Big Red Machine

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First off, I’ve been kind of terrible about blogging this week, but several things have chosen this moment to take over my life. This late, the recap is kind of a moot point, but oh well.

This was a game that I mentioned on The Obstructed View that I was looking forward to this week, since the Kings have managed to surprise quite a few people with their play, and are poised to make the playoffs if they continue strong.

When I was thinking about this game, I pondered the idea of Quick, who was selected as the 3rd goalie for the US Olympic team, versus Howard, who was also in the running and obviously not picked. The fact that my brain immediately found nothing wrong with assuming, days in advance, that it would be Howard vs Quick is really indicative of the goaltending situation in Detroit. Sorry, Oz.

– Apparently it’s all Lebda’s fault that Holmstrom’s foot is broken. Way to go, Brett.

+ It was imperative that the Wings won this game in regulation to prevent the Kings from gaining a point. Prior to the game the Kings were 5 points ahead; now they’re 3. The Wings have got to gain ground against Western Conference teams if they want to be in control of their post-season chances and not leave it to fate that a team of ahead will have a second-half meltdown and fall out of the standings.

– Murph pointed out that it’s all Swedes who are injured, plus Williams. All of the Swedes except Lidstrom have been on IR at some point this year. That terrifies me.

+ Welcome back to the lineup, Dan(ny) Cleary. He took over Homer’s role, planting himself in front of Quick, whacking it in with 0.2 left in the first period. See boys and girls? Good things happen when you go to the net.

+ My God was it good to see him and Zetterberg back out on the ice. Zetterberg didn’t really do a ton, but he’s getting a pass for now because just having him out was a relief.

+ Cheers Rafalski for saving an almost goal by Ryan Smyth, who had a wide open net earlyish in the 2nd

+ Wings had a great PK on the Datsyuk interference call. The Wings seemed to get about as many chances on the PK as the Kings did with the man advantage.

= Howard had a ridiculous game, in more than one sense of the word. On one hand, he was played pretty scrambly, with a few too many snow-angel saves for my comfort. He had quite a few poor rebounds and would have been scored on due to his turnover early in the first of Rafalski hadn’t bailed him out. I feel like most of the mad flurries in front of the net were because he either didn’t stop it in the first place, or didn’t control the rebound well. He almost gave me a heart attack several times. And sorry, but I don’t know what he was thinking on the Kings goal–trying to catch the pass I suppose, but he left the left side wide open for Ryan Smyth to pop it in.

On the other hand, he was lucky to the point of obnoxious, stopping the 27 shots that the Kings put on net in the 2nd. He lost his stick at one point, was scrambling and sliding around, everyone was in the crease, and he still managed to save them. He had the luck of I don’t even know what. I realize you make your own luck by playing well, but I’m really with Matt  on this that I’d prefer to see him more settled and in control of the puck. At the same time, 51 is really effing incredible and there’s zero questioning that. There are no points for style, as long as you get the job done, and by god he did. My blood pressure would probably improve, though.

I’m not just ready to proclaim him the Messiah, yet. Another note, putting aside the idea that Osgood needs/wants starts so that he can get on a roll, how about giving Howard a rest? He’s starting against San Jose in what will be his 8th straight. He’s young and he’s got the Olympic break to rest, but he’s still got potential for burnout.

– The Kings controlled the majority of the game and put 57 shots on net. 57. That cannot happen.

– Did Leino play? I don’t really remember seeing him at all. This also may be because I watched the Yahoo feed, which was terrible quality, but I simply couldn’t tolerate listening to the Kings announcers. But really, I think I didn’t notice Leino because he didn’t contribute to the game whatsoever.

+ Darren Helm is my Hero. The key was that he zipped up the ice to not allow Quick to play the puck, gained possession, and whacked it in. With a couple of minutes remaining, I wrote on Twitter , “Shit, we need 2 in regulation here, boys. Can’t afford to give LAK anything. We can’t afford OT, do you hear??”. I’m convinced that message was transmitted directly to Darren Helm’s brain and then he scored.

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