The Red Wings had another hard fought game against the Columbus Blue Jackets and earned a huge win in a shootout. Game tying scorer Riley Sheahan and rookie Andreas Anthanasiou scored for Detroit in the shootout that gave them a 2-1 win at Joe Louis Arena Tuesday night.
In the last game before the Stadium Series, the Red Wings got a huge boost to their blue line as Niklas Kronwall returned after missing 15 games due to a knee injury. The hard hitting veteran comes at a time when they need him most to life up the morale of Detroit’s offense. They lost the last two straight in overtime that included their hard fought 1-0 loss to the New York Rangers. Jimmy Howard had an amazing performance that had been missing for far too long as goaltender. He completed a shutout in regulation that put him back in a strong position as secondary goaltender.
While he’s not pulling a second straight start, he would most likely work full time to get back and become a Red Wings goaltender that can be relied on. Columbus has been off an on winning against the Boston Bruins on the road. While they’re not on course for a huge game, they’ll try and be the heartbreakers against their former division rivals.
Things were a little slow for both teams, as they felt out each other in the first few minutes. The Blue Jackets got ahead of Detroit on shots at goaltender Petr Mrazek as they gave Columbus a power play 5:30 in but failed to convert. They took another nine minutes later but they were once again denied by the Detroit PK unit.
The final minutes of the period came into play with the Blue Jackets getting a push into the Detroit zone that had them coming close to scoring. It was later done by Boone Jenner with two minutes left as he did it on his own. Jenner skated faster than Detroit’s Alexei Marchenko before firing the puck into Mrazek where he got his 22nd of the season. Columbus were on fire and looked for a second goal but the time beat them to the chase as the period came to a close. In the end, the Blue Jackets outshot Detroit 6-4 winning more than two thirds of the face offs.
The Red Wings showed improvements in the second taking lead on shots to the net but unable to level with the Blue Jackets. They got their first power play six minutes in but couldn’t get one behind goaltender Curtis McElhinney who was stellar through half the game. His success kept the Red Wings at bay while they took a bad penalty that put Columbus back on the man advantage.
Things worked different for the Detroit penalty killing unit with Marchenko making up for giving Columbus the lead. He stole the puck away near the neutral zone where a stretch pass to Sheahan set up the centerman with his eighth of the season all while shorthanded. “It was a great play by Marchy there to step up,” Sheahan said after the game with NBC Sports Network reporter Brian Boucher. He’s got a great stick, knows how to break up plays. I think he saw me and put the puck in the space and I was fortunately to get a good shot off.”
They still had to kill off the last part of the Blue Jackets power play and did so with solid defense. For the last six minutes, Detroit put pressure on their opponents attacking the puck and forcing more time in the offensive zone causing Columbus to scramble at times. They outshot them 11-5 with some momentum that they wanted to come with them into the third period.
They came right off the opening faceoff putting pucks on the Blue Jackets net coming close each time. They had a 4-0 rout on shots to the net for a large part of the period before Columbus could respond. They helped out McElhinney by taking the game back at Mrazek searching for the go ahead. Jenner had been searching for a second goal all game long and came so close on two occasions scaring the Detroit faithful.
Time was winding down and both teams were still looking for the game winner but neither Mrazek or McElhinney were giving any good shots the way into the back of the net. Their stance led to yet a third consecutive overtime period for the Red Wings and the first for Columbus this week.
Things got very intense in the first couple of minutes but a bad break for Detroit cost them dearly as Mrazek sent the puck out but was off sides due to Datsyuk catching the puck at the blue line. Anthanasiou nearly had the win with a tremendous effort but was blocked off by McElhinney. After a huge denial by Mrazek it moved the game into a shootout that Detroit wanted nothing more to win.
Sheahan once again lifted his team after a failed attempt with his forehand doing work against McElhinney to beat him on the high side. A bad break for Alexander Wennberg occurred on his try where he lost the puck on his stick killing off any hope of scoring. Ending it was Anthanasiou who scored the big goal that clinched the much-needed victory. “It was good to play in front of our fans and pull out a win,” Sheahan said.
While they have a few days to rest before Saturday’s massive matchup against the Avalanche, the Red Wings wont be able to rest as the season starts to close in on playoff position.