The Red Wings offense fired the puck hard and often, but the Calgary Flames’ defense and strong goaltending gave them the 4-3 win.
The Red Wings and Flames both started the game with hard-hitting defense in mind. Play went end to end in the first, with neither team really getting a quality scoring chance until Detroit ran into penalty trouble late in the first period.
Jiri Fischer and Chris Chelios had both been sent to the box for separate penalties, giving Calgary over a minute of five-on-three power play time. The penalty killing unit fought hard, even with two of the team’s best defensemen taken out of the play, but Marc Savard got the puck at the right face-off circle and ripped a hard shot past Nick Lidstrom and Manny Legace.
Detroit played a more offensive game in the second period, taking a total of fourteen shots against Roman Turek over the twenty minutes, while still holding the Flames to only four shots against Legace. One of those four found its way into the net, however. Savard stole the puck before the Wings could clear it from their zone. His shot was blocked, but he carried his own rebound behind the net and passed out front to Jarome Iginla, who was able to fire the puck past Legace.
Only a minute later, the Flames made a bad turnover of their own. Steve Duchesne got the puck away and left it for Luc Robitaille, ahead of all five of Calgary’s skaters. Robitaille carried it to the net and shot the puck over Turek’s right shoulder from point-blank range.
The Red Wings tied the game before the period was over. With only thirty-four seconds remaining, Freddy Olausson shot the puck from the blue line and banked it off the back boards to Robitaille, who sent it across the crease to Igor Larionov. Turek had been expecting the shot to come from Robitaille, and Larionov was able to flip it into the net.
Savard scored early in the third period to put the Flames back in the lead. Calgary took the play down low into Detroit’s zone, and Iginla sent the puck to Savard from behind the net. Savard was right in front of the net with no one to cover him, and sent the puck across the goal line.
Brendan Shanahan brought the Red Wings back into it a few minutes later. Sergei Fedorov carried the puck up the left wing side, and dropped the puck back for Shanahan, who fired hard. Turek was being screened by Kris Draper, and had no chance to stop the puck from bouncing off the inside of the net.
Larionov took a cross-checking penalty a minute later, and Savard regained the lead for the Flames once again. In a nearly identical play to his second goal, he parked in front of the net, took a pass Iginla threaded from behind the net between Lidstrom’s skates, and flipped it into the net just over Legace’s outstretched leg, scoring his second NHL hat trick.
The Red Wings played hard for the rest of the game, trying to come from behind once again. Their last minute of play was especially strong, with Legace gone to the bench for a sixth skater. In spite of the flurry of shots, Turek did not let the puck through again.
Shots on net were thirty-six to twenty-two in favor of Detroit. The Flames were two for five on the power play, while the Red Wings did not convert on any of their four chances.
Brendan Shanahan, Chris Chelios, Pavel Datsyuk, Nick Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Dominik Hasek, coach Scotty Bowman, and equipment manager Paul Boyer will travel to Los Angeles to participate in the All-Star game this weekend, while the rest of the team enjoys a few days off. The Red Wings will regroup in Denver Monday night to face the Colorado Avalanche.