Friday, February 8, 2013

Red Wings finally get some scoring depth

The Detroit Red Wings downed the St. Louis Blues Thursday night 5-1 and three of those five goals came from players who don't skate on the team's top two lines.

That's something the Red Wings hadn't been able to accomplish in their first nine games of this shortened season.

It was the Red Wings' determination to get to loose pucks and to keep the Blues defense on their heels that made the difference, and every line seemed to be on top of that game plan, ready to execute.

Thursday's game was by far the best performance this year from this Detroit squad. Previously, it hadn't been common to see the Wings force turnovers -- other than the masterful Pavel Datsyuk -- or even an icing from the opposition. It happened plentiful Thursday night.

The story of the game can be summed up in at least one specific play: Jordin Tootoo tipped a puck to Drew Miller who threw it toward the net where it was maneuvered in by Cory Emmerton. First, Tootoo got to a loose puck thanks to his steady hustle. Miller and Emmerton both were on their horses and up the ice quickly. All three players screamed into the zone, leaving the Blues defenders chasing, hoping a goal wouldn't be the outcome to this play which developed at center ice.

That's good hockey -- something yet to be seen from Detroit's grinders. 

On top of all this, rookie Petr Mrazek got a W in his NHL debut. The 20-year-old looked poised and confident all game, making almost no mistakes.

Lastly, the Detroit defense was quicker than in previous games. It helps when the forwards are all speeding up and down the ice, taking and keeping the pressure out of the Red Wings' zone. The best offense is always the best defense. Always.

The Blues didn't have much chances to get things going in the Detroit end.