The Calgary Flames were ready to break out, after having been shutout by the Red Wings twice already this season, and after suffering an embarrassing 7-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in their last home game. The Red Wings were perhaps tired after playing the Canucks just last night. They couldn’t quite match the Flames’ hustle, and the Flames managed to win, 4-1.
Calgary began the game by immediately putting Detroit into defensive mode. They carried the play and kept the puck in the Red Wings’ end of the ice most of the time. The Wings’ defense, playing without Chris Chelios for the second straight game, did a good job of meeting the challenge for the most part, but Rob Niedermayer got the Flames on the board 6:47 into the game. Stephane Yelle pushed the puck into the zone and up to Niedermayer, whose shot went high over Curtis Joseph.
Brendan Shanahan and Bob Boughner got into a fight at center ice less than a minute later. Shanahan won the fight, by most accounts, but the fight didn’t give the team much momentum. Sean Avery and Jarome Iginla had some strong words and some pushing and shoving shortly thereafter, but the officials broke that up before it could develop into a real fight and the pair was given incidental roughing minors.
Martin Gelinas increased the Flames’ lead early in the second period. He shoved his way through to the front of the net, and when Chris Drury made the pass, Gelinas flipped it in over Joseph.
The Red Wings began to come into their own after that, taking back control of the game and generating more scoring chances against Roman Turek. They finally got the break they were looking for at the tail end of a power play towards the end of the period. Micki Dupont was in the penalty box for holding, and the Grind Line had come out on the ice to play the last few seconds of the power play and defend against any odd man rushes that might result from Dupont’s escape from the box. Instead, Kris Draper got the puck down deep, Mathieu Dandenault moved in from the right point, and Draper had a clear passing lane. Darren McCarty was screening Turek, and Dandenault was able to one-time Draper’s pass into the net.
The Flames got the game-making break just seconds before the end of the period. Iginla let loose a shot which trickled through Joseph’s leg pads and started to cross the goal line. Pavel Datsyuk scooped the puck away from the net just before it could cross the line completely, and the referee said it was not a goal. It went to video review, and the video goal judge overturned the on-ice ruling to give the Flames a 3-1 lead.
The late, controversial goal took away a lot of the Red Wings’ momentum for the third period, and Calgary basically shut the game down to sit back and play defense for the last twenty minutes. Detroit pulled Joseph from the net for a last-ditch effort to score two goals in a minute and a half, but Dave Lowry sent the puck into the empty net from center ice to put the game away.
The shots on net were fairly even. Calgary had 29, and Detroit had 28. The Red Wings will return home for a short rest before heading east to face the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.
Calgary coach Darryl Sutter sported a painful-looking black eye, the result of being hit in the face by an errant puck during the Flames’ loss to Phoenix…. Flames mascot Harvey the Hound, whose tongue was ripped out and thrown into the crowd by Edmonton coach Craig McTavish when the Oilers and Flames met a few nights ago, was back in action, tongue firmly reattached. He did seem to be avoiding Joey Kocur and the Red Wings’ bench, however.