Red Wings Fall to Blackhawks in Howard’s Return

The Detroit Red Wings got All-Star goaltender Jimmy Howard back in the lineup Tuesday night but couldn’t provide scoring support for him as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Howard stopped 27 of the 29 shots he faced in his first game back from a broken index finger.

Detroit had opened the game’s scoring and led after the first period but the Blackhawks rallied with goals in the second and third.

Just 2:22 into the game, Valtteri Filppula threaded a shot from the high slot through traffic and past Chicago goalie Corey Crawford with the Red Wings on a power play to make it 1-0.

Chicago’s Jimmy Hayes tied things up at 7:45 of the second. Howard stretched to stop a deflected Bryan Bickell shot but Hayes was all alone in front of the net to put home the rebound.

Marcus Kruger gave the Blackhawks the lead at 1:53 of the third, knocking a rebound chance past the sprawling Howard.

Though the Red Wings seemingly had little energy and had trouble gaining the Chicago zone, they managed to outshoot the Blackhawks, with Crawford stopping 31 of the 32 shots he faced.

One plus for Detroit to take away is having scored with the extra attacker, with Filppula’s goal coming on one of their three power play chances. Chicago was scoreless on three power play attempts.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Thursday when they return home to take on the Vancouver Canucks.

The Red Wings were without forward Pavel Datsyuk, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery earlier in the day. He is expected to miss at least two weeks… In addition to Howard, forward Danny Cleary returned to the lineup after missing five games with a knee injury… Defenseman Kyle Quincey, acquired only hours before the game, did not join the team in Chicago. He is expected to play on Thursday.

Red Wings Re-acquire Defenseman Quincey

TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweets that the Red Wings have acquired defenseman Kyle Quincey from the Tampa Bay Lightning for a first-round draft pick and minor-leaguer Sebastien Piche.

Quincey was originally drafted by the Red Wings in 2003. He was claimed off waivers from the Wings by Los Angeles at the start of the 2008-09 season and then traded to the Colorado Avalanche the following summer.

The Lightning acquired Quincey for forward Steve Downey earlier on Tuesday before flipping him to Detroit.

Quincey’s $3.125 million cap hit easily fits for the Red Wings, who could take on over $20 million in contracts for the rest of the season. He will be a restricted free agent this summer.

Piche was essentially a throw-in on the deal, as Detroit already had 50 players under contract and could not take on one more without moving someone. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Datsyuk Expected Out Two Weeks after Knee Surgery

Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock announced today that forward Pavel Datsyuk will miss two weeks after having knee surgery Tuesday morning.

“Datsyuk had minor arthroscopic knee surgery this morning,” Babcock said. “Everything is real good.”

A bone fragment in his knee had been bothering Datsyuk of late. Having the surgery now gives him time to get back in the Detroit lineup for the playoffs.

The Red Wings will not call up anyone from the Grand Rapids Griffins to take Datsyuk’s spot in the lineup, as his departure coincides with Danny Cleary‘s return from injury.

Conklin Clears Waivers

Goaltender Ty Conklin has cleared waivers and been assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Conklin had been exposed to waivers on Monday when the Red Wings revealed that Joey MacDonald would be kept with Detroit to back up Jimmy Howard as Howard returns from injury.

Conklin will likely remain with the Griffins for the rest of the season, as he would need to be placed on re-entry waivers to be called back to the Red Wings, at which point a team could claim him for only half of his salary and cap hit.

Conklin Waived, Expected to be Assigned to Grand Rapids

As first reported by The Production Line, the Detroit Red Wings have waived goaltender Ty Conklin with the intention of assigning him to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Conklin had been the team’s backup goaltender since the start of the season but lost that role over the last week to Joey MacDonald.

After starting netminder Jimmy Howard suffered a broken finger in Vancouver on February 2nd, Conklin was named the starter for the Red Wings’ next game in Edmonton. He lasted only a period, allowing three goals before MacDonald took over en route to a shootout loss.

MacDonald got the start in Phoenix to finish up the Red Wings’ road trip and played well in a Detroit loss. He then started the entirity of the Red Wings’ now-concluded six-game homestand, going undefeated and helping stretch Detroit’s NHL-record home winning streak to 23 games.

In 8 games played, MacDonald has a 6-1-1 record with a 1.66 GAA and a .934 save percentage. Conklin has made 11 appearances, going 3-5-0 with a 3.40 GAA and .878 save percentage.

The other 29 NHL teams will have until noon on Tuesday to put in a claim on Conklin. If he goes unclaimed, he’ll head to the Griffins.

Red Wings Hold off Sharks for 23rd Consecutive Home Win

The Detroit Red Wings held off a late push by the San Jose Sharks Sunday afternoon, picking up a 3-2 victory for their twenty-third consecutive win at Joe Louis Arena.

The win extends the team’s own NHL record for single-season wins in a row at home and sets a new record for consecutive home wins across multiple seasons, breaking the mark of twenty-two set by the 1929-30 and 1930-31 Boston Bruins.

The Red Wings twice had a two-goal lead cut in half, but the Sharks were never able to pull even, with Darren Helm‘s third-period goal standing up as the game-winner.

Henrik Zetterberg opened the game’s scoring at 6:30 of the first period. Zetterberg circled through the left faceoff circle and backhanded a shot from the high slot that went through defenseman Colin White and past goalie Antti Niemi, who was screened in front by Jiri Hudler.

On Hockey Day in America, two U.S.-born players teamed up to create Detroit’s second goal just 40 seconds past the game’s halfway point. Justin Abdelkader carried the puck from the Detroit end and into the San Jose zone and then fed it off to Drew Miller. Miller sent it back to Abdelkader in front for a chance stopped by Niemi but Miller pounced on the rebound and put it into the back of the net.

Logan Couture would be credited with the power play goal that got San Jose on the board with 5:27 left in the second period. Couture batted a fluttering puck out of mid-air and onto the top of the goal. The puck bounced forward and came back down, deflecting off Abdelkader’s stick and into the net to make it 2-1.

Helm gave the Red Wings a 3-1 lead at 7:01 of the third period. Miller stole the puck from Torrey Mitchell and gained the San Jose zone, then fed it off to Helm for a shot from the slot past Niemi for his first goal in sixteen games.

With 4:44 left in regulation, Detroit defender Ian White turned the puck over in his own end and Brent Burns put a shot on goalie Joey MacDonald. MacDonald made the initial save but Patrick Marleau was there to scoop up the rebound and put it into the net.

In a frantic final minute, Detroit couldn’t score into the empty net and the Sharks couldn’t beat MacDonald to tie things up.

MacDonald finished the contest with 31 saves on 33 shots for his sixth consecutive win. Niemi stopped 25 of 28 chances.

Detroit had three power play tries, on which they were held off the board. Couture’s goal came on one of San Jose’s four power play attempts.

Their six-game homestand wrapped up, the Red Wings will next be in action in Chicago on Tuesday.

Mike Commodore was the lone healthy scratch for the Red Wings… MacDonald got the start in place of Jimmy Howard, who was originally expected to return from injury in this game. Howard will get the nod in goal on Tuesday.

Postgame: Sharks @ Red Wings – 2/19

Quick notes because it’s an afternoon game and I say everytime that I hate afternoon games ’cause I have things to do in the afternoon…

For those saying that getting to twenty-three consecutive home wins means that the asterisk so many people want to put on this streak should be wiped out, remember that if you say the wins needed to be in regulation, the streak ended at twelve. Personally, I think it’s better to just ignore the people arguing that this streak is invalid. As I mentioned last week, you can always find a reason to apply an asterisk when you compare records across eras.

The Sharks played the Wings tough today. To a certain extent, it was a lot like Friday’s game against Nashville in that the visitors dictated the style of play for much of the game. This was probably a bit more physical than Detroit would have liked but they stepped up to the challenge and won anyway.

Notes on some specific plays…

San Jose shouldn’t have been on the power play for their first goal. While fluky as hell, the goal itself was good. The situation that caused it never should have happened, though. Brad Winchester had the puck when Jonathan Ericsson engaged him, that’s not interference. Call it holding if you want, I’d argue that less, I just really don’t like the call.

I won’t nit-pick other calls, but you know I want to. Especially the goalie interference call on Bertuzzi.

I didn’t like the Justin AbdelkaderRyane Clowe fight in the third. Abdelkader put a clean hit on Clowe there and there was no reason to have to fight over it. The fight only served to give the Sharks energy, and they scored shortly after it. Replay didn’t show whether or not Abdelkader tried to decline the fight, I think he should have and if he tried but couldn’t get out of it, I think that’s a play that needs the instigator penalty.

Never like to see people get hurt but it was interesting in that stretch where so many Sharks went down after blocking shots. I’ve noticed for awhile that it seems like the Red Wings would lose players to injury from blocking shots but their opponents never did, and kind of wondered about that. Again, don’t want to see it but the tables turning seemed like something that, statistically, should have happened awhile ago.

The big question after this one will be which goalie stays in Detroit when Jimmy Howard comes back on Tuesday. That’ll be answered tomorrow. Joey MacDonald has earned the backup role but the Red Wings organization is loyal and Ty Conklin wasn’t signed to play in Grand Rapids. We’ll see what happens.