The Detroit Red Wings record book, which is one of the more illustrious in the NHL, has been rewritten. The previous club record of 14 consecutive home victories, set in 1965, was broken Monday night when the Wings topped the Buffalo Sabres 5-0.
The Red Wings’ 15th straight victory at Joe Louis arena was in dominating fashion, with the Wings scoring five times in the first 25 minutes. After the fifth goal beat Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller just 13 seconds after the fourth, the Olympian was pulled in favor of Jhonas Enroth. For Miller, it was one of his worst outings as a professional as he was able to stop only 9 of the 14 shots he faced.
To take some heat off of Miller, the Red Wings were tremendous and Buffalo’s defense had several mental lapses. To highlight both the Wings’ brilliance and the Sabre’s mistakes, take a
look at Todd Bertuzzi’s goal. The play started with a nifty steal by Pavel Datsyuk (or a defensive turnover from the Sabre’s perspective), who then turned and put the puck right on the stick of Bertuzzi. Bertuzzi had room in front of the net to do a spin-o-rama and beat Miller five hole.
Speaking of Datsyuk, the future Hall of Famer had yet another outstanding game, highlighted by three assists. Pavel had numerous steals as well, and has been the best player in the league since Penguins star Sidney Crosby was sidelined yet again.
After establishing a 5-0 lead early in the second, goaltender Jimmy Howard took over, stopping all 22 shots he faced for his 10th career shutout. The shutout was Howard’s fifth of the season, putting him just one behind Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick for the league lead.
The Red Wings are certainly playing good hockey right now, but unfortunately for them, so is the entire Central division. Along with the Wings, Chicago, Nashville, and St. Louis all won their last contests. The Wings trail both Chicago and St. Louis by a single point for the division lead, with the Predators lurking just three points back.
Pavel Datsyuk’s three points moved him up to T-4th in the NHL (49)
Datsyuk’s third assist (to Bertuzzi) was the 700th point of his career
Ryan Miller’s younger brother Drew tallied an assist for the Wings, his 15th point of the year
Zetterberg, Franzen, Lidstrom, Helm and Bertuzzi were the Detroit goal-scorers
What to watch for
After a big win at home, the Wings now go on the road to the Southwest. The game tonight in Dallas will be the Wings’ seventh game in eleven days- look to see if they can keep their energy level high.
Tuesday at Dallas (8:30, FSD)
Thursday at Phoenix (9:00, FSD)
Saturday vs Columbus (7:00, FSD+)