We’ve seen far too many games like tonight’s loss to the Maple Leafs from the Red Wings in the past. Give up a big lead early, dominate from there on out to make it close, end up coming up short.
Yeah, in this case they actually completed the rally, only to allow the GWG, but it was the early deficit that did them in.
And, aside from the Phil Kessel penalty shot goal (which I’ll get to shortly), the Wings earned that deficit.
The second Toronto goal was the direct result of a bad clearing attempt by Danny Cleary. He put that right on Dion Phaneuf’s stick. Jimmy Howard didn’t look good facing the shot, either, like he didn’t expect it and moved to make the save too late.
David Steckel’s goal scored on an odd-man rush… I feel like Henrik Zetterberg should have been able to get back there. I won’t call it lazy but he sure didn’t seem quick coming back.
The Joffrey Lupul goal that ended up being the game-winner was awful all around. Lupul never should have gotten the puck as it was a terrible turnover, then Howard completely overplayed it. Howard went down way early, no one was there to clear Lupul away, he had all day to hit the top of the net.
And the penalty shot. For the second time in four games, Jimmy Howard had to face a penalty shot for an infraction so weak that the rest of the times it happened all game it wasn’t called. That’s the part that bothers me, that it got called once early against Detroit and then wasn’t called again. Convenient for Toronto, for sure.
The Wings did show some great effort in their comeback, at least.
Bertuzzi’s goal may have been a high stick, I don’t think there was conclusive video and the NHL’s War Room must have agreed. It was good to see him get to the net on the play.
Niklas Kronwall driving to the net looked like Johan Franzen. I don’t want the defensemen to have to do it, I’d rather see Franzen do it. That said, I liked the result.
I love plays like Jiri Hudler’s goal, where Huds stuck with the puck and knocked in a rebound from in close.
So on one hand you have the Maple Leafs gifted a penalty shot that they scored on and then they go on to win by one. On another hand, the Red Wings had two horrible giveaways that were followed by weak goaltending. On a third hand, Detroit mounted a strong comeback and seemingly deserved something for their efforts.
In short, there are a lot of reasons for the Wings to be unhappy with tonight’s loss, plenty of blame to go around.