s three wins during that span, including four goals. Could Sheahan be the one who pulls a 2012-13 Zetterberg late in the season? We will soon find out.
There’s no time to rest! The Wing head North of the border to play Mike Babcock and the Toronto Maple Leafs tomorrow at 7:00 pm.