1. The Wings forecheck seems to have new life now that Abdelkader is back. He beat out an icing in the first, and works the cycle with Nyquist and Zetterberg so well. He’s a welcome addition to the lineup. Not to mention his standing up for Mrazek when he was tripped by Paquette.
2. Brendan Smith must have hated being a healthy scratch these last few games. The 1st period he had good pinches, used his body well, got involved with some post-whistle interactions and even had a great pick-off and shot near the end. Looks like he’ll be in the lineup for a while.
3. Datsyuk’s entrance on Detroit’s 1st goal was flawless. Everyone gives him room because, well, he’s Pavel Datsyuk, and Tatar was waiting for the pass. You can see Tats’ eyes are focused on slapping that puck to the net through traffic, which is key. Heads up plays by both of those guys.
4. I think the 2015 playoffs are Luke Glendening’s announcement to the NHL that he is a significant player in this league. Not only is he incredibly good at the defensive side of the game, but he plays almost the entire PK every time there is a penalty to kill. On top of all of that, he’s got some offensive flair that pops out every once and a while. He’s got good speed and I think people underestimate his skill, which allows him to slip past some defenders for scoring chances.
5. Was Darren Helm possessed with Jordin Tootoo’s ghost tonight? He was a forechecking/hitting machine, leading the game with 7 hits. SEVEN HITS.
6. I like the idea of having the struggling Jurco on the power play. If he’s gonna score anywhere, it’s gonna be there. Why not get him some confidence which should lead to some stronger play overall.
7. Riley Sheahan is rolling 0’s across the points columns in the playoffs, but he’s still giving it his all. Good to see him not try anything too fancy, which tends to happen when you aren’t contributing on the scoreboard. He’s got the hands and the pure skill to get him a goal soon, but Detroit’s offence has been sputtering in the first two games. Can’t blame anyone for the lack of stats at this point; it’s a team problem.
Edit: I wrote this thought in the 2nd period; good to see he potted his 1st career playoff goal afterwards!
8. Is Tatar faster than Helm when it comes to skating in the zone? Helm’s obviously got Road Runner straight away speed, but I think Tatar can literally skate circles around Helm.
9. Far too many undisciplined penalties by the Red Wings in this one. Once again, they’re lucky that their penalty kill was operating at 100% (6/6).
10. The Lightning are starting to drop a defenceman down into the slot area on the power play, but the Wings are watching for it. There’s usually some good man coverage on that pinching defenceman.
11. Brian Boyle used a different move than his shorthanded breakaway in game 1, so it’s good to see that Mrazek is trusting his instincts, rather than assuming Boyle would try and replicate his previous goal.
12. The drop-pass powerplay entry is working on and off, but I’d like to see more entries like the one on the Datsyuk goal: feeding the far side winger during F1’s entry.
13. This game seemed a lot more… even. Detroit definitely deserved to be in this game, and they were rewarded with a big win, giving them the 2-1 lead in the series.
14. This Detroit team has decided to turn up the hitting, which is helping them a lot. Helm had 7, Abdelkader had 6, Smith and Quincey both had 5…this team is starting to play a much more well-rounded game.
15. Can’t thank the goal posts enough in this one. Mrazek obviously played great, but I counted 3 or 4 goal posts in this one. Congrats to Peter on his 1st career playoff shutout, and congrats on the Wings on only being outshot by 1! The closest margin this series.