The Detroit Red Wings needed a win like Mike Emrick needs 70 different ways to say “pass.”
And they got it in the ugliest fashion Sunday.
The Red Wings beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 in overtime after dropping six of their past eight games. The Boston Bruins were making a late charge to overtake the Red Wings for the third spot in the Atlantic Division. But a win for Detroit will hold off the Bruins for at least a bit longer.
The Red Wings played in a penalty-filled game, with 50 combined penalty minutes between the two teams. Justin Abdelkader’s game-winning goal was the only power-play goal the Red Wings had, and it came with a bit of controversy.
Should Abdelkader’s Goal Have Counted?
To begin the overtime period, the Red Wings had a carry over power play from the third period, which meant they had a four on three man advantage. After Marek Zidlicky took a shot on net, Abdelkader swung his stick, accidentally hitting Jake Allen, which broke the winger’s stick.
Abdelkader collected the rebound and pushed the puck into the open net with his broken stick. According to Rule 10.3 of the official NHL rulebook:
A broken stick is one which, in the opinion of the Referee, is unfit for normal play.
A player without a stick may participate in the game. A player whose stick is broken may participate in the game provided he drops the broken stick. A minor penalty shall be imposed for an infraction of this rule.
Based on these rules, the goal should not have been allowed. However, according to former NHL referee Kerry Fraser, scoring with a broken stick is not subject to review if the referee didn’t see the goal scored with a broken stick.
Abdelkader scored winning goal in OT with a broken stick. Broke the shaft on Allen’s body swiping at the loose puck before deposit into net.
— Kerry Fraser (@kfraserthecall) March 22, 2015
So just like goalie interference, it’s another rule that is not subject to review and something the NHL probably will look at changing over the summer. Luckily for both teams, it didn’t come during a playoff game and could have been the difference between winning a series and starting the summer early.
Breaking out of a Funk
The Red Wings have been in a funk the past eight games, as they have scored more than two goals in just four of those eight games. They were hitting posts, they weren’t getting the bounces and anything that could go wrong did go wrong for them.
Wings needed that type of a win. Gritty, grinding, and not pretty in any way. That’s more like playoff hockey. Blues are a good team. 2pts
— Josh Howard (@JHowardDesign) March 22, 2015
Which is why Josh Howard is correct in stating the Red Wings needed an ugly win. Just like they needed a statement win against Pittsburgh after getting annihilated by Philadelphia, they needed an ugly, gritty win against a good team for a confidence boost.
The goals are not coming easy for Detroit right now, but with the lucky bounce of Erik Cole’s goal and Abdelkader’s goal not being waived off, things could be turning around for the Red Wings.
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Tom Mitsos is a writer from Michigan who covers the Red Wings and the Red Wings’ AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, for The Hockey Writers.