Archive for March, 2011

Los Angeles at Detroit (3/9/11)

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

The Red Wings hosted the L.A. Kings tonight at Joe Louis Arena. The starting goalies were Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Quick. Rafalski was still out with back spasms and Kindl was taking his place in the lineup.

The Red Wings got off to a pretty good start in this game. They played hard in the first period and outshot the Kings by a wide margin. Early in the period the Wings were pressuring and Helm took a shot at the net. It looked like Quick had it but it slipped between his legs and trickled in. That gave the Red Wings the early lead.

In the second period the Kings started playing a lot harder. Penner shot one from the point that bounced in on net. Howard had to be sharp just to track it and knock it down. Unfortunately, the rebound dropped down next to him in front of the open net with Kopitar right on the doorstep. He banged it in to tie the game. Later in the second period the Kings were on the power play. Handzus swung his stick around hitting Lidstrom in the mouth and cutting him. Apparently, everybody missed it and no penalty was called. A few seconds later, during the same play, Martinez fired from the point. The puck changed direction a couple of times and was finally tipped in by Dustin Brown. That one was hard to take because it should have been a four minute double minor for the Kings and instead they got what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

The game was pretty even from that point on. The Kings played great defense and didn’t give the Wings any room. Detroit pulled the goalie at the end but they weren’t able to tie the game.

The real story of this game was Jonathan Quick. After the initial flub when Helm scored, he was red hot. He absolutely robbed the Red Wings on several occasions and had them shaking their heads in disbelief. On top of that the Kings’ defense was excellent.

This is the fourth game in a row without a win for the Red Wings. They have two losses and two overtime losses in that time. They’re going to have to turn this around quickly or they might find themselves in the thick of the battle for the playoffs instead of standing near the top watching the mayhem.

This 2-1 loss brings us to:
39-20-8
86 points

Detroit at Phoenix (3/5/11)

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

The final game of the Red Wings’ current road trip was tonight against the Coyotes in Phoenix. The goalies were Jimmy Howard and Ilya Bryzgalov. Draper was the healthy scratch for this game and Miller was in.

Detroit got the scoring started early in this one when Helm stole a puck and got it quickly to Miller. He stepped across the blue line and fired a long shot at Bryzgalov. Somehow he missed it when he tried to swat it away and it slipped past him and into the net. Later in the period Franzen scored a power play goal with a nice wrister that was set up by Lidstrom. Franzen’s shot was perfectly placed just over the shoulder of Bryzgalov’s glove hand. This was the first goal for Franzen since his five-goal burst 15 games ago so it’s good for him to get that out of the way.

Towards the end of the first period Turris scored for the Coyotes. I still can’t believe the goal was allowed. Howard was just outside the crease and tried to move towards the post to make the save. MacLean was in his way and prevented him from getting into position. The Phoenix broadcasters (which were all that were available on NHL Center Ice) said that MacLean had every right to that piece of ice. And I would have agreed with that until I saw the goal waved off in the previous game because Franzen was standing (outside the crease) and the referee decided that Niemi might have wanted to stand there. Franzen didn’t bump him; Niemi didn’t run into Franzen trying to get into position, Franzen was just standing there. This case was much worse. Howard tried to move and hit a brick wall preventing him from doing his job. What better describes goaltender interference? Clearly, this is a case of two referees with two different interpretations of the rule and that isn’t supposed to happen. I’ve never been more sour about a non-call. I would have been okay with it if much less of an infraction hadn’t been called on Detroit just the other night.

In the second period Filppula scored from behind the goal line by banking the puck in off of Bryzgalov’s shoulder. Then late in the period Phoenix was on a power play and Helm raced after a puck that was cleared deep into the Coyotes’ end. He was charging as hard as if he was trying to negate an icing and I think it confused the Phoenix players. Helm won the race, got the puck and took it to the front of the net where he ripped a wrister that beat Bryzgalov for a demoralizing, late-period, shorthanded goal. It was a great individual effort by Helm who just continues to impress me. You gotta love this guy! That made it four to one Wings at the end of the second.

Early in the third period Howard came out behind the net to play the puck around to Kindl. Kindl tapped it to Helm in front of the still empty net. The pass was a little tight in Helm’s feet and he missed it. Boedker was right there to grab it and put it in the empty net as Howard dove for it. That made it four to two in favor of Detroit. With a little over five minutes left in the game Whitney scored with a shot that he swept around Howard’s pads and into the net. That one was a bit of a soft goal, I thought. Then with about two minutes left Hanzal scored for the Coyotes after a bit of a scramble in front of Howard. Suddenly the game was tied. The Wings had given up three unanswered goals in the third period.

The tie held to the end of the game and throughout the overtime. In the shootout Bryzgalov stopped Datsyuk, Hudler and Bertuzzi for the Wings. Howard stopped Turris and Boedker, but unfortunately the second shooter, Vrbata, scored to give the Coyotes the unbelievable win.

This was a two point gift from the Red Wings to the Coyotes. It was a terrible collapse in the third period and in fact, although they scored a lot of goals, they didn’t play particularly well. The Coyotes outshot the Wings in every period of the game. It was kind of misleading because the score made it look like the Wings were dominating but they weren’t and they were also taking a lot of penalties. The Wings were lucky to get one point out of this game but I can’t help but wonder how different the game would have been if the Coyotes’ first goal would have been disallowed.

This 4-5 overtime loss brings us to:
39-19-8
86 points

Detroit at San Jose (3/3/11)

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

The Red Wings and the Sharks played tonight in San Jose. Joey MacDonald got the start tonight for Detroit and the Sharks went with Antti Niemi. Draper was in the lineup tonight and Miller was a healthy scratch. Rafalski was still out with back spasms so he went back to Detroit and Kindl continued filling in for him.

Dany Heatley started the scoring early in the first period when he banged in the rebound after a shot by Ian White. Later in the first it looked like Detroit had tied the game but the goal was waved off because of goalie interference by Franzen. On the replay it was clear that there was no contact. The only possible justification is that Franzen was standing in front of Niemi and so he couldn’t come out of the crease as far as he wanted to. It was a pretty weak call. Near the end of the period though, Holmstrom scored to tie it up for the Wings. Modano’s shot was going wide and Holmstrom redirected it into the corner of the net. The Wings were pretty lucky to be tied at the end of one period since the Sharks were outshooting them and generally playing a better game.

Detroit stepped it up in the second period and outshot the Sharks 12 to 5. Unfortunately, one of the Sharks’ five shots ended up in the net. It was Heatley scoring again. This time he tapped in pass from Pavelski. The Wings didn’t score in the second so they ended the period down two to one.

In the third period MacDonald came out to play a puck and it either jumped over his stick or Marleau chipped it over. Either way it went over his stick and bounced into the net behind him making it three to one in favor of the Sharks. Detroit pulled the goalie in the final few minutes and struggled to score but they were not able to do so.

This is the first road game in quite a while in which the Wings failed to get at least one point. It seemed like the Sharks had the Red Wings’ number in this game. Even though the shot total ended up pretty even the play didn’t really seem so. The Wings played pretty well but the Sharks just seemed to have found another gear.

This 1-3 loss brings us to:
39-19-7
85 points

Detroit at Anaheim (3/2/11)

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

The Red Wings were in Anaheim tonight to play a road game against the Ducks. Jimmy Howard was in net for the Wings and the Ducks went with Dan Ellis, recently acquired from Tampa Bay. In fact, his goalie mask still said ‘BOLTS’ on the top. All of the Red Wings’ forwards except Eaves were healthy and available tonight so Draper was chosen to be the odd man out and was scratched.

The Wings seemed to get off to another slow start in the first period. They were generating some offense but weren’t able to do much against the Ducks defensively. Anaheim had more good scoring chances and a lot more shots on goal, even though Detroit had more power plays including a lengthy 5 on 3. Luckily, Howard was superb. He made several great saves to rob the Ducks and keep his team in the game.

In the second period the Red Wings played better. They outshot the Ducks and Datsyuk scored a power play goal from in deep below the goal line.

The third period was pretty even, but Jason Blake scored a goal for the Ducks by using Salei as a screen. Jimmy Howard didn’t see the puck coming until it was too late.

The game went to overtime tied at one. In the OT Salei got called for a hook on Bobby Ryan. It was a very light touch with the stick and Ryan collapsed in a heap. He should have been called for a dive but instead he was awarded a penalty shot. He fired off a beauty that beat Howard cleanly for the first time in the game and gave the Ducks the win. Howard was understandably sour and broke his stick over the goalpost.

Anaheim was a lot more aggressive than the Wings tonight. The hits were especially one sided in Anaheim’s favor. It’s too bad the Wings didn’t win but really I think Anaheim played better overall. The bad call was a tough way for it to end though since Howard was on the verge of stealing one for his team.

This 1-2 overtime loss brings us to:
39-18-7
85 points