Pre-Game Skate: With a win tonight, the Red Wings will hit the 100-point mark for the eleventh year in a row. And here's the thing: when the 1992-93 season began, the Wings had had only two 100-point seasons ever and had not hit the century mark since 1951-52. In the 17 seasons since (not including the current one) Detroit has racked up at least 100 points 14 times. Of course, it's easier to get to 100 points today than it was in the '50s since teams played only 70 games a season back then (it's 82 now) and what used to be a tie good for one point can turn into a win worth two if you prevail in sudden death or in the shootout, neither of which used to exist. Still, ten straight 100-point seasons is not unimpressive. The Wings have twenty points more this season than their opponents from St. Louis (98-78) and have ten more wins than the Blues (44-34). Once again tonight, Pavel Datsyuk is not dressed. Detroit is a .750 team with him in their lineup, a .542 team without him. This runs to six the number of games he's missed since sustaining a lower body injury in Columbus a week ago Saturday night. Jimmy Howard, Detroit's number one goalie, is also a scratch tonight. He was injured in the game against Toronto here on Saturday night. It's the second game he's missed since sustaining the injury. We do not, in either case, know the extent of the injury since NHL teams are not required to tell us and, since they are not, they do not.
7:48pm: The Wings grab the lead at 5:51 on their 5th shot on Jaroslav Halak when Mike Modano is there in the slot to fire home the big rebound Halak gave up on a left circle slapper by Tomas Holmstrom. It's the 4th goal of the year for Modano, who missed 41 games--exactly half the season--due to a nasty gash in his hand he suffered last fall when that hand came into contact with a skate blade. He's fortunate to still be playing. He's fortunate to still have use of the hand. Detroit is 29-4-6 (.821) when they score first this season. St. Louis is 10-19-6 (.371) when they do not. FIRST PERIOD: DETEROIT 1, ST. LOUIS 0.
8:05pm: We are tied at one. Chris Stewart, one of only two Blues with at least 20 goals this season, tapped number 27over the Detroit goal line after the puck slid through the legs of Wings goalie Joey MacDonald who almost, but not quite, stopped a close-in shot by Patrik Berglund. The goal came at 14:06. And now, at 16:04, we await word on whether or not the Blues have gone into a 2-1 lead. At issue is whether or not the puck was kicked into the net. The ruling from the video review boys sitting in an office somewhere in Toronto is that it was not and so the ruling on the ice, that it was a goal, stands. Cam Janssen gets his first of the year. It never did touch his stick, going into the net off his left leg after MacDonald had made the initial save. FIRST PERIOD: DETROIT 1, ST. LOUIS 2.
8:16pm: We are tied 2-2 and as I write the words--before a Detroit goal by Todd Bertuzzi, his 16th, is even announced--we are untied as the Blues go back on top 3-2. The goals came :29 apart. Bertuzzi was standing in front of the St. Louis net when a shot by Johan Franzen hit him in the rump and caromed into the net off the post to Halak's right. At the other end, Chris Porter became the second Blue in this period to get his first goal of the season. MacDonald went down and Porter went high with a shot from the left wing circle. The period has just ended. Detroit allowed the Blues a whopping 19 shots on goal, getting 11 themselves. END OF THE FIRST PERIOD: DETROIT 2, ST. LOUIS 3.
8:41pm: It might be 4-2, St. Louis but we cannot be sure. The puck went into the Detroit net at 1:54 but it went in off the skate of Matt D'Agostini but was waved off right away. I thought it was a goal. So do the boys in Toronto. They have overruled the call on the ice and awarded the goal--#20 for D'Agostini. SECOND PERIOD: DETROIT 2, ST. LOUIS 4.
8:49PM: It's now 5-2 and MacDonald is done. St. Louis now has more goals in the period (2) than the Wings have shots (0). The latest goal came at 5:23 and it was BJ Crombeen who got it. The Wings are running around in their own end like I can't remember seeing them do for at least a couple of decades. I mean, when I was growing up until when I was well past 30, that's all the Wings did--run around in their own end. But not so much the last twenty years or so. But this has really been something here tonight. Thomas McCollum is in goal now for Detroit, he is 21 years old and he is making his NHL debut as we speak. MacDonald allowed 5 goals on 25 shots in 25:23 of playing time tonight. SECOND PERIOD: DETROIT 2, ST. LOUIS 5.
8:58pm: Poor McCollum doesn't even last five minutes before the light is on behind him. David Backes scores on the power play from the circle to the right of the Detroit goalie and, although there's still half a game to play, this one is over. This ties for the most goals the Wings have given up in a game this season--Vancouver had 6 on November 6 but that was over the course of a complete game. We've got thirty minutes left in the one. SECOND PERIOD DETROIT 2, ST. LOUIS 6.
9:10pm: The Wings came back from four down last Monday night here against Pittsburgh and got a point by getting the game to overtime but I'm not seeing it happening again tonight. The Wings came roaring back to within 3 on a power play goal by Henrik Zetterberg but now the Blues have scored two more off McCollum. The kids has seen six shots and three have gone in the net. Ouch, etc. We have 3:50 left in the period. It looks strange to see an "8" on the scoreboard on the visitors side. SECOND PERIOD: DETROIT 3, ST. LOUIS 8.
9:20pm: The Wings outshot the Blues 15-14 in the second period. But they were outscored by the Blues 5-1. Many are leaving early. I am thinking of joining them. The less said the better at this point. Except for this: it has been 25 years, dating to March, 1986, since Detroit allowed 8 goals in two periods. Remember I said that thing about not having seen Detroit run around in the own end like they have tonight for 20 years? I was only off by five. END OF SECOND PERIOD: DETROIT 3, ST. LOUIS 8.
9:36pm: This seriously and literally might be the saddest thing I've ever seen in hockey. Joey MacDonald has gone back in to play goal for the Red Wings at the start of the third period. McCollum gave up three goals on eight shots on goal in 14 and a half minutes. I hope the kid can rebound from his NHL debut. He was Detroit's #1 draft choice in 2008. This is the kind of thing that can ruin a player. THIRD PERIOD: DETROIT 3, ST. LOUIS 8.
9:55pm: Did I mention it's now 10-3? well, it is. And we still have about half a period of hockey left. I don't know what to say. Oh, wait. They just announced no goal as the whistle had blown before the puck went into the net. So it's NOT 10-3. Only 9-3. I feel silly about starting tonight's live-blog with that fascinating look at the Red Wings' 100-point seasons. THIRD PERIOD: DETROIT 3, ST. LOUIS 9. (I think we are going to sneak out of here now. See 'ya Sunday when Minnesota is here, k?)
10:07pm: Geesh. I JUST HAD to stay. Now it is 10-3. 9 different Blues have scored a goal tonight which if it is not a record ought to be. Under a minute left. The crowd, which booed the Wings of the ice at the end of the second period has, as expected, cheered the announcement that we are in the final minute of the period. shots on goal were close. 47-44, St. Louis. The final score was a different story. FINAL SCORE: DETROIT 3, ST. LOUIS 10.
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