Thursday, April 1, 2010

Big Bert Sinks Bluejackets

"I was just going to the net and got hit...there was hit the back of the skate and went in...ended up being a pretty big goal in the end." Forward Todd Bertuzzi

Well, it took some doing, but Todd Bertuzzi remembered what sport he was playing after having a goal disallowed for 'spiking' the puck into the net. His second attempt was a little more hockey-like, but still warranted a very lengthy review that surprisingly went the Wings way. To top it all off, Big Bert's goal happened to be the game winner as the Detroit Red Wings held off the Columbus Bluejackets for a 3-2 final score.

The win was Detroit's 41st of the season, and tentatively puts the Wings in 5th place in the West, barring a win from Nashville tonight. Let's take a look at the Geek's Winning Formula for tonight's game:

1.) Keep Nash Contained - Babs gave Franzen a mission tonight, and guys? Mission. Accomplished. Nash was an even zero for +/- tonight and had only a single shot all night long. Now for anyone who saw the game or watches the highlights will see that his one shot was a dangerous one. The Wings knew who to shut down, and shut him down they did.

2.) Stick to the Plan! - Tonight, Detroit came to play. Tonight, Detroit stuck to a plan, and tonight Detroit won a game in the normal fashion: Score some goals, play good hockey, and give up less than you took. Had the Wings imploded like they did on Tuesday, we would not be reveling in a 7th straight Red Wings victory. I'm glad that the Wings didn't have to 'run up the score', because Columbus played pretty well all around, we just played better.

3.) Poor Mason Work - To give credit, Mason wasn't horrible for the Bluejackets. That's why all the pressure, all the harrying and all the harassment Steve Mason took throughout the game was enough to slip a trio of tallies past the Columbus keeper. Mason took a slapper to the facemask that shook him a bit, and fell awkwardly making a save some time later, so Mason literally took his licks during this game, and it looked to me like an embodiment of the overall punishment Detroit dished out against the Jackets.

Well, let's step back and take a look at where we're at, shall we? Detroit now sits pretty in the West with 95 points. Where were we about a month ago? Well, to put it in perspective, we beat Minnesota 5-1 on March 11th, and that gave us our 76th point. That's right, we had 76 points after March 11th. In 21 days, we've accumulated 19 points. The Wings own the best record in the league since coming back from the Olympics: 13-2-1. See where I'm going with this? The Wings are going to the playoffs, my friends. The only lingering question is which spot we'll be in when they get here.

Now for some sound bytes: Most of the talk in the locker room was in regards to Jimmeh, and with good reason, look at the guy, for God's sake!! Howard was asked about the recent awards he received, to which he replied that it was, "Pretty's a good honor." Reporters then queried Howard about his gameplan tonight as opposed to the game against Edmonton. His response: "There's really no difference...give the guys a chance to win. That's how I play every night." Yes you do, Jimmy, and it's worked pretty well so far.

Coach Babcock also spoke briefly of the Wings' rookie goaltender as he summarized the game: "I thought we got better at handling the puck...put pressure on them...Howie made some big saves." Looking ahead, Mike stated, "We'd like to be in a position to go past them [Nashville]."

Next on the docket: ...Nashville! Yep, even if the Predators win tonight, the Wings get a crack at them in two days, and can force 5th place away from the Preds. If that's what it takes...

So till then, enjoy the 7-game win streak, Wingnuts!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!

P.S. Oh, and to clarify on the post title: A Bluejacket is actually a term for a British naval officer, in contrast to the dorky looking hornet Columbus has used in the past...which is a...YELLOW-jacket...jerseyfail??