February 19, 2009
The quarterback always gets too much credit, all the girls and the big endorsement deals, so maybe we should dig into the muck and let a working man accept this honor on behalf of the Red Wings' power play. The Mule did have two goals and an assist himself Wednesday night, after all. But no, we're going with the man on the point, even if Lidstrom did have the nerve to score an even-strength goal on a night Detroit beat Nashville netminder Dan Ellis five times in man-advantage situations. It was the Red Wings' most prolific man-up output since December of 2006 when they victimized the Leafs five times. The prettiest goal of the night came on a one-timer by Lidstrom off a pinpoint cross-ice pass from Pavel Datsyuk. Ellis simply didn't have a chance Wednesday, on more than one occasion. Lidstrom finished with two goals, an assist and four shots in a very modest (by his standards) 21:12 of ice time in the 6-2 win.
If the Blue Jackets are going to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, they'll need more wins like Wednesday's, a 4-3 victory over fellow Western Conference hopeful St. Louis. Nash chipped in with a goal and an assist and shared team-high shot honors with four as Columbus climbed six games over .500 for the first time in team history. One milestone at a time, boys. The Jackets' next win will be Ken Hitchcock's 500th.
Nashville desperately needed a counterattack Wednesday, so maybe Sullivan, owner of 20 career shorthanded goals, should have played more than six seconds on the penalty kill. Oh well, one step at a time in this comeback, and Sullivan did make major strides in the 6-2 loss with his first goal since Feb. 22, 2007. His shot from the point deflected off a couple of Detroit sticks for a power-play goal, and he later pitched one home on a rebound for his second of the night. The Preds need his offense in the worst way.
Honorable mention: Oh, Alexander Ovechkin did this on Wednesday:
Dishonorable mention: Chris Mason was pulled after two periods in the Battle of Masons in Ohio. ... The Rangers won, but needed an empty-net goal to avoid scoring two or fewer for the ninth time in 10 games. ... Montreal went 0-for-2 in the shootout without Alexei Kovalev, one of the best Canadiens in that department.