As the Blues’ David Perron muffed his shootout attempt against Chris Osgood last night you could almost hear a collective sigh of relief emanate from Detroit’s bench. The crowd erupted into applause and Osgood pumped his glove hand to indicate it was over. The Wings’ five-game winless streak had finally come to an end.
Not for nothing, but it could have easily gone the other way. On a night when Kris Draper was honored for playing in his 1,000th NHL game (not bad for a guy who only cost $1) Detroit registered a season-low 21 shots on net, gave up three goals to a mediocre St. Louis power-play and spent 13 minutes in the penalty box, five of which resulted from a totally justified game misconduct call against Andreas Lilja (Note to players: Stop hitting guys from behind. Enough said). Pretty? Not even close, but when you haven’t won a game in five straight beggars truly cannot be choosers. Said head coach Mike Babcock:
“When you lost a few like we have, it’s never pretty when you win. You knew it was going to be ugly, but we found a way to win.”
Two of Detroit’s goals came off the stick of Marian Hossa in the second period, the latter of which chased St. Louis goalie Manny Legace from the net. The previous two he let in were questionable at best. Said Legace about his efforts:
“I was God-awful. The guys played great. I’m the reason we lost. I was the worst guy in the NHL tonight.”
Self-aware to be sure.
Hossa would go on to cement the eventual game-winner in the shootout with a slick wrist shot that beat goalie Chris Mason high on the glove side.
“I know the goalie doesn’t come far from the net so I was just going to shoot, just try to get the right angle and go upstairs,” said Hossa.
Both teams combined for a paltry five shots in the first period, earning them the accolade of having the fewest combined shots in an opening period in the NHL this season.
“We had to kind of grind it out,” said Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom. “They were playing real tight in their own zone as a group of five, and I thought we were passing it up a couple of times instead of getting pucks to the net.”
“We just have to keep fighting through things. We don’t expect it to change in one week or one game. Sort of a carbon copy of last year so far. The season is Groundhog Day for us.”
Very clever Chris. Detroit is back in action on Thursday at home against Phoenix.