Datsyuk dances with Corey Perry (AP)
There isn’t much that Pavel Datsyuk can not do. A seasoned veteran and four-time Lady Byng Award recipient, Dats has been a model of consistency for the Detroit Red Wings since the lockout. Our second straight Comrade of the Night from Yekaterinburg, Datsyuk’s skills were on full display in Detroit’s home opener against the Anaheim Ducks.
Five minutes into the 2nd period, he scored a trademarked Datsyuk goal – one that makes your jaw drop in amazement, “How did he just do that?” – to give the Red Wings a 3-0 lead. Detroit’s top unit was seemingly able to skate circles around the statue-esque Duck defenders as partner-in-crime Henrik Zetterberg took the puck at the blue line and passed it rather innocently down to Datsyuk, who was parked several feet to the left of Jonas Hiller. Instead of taking the pass, Datsyuk somehow calculated the exact perfect angle to redirect the puck through Hiller’s 5-hole, leaving everyone at JLA clueless.
Later in the period, he was at it again, this time showcasing his superb passing ability. He managed to send Dan Cleary in on a breakaway with a beautiful feed, and Cleary bulldozed the puck past the Swiss netminder. Typical Datsyuk.
However the completely unexpected came about halfway through the 3rd period. Datsyuk, who had a grand total of 102 penalty minutes since the lockout – decided it would be a good idea to drop the gloves with notorious agitator Corey Perry. The 6’3″ Perry, who racked up 111 PIM’s last season alone obliged without thinking twice. The two contested a spirited bout, with each player landing some decent shots before Datsyuk was able to drag Perry to the ice. Although Dats probably did not win the fight, it’s the effort that counts, especially from a man who had not recorded a major penalty in seven years.
Following suit with perhaps the greatest of all Red Wings, Datsyuk completed Gordie Howe’s hat trick in style.
- 1. Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings): 1 G, 1 A, 5 PIM vs. Anaheim
- 2. Ilya Kovalchuk (New Jersey Devils): 0 G, 2 A, 23:27 TOI vs. Dallas
- 3. Aleksey Kosourov (Metallurg Novokuznetsk): 1 G, 2 A, +3 vs. Amur Khabarovsk
- 1. Pavel Datsyuk, 3 points
- – Nikolai Khabibulin, 3 points
- 3. Ilya Kovalchuk, 2 points
- – Sergei Bobrovsky, 2 points
- 5. Anton Babchuk, 1 point