Yes the Wings have struggled. Yes, their incredible playoff streak is in serious jeopardy. Having Datsyuk would have really helped. Rookie goaltender now getting unexpected starts (Howard injury). Potential to be a long year.
But just when you think there's nothing to cheer about, they beat Pittsburgh, Montreal and Boston in order! LET'S GO RED WINGS!!
***I was cooking/eating a pizza during the 2nd, so my attention to detail was not as high***
(Patrick Barron) This does not mean what you think it means
FIRST: Michigan actually generated a little bit of offense in the first period. They had 15 attempts at the net! Cooper Marody dangled into the crease, but was harassed from behind and couldn't flip the puck into the open net. They also tied Minnesota in total shots at 7. However, aside from Marody's adventure, nothing was from a particularly dangerous position.
SECOND: Ummmmmm, NOPE. 7 attempts. 3 shots.
- THIRD: Michigan scored 2 goals in the 3rd! The first career goal by Stevel Merl was just thrown at the net from the sideboards (and I bet Schierhorn wishes he had that one back). The second was a shot from the point by De Jong that Evan Allen redirected past Schierhorn. That was the correct play by De Jong and great hand-eye coordination from Allen. Great goal. Piazza also rang the post, later, almost tying the game. I was unable to get a shot chart from the 3rd, so I cannot give data on location and corsi number.
FIRST: Feelingsball says that Minnesota didn't look very sharp at all in the first period. They threatened a little early and then again late, but nothing very consistent. Michigan's defense allowed 3 attempts from inside the dots, but the remaining 10 came from a distance. That's a nice improvement, so far. Michigan did have a couple of bad DZTOs and had a couple instances where they struggled to exit the zone. However, sign me up for more of these periods, instead of some of the other periods I've seen, lately.
SECOND: Well, back to the usual. Shots from everywhere! They allowed 18 attempts on net and 11 of them were shots. That's not the worst I've seen this year, but it makes sense given how the period played out. Michigan has had poor 2nd periods lately (sorta a hottaek but not really). They've just struggled to clear and control the puck. The goal was called a goal on the ice and it stood. If it wasn't called a goal, I'm not certain it would have been called a goal.
- THIRD: The defense didn't surrender a goal in the third, except for the EN at the end. I was unable to get a shot chart from the 3rd, so I cannot give data on location and corsi number. I will chart the 3rd myself, tomorrow, for the season stats but that doesn't help this recap.
FIRST: Until just under a minute to go, there were no special teams in play. Unfortunately, after an unimpressive beginning to the PP, Vinni Lettieri throws a seemingly harmless shot at the net, just inside the blue line and it gets past Lavigne. It seemed that potentially Piazza screened him, and if he did, that just sucks. If not, it was a very soft goal.
SECOND: No Power Plays for M. They will start the third on one after Minnesota gets the extra penalty in the scrum after the 2nd. Michigan took 2 more penalties but they were successful in killing them off. Lavigne made a terrific save during the 2nd penalty. Minn: 1/3 M: n/a
- THIRD: Michigan draws 4 penalties, including the man advantage awarded after the end of the 2nd period. They did create a few dangerous opportunities and even hit the post. Score, they did not, however. While on their 1st PP, the Wolverines surrendured a breakaway in which a penalty shot was called and converted. Michigan took 2 more penalties in the 3rd and killed off both of them. Warren drew a shorthanded penalty shot and ultimately missed it. In the end, it would up being the difference. Not a great night on special teams.
FIRST: Hayden Lavigne started in net, tonight, and looked very sharp early on. Minnesota got a few chances but ended up getting very few on frame. Still Lavigne looked in decent position and made the correct situational plays. The goal was either dumb luck or stupidly silly...depending on if he saw it. My initial thought was Piazza screened him, but its tough to actually tell. If he was screened, oh well. It happens and just another great period from a Michigan goaltender. If he saw the puck, that one would be pretty bad.
SECOND: A great period for Lavigne, including a great PP save from the slot on a one-timer. The goal came through traffic and got tucked in the top corner. It was a laser. I don't think he saw that one and I doubt he would have had the time to react to it. Great shot. Outside of that, he's kept Michigan in striking distance.
- THIRD: Lavigne had a solid 3rd period, as well. The goal was a penalty shot. Other than that, he gave Michigan a chance in a game that they were severly outplayed. Minnesota didn't seem as sharp as last night, but they still created more than Michigan did and Lavigne made a solid case for why he should be in net. Saved 25/28 shots.
ODD MAN RUSHES
FIRST: Minnesota had a 2v1 that their pass got deflected. Other than that, nothing.
SECOND: Distracted by some pizza, but I did not catch any.
- THIRD: Minnesota had a breakaway in which Lettieri was pulled down during an M PP and awarded a penalty shot. He then scored on said penalty shot.
- OMRs not a major concern tonight. Obviously, the breakway on a PP is not good. But looking at the game overall, there are bigger concerns.
FINAL CORSI SCORE
I had (through 2 periods): Minnesota 31, Michigan 22
www.collegehockeynews.com had: Minnesota 49, Michigan 32
(Patrick Barron) This is a great photo!
FIRST: The goal was very nice. Allen rushed the puck in behind the net, Winborg continued it on and found a cutting Shuart in the slot with a one-timer. Shuart also out-raced a Gopher Dman to create a breakaway but could not convert. Sanchez also got in alone after a terrible Gopher turnover, but he missed the net, as well. Other than that...there was very, very little. Three fantastic looks and not much else.
SECOND: At one point, M was being outshot 10-1 in the period. About halfway through the period, Marody put in a great shift and got a couple of attempts and drew a penalty. That was about it for the 5v5 offense. They were killing some penalties, but these forwards are generally looking overmatched, regardless of which line is on the ice. They had a period corsi score of 5.
- THIRD: Michigan had trouble touching and controlling the puck all night long. Penalties didn't help that, but even 5v5 was not that much of a better scenario. Michigan tallied 6 attempts on net in even strength play. That is quite poor.
FIRST: I'm honestly not even going to wait for the shot chart for this. The defense was not good. Surprise! The last 2 goals came from unchecked attackers in the slot or in the crease (ugh, how??). Those are the most critial places to mark someone, I would guess. Also, on the first goal, Lohan just got whipped. Pitlick just went right by him. Not to mention the usual inability to clear the puck, exit the zone, etc.
SECOND: Once again, not great. Minnesota registered 17 5v5 attempts. The goal should again be tallied to the defense. Three guys surrounded the goal scorer but didn't exactly harass him. Also, obligatory defensive zone turnovers, failed clears, and the like. Ben Clymer described it as "Michigan's defensemen watching each other watch the puck." YUP.
- THIRD: The third period was much like the previous couple. M takes a couple bad penalties because they can't get the puck out of their own zone and are now tired from chasing pretty much the entire game. They also give up some great scoring chances that Nagelvoort managed to paper over. Minnesota registered 12 more attempts on net, totaling 52. That's not the worst number they have given up, but after the PP goal made it 5-2, the Gophers played a little safer.
- FIRST: Michigan did not draw a penalty. They did go to the box once and managed to negate the Minnesota PP. The Gophers did look very dangerous and got multiple good looks. Nagelvoort bailed Michgan out more than once on the one PK. Minn: 0/1 M: n/a
SECOND: Michigan finally drew their first PP thanks to the best M shift of the night, so far, from Cooper Marody. Kile had a snipe goal stolen by Schierhorn that would've tied the game. Calderone also had a very good look. The Wolverines couldn't capitalize, but looked good and created a few chances. Unfortunately, they also took 3 penalties, but miraculously did not cede a goal, yet. Minnesota missed quite a few great looks and Nagelvoort swept away a few more. Seems like its only a matter of time if M keeps up the parade to the box. Brendan Warren DID however score the easiest goal of all time as a Gopher Dman coughed up the puck LITERALLY in his own crease. So, yay gift shorties! Minn: 0/4 M: 0/1
- THIRD: Michigan drew a penalty late in the third and created a few more great looks but did not score. The game was also effectively over at that point, anyway. They did, however take 2 more penalties, including a 5 min major that got De Jong ejected and a triping during that 5 mins PP. Not surprisingly, Minnesota picked a corner around a screened Nagelvoort and finally got a ST tally. Some of these penalties were just loose play, others were the result of bad positoning. They do find a way to kill most of these penalties, but top notch goaltending and bad shooting luck are large contributors, it appears. Minn: 1/6 M: 0/2
FIRST: Well, 3 goals isn't good. He did manage to keep Minnesota off the board for the first half of the period, despite Minnesota getting great look after great look. The first goal seemed to be short-side, despite Lohan just getting toasted. The last 2 goals came on a tip from an unmarked attcker in the slot and an unmarked attacker in the crease. I can't put either of those on him. The weird thing is that I spent a large part of the first period thinking about how great Nagelvoort's position was and how many saves he made just to keep Michigan level in this game. Regardless, other than the first short-side goal, I can't ask for much more.
SECOND: I thought Nagelvoort had another solid period. The first half of the period was definitely tilted towards him and he made more fine saves. I can't put the goal on him as Sheehy was surrounded by Dmen next to the crease (but none of them were actually checking him) and he batted the puck out of the air past Zach. Not a great position to be in. If he makes that save, it would be an SC Top10.
- THIRD: Zach looked very good, again, in the third. He made countless saves on the penalty kill, including a few flat-out steals. The 5th goal came on a 5v3 that he could not see and hit a top corner. That's just a great shot. He was under siege all night and honestly did his part. With the amount of time M spent in the attacking zone (not much) and lack of tight defense Minnesota attacker faced, I'm not sure what else a goalie can be asked to do. He faced 45 shots. All 3 M goalies have .900+ save %s.
ODD MAN RUSHES
FIRST: I am watching on TV at home, but I did not see any. A couple that were close to 3v2s, but nothing that gave a decided advantage.
SECOND: I still didn't find any Minn OMRs.
- THIRD: There was one 3v2 rush for Minnesota. They got a shot but nothing too threatening. OMRs held in check, tonight.
FINAL CORSI SCORE
I had: Minnesota 52, Michigan 25
www.collegehockeynews.com had: Minnesota 52, Michigan 32
The state of the Michigan Hockey program is perhaps well symbolized by the complete silence regarding this weekend's, uh, key series at Minnesota.
The board, on the front page and on the threads, hasn't mentioned the team at all. You'd be forgiven for not knowing that they were playing.
My twitter feed, which usually includes two or three guys that will actively tweet about the game plus a few others who may occasionally tweet about it, has been dead silence except for the official, bot-like Michigan Hockey feed itself.
The team is losing 3-1 after one period, being outshot (again) 17-9, and any lingering feelings of disappointment that I didn't make the trip down this year are gently wafting away.
One might be tempted to say this is a "key series" because Michigan can set itself up for a strong second half and a postseason push of some kind. It is, in fact, no such thing. Michigan's a game below .500 and it will take a miracle to stay anywhere close to that.
Discuss. Or, like the rest of the Michigan fanbase, forget to Discuss.
Brian is sick. Every other post is about Najee Harris. There is not much to read about or watch on MGoBlog. So I give you this, highlights from an amazing final between the US and Canada in the World Junior Hockey Finals. An incredible game and finish.