Red Wings – Oilers Postgame Notes

Well… Those were two points the Red Wings probably didn’t deserve.

Detroit did what Mike Babcock said they needed to do. They got out to a strong start and a big early lead. For the first 37 minutes of the game they absolutely dominated the Oilers, taking a 4-0 lead with a huge margin in shots.

Then it all fell apart.

Edmonton scored twice in 56 seconds to halve the lead in the final three minutes of the second, then added another just over three minutes into the third. The Oilers carried the play for the entire third period and it wasn’t even a surprise when Tom Gilbert tied things up.

In fact, the biggest surprise for me was that Brad Stuart‘s game-winning goal with a minute and change left in regulation was allowed to stand. I don’t think there was enough evidence to overturn it but it was extremely close and that feels like a call that usually goes against Detroit.

In a game where you give up a four goal lead, there’s a lot of blame to go around. The Wings stopped skating, stopped moving the puck, and stopped fighting along the boards. Everything they did to control the game in the first period they stopped doing.

They couldn’t clear their own zone. When they did, they couldn’t gain the Edmonton zone. When they managed to do that, Jeff Deslauriers made some phenomenal stops.

An example of how bad the Wings were playing was an attempted break-out late in the third. Tomas Holmstrom (I think) carries the puck out along the right wing and crosses it over to the left wing. The only problem? There is absolutely no one there. The puck bounces off the boards and down to the Edmonton crease. That is just a ridiculously sloppy play and was one of many the Wings made.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Howard had his first subpar outing in quite awhile. I feel like the second and third goals fall pretty heavily on him. On Mike Comrie’s goal to make it 4-2, it looked like Howard was indecisive and got caught in between moves, leaving his five-hole wide open. On the third Edmonton goal Howard was scrambling and way out of position, having dove head first to his left and being unable to get back to his right to stop Zack Stortini.

In the end, two points are two points but the Wings are gonna have to take a look at how they got them and decide if that’s good enough.

Combined with the Kings’ win over the Predators, the Red Wings are now one point back of Nashville with two games in hand. Los Angeles is one point back of Detroit while Colorado is four points back with a game in hand. Detroit is seven points back of fourth-place Phoenix and six points back of Central Division-leading Chicago, with the Blackhawks having a game in hand.

Updates on the Joe Louis Arena Rafters

Back in January I wrote a bit about the Red Wings’ banners at Joe Louis Arena.

For years, the Red Wings were displaying a banner for the 1933-34 League Championship, a championship that they did not actually win. As of November, that banner had been removed, correcting the error.

On Friday I noticed another change. A new banner joining the 12 League Championship banners.

The 1934 American Division Championship banner.

This is interesting to me because its addition goes against the Red Wings’ current banner-raising criteria.

Since Mike Ilitch bought the Red Wings, banners have been raised for every team accomplishment, from regular season division championships to Stanley Cup Championships.

During the reign of the Norris family, only regular season league championships and Stanley Cups were recognized.

We now have a division championship from the Norris era recognized in the rafters of the Joe.

Perhaps more interesting is that divisional champion banners were not added for 1935-36 and 1936-37, two years in which the Red Wings were also League Champions.

It appears that the Wings are now honoring the highest achievement in a given season from the Norris era while recognizing all accomplishments in a season from the Ilitch era.

It’s a small change for sure but one I was surprised to see.

Red Wings – Predators Postgame Notes

I’ve ripped into him in every shootout he’s been in this year so now I have to give him his due: Jimmy Howard played out of his mind in the shootout tonight. Whoever picked the three stars of the game got it wrong. You play 65 minutes of shutout hockey and then stop a ridiculous 91% of shooters in the shootout, you’re the first star.

On the offensive side, it took some amazing attempts to beat both Howard and Pekka Rinne.

Bertuzzi’s attempt… Does anyone have more confidence in the shootout than him? One second he’s damn near stopped at the blue line, the next he’s made 37 quick moves and is lifting a shot over Rinne, who’s sprawling out thinking “WTF? That puck was just here.”

Sullivan was fated to score. He’s been a Wing killer for long enough that it should just be expected. That said, his deke on Howard was so nice that I won’t blame Howard for falling for it, no matter how much I feel like I should.

Eleven rounds in – the longest the Wings have ever gone into the shootout – and Niklas Kronwall breaks the tie. Another confident move. Nothing fancy, just race on in and shove it down Rinne’s throat.

Of course that it went to a shootout at all hurts the Wings a bit in the playoff race. Nashville’s one point keeps Detroit from catching them but the gap is closer now, with the Red Wings one point back of the Predators with a game in hand.

As I write this, the Colorado Avalanche are down 5-2 to the Phoenix Coyotes. Should they go on to lose, the Avalanche will drop to eighth place in the conference, two points back of Detroit with a game in hand.

The Los Angeles Kings are up 1-0 after the first period of play against the Dallas Stars. A win or OT loss would put the Kings in sixth and the Wings in seventh, while the teams will be flipped if Dallas wins in regulation. Los Angeles also has a game in hand on Detroit.

Perhaps most importantly, the Calgary Flames dropped their second in a row earlier today, a 5-0 decision to the Boston Bruins. Combined with Detroit’s win, the ninth-place Flames now sit eight points back of the Red Wings with seven games remaining. This means that with three wins the Red Wings can clinch a playoff spot.

Red Wings Could Move Up in Standings Tonight

One night after defeating the Minnesota Wild to take a six-point lead over the Calgary Flames in the standings, the Detroit Red Wings are looking forward, with the chance to leapfrog the Nashville Predators tonight.

The Wings currently sit at 89 points with 74 games played. Nashville is two points up after 75 games. A Detroit win in regulation would put the teams into a tie, with Detroit having fewer games played.

The Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche both have games tonight as well. Colorado is currently tied with Detroit but has played one less game. The Kings are one point up, also with a game in hand. Losses by both, combined with a Detroit win, would vault the Red Wings from eighth place to fifth.

The Wings will have to make due without Dan Cleary, however. Cleary left Friday’s game early after re-injuring his groin and is not expected to play tonight. Defenseman Derek Meech will skate on the fourth line, as he did when Cleary was originally hurt.

Jimmy Howard is expected to get the start.

Game time is 8:00.

Red Wings – Wild: Post-H2H Notes

I’ve got to say, H2H was a hell of a lot of fun. It helped that the Wings won, of course, but many thanks to all of Team Herm for putting it together.

As for the game itself… The first period worried me quite a bit. The Wings were getting chances but no goals and I thought for sure the 3-1 power play advantage would get evened out.

Four quick goals in the second pretty much knocked the Wild out of it. Franzen’s first was a hell of a shot and the one eventually credited to Ericsson was a great (though also lucky) play.

Ericsson might have had his best game of the year. A goal, an assist, and +4.

That Detroit let Minnesota back in it late in the second and at the start of the third is a definite negative. The PPG to make it 4-1 might not have been able to be helped but the second Wild goal was absolutely awful. Jimmy Howard simply cannot give that goal up.

Drew Miller continues to show why he’s still in Detroit and Ville Leino was moved to Philadelphia (something Malik and I talked about before the game). A strong defensive game, as always, and his goal was nice, too. Good speed coming up the wing and a quick shot. It was past Backstrom before he could do anything about it.

The player of the game was, of course, Franzen. He was all over the place and played like he was hungry, with four points to show for it.

The Wings are now tied with the Colorado Avalanche for seventh in the Western Conference but Colorado has a game in hand. A win in Nashville tomorrow will tie the Wings and Predators with Detroit having a game in hand.

Red Wings – Wild: Pre-H2H Notes

It’s a big day today with a lot going on surrounding Detroit’s matchup with the Minnesota Wild.

Tonight’s game is the much-awaited “Herm 2 Hockeytown” game, with over 100 people from that group alone planning on being in attendance tonight. Herm himself is in Detroit and anyone who’s not there yet will be soon. I’m heading out in about 60 minutes so, like many other Wings bloggers, posts throughout the day and the game will be spotty.

Today is also the 13th anniversary of the Brawl in Hockeytown, as well as Jimmy Howard‘s birthday. Kris Draper <a href='

Filppula Nets Pair as Red Wings Down Blues

Valtteri Filppula scored twice and his line was responsible for two more goals as the Detroit Red Wings defeated the St. Louis Blues Wednesday night.

Both of Filppula’s goals came late in the third period, putting the Red Wings in front and clinching the win after the Blues had tied the game earlier in the period.

St. Louis opened the game’s scoring 5:39 into the game when Paul Kariya split Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski, breaking in before Henrik Zetterberg could get to him and beating Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard five-hole.

Zetterberg evened things up just 26 seconds into the second period. He picked up the puck at center ice and gained the St. Louis zone, sweeping into the right faceoff circle around defenseman Barret Jackman before cutting to the net and shoveling a backhand shot between the pads of goalie Ty Conklin.

Detroit took the lead 4:09 later with a goal credited to Todd Bertuzzi. Filppula took a shot from the right edge of the slot with Bertuzzi crowding the net. Conklin made the stop but Zetterberg swatted at the rebound, bouncing the puck off of Bertuzzi’s leg and across the goal line.

Jay McClement tied the game 2:05 into the third period, wristing a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle over Howard’s glove.

Filppula put Detroit back in front with his first of the night with 6:49 left in regulation. Rafalski floated a shot in on Conklin from center ice and Filppula raced in to jump on the rebound, backhanding a shot past the sprawling goalie.

With 12 seconds to play Filppula added an empty-net goal, wrapping up the game.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night. St. Louis had three tries – including a four-minute power play in the second period – while Detroit had two.

Howard made 30 saves on 32 St. Louis shots for his 30th win of the season. Conklin stopped 20 of 23 chances by his former club.

The Red Wings are back in action on Friday when they host the Minnesota Wild.

Tomas Holmstrom left the game midway through the third period after taking a hit from T.J. Oshie… The win, combined with Colorado’s shootout win over the Kings, keeps Detroit in eighth place in the Western Conference standings. The Wings are four points up on the Calgary Flames, two back of the Avalanche and the Nashville Predators, and three back of Los Angeles. Detroit has a game in hand on Nashville while the Kings have one on the Wings.

Red Wings – Blues Postgame Notes

I said before the game that tonight’s Red Wings – Blues matchup had all of the elements of a classic letdown and there were times when it looked like it would be.

I thought Detroit carried the play early and Paul Kariya’s opening goal deflated them a bit.

The goal itself wasn’t soft (especially compared to Jay McClement‘s goal in the third) but it was a bit of a breakdown. Kariya split Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski – a rare occurrence – and Henrik Zetterberg couldn’t catch up, then Jimmy Howard got beat five-hole. Three breakdowns on a single play and Kariya is too good not to take advantage of that.

Zetterberg put the team on his back in the second. He pretty much willed Detroit’s first goal in and the second went off his stick before hitting Todd Bertuzzi.

Credit shouldn’t be taken from his linemates, as Zetterberg, Bertuzzi and Filppula were the only Red Wings forwards with points on the night. Brian Rafalski also picked up a pair of assists and Howard added one.

The Blues were never out of this game until Filppula scored into the empty net with 12 seconds left. When I was watching the game I felt like both teams were pretty evenly sloppy but the stats show that the Blues had significantly more chances, with St. Louis taking 32 shots to Detroit’s 23.

Aside from the outcome, I think the highlight of the night for Detroit was the second-period four-minute PK with Brad Stuart in the box. St. Louis got off only two shots against a PK unit missing one of its usual defensemen (Stuart) and one of its mainstay forwards (the injured Patrick Eaves). That was an incredibly solid effort by the Wings.

Two bits of bad news on the night…

#1 – Tomas Holmstrom left the game after taking a hit from T.J. Oshie midway through the third period.

#2 – LA forced overtime against Colorado, meaning a three-point game for two of the teams in front of Detroit. The Avs and Predators sit two points up on the Wings and the Kings three points up, with varying numbers of games played.

Red Wings Return Home to Defeat Penguins, 3-1

The Detroit Red Wings returned to Joe Louis Arena after a week-long, three-game road trip through Western Canada and didn’t appear worn down from their travels, beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 Monday night.

The Red Wings earned points in all three of their games last week and added two more against the Penguins. They’ve picked up 17 of a possible 22 points since returning from the Olympic Break, going 8-2-1 in the eleven-game stretch.

Henrik Zetterberg figured into all three Detroit goals, scoring two of them and assisting on Valtteri Filppula‘s opening marker.

With 57 seconds left in the first period, Filppula took a cross-ice feed from Todd Bertuzzi and skated into the Pittsburgh zone. Cutting through the left faceoff circle, he dragged the puck as he cut inside and used defenseman Sergei Gonchar as a screen, snapping a shot between Gonchar’s legs and past goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Zetterberg made it 2-0 at 7:38 of the second. He carried the puck off the left wing boards through the faceoff circle and backhanded a shot on Fleury. With Bertuzzi set up in front of the goal, Zetterberg got his own rebound and lifted it over Fleury’s pad.

The Penguins pulled back to within one when Pascal Dupuis poked a loose puck past Jimmy Howard with 3:06 left in the second.

Zetterberg restored the two-goal lead 1:20 into the third, snapping a shot from the high slot past Fleury.

Fleury finished the night with 30 saves on 33 Detroit shots while Howard stopped 26 of 27 Pittsburgh chances.

Neither team scored with the extra attacker. Detroit had four power plays and Pittsburgh had one.

The Red Wings continue their three-game homestand on Wednesday when they host the St. Louis Blues.

Detroit was without Patrick Eaves and Dan Cleary for the second consecutive game. Defenseman Derek Meech filled in at forward and Brett Lebda dressed but did not see playing time.

Red Wings Ride Another Late Goal to OT Win over Canucks

One night after Brian Rafalski scored with 0.2 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime against the Edmonton Oilers, Henrik Zetterberg scored with 0.3 seconds left in overtime to give the Detroit Red Wings a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

In the closing seconds of the extra period, Henrik Zetterberg cut from the left wing boards to the slot. He backhanded a shot over Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo‘s glove to give the Red Wings the win before time expired.

Earlier in the game, the Red Wings had tied a team record for fastest consecutive goals scored, when Todd Bertuzzi and Pavel Datsyuk erased a 2-0 deficit with goals five seconds apart.

With 7:26 left in the second period, Todd Bertuzzi crashed the net and knocked home a loose puck in a scramble. Brad Stuart had originally thrown the puck on net and Valtteri Filppula had a rebound chance, leading to Luongo being out of position on Bertuzzi’s opportunity.

Datsyuk got possession of the puck on the ensuing faceoff and jumped across the blue line, whipping a shot past Luongo’s stick to tie the game.

Filppula gave the Red Wings the lead later in the period, scoring on a shorthanded breakaway with 2:21 left.

Kyle Wellwood had opened the scoring just 4:10 into the game, tipping a Christian Erhoff shot from the point past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, with Daniel Sedin also screening.

With 6:22 left in the first, Shane O’Brien made it 2-0 when his shot from above the left faceoff circle sailed through a heavy screen to beat Howard.

After the Red Wings rallied to take the lead, Daniel Sedin tied things back up at 4:40 of the third. Zetterberg deflected Kevin Bieksa’s shot from the blue line but the puck fluttered to Sedin at the side of the net. Sedin gloved it down, nearly throwing it into the net but getting his stick on it just before it crossed the goal line to make it a legal goal.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night, with Filppula’s shorthanded tally the only special teams goal of the game. Each team had two tries with the extra attacker.

Howard made 29 saves on 32 shots while Luongo stopped 50 of 54 Detroit chances.

The Red Wings were without Patrick Eaves (head) and Dan Cleary (groin). With no cap room to call up replacements, defenseman Derek Meech played at forward while Brett Lebda was dressed but did not play.

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