Wings Postgame: A Killor Goal

The playoffs have begun, and the Detroit Red Wings needed to start on the right foot this evening, especially considering that the team backed into the playoffs. However, they couldn’t get in done in Game 1, as some leaky defense and goaltending led to a 3-2 win for the Tampa Bay Lightning for a 1-0 series lead.

THE RUNDOWN

The Wings got off to a good start, holding off the Lightning for almost five minutes before Tampa finally got a shot attempt off. But, shortly after, Nikita Kucherov fired a one-timer from Tyler Johnson past Jimmy Howard’s flailing glove, and the Lightning would gain a 1-0 lead just 6:23 into the game. The Bolts continued to build on that momentum until the midway point of the period, when Andrej Sustr took a tripping penalty on Tomas Tatar. From that point on, the Wings got most of the shot attempts, but couldn’t get anything past big Ben Bishop in the first.

Bishop wasn’t immortal for long, as just 2:11 into the period, Mike Green fired a shot from the point that hit off of JT Brown and into the net to tie the game. Not even two minutes later, and Kyle Quincey fired a shot that was tipped by Justin Abdelkader through the short side of Bishop, and the Wings would take a 2-1 lead. It was back and forth hockey after the goal, but that wouldn’t be enough to stop the Lightning, as five minutes later, Braydon Coburn would do an excellent job of boxing out DeKeyser and making an excellent pass to Kucherov, who, after a one-timer, would bury the puck sitting, but not secured, in his five-hole to tie the game. Detroit would continue to drive the play for the remainder of the period, but neither goalie could be beaten.

Five minutes into the third, and Tampa Bay got on the board with a Hedman slap shot on a 3 on 2 rush. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!! It was offside by a hair, so no goal. However, that didn’t matter, as four minutes later, Johnson centered the puck, and Alex Killorn with some spectacular hand eye coordination to deflect the puck past Howard, despite three Red Wings up front, and this time Tampa had a 3-2 lead. The goal seemed to kill any momentum that Detroit had, as they got very few chances on the net in the remainder of the game. Even with the goalie pulled, they never really threatened except for a chance or two.

THE BREAKDOWN

This goal is on both of the defensemen, as both Quincey and DeKeyser could have done a better job of pressuring Johnson and Kucherov, and it would have been nice if DeKeyser either blocked the shot or didn’t get in the way of Howard’s sight of the puck.

You have to give credit to everyone that was a part of this excellent passing play to set up Green. Richards winning the faceoff to start it off, and then Tatar and DeKeyser making the nice passes to create the shot opportunity for Green. Even Helm deserves some credit for creating a ruckus up front.

An excellent job from Abdelkader on this goal. Not only did he get in Bishop’s way, but he showed some excellent hand eye coordination with the deflection. Without him, that’s a shot that Bishop easily stops.

This one is all on Helm. He got caught puck watching when he should have been paying more attention to Kucherov, and when Coburn let off the pass, it went right by him, and Kucherov had time to not only take a shot, but bury his own rebound as well.

*screams internally that none of Richards, DeKeyser, or Quincey could prevent Killorn from deflecting the puck, even though all three were in front of the net*

THE STATS

dettblchart

Detroit did an excellent job in the first two periods of possessing the puck, and keeping the play in their favour. Unfortunately for them, hockey is a 60 minute game, not a 40 minute, and they weren’t leading after 40 minutes anyway. They did terrible in the third, and that led the way to the game winning goal. They finished with a 52.14% CF, but it did not look like that in the third period.

MOTOR CITY MVP

The Motor City MVP goes to Brad Richards. Even though he didn’t get any points, he led all Wings forwards in that game with a 57.14% 5v5 CF, and kept himself known with the Lightning, maintaining a physical presence throughout the game. He might be a guy to keep an eye on this series, since it is his former team, and he played them last season in the finals (and actually beat them).

WHAT’S NEXT

Don’t go anywhere, as they stay in Tampa for Game 2, which will take place on Friday, April 15 at 7:00 pm.