Game 38: Red Wings-Toronto Enotes

Play 1221 as your four-digit.

The Red Wings won a shootout tonight. Beware; this may be one of the signs of the apocalypse.

In a thrilling game between two Original Sixers, the Red Wings forged a lead, blew it, fell behind, came back to tie it, then went 2-for-2 in the shootout, beating the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-4 at the Air Canada Centre.

Daniel Alfredsson and Pavel Datsyuk scored in the shootout, while Jonas Gustavsson, who had an uneven night, denied the Leafs twice.

Datsyuk scored in regulation, and he was joined by a cast of young supporting players. Joakim Andersson, Tomas Jurco and Tomas Tatar all scored goals for Detroit.

The Red Wings led, 3-1, after 20 minutes but a bad second period enabled the Leafs to tie the game, 3-3.

Toronto went ahead in the third period when a good, old-fashioned net crashing shoved the puck by Gustavsson. David Clarkson was given credit for the goal at 8:32.

Tatar banged in a rebound of a Jurco shot from the point to tie the game, 4-4, at 13:44.

The Red Wings (17-12-9) got a much needed extra point from Toronto (18-16-4), who is behind Detroit in the Atlantic Division.

But more importantly, the Red Wings ended their shootout drought, which had extended to 12 attempts. You could tell that a huge weight was lifted from their shoulders as they all gathered around Datsyuk to celebrate his shootout winner. Lots of smiles.

BOX SCORE

BOTTOM LINE: An exciting, up-and-down hockey game. A little bit of everything. Nice to know these teams still have three more meetings—the next of which is the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.

THE WINGED WHEELER SAYS: The Red Wings got tons of energy from the kids: Tatar, Jurco and Riley Sheahan were all terrific all night. They pressured the Leafs’ defense and generated countless scoring chances. It was an exciting glimpse into the future.

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Game 37: Red Wings-Calgary Enotes

Well, what do you know. It isn’t only the visiting team who can win a game at Joe Louis Arena.

Daniel Alfredsson, who narrowly missed a goal in the second period that was overruled by video review, scored his second goal of the game 1:03 into overtime on the power play, and the Red Wings got a much-needed win, 3-2 over the Calgary Flames.

Alfredsson and the JLA crowd thought he had given Detroit a 3-1 lead when he poked a puck at Flames goalie Karri Ramo about 12 minutes into the second period. The puck fluttered off Ramo and referee Dean Morton (a former Red Wings player) ruled on the ice that the puck crossed the goal line. But video review confirmed that the puck didn’t, and the goal was taken off the board.

A few minutes later, three Red Wings were sent to the penalty box in succession in under two minutes, and the Flames took advantage of all the power play time when Mark Giordano wristed a shot over the shoulder of Jonas Gustavsson to tie the game, 2-2.

The Red Wings struck first early in a game they absolutely had to win. Alfredsson got the tally at 26 seconds.

Mikael Backlund scored at 5:11 to tie the game.

Joakim Andersson got credit for the Red Wings’ second goal as his skate deflected Alfredsson’s point shot over Ramo’s shoulder at 11:38 of the second period.

The Red Wings started the overtime on the power play, thanks to a hooking penalty to T. J. Brodie at 19:18 of the third period.

The Red Wings (16-12-9) outshot the Flames, 38-22.

Detroit snapped a six-game winless streak and improved to 6-9-6 at home.

BOX SCORE

BOTTOM LINE: A win is a win. It wasn’t pretty, but it’s two points.

THE WINGED WHEELER SAYS: Plop, plop, fizz, fizz. FSD’s Mickey Redmond was right. As the teams skated off the ice after the second period, Redmond astutely pointed out that the Red Wings were about to play the most important third period of the season. “They have to win this game,” Redmond said. They did, and now let’s see what this does for the Red Wings’ confidence, because it was looking like a game of bad puck luck for long stretches, especially with Detroit dominating the SOG clock.

 

Game 36: Red Wings-Anaheim Enotes

For 25 seconds, the Red Wings had their fans feeling like this could be the night when the home ice disadvantage was no more.

They were some glorious 25 seconds.

Unfortunately, the other 59:35 didn’t go so well.

Tomas Jurco scored his first NHL goal in his second NHL game at the 3:15 mark of the first period, and the Red Wings had a 1-0 lead over the Anaheim (they really are Mighty this year) Ducks.

That lead held for all of 25 seconds.

With Joe Louis Arena still buzzing over Jurco’s goal, in which he took a neatly lilted pass from Drew Miller behind the Anaheim defense, deked, and then slipped the puck beneath Jonas Hiller’s pads, the Ducks tied the game.

A shot from the blue line was partially blocked by Dan Cleary, but the puck caromed hard off the back boards and onto the stick of Jakob Silfverberg, who swatted the puck past Jonas Gustavsson. Just like that, the game was tied, 1-1.

Less than two minutes later, the Ducks went ahead when Nick Bonino took a smart pass from Daniel Winnik and beat Gustavsson from the low slot for a 2-1 Anaheim lead.

At 18:17, Corey Perry scored his 22nd goal of the season when he skated to the face-off circle and beat Gustavsson cleanly to the stick side. That goal ended Gustavsson’s night.

Petr Mrazek came in and with one second to go in the period, Sami Vatanen blasted a shot from the top of the circle off a drop pass and beat Mrazek cleanly, if also embarrassingly.

4-1 Ducks after 20 minutes.

The rest of the game was another shell shocked performance by the injury-depleted Red Wings (15-12-9), who lost to Anaheim, 5-2.

BOX SCORE

BOTTOM LINE: The Ducks seemed peeved about Jurco’s goal and never looked back after tying the game so quickly.

THE WINGED WHEELER SAYS: The lack of confidence grows each night as the Red Wings fell to 0-4-2 in their past six games and 5-9-6 at home for the season. The first period left everyone from the Red Wings to the souvenir vendors stunned. This is a team whose only playoff hope is to tread water until their many injured regulars return. And right now the Red Wings are sinking instead.

Game 33: Red Wings-Tampa Bay Enotes

The Red Wings lost another game in shootout fashion. That’s not news anymore.

But tonight in Tampa, the Red Wings executed the shootout as if they had a train to catch.

Confidence is nil in the shootout, and it showed tonight, as six Red Wings took six uninspired shots at Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, and it ended in a 2-1 loss when Martin St. Louis finally scored on Tampa’s sixth try on Jonas Gustavsson. Actually, it was five uninspired Red Wings shots. Todd Bertuzzi didn’t even get a shot off on his attempt.

Kyle Quincey scored the Red Wings’ lone goal at 15:04 of the first period.

The Red Wings have now lost 11 straight shootouts. Ridiculous.

Nikita Kucherov tied the game with just 44 seconds left in the second period.

Detroit (15-9-9) leaves Florida with two out of four points after losing two shootouts to the Panthers and Lightning. The bad news is, the Red Wings come home for a stretch. Home , Crap Home.

BOX SCORE

BOTTOM LINE: Gustavsson did his best to give the Red Wings a chance to win, but Tampa’s Bishop was a tad better.

THE WINGED WHEELER SAYS: The Red Wings didn’t play a bad game whatsoever. They were pretty tight defensively and didn’t leave Gustavsson hung out to dry for the most part. Bishop was terrific for Tampa. The special teams weren’t so special for either side, unless you’re a fan of the PK. Both teams went 0-for-4 on the power play. The Pittsburgh Penguins invade JLA on Saturday. This is a great time for the Red Wings to make a statement at home.

 

 

Game 32: Red Wings-Florida Enotes

The Florida heat melted the Red Wings’ two-goal lead in the third period, and so the result was a bitter 3-2 shootout loss to the Panthers in Miami.

The Red Wings’ shootout woes continued, as Brad Boyes neatly fired a snap shot through Jimmy Howard’s legs for the game-winner on Florida’s last try before the shootout would have gone into OT.

Pavel Datsyuk returned from a seven-game absence due to concussion-like symptoms, and scored a pretty goal, re-directing a Jonathan Ericsson pass from the point past Tim Thomas to give Detroit a 2-0 lead in the second period.

Todd Bertuzzi scored a power play goal 10:26 into the first period.

The Panthers got on the board in the third period when Sean Bergenheim deflected a lazy shot from the point by Dmitry Kulikov and the puck trickled past Howard at 5:00. The tying goal came at 14:38, when Nick Bjugstad fought off Datsyuk in the corner, emerged with the puck, switched to his forehand, and popped the puck over Howard’s right shoulder.

FSD’s Darren Eliot pointed out after the game that Howard didn’t respect Bjugstad’s chances of going upstairs, and thus over-committed down low, leaving a gap short side, high.

“We had energy,” coach Mike Babcock told John Keating after the game. “But they just came after us and we didn’t execute coming out of our zone and they scored twice.”

Babcock used Daniel Alfredsson, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist in the shootout, eschewing veteran shootout guys Datsyuk and Bertuzzi.

Tatar was the only one of the three who scored, slipping a forehand shot through Thomas’s legs.

When asked why he didn’t use Datsyuk or Bertuzzi in the shootout, Babcock was very frank.

“Those guys are 0-for. They haven’t scored. So you either try the same thing, or try something else.”

BOX SCORE

BOTTOM LINE: Too many third period leads have vanished this season.

THE WINGED WHEELER SAYS: The Red Wings only managed one point out of four possible against one of the worst teams in the NHL. The shootout woes are annoying. It’s a combination of a lack of clutch saves and too much dipsy-do by the shooters.

Game 31: Red Wings-Florida Enotes

It’s supposed to be hard for the other team to win in Detroit, not for the Red Wings.

Playing the second of back-to-back games, the Red Wings didn’t get a bounce, didn’t get a break and didn’t get a win, losing to the Florida Panthers—yes, the Florida Panthers—2-1 at JLA, to fall to 5-6-6 at home.

The puck and ice didn’t cooperate and the Red Wings, one night after stifling the New Jersey Devils (11 SOG), let the Panthers loose for 37 shots on Jonas Gustavsson, who suffered his first loss of the season.

Frankly, the Red Wings were lucky to be in the game, as once again Gustavsson stood tall in net. A horrid second period (Florida outshot Detroit 17-5) highlighted the effects of the back-to-back for the Red Wings.

It was also a game where the Red Wings (15-9-7) really felt the loss of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, particularly on the power play, which looked disjointed and out of sync all night, especially late in the third period.

In New Jersey on Friday, the Datsyuk and Zetterberg of the future, Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, were the best players on the ice. Tonight, the youngsters tried, but nothing clicked, even when lined up with veteran Johan Franzen, forming a trio that was strong against the Devils but out of sorts against the Panthers.

Red Wings passes were a tad off all night, and there seemed to be a lack of communication on the ice throughout the game, often resulting in turnovers.

A bright spot was Daniel Cleary scoring for the Red Wings, snapping a personal goal-less streak that extended to October. Cleary’s goal came off a juicy rebound at the 4:06 mark of the first period.

Three minutes into the second period, Jimmy Hayes scored a strange goal to tie the game. Gustavsson appeared to have the puck trapped under his right pad, but the whistle never blew and Hayes jammed the rubber disc past the goal line.

If not for Gustavsson’s play in the second period, the Panthers would have been in control after 40 minutes. As it was, the game was tied 1-1.

But the Panthers’ second-year man Jonathan Huberdeau scored his seventh goal 3:29 into the third period, as he broke loose in front of Gustavsson, deked, and flipped a backhand past the Detroit goalie.

The slim lead held up, as the Red Wings just couldn’t get anything going. They were outshot by Florida, 37-23.

BOX SCORE

BOTTOM LINE: This game proved that you can do without your big guns for a night or two, but more often than not, you will miss them badly.

THE WINGED WHEELER SAYS: The Red Wings are 10-3-1 on the road but can’t buy a win at home. Tonight could be mildly excused because of being shorthanded and playing two games in two nights, but the Panthers are awful on the road and the Red Wings let Florida have their way in the second period. This was definitely a game the Red Wings should have won, but deserved to lose—if that makes any sense.

Game 30: Red Wings-New Jersey Enotes

Someday, in the not-too-distant future, the Red Wings will be leaning on players named Tatar, Nyquist and Andersson on a regular basis. They will do for this franchise what guys like Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Franzen are doing today.

Someday, the smooth hands of Gustav Nyquist and the nose for the net of Tomas Tatar will combine consistently and whoever gets to play with them as the third wheel will reap the benefits.

Tonight, with Z, Dats and Darren Helm out with injuries, Nyquist and Tatar were the best players on the ice.

The Red Wings beat the New Jersey Devils, 3-1, for their 10th road win of the year. Tatar, Johan Franzen and Andersson scored for Detroit (15-8-7). Franzen’s goal was the result of a wicked through-the-crease pass from Nyquist.

But it wasn’t just the points that the kids put up. It was their tenacity, their hard play in the offensive zone, and the general nuisance they made of themselves against the Devils.

Jonas Gustavsson remained undefeated in goal this season, stopping 10 of 11 Devils shots.

That’s right—the Red Wings only allowed 11 shots, total, on the road.

Tatar, who has 6 goals and 7 assists, seems to be getting better every game. And his knack for finding the puck in goal-scoring lanes is uncanny. Or maybe the puck is finding him. Regardless, it’s working.

“To be honest, I feel really good on the ice,” Tatar told FSD’s Trevor Thompson after the game. Tatar had a goal and an assist.

Franzen, on another one of his hot streaks, told Thompson that “the kids” (Tatar and Nyquist, with whom The Mule played tonight) bring energy to the team and the older guys feed off that.

Coach Mike Babcock said, “In this league you have to skate. We aren’t as quick as we’d like to be as a team, but those kids skate and play hard.”

Tatar was magnificent defensively and tenacious on the forecheck all night.

As for the undefeated Gustavsson, the puck keeps hitting him. And the Red Wings keep winning when Gus is in net.

The Red Wings did get Todd Bertuzzi back in the lineup after he missed seven games with an upper body injury.

Maybe the Red Wings ought to start wearing their white jerseys at home for awhile, until they start winning consistently at Joe Louis Arena again.

BOX SCORE

BOTTOM LINE: The Red Wings beat the Devils at their own game, clogging up the middle all night.

THE WINGED WHEELER SAYS: It’s exciting to see young guys like Tatar, Nyquist and Andersson seize the opportunity being presented to them now, with the big guns out of the lineup. Confidence is high for these guys right now. Babcock agreed with Franzen’s assessment of the energy factor that trio of players brings to the party.