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Wings Post-Game: Howard Vs. Bobrovsky

The Red Wings returned home tonight after a four game road trip against some of Canada’s best teams. Playing host to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit looked to continue to build on the momentum they created in games against the Edmonton Oilers and the Vancouver Canucks. It wouldn’t be easy against a team like the Blue Jackets, though. Let’s see how they did.

THE RUNDOWN

They didn’t get off to the best start. Less than a minute into the game, the Wings gave up a goal to Artemi Panarin who was alone in close to the net.

Right after that play, the linesman David Brisbois had a hard collision with a Columbus defenseman and had to leave the game temporarily.

Detroit outplayed Columbus for the rest of the period, but they couldn’t get one past Sergei Bobrovsky, who was turning away odd-angle shots and one-timers from Frans Nielsen, Anthony Mantha, and Henrik Zetterberg.

In the second period, Detroit continued to pressure the Blue Jackets, but just couldn’t solve Bobrovsky. They outshot them 12-9 and had seven more shot attempts. To his credit, Jimmy Howard came up big multiple times for the Red Wings, flashing his glove and masterfully controlling his rebounds. Both teams would escape the second period with the score still 1-0 in favor of Columbus.

Detroit kept the pressure up in the third and it resulted in a tying goal seven minutes in. Andreas Athanasiou picked up the puck off a rebound and banked it into an open net passed a sprawling Bobrovsky.

It was Athanasiou’s second goal in eight games and would be the only one that period as the Red Wings forced overtime.

The 3-on-3 play that ensued must have been the most exciting overtime play of the season as both teams went back and forth with chances. At one point, Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha were 2-on-0 on Bobrovsky and the Vezina-winner came up with a huge toe-save.

It doesn’t get better than that! The same duo had another chance after this save, but Bobrovsky turned them away again. Throughout the whole game, it was Howard and Bobrovsky making save after save after save. It was a true duel of the goaltenders.

When both teams came up empty during overtime, it was time for the shootout. Nielsen scored on Detroit’s first attempt and Panarin tied it in the following round. The shootout went nine shooters deep, with Athanasiou, Mantha, Larkin, Nyquist, and Tatar all being turned away, before Columbus’ Jack Johnson buried the game winner behind Howard.

Detroit picked up a point, but just couldn’t figure out how to put the Blue Jackets away.

THE STATS

Detroit played a great game, in terms of possession. They controlled the play and directed a lot of shots towards the Columbus net. Unfortunately for them, they ran into a red hot goalie who turned away all but one of their shots. Nielsen, Mantha, Athanasiou, and Dylan Larkin all had positives tonight in terms of 5v5 shot attempts, something that the team needs to keep up if they want to control games.

MOTOR CITY MVP

Tonight’s Motor City MVP is Andreas Athanasiou for scoring the game-tying goal and leading the team in 5v5 shot attempts. The young winger/centre had an upgraded role as he saw some PK time early in the game and ice time in the final 60 seconds. The team is starting to rely on him more and he’s delivering with a positive shot differential and the tying goal tonight. Great play like this in an expanded role will do a lot for this team going forward.

WHAT’S NEXT

Next up, Detroit will host the Calgary Flames on Tuesday evening at Little Caesars Arena. The Wings will be looking to avenge the 6-3 loss the Flames delivered to them on Thursday night.

As always, Brock Seguin will have the pre-game report early Sunday afternoon on WingsNation.com.