Zetterberg Leads Wings to Comeback over Blue Jackets

The Detroit Red Wings needed a third-period comeback to best the NHL-worst Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night, rallying from down 2-1 in the final period to pick up a 5-2 win.

The victory snapped a three-game losing streak and put the Red Wings back on top of the Central Division, two points ahead of the idle St. Louis Blues.

The game was tied at a goal apiece heading into the third but Derek MacKenzie put the Blue Jackets up by a goal, scoring on a shorthanded break with a shot that Detroit goalie Joey MacDonald got most of but not enough, as the puck slipped under his arm and into the net at 2:13.

Niklas Kronwall countered on the same power play. After getting the puck at the top of the left faceoff circle, Kronwall drove down to the left side of the slot and backhanded a shot through Columbus netminder Curtis Sanford to tie things up at 3:43.

At 8:26, Henrik Zetterberg put the Red Wings in front, flinging a shot from an acute angle in the left corner through a gap to Sanford’s short side.

Just 49 seconds later, Jan Mursak scored his first goal of the season on a spinning rebound chance from the top of the crease, beating a sprawling Sanford to make it 4-2.

Valtteri Filppula rounded out the scoring with 6:08 left, corralling a bouncing puck in front of Sanford and snapping a shot past him.

Johan Franzen had opened the game’s scoring at 4:08 of the first period, grabbing the rebound of a Jakub Kindl shot and putting it past Sandford from right in front just as a Columbus penalty expired.

Columbus would respond 2:47 later, when Rick Nash drove to the net from along the goal line and was pushed into MacDonald by Kronwall, while Brad Stuart‘s attempt to clear the puck from the crease slipped through MacDonald.

MacDonald finished the night with 28 saves on 30 shots for his seventh consecutive win. Sanford made 20 saves on 25 shots.

Each team scored a power play goal, with the Red Wings having six chances with the extra attacker and the Blue Jackets having five.

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


Detroit was without defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom (foot), Kyle Quincey (groin) and Jonathan Ericsson (wrist) for the game. Jakub Kindl was inserted back into the lineup while both Brendan Smith and Doug Janik were called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins to play… The Red Wings were also without Pavel Datsyuk (knee) and Patrick Eaves (concussion).

Postgame: Red Wings @ Blue Jackets – 2/28

A win is a win but, wow, this was an ugly way to get one.

The Red Wings headed into the third period tied with the NHL-worst Columbus Blue Jackets. A situation that never should happen. Then they gave up a shorthanded goal to give the Jackets a 2-1 lead.

There is no reason for the Detroit Red Wings to trail the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third period of any game. The Red Wings just have too much talent and the Blue Jackets too little.

And apparently the Wings realized that, rattling off four goals to get the 5-2 win.

The score does not show how the game was played, it just reflects just how bad Columbus is that the Wings could play about 10 minutes of hockey and still put up five goals on them.

And I’ll take it. Coming off three losses in a row, on a night when Carolina beat the Nashville Predators, I will take those two points and run. It’s not pretty but they count.

Wings’ Trade Deadline Recap

The 2012 NHL Trade Deadline may not have brought what Red Wings fans wanted but that doesn’t mean the Wings made the wrong moves.

As far back as last summer, fans were salivating over the idea of having virtually unlimited cap space at the trade deadline. With over $22 million available to spend, there would be no player Ken Holland would be unable to afford. After years of Detroit being unable to add a significant piece on the final day of NHL trading, the shoe would be on the other foot.

And then nothing happened.

With cap space to spend, Holland couldn’t find any trading partners. Unlike in previous years, there were no superstars on non-playoff teams in the last year of their contract to be had as rentals. No Ilya Kovalchuk, no Marian Hossa.

The Washington Capitals weren’t set to trade Alexander Semin, the New Jersey Devils had already stated they wouldn’t move Zach Parise and the surging Anaheim Ducks weren’t going to give up Teemu Selanne.

With those options unavailable, the Red Wings stuck to smaller moves. In two deals with the Tampa Bay Lightning, one last week and one today, Holland turned Mike Commodore, Sebastien Piche and a first round pick into Kyle Quincey and a conditional seventh-rounder. It’s an upgrade at the blue line with the potential to be more than a rental, as Holland has already stated that the Wings will at least tender Quincey a restricted free agent qualifying offer.

Detroit’s rivals made more moves, notably the Nashville Predators.

The Predators had acquired Hal Gill on February 17, then added Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad up front today. They paid a hefty price, giving up Blake Geoffrion, a first-round pick, and two second-rounders.

In essence, Nashville paid as much for fourth-line, free agent forward Gaustad – a rental – as the Red Wings did for restricted free agent defenseman Quincey – a non-rental.

So I’m okay with Holland standing pat. I would have liked a move for a depth forward; I’d been thinking former Wing Mike Knuble could be a good fit for cheap but as he wasn’t moved at the deadline, I have to think either he wasn’t available or the Capitals were asking too much from everyone.

I’m also not going to lie – I am concerned that Nashville, Chicago, Vancouver and San Jose all added players while the Red Wings didn’t. Those teams got better and got deeper. The Red Wings got better but are not a deep team.

That last note will be proven tomorrow in Columbus. Jonathan Ericsson is already out with a broken ankle and now Quincey has a sore groin. Brendan Smith has been called up and will be in the lineup, along with Jakub Kindl. Another defensive call-up could be necessary if Nicklas Lidstrom, who didn’t practice today, can’t go.

Or maybe these late-season injuries will prove the depth the team can call on from Grand Rapids and show that a trade wasn’t necessary.

Commodore Dealt to Tampa Bay

Defenseman Mike Commodore has been dealt by the Detroit Red Wings to the Tampa Bay Lightning in return for a conditional seventh round draft pick.

Commodore appeared in only 17 games for the Red Wings this season after signing with Detroit over the summer as an unrestricted free agent. With last week’s acquisition of Kyle Quincey, Commodore was pushed to the 8th defenseman slot, making it unlikely that he’d get playing time with the Red Wings.

Postgame: Avalanche @ Red Wings – 2/25

Quite honestly put… The Red Wings did not deserve to win tonight. They put forth 20 minutes of effort and in no world should that be enough to win a game in the National Hockey League. The third period was pretty fantastic but, as the score showed, it wasn’t enough to outweigh how bad the first two periods were.

Detroit has got to stop coasting into games like this. They were out of this one five minutes in. Twice they completely failed to cover Colorado’s (arguably) best player, leaving Gabriel Landeskog open in the slot. These aren’t things caused by lack of skill, it’s all mental. They’re just not thinking out there.

That said… It was brutal to see Jiri Hudler hauled down in front of the Avalanche goal with about 45 seconds left, the puck nowhere near him, and no call made. If the refs didn’t see it because they were looking elsewhere, it’s an embarrassment that they missed it. If they chose not to call it because it was so late in the game, it’s gutless on their part.

And to make matters more fun… Jonathan Ericsson is now expected to miss a month with a fractured wrist. I give him sh*t often but the Wings need him healthy and playing well to make a long playoff run. Bottom line, he’s usually better than Jakub Kindl and Mike Commodore and that’s who the Wings have to work with if Ericsson is out.

On the plus side of things… The reunited line of Henrik Zetterberg, Hudler and Valtteri Filppula single-handedly provided the Detroit comeback. I like the idea of keeping that line together as the new first line and then having Johan Franzen center Todd Bertuzzi and Danny Cleary on the second line. Fil just doesn’t work as a center on this team, to the point that Franzen is actually better there than he is.

The third line of Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader and Drew Miller provided just about all of Detroit’s chances in the first two periods. Had they managed to score, we might be talking about something different, but as it is it was still good to see them continue to click.

Canucks End Red Wings’ Streak in Shootout

Newest Red Wing Kyle Quincey scored in his first game back with Detroit and the Wings’ third line contributed to three goals but it didn’t stop the Vancouver Canucks from ending their NHL-record home winning streak at 23 games, defeating the Red Wings 4-3 in a shootout.

Alexandre Burrows scored the only goal of the tiebreaker on Vancouver’s third shot, beating Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard high.

Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo stopped Jiri Hudler, Henrik Zetterberg and Todd Bertuzzi while Howard made saves on David Booth and Alexander Edler.

The Red Wings appeared to be headed to their 24th consecutive home win until the Canucks tied things up with 16 seconds remaining in regulation.

Off an icing call, Vancouver won the draw in the Detroit zone and kept control of the puck, getting a couple chances before Daniel Sedin blasted a shot from the high slot through a screen and past Howard.

Darren Helm had opened the game’s scoring with 8:44 left in the first period. On a two on one with Justin Abdelkader, Helm looked like he was going to pass all the way down the ice before finally flipping a weak shot past Luongo to give the Red Wings their first lead.

Daniel Sedin made it 1-1 with 6:26 left in the second period. Edler’s shot from above the right faceoff circle was slowed down by Henrik Sedin before Daniel picked it up at the edge of the crease and shoveled it in around Howard.

Quincey restored the Detroit lead at 6:08 of the third, swatting a shot from the slot past Luongo off a feed from Abdelkader.

With 6:34 remaining, Cody Hodgson‘s attempted pass from the left circle went off Detroit defender Niklas Kronwall‘s skate and past Howard to tie things back up.

Just twenty seconds later, Abdelkader made it 3-2. Helm drove to the net and put a shot off the post, with the puck sliding up to Luongo’s pad. Abdelkader jumped in and knocked the loose puck into the net.

Luongo finished the night with 33 saves on 36 Detroit chances while Howard stopped 40 of the 43 shots he faced.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night, with the Wings having five tries with the extra attacker to Vancouver’s four.

The Red Wings are next in action on Saturday night when they host Quincey’s former team, the Colorado Avalanche.


With the Red Wings now carrying eight defensemen on their roster, Jakub Kindl and Mike Commodore were both healthy scratches… Pavel Datsyuk missed his second game since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday… Quincey wore #27, after having worn #45 and #4 in his first stint with the Red Wings.

Postgame: Canucks @ Red Wings – 2/23

You had to know that the streak would end in a shootout, especially seeing how those were such a point of contention over the past couple weeks on whether or not the streak “really counted” because of Detroit’s overtime and shootout wins.

It’s frustrating because the Wings were close. This could have been a win. If any of Detroit’s three shooters had any bit of inspiration in the shootout… If Danny Cleary didn’t put two great chances in overtime right into Roberto Luongo… If the linesman didn’t buy Sami Salo’s “I’m trying as hard as I can to pretend to try as hard as I can” leading to that last icing call (or, even better, if Todd Bertuzzi is more careful dumping the puck out in the first place)…

But I say it’s okay to be frustrated because no one knows how to act when a twenty-three game winning streak comes to an end. Next time someone does it, they can let me know.

What the Wings need to do to get a new streak going? Power play. My god, they need to get the power play clicking. That’s a dead horse, I know, but they’ve had chances the last two games that they didn’t look remotely competent on. It’s biting them in the ass repeatedly.

Two days in a row off twice next week should give them some time to calm things down and work on this stuff. We’ll see if it helps.