October 28, 2009
If the Red Wings cruise into April atop the Central Division, we may well look back at Tuesday's early hook of Chris Osgood(notes) as rock bottom, and the third-period comeback sparked by Datsyuk as the first step toward restoring normalcy. With Detroit trailing 3-2 early in the third, Datsyuk deked Christian Ehrhoff(notes) and beat Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo(notes) through a screen to tie it up. He'd score on a power play three minutes later and though the Canucks would briefly tie things on a 5-on-3, Datsyuk's three-point night resulted in a 5-4 victory for the Wings' first road win of the season. Speaking of firsts – and here's further evidence that nobody is immune from blame in Motown – the two goals snapped a 21-game goalless streak for Datsyuk that included last season's Stanley Cup playoffs.
A strong case can be made here for the usual suspects. Alex Ovechkin(notes) scored two goals, Alexander Semin(notes) netted the game-winner and had two helpers and Nicklas Backstrom(notes) snapped out of a scoring slump (one point in six) in style with a four-point night (goal, three assists), but we'll give the curtain call to Theodore, who spent the better part of the third period making degree-of-difficulty saves in a one-goal game. Theodore stopped 41 shots in all – 20 in the third period alone – including a Darroll Powe(notes) penalty shot with just over 13 minutes remaining. Caps coach Bruce Boudreau called Theodore's performance in the 4-2 victory perhaps his best as a member of the Caps.
As if their infirmary woes weren't enough to deal with, the Oilers now have a seven-period scoreless streak hanging around their necks, thanks to Anderson's 25-save effort Tuesday in Colorado's 3-0 win in Edmonton. Raise your hand if you predicted Anderson would set franchise records for wins in October (nine) and consecutive starts at the onset of a season (12) in his first year with Colorado. Double credit if you applied those predictions in your rotisserie drafts.
Honorable Mention: Boudreau reunited Washington's No. 1 line and Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin combined for nine points and was a plus-9. … Mike Richards(notes) picked up an assist in his 300th career game. … Avs forward Wojtek Wolski(notes) scored one of the prettiest goals of the night, then was awarded his seventh of the year when he was dragged down from behind in an empty-net situation. … Jimmy Howard(notes) was solid in relief of Osgood, allowing only two power-play goals on 22 shots. … Tomas Holmstrom's(notes) backside was a pain in Luongo's you-know-what all evening.
Did You Know?: Ovechkin now has 18 goals in 18 career games against the Flyers, his best goals-per-game pace against any team he's faced a minimum of 10 times.
Dishonorable Mention: Kimmo Timonen(notes) was a minus-3 in Washington and Semin's game-winner appeared to deflect off the Flyers defenseman. "Every time bad breaks happen," Timonen said, "I’m on the ice." … Osgood got a good look at the Ehrhoff shot that gave Vancouver a 2-0 lead. It would be the last he saw of the ice after just seven minutes.