Is the slump over? Can we all breathe cautious sighs of relief? It would seem so, as the Red Wings looked very much like their usual selves in Tuesday night's 3-0 win over the Calgary Flames.
The game got off to a very slow start. Neither team appeared willing to challenge the other very much in the first period. Goaltenders Curtis Joseph and Jamie McLennan didn't have much to do, but they both looked solid on the few shots they faced. Detroit seemed content to sit back, protect their goalie, and wait for Calgary to make a mistake.
The Red Wings' chance came on the power play early in the second period, with Chuck Kobasew in the box for interference on a carryover penalty from the end of the first. Mathieu Schneider faked a shot from the blue line, but passed the puck to Brendan Shanahan at the left faceoff circle. Shanahan one-timed the shot. McLennan was being screened by Tomas Holmstrom and Robyn Regehr, who was trying to push Holmstrom out of the way, and the puck sailed into the net.
Kris Draper forced a turnover at center ice to set up Detroit's second goal. He poked the puck away from Jarome Iginla, and Darren McCarty carried it into the Flames' zone. McCarty faked to his left, fooling McLennan, then pulled the puck back and put it into the net from the right side.
Calgary replaced McLennan with backup goalie Dany Sabourin to start the third period, hoping to cause a shift in momentum. In spite of that effort, Detroit dominated the third period. They controlled the play, kept the puck in Calgary's zone most of the time, and forced the Flames into taking some unnecessary penalties.
Shanahan put the game away with his second goal of the night with 7:08 left to play. Steve Yzerman picked off an errant Calgary pass just inside the Flames' blue line. He left the puck for Nicklas Lidstrom, who passed it to Shanahan at the left side. Just like before, Shanahan lifted a well-placed shot past the goalie and into the net.
Detroit outshot Calgary by a count of 25 to 21. The Red Wings will return home from their road trip and take a few much-needed days off before facing the Nashville Predators Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Notes: Jason Williams, Boyd Devereaux, and Jiri Hudler all saw increased ice time in Henrik Zetterberg's absence.... Mathieu Dandenault left the ice early in the first period and did not return. No word yet on his reason for leaving.... Draper's assist on McCarty's goal was his 200th career point.
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