The Games That Weren’t is one of many projects simulating the games lost by the NHL lockout. In the absence of actual games to write about, I’ll be checking in periodically on the fictional Red Wings’ season.
The Detroit Red Wings rode a three-game winning streak into the third week of the NHL schedule and extended it on Monday with a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
Livonia-native Ryan Kesler opened the game’s scoring at 3:42 of the first period but a pair of goals just 1:38 apart were enough for the Red Wings to get the win. Pavel Datsyuk‘s first of the season came with 6:45 left in the opening period and Johan Franzen‘s first of the year came with 5:07 remaining.
The Red Wings’ winning streak came to an end the next night in Columbus. The Blue Jackets’ win briefly pulled them into first place in the Central Division.
Jack Johnson opened the scoring with 11 seconds left in the first period and Justin Abdelkader replied at 3:11 of the second. Nick Foligno’s shorthanded marker and 6:27 of the third put the Jackets back out in front and Derrick Brassard added another at 9:46. Steve Mason shut the door on the Wings, stopping 23 of 24 shots while Howard made 22 saves on 25 Columbus chances.
Howard rebounded on Friday with a 22-save shutout of the San Jose Sharks as the Red Wings picked up a 2-0 win. Mikael Samuelsson scored the game’s opening goal at 4:38 of the second period, with former Red Wing Brad Stuart in the penalty box. Pavel Datsyuk added an insurance marker at 1:02 of the third.
To close out the week on Saturday, the Red Wings picked up a 4-2 win in their first visit back to Winnipeg since the Atlanta Thrashers relocated there.
Abdelkader opened the scoring at 3:48 of the first period, Kyle Quincey had a pair of goals, and team leading scorer Valtteri Filppula also scored. Evander Kane and Alexei Ponikarovski scored for the Jets. Howard stopped 23 of 25 while Ondrej Pavelec made 14 saves on 18 shots against.
After three weeks, Detroit sits atop the Central Division, three points up on the Blue Jackets, who have two games in hand. Howard’s 1.64 goals-against average is second in the league, just 0.02 back of Buffalo’s Ryan Miller. His two shutouts are tied for the league lead.