Mrazek Leads Wings to 5-1 Win over Blues in Debut

Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek carried the Red Wings to a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night, allowing the fewest number of goals by a Red Wings rookie in his debut game since Kevin Hodson blanked the Chicago Blackhawks on January 6, 1996.

Mrazek stopped 26 St. Louis shots in the effort. He was only beaten when Alex Steen found Alex Pietrangelo wide open in the left faceoff circle on a Blues’ power play with 4:15 left in the second. Mrazek couldn’t get over to cover the open side of the net in time and Pietrangelo lifted a shot in to cut Detroit’s lead to 2-1.

The Red Wings had opened the scoring 5:14 into the game, when Daniel Cleary scored his first goal of the year by following up his own rebound and knocking the puck past Brian Elliot from the top of the crease. It was the first goal of the season by one of the Wings’ bottom six forwards.

Contributions from Detroit’s secondary scoring continued with 8:10 left in the period, as Jakub Kindl‘s shot from above the top of the right faceoff circle deflected off of St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk and past Elliot to make it 2-0.

After Pietrangelo’s goal, Cory Emmerton got the Red Wings back in control with 2:27 left in the second. Emmerton corralled the puck at the edge of the crease off a pass from Jordin Tootoo and shoveled it past Elliot.

Damien Brunner added one more goal before the end of the period to make it 4-1 with 56 seconds remaining. Henrik Zetterberg won a faceoff in the Blues’ zone back to Jonathan Ericsson, who’s shot from the point was blocked but knocked out to Brunner in the slot for a wrister in behind Elliot.

Valtteri Filppula rounded out the scoring with 6:25 left in the third and the teams skating four-on-four. The Blues couldn’t hold in a pass at the Detroit blue line and the puck came out to the neutral zone, where Filppula raced past Andy McDonald and Wade Redden to break in all alone on Elliot and flip a shot past him.

Elliot finished the night with 24 saves on 29 shots against.

Detroit failed to score on their lone power play chance of the night. They killed off two of three St. Louis power plays.

The Red Wings return to Joe Louis Arena on Saturday to host the Edmonton Oilers.

Kent Huskins and Patrick Eaves were healthy scratches for the Red Wings… Jonas Gustavsson, Darren Helm, Jan Mursak, Mikael Samuelsson, Carlo Colaiacovo, Brendan Smith and Joey MacDonald all remain out with injuries.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Blues – 2/7

I’m going to keep my postgame notes short so I can get on to the formal recap and get some sleep, I’ve got the feeling I’ll need to be up early to dig out in the morning.

Story of the game tonight is obviously Petr Mrazek‘s debut. As I wrote earlier, he’s the first Red Wings rookie goalie to debut with a shutout period of hockey since Joey MacDonald. That’s not entirely impressive as the only goalie between them was Tom McCollum. More impressive is the one goal against was the least amount of goals allowed by a Wings rookie goalie in his debut since Kevin Hodson blanked the Chicago Blackhawks in his first career game. The 35:45 shutout streak was also the longest in a debut since Hodson.

A quirky stat, as pointed out by the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff, is that Mrazek gave up a single goal in his debut in each of the three professional leagues he’s played in.

The other big story is the secondary scoring. Five goals, only two of which came from the top six forwards. Daniel Cleary gets off the schneid to open the scoring, Jakub Kindl gets one, and Cory Emmerton adds another. Damien Brunner and Valtteri Filppula represent the top two lines for a balanced attack.

Not to be forgotten, though… The Wings closed the game with a really solid penalty kill. The Blues were out of it by then but it was good to go out on a high note.

Solid overall game, emphasis on the overall. We’ll see if they can carry that going forward and if Mrazek will get another look in the back-to-backs this weekend.

MacDonald Last Wings’ Rookie Goalie to Debut with Shutout Period

At the end of the first period tonight, which saw Detroit rookie netminder Petr Mrazek hold the St. Louis Blues scoreless in his first NHL appearance, I asked Twitter when the last time that happened for the Wings was.

The last Red Wings rookie netminder to make an appearance was Tom McCollum, who was lit up for three goals in 14:37 against St. Louis on March 30, 2011.

Before that, though? Joey MacDonald made his NHL debut with Detroit in relief of Chris Osgood on October 19, 2006. He came in with 5:28 left in the first period after Osgood allowed three power play goals and didn’t allow his first goal against until 5:01 of the third, beginning his career with 30:29 of shutout hockey, including the entire second period.

Jimmy Howard was the last Wings’ rookie goalie to start his debut game with a shutout period, as his career began on November 28, 2005, with 27:39 of shutout hockey against the Los Angeles Kings.

The last Red Wings rookie goalie to have a longer shutout streak to start his NHL career than Mrazek, who’s streak ended at 35:45, was Kevin Hodson, who began his career on January 6, 1996, with a blanking of the Chicago Blackhawks.

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