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WINGS POST-GAME: DUCK HUNTING

Charlie Conway and his Ducks flew into Hockeytown Tuesday night for a showdown against their former Western Conference rivals. The Red Wings, with Tyler Bertuzzi back in the lineup, would be looking to play a full 60 minutes after two third period collapses over their last two games. For the Ducks, Coach Bombay’s team has battled through injuries all year and are currently one point out of a second wild card spot in the West and one point out of third place in the Pacific Division. The Stanley Cup dream is very much alive for the Ducks and Detroit stifled it tonight with a 2-1 victory.

THE HIGHLIGHTS

Anaheim may have outplayed Detroit for most of the first period, but the Wings escaped with the lead. Dylan Larkin scored late in the period when he picked off a Kevin Bieksa pass deep in the Anaheim zone.

Jimmy Howard made a couple of big saves and was beat once as Jakob Silfverberg hit the post on a wide open net. Both teams failed to convert on a powerplay opportunity throughout the first.

In the second, Detroit was heavily out-shot and out-played. Fortunately for them, Jimmy Howard showed up in perfect form and managed to keep them in the game. Towards the end of the period, Frans Nielsen added to the tally with a beautiful shot along the ice that found the back of the net.

After two periods, the Wings were leading 2-0.

The third period was better for the Wings. They relied heavily on Jimmy Howard to make some big saves, but their offense had chances of their own. Gustav Nyquist hit the post off a beautiful sauce pass from Henrik Zetterberg. Nielsen almost had his second goal when he hit the crossbar on a breakaway. Anthony Mantha managed to get a couple of shots off.

Ultimately, Detroit managed to hold on to this one (no third period collapse!) and win the game 2-1.

THE STATS

The game was a little back-and-forth. It never felt like Detroit had complete control as Anaheim out-muscled them in every zone. The Ducks out-shot and out-attempted the Wings as they set the pace and had Detroit chasing the puck. The Wings did get more scoring chances, though. They had a bit of bad puck luck, otherwise this game would have been 4-1. Still, a stronger effort is required if they want to pave the path to the playoffs.

MOTOR CITY MVP

Tonight’s Motor City MVP is Jimmy Howard. The Wings allowed far too many shots on him and Howie came up big – once again. He made some beautiful toe saves, pad saves, and got a little luck from his posts. But his 0.970 save percentage on 33 shots earns him tonight’s player of the game award.

NEXT UP

Detroit is back on the road tomorrow as they travel to Tampay Bay to take on the first place Lightning on Thursday. Tampa has had their number all year, so a strong showing against this Lightning team could build a lot of confidence in Detroit’s young players. Puck drop is at 7:30 P.M. ET and you can watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit or SUN if you’re tuning in from the Tampa Bay area. As always, we’ll have your pre-game report up on WingsNation.com early Thursday afternoon.