DRW Game Recap, Game 54: Happy Anger (Wsh 4, Det 5)(OT)

Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

This might be the most upset I’ve ever been after a Red Wings’ W.

The Red Wings win, 5-4 in overtime over the Washington Capitals. 3 goal leads in the 3rd period are a curse for this team, I guess. I wanted to turn the TV off as soon as OT started. I figured it was as good as over, and the Caps would win. But, the Wings surprised me and managed to pull out only their 2nd overtime win of the season.

Let’s get into the recap.

1st Period

I said in the preview of this game during the last recap that staying out of the box against Washington would be crucial. The reasoning behind that, of course, is that the Capitals have a cannon trained on the net at all times from the left circle on the powerplay. That cannon is named Alex Ovechkin.

Well, Luke Glendening takes a tripping penalty 3 minutes into the game, and The Great 8 blasts a one-timer past Jimmy Howard from his office in the left circle on the ensuing powerplay. Soooo, maybe keeping a tight watch on Ovechkin while the Caps are on the powerplay would be a good idea, eh?

Ovechkin wouldn’t be the only #8 to score in the first, though. Almost 10 minutes after the Ovechkin goal, Justin Abdelkader took advantage of a neutral zone turnover by Matt Niskanen, scoring on a breakaway and using a backhand fake to leave Braden Holtby’s jockstrap on the crossbar in the process. After one, it was 1-1.

2nd Period

It took a while for either team to score in the 2nd period, but the 3 Red Wings goals that were potted late in the frame came in quite quick succession. Luke Glendening scored with just a bit more than 3 minutes left, hustling to the net and putting home a low-shot rebound at the net mouth to give the Wings a 2-1 lead.

Literally 9 seconds later, Henrik Zetterberg made a fantastic play on the forecheck, forcing another Matt Niskanen turnover behind the Caps net and feeding it out front to a lone Anthony Mantha, who buried a shot past a helpless Holtby to increase the Red Wings lead to 2.

Dylan Larkin would make a huge play on the 4th Red Wings goal, hitting Tomas Tatar with a drop pass on a transition opportunity in the slot and tying up the Caps’ Christian Djoos, who was the only player for Washington who could have made a a play on Tatar. That allowed Tats to fire a shot past Braden Holtby for a 4-1 Red Wings lead after 2.

A 3-goal lead going into the 3rd period? What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

3rd Period

Brett Connolly scored 2 and a half into the period, taking advantage of a lapse in the Wings’ transition defense by ripping a short side wrister past Jimmy Howard to make it 4-2.

Dmitry Orlov scored with just under 6 minutes to go, teeing up a one-timer in the slot and firing it past Jimmy to cut the Red Wings’ lead down to one with a lot of time left for the Caps to work with.

Nicklas Backstrom finished off the 2nd blown three-goal 3rd period lead in 2 games for the Red Wings. He wristed a shot top-shelf past Jimmy Howard on a powerplay with the Caps’ net empty and 17 seconds left.

Another blown 3-goal lead in the 3rd period. Who are we, the Leafs?


And then, in overtime, the unthinkable happened.

The Red Wings won the game.

Dylan Larkin made his second great assist of the game, again on a Tomas Tatar goal. The Red Wings took advantage of a huge stop by Jimmy Howard on a Capitals’ 2-on-1, moving the puck up the ice quickly and forming their own odd man rush with Tomas Tatar and Dylan Larkin. Larks carried the puck over the blue line, drawing the one Washington defenseman to the right boards away from his teammate before delivering Tatar a pass right in front of Braden Holtby. Tatar did not disappoint, moving to the backhand and burying the game winner into the Washington net.

The Red Wings win a game that they probably didn’t deserve to win, 5-4 in OT over the Washington Capitals.

Red Wings’ 3rd Period Struggles

I understand that sometimes holding leads in the 3rd period definitely isn’t as easy as it looks, especially on the road. BUT HOW HARD CAN IT BE TO HOLD A THREE-GOAL 3RD PERIOD LEAD?! I know this team’s defense sucks, but for Pete’s sake, even the worst defensive core in the NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE should not be incapable of holding a 3rd period lead. And I don’t even know if the Wings’ D is the worst in the league, which is the frustrating thing. They’re not good, I’m not saying that AT ALL. But holy cow, I really don’t think they’re “2 straight blown three-goal 3rd period leads” bad.

So, what is wrong with this team right now? I get that they’re not a playoff quality team(that doesn’t mean that they won’t make the playoffs, but they definitely shouldn’t). But, like I said, they’re just not this bad. At least, that’s my opinion. I really don’t believe that these last two games are just caused by a lack of fortitude. There has to be something going on. It may be a confidence issue. Or–and this is what I think–there has been a mentality instituted by the coaches or some of the players that includes the team taking their foot off the gas when they have a 3rd period lead. If that’s actually what is causing this, it needs to be fixed soon, or we’re going to be seeing even more multiple goal 3rd period leads being blown.

But hey, at least they won, right?

Baby Bert Benched

Another note, Jeff Blashill scratched Tyler Bertuzzi for this one, presumably as punishment for what happened in Brooklyn the other night. Yeah, Jeff, sit a physical, defensive minded forward because you just blew a 3 goal lead in the 3rd period and lost. Impeccable logic.

I understand you want to show him that what he did was wrong, but there are so many other options than just not playing him. You could cut his already acute minutes, or you could sit him down and have a talk with him about what he did. You could even bag skate him. But taking him completely out of the lineup wasn’t wise, and needless to say, I disagree with that decision.

Player of the Game

This is going to be a split honor for this game, because I think both of these players deserve the honor and they both made their biggest case on the same plays. Tomas Tatar and Dylan Larkin will share the player(s) of the game award for today’s game. Dylan Larkin had two primary assists, both on goals off of the stick of none other than Tomas Tatar. And the thing is, on both of these goals, they weren’t because of only the goal scorer’s effort or only because of the assister’s effort. Without Larkin’s magnificent passes and plays on both of these goals, neither of them happen. And, without a filthy snipe and a dirty backhand dangle from Tatar, they don’t happen either.

Both of these guys brought their offensive “A” games tonight. Only if the whole team could have brought their “A” game on defense, this would have been a dominating and easy win to recap. But this team can’t just be easy on me, can it?

Game 55

vs. Anaheim Ducks(27-19-10, 64 pts)

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan

7:30 PM ET



Just like the Wings, the Anaheim Ducks are on the outside looking in at the playoff race. Unlike the Wings, though, they sit only 2 points out of the second Western Conference Wild Card Spot at 27-19-10. The game in Detroit will be the first game of a crucial 4-game roadtrip for the Ducks before they come home for 3-games preceding the NHL Trade Deadline on Monday, February 26th.

24 year-old Rickard Rakell leads the Ducks in points with 45 through 51 games played(this is written before the conclusion of their game tonight vs. San Jose). Captain Ryan Getzlaf is second with 35 in 32 games played, and Corey Perry is third with 32 in 45 games played. Ryan Getzlaf missed 21 games earlier this season after having surgery to repair a broken bone in his face caused by taking a shot up high in a game vs. the Hurricanes on Oct. 29th, so he is the only player scoring at or above a point-a-game for the Ducks this season.





Brendan Boyd

About Brendan Boyd

My name is Brendan Boyd. I am looking to get into writing as a career. I have a deep passion for sports and would love to work in anything that has to do with them. I love Michigan and the Red Wings the most, but the Tigers and Lions aren't too far behind.
Brendan Boyd

Brendan Boyd

My name is Brendan Boyd. I am looking to get into writing as a career. I have a deep passion for sports and would love to work in anything that has to do with them. I love Michigan and the Red Wings the most, but the Tigers and Lions aren't too far behind.

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