The Wings were back in action Wednesday night for the first time since the trade deadline, that is to say without Tomas Tatar. They were visiting the ailing Blues in St. Louis, where Alex Pietrangelo and the gang were coming off of an 8-3 beating at the hands of the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night. Having lost their 2nd line center in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets on Monday, the Blues needed a big comeback victory. Detroit, for their own part, was coming off a big overtime win in New York Sunday night. Let’s see how they fared against their former Norris Division rivals.
The Wings actually got off to a fast start in the first period. They forechecked hard and got a couple quality shots off. As a result, St. Louis took the first penalty a mere four minutes into the game. it was a hooking call on Scottie Upshall, who was not happy with the officials. Detroit failed to score on the ensuing powerplay, but had a couple of good looks. Later on, Martin Frk, who had been playing an aggressive game, took a tripping call against Nikita Soshnikov. The Wings killed off the penalty, only allowing two shots. There was no scoring in the first, but the Wings out-shot their opponents 13-8.
The whole “no scoring” thing ended pretty quickly in the second period as Scottie Upshall buried a rebound just over a minute in. The goal happened because Colton Parayko, who is a very good hockey player, drove to the net with the puck and created a lot of traffic in front. There maybe could have been some goaltender interference on the play, but, shockingly, Jeff Blashill opted not to challenge it. See the play for yourself:
— Nick (@nickseguin19) March 1, 2018
The second period was much better for the Blues. They out-shot the Wings 12-8 and held them scoreless on a powerplay opportunity. Detroit had a couple of good chances, notably from Gustav Nyquist and Dylan Larkin, but nothing that could get past Carter Hutton.
These two teams continued to battle throughout the third – as physical as both teams could be. But unfortunately most of that physicality came from the Blues smothering any offensive chance from the Wings.
As the game opened up, both teams had good scoring chances as a result of sustained offensive zone pressure. Throwing everything at the net but nothing gets past either goalie.
That is until a nice counterattack led by Jaden Schwartz – goes behind the net and passes it back to a forward-creeping Alex Pietrangelo. He one-times it perfectly over Howard’s right shoulder and bardown to double the deficet. It was a damn pretty goal from the opposition.
Pietrangelo goes bar⬇️. pic.twitter.com/Y1wBi7o6Vl— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) March 1, 2018
The only positive was the arena played Yeah by Usher.
With the net empty, the Wings were desperate for a couple goals to head to overtime. Well, Andreas Athanasiou solved at least half of that desperation and put the puck in the net to cut the lead in half.
At least it’s nice to see some young guys get on the scoresheet in a physical game like this.
After a pair of offsetting penalties for a trip and embellishment, the Wings kept their net empty for a 5v4 opportunity. Heavy pressure in the Blues end led to some tempers flaring and more meaningless roughing by Abdelkader in-front of Hutton. What a great way to contribute to your team with seconds left on the clock.
Anyways, the Wings lost 2-1.
Surprisingly, the Wings had more of the shot attempts throughout the whole game. Some key powerplay time helped along the way, but ever increasing was the gap between the two team’s shot attempts.
Quite obviously the empty net advantage helped the Wings get some shots off towards the end and they were rewarded with a nice little goal by a nice London boy.
MOTOR CITY MVP
The Motor City MVP for tonight’s loss was Andreas Athanasiou for getting the only goal for the Wings tonight. He was also a positive Corsi player at solid 55.56 CF%, so not too shabby for a tough loss against a well-built Western Conference team.
The boys get a night off tomorrow before returning to action Friday night. Their aggressive road trip continues as they make a stop in Winnipeg, Ontario to take on the Jets. Winnipeg was aggressive at the trade deadline, acquiring Paul Stastny from the Blues as they bulked up for their playoff run. It’s going to be a tough match for the Wings, but with their play as of late, they should be up for it. Puck drop will be at 8:00 P.M. ET and you can watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit or TSN3 if you’re in Canada.
As always, Brock Seguin will have the pre-game report up on WingsNation.com early Friday afternoon.