The Anaheim Ducks managed to goon it up in the Red Wings home opener to the point that they goaded the four-time Lady Byng winner Pavel Datsyuk into a fighting major. The result boded well for the Wings, but you can't read too much into that. They looked sloppy at times and committed some bad turnovers. Jimmy Howard got a shutout as much by the luck of how the calls went as by his own talent. The Red Wings showed they can hang in with a "tough" team and are starting out okay, but not great.
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The story of this game was maturity versus immaturity. As the Wings are criticized as "old" once again, the maturity of their players prevented the kind of meltdown that the immaturity of the Ducks evidenced in spades. the Ducks got caught retaliating and thus began a parade to the penalty box that resulted in a pile of Red Wings power plays.
Another story line was related to officiating. Dan Cleary got the benefit of the war room review on his goal against Hiller, while the non-review of the puck sliding underneath Jimmy Howard saved his shutout as it was evident from Patrick Eaves clear-out that the puck was most likely behind the goal line. Hopefully that will be a confidence builder that will prevent a "sophomore jinx" for Howard.
The better test will be tonight against the Blackhawks when they hoist their Stanley Cup banner at their home opener. The Red Wings will have to tighten up their defense and Jimmy Howard will have to be on top of his game to grab the points tonight.
In the end, while it's difficult to get super excited about a win this early in the season, there's no way to over-estimate the value of those two points, especially when it comes to the season-ending playoff standings, which are always tight in the west, and they may wind up providing a valuable cushion in the event of potential injuries. Two more points tonight will help to build that cushion even more.
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