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 ended their seven-game losing streak this week, keeping pace with the Nashville Predators in a tie atop the Central Division.
The Wings’ skid ended on Tuesday with a 2-1 win over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes. Phoenix got on the board first with a David Moss goal just 1:05 in but Valtteri Filppula evened things up at 8:57. Todd Bertuzzi scored the go-ahead goal with 4:28 left in the second as Jimmy Howard stopped 28 of 29 shots to get the win.
The defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings made sure Detroit didn’t make it a winning streak, with a 6-2 win over the Wings. Jeff Carter opened the scoring at 5:23 of the first. Danny Cleary tied it up at 7:17 but Dustin Brown put the Kings ahead again just ten seconds later. Only 39 seconds after that, Jarret Stoll scored his first of the year to make it 3-1. Anze Kopitar made it 4-1 with 4:55 let in the opening period. Stoll and Carter each scored second-period goals and Justin Abdelkader closed out the scoring in the third. Howard made 11 saves on 16 shots against before being pulled after Stoll’s second goal. Jonas Gustavsson stopped nine of ten shots in 33:37 of play.
Howard rebounded to blank the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night. Henrik Zetterberg’s shorthanded goal with 3:07 left in the second period got the Wings’ on the board and Johan Franzen added an insurance marker with 5:09 left in the third. Howard stopped all 25 shots he faced.
After eight weeks, Detroit is tied with Nashville atop the Central at 26 points, with both teams having played 24 games. The St. Louis Blues are two points back with three games in hand.
Team-leading scorer Filppula sits third in the league in scoring with 30 points, behind Kopitar (34) and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin (32). Filppula and Pavel Datsyuk are tied for fourth in the league with 19 assists.
Jimmy Howard is no longer on the leaderboard for goals-against average or save percentage but his four shutouts are tied for the league lead.
The coming week will see Detroit’s homestand continue with games against the Colorado Avalanche and Washington Capitals.