Calgary at Detroit (3/12/09)

The guests of honor for tonight’s game were the Calgary Flames. Kiprusoff was the goalie for the them and Conklin was in for us for the second game in a row. This was supposed to be Osgood’s night to start but Babcock decided that it would be better to start him in the next game instead since that’s a road game.

A bit past the five minute mark Calgary scored first from a really unlikely angle. Jokinen got the puck way down below the goal line and swept it towards Conklin. Somehow the puck got between the post and Conklin’s skate and ended up in the net. I’m sure Conklin would want that one back.

Later in the first period Detroit went on the power play. Datsyuk took a great shot that got up over Kiprusoff but it hit the crossbar and dropped down. Zetterberg jumped on it and pushed it in behind the goalie to tie the game at one.

A few minutes later Phaneuf hit Cleary in the lower back as he was heading into the boards. Cleary lost his balance and crashed heavily. He had to be helped off the ice. Phaneuf got a five minute major on the play. It wasn’t a hard hit but it was just enough to throw off Cleary’s balance and make him lose an edge.

With 3:52 left in the major, Leopold shot the puck over the glass from his own zone so the Wings had a 5 on 3 for a full two minutes. During the 5 on 3 Sarich took a penalty for crosschecking. His penalty couldn’t start until the second one ended so it ended up being nearly four minutes of 5 on 3. At that point the game turned ugly. There was a big scrum in front of the net and Franzen and Aucoin started pushing and shoving in front of the net; they both were getting penalties. Then Vandermeer came in and started exchanging punches with Franzen. He nailed Franzen in the back of the head with an elbow and Franzen went down hard. Ken, Mick, and Larry didn’t notice that it was an elbow but it really looked like it was. Vandermeer got a 10 minute misconduct so I’m pretty sure it was an elbow.

Kiprusoff made brilliant save after brilliant save throughout the 5 on 3. Finally, when the 5 on 4 was down to a minute and change Samuelsson got a quick pass and roofed it before Kiprusoff could get over. That made it two to one Red Wings. It was an incredible performance by Kiprusoff to allow just one goal through all of that power play time.

Cleary returned in the second period. That was a big relief.

Also in the second period Detroit ended up with a 4 on 3 power play. On top of that, one of their players had a broken stick. Rafalski and Lidstrom were trading passes and eventually Lidstrom ripped one that got by Kiprusoff. Holmstrom was in front of the net making life miserable for Kiprusoff. That goal made it three to one Red Wings.

Halfway through the second period they announced the shot totals were 35 to 7 in favor of the Wings and that’s not counting the three or four posts and crossbars. Part of the reason that it was so lopsided was that the Wings had so much power play time.

Later in the second period there was some 4 on 4 play. Lidstrom sprung Filppula who took it into the zone and shot one that got between Kiprusoff’s legs. That gave the Red Wings a four to one lead. Mike Keenan was livid because before the goal he thought the Wings should have been called for tripping.

A few seconds later, still 4 on 4, Calgary scored. Aucoin shot the puck and Langkow redirected it right in front of the net. Conklin didn’t have a chance of stopping that one. That made it two to four.

With only 3:22 left in the third period Calgary scored to come within a goal of tying the game.  Vandermeer shot it and the puck bounced around in front of the net. Lundmark was there to pick up the bounce and put it in the net. At that point Detroit had not had a single shot on goal in the third period.

Less than a minute later the Flames scored to tie the game. Glencross shot from the faceoff circle. The puck hit Jokinen and then went between Conklin’s legs. He got a piece of it but it still got through. It bounced between his skates and into the net. Once again the Wings had blown a lead. At that point the shots on goal in the period were 14 to nothing in favor of the Flames.

About a minute after that goal the Flames took the lead scoring their third goal in 3 minutes and 22 seconds. Lundmark wrapped around the net and put the puck past Conklin. This was looking like another epic collapse by the Wings.

With 42 seconds left Datsyuk shot and the puck and it hung on the goal line. Cleary was there to poke it in and tie the game up again. That goal sent the game into overtime on their first shot of the period.

After two periods Detroit thought they had won the game. But after the third period they were lucky to have salvaged a tie. It was still quite an epic collapse even though they managed to tie it up.

Nobody scored in the overtime.

In the shootout Datsyuk went first and made it look easy. He went to his backhand and put it up high on Kiprusoff. Cammalleri came out next and did almost the same thing. His move was more pronounced than Datsyuk’s but it had the same effect. He froze the goalie and scored up high. Zetterberg was the next shooter. He made a move but Kiprusoff stayed with it and stopped the puck. Iginla went next and hit the post. Then came Hudler. Kiprusoff stopped him. Jokinen came out next for the Flames. He scored the winner.

The Red Wings played a great two periods tonight. Unfortunately this type of play isn’t going to get them very deep in the playoffs. At some point of the goaltenders need to be able to steal a game. Maybe it’s time to call up Jimmy Howard.

This 6-5 overtime loss brings us to:
44-15-9
97 points

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