Red Wings Fall to Predators in Howard’s Return

Goaltender Jimmy Howard returned to the Red Wings lineup Friday night but Detroit couldn’t hold off the Nashville Predators, dropping a 4-1 decision.

With the loss, Detroit falls to fifth place in the Western Conference standings, one point behind the fourth-place Predators, who have a game in hand.

After the first half of the game was scoreless, Nashville’s Gabriel Bourque opened the scoring with 6:55 left in the second period. Bourque flipped a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle through traffic and past Howard to give the Predators the 1-0 lead.

Francis Bouillon made it 2-0 with just 33 seconds left in the period when he picked up a loose puck and snapped it past Howard after a net-front scramble.

At 2:40 of the third period, Alexander Radulov was left all alone at the top of the crease to take a feed from Andrei Kostitsyn and punch it past Howard.

Jiri Hudler scored Detroit’s lone goal with 3:03 remaining, knocking the puck past Nashville golie Pekka Rinne from the side of the net on a pass from Henrik Zetterberg.

Shea Weber wrapped up the scoring with an empty-net goal in the game’s final minute.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night, with Detroit having three chances and Nashville having two.

Howard made 23 saves on 26 shots against in his return from a groin injury. Rinne stopped 31 of 32 shots.

The Red Wings play again on Sunday when they host the Florida Panthers.


Detroit’s healthy scratches were Kyle Quincey on defense and Jan Mursak up front.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Blue Jackets – 2/28

Well, my one-hour meeting became a two-hour one pretty quick, so all I saw of this one was up to the first goal. I don’t think that qualifies me to recap the game very well.

That said, I had a feeling coming into this one that it could be a lot like the blowout loss to St. Louis late last season. Trap game. Whatever you want to call it.

Maybe they got it out of their systems before the Nashville game, the one that is supposed to really matter? I don’t know, hard to take anything good from getting beaten by a rookie third-string goalie on the worst team in the league.

Red Wings Rout Blue Jackets to Clinch Playoff Spot

The Detroit Red Wings clinched a playoff spot for the 21st consecutive season on Monday night with a 7-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The streak is the longest active in professional sports. The NHL’s all-time record is 29 consecutive seasons, set by the Boston Bruins.

Four goals in the first ten minutes of the game propelled the Red Wings to the win, including two power play tallies by Tomas Holmstrom.

Holmstrom opened the game’s scoring just 1:06 in with Columbus’ Cam Atkinson off for tripping. Niklas Kronwall sent a pass from the blue line to Henrik Zetterberg at the side of the Blue Jackets’ net. Goaltender Steve Mason overcommited towards him and he sent a pass across the crease to Holmstrom to bang home.

Gustav Nyquist made it 2-0 at 5:35 with his first career NHL goal. In the slot, Pavel Datsyuk spun to send a pass to Nyquist all alone at the edge of the crease, where he roofed a shot past the diving Mason.

Holmstrom’s second came at 8:55, when Kronwall sent a hard pass from the point to Zetterberg in the slot, who turned and sent it backwards through his legs to Holmstrom for a shot past Mason from the left faceoff circle – another power play goal.

Jiri Hudler rounded out the period’s scoring 56 seconds later. After Mason stopped his initial shot, Hudler wrapped around the goal while Valtteri Filppula gathered in the rebound. Filppula sent a pass to Hudler to knock home from the side of the net to make it 4-0.

Nicklas Lidstrom made it 5-0 at 6:17 of the second period, sliding a shot from the right faceoff dot under Mason’s pad after almost whiffing on the chance.

Brad Stuart ended Mason’s night 2:17 later, jumping into the play to take a feed from Todd Bertuzzi and beat Mason from the inside edge of the right circle.

Datsyuk capped off Detroit’s scoring at 1:25 of the third period. Zetterberg spun in the right circle before sending a pass across to the left side for Datsyuk to knock past backup goalie Allen York.

The Blue Jackets would finally get on the board just 19 seconds later, with Mark Letestu splitting the Detroit defense to break in alone on Ty Conklin and snap a shot past him.

Rick Nash made it 7-2 with 9:28 remaining, blasting a shot from the top of the right circle off the post and in behind Conklin.

Conklin finished the night with 24 saves on 26 shots against, half of those chances coming in the third period. Mason made 22 saves on 28 shots in 28:34 while York stopped 10 of 11 in 31:26 of play.

Holmstrom’s goals were the only power play tallies on the night, though Lidstrom’s goal came on a delayed call. The Red Wings finished the night 2-for-6 on the power play while the Blue Jackets went 0-for-4.

The two teams will meet again on Wednesday in Columbus for the second game of the home-and-home series.


Detroit was without goaltenders Jimmy Howard and Joey MacDonald, defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, and forwards Johan Franzen, Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves.

Postgame: Blue Jackets @ Red Wings – 3/26

I’ve got a migraine coming on so the postgame notes will be quick…

Easy to say this one was “only Columbus” but two points are two points, and some of the plays tonight were impressive against any NHL team. Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk each with nearly-blind passes leading to goals, for example.

On one of those, fantastic to see Gustav Nyquist get his first career goal. He’s really finding his game in Detroit and clicks well with Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi. I’d kind of like to see him stay there as the Wings get healthy and see what could happen but I don’t know if Johan Franzen works on the third line.

Ty Conklin didn’t have to do a lot but looked pretty good, much better than he did in his first stint with the team this season.

Two more points in Columbus on Wednesday would be huge but the Blue Jackets are going to want to bounce back from this one.

And From There, Pandemonium

It’s hard to believe that it’s been fifteen years since the infamous “Brawl in Hockeytown” that inspired the Red Wings to make their 1997 Stanley Cup run and really kick-started what was briefly the NHL’s fiercest rivalry.

It’s kind of funny that the game is so celebrated, as removed from the emotion of it all, it really was a dirty affair. Darren McCarty jumping Claude Lemieux, Brendan Shanahan and Mike Vernon teaming up on Patrick Roy and Adam Foote. In today’s NHL, I have to think we would have seen suspensions galore.

But at the time, it was a kind of catharsis. Until then, the league knew that the Wings were a soft team that wouldn’t stand up for themselves. The league’s two-game suspension to Claude Lemieux for breaking Kris Draper‘s face in the 1996 playoffs was light and there was almost an unspoken mandate that if the Red Wings didn’t like it, they’d have to do something about it themselves.

That they did, with McCarty playing the hero with his fists and his stick.

Fifteen years removed, I won’t say it was good hockey but it was what the Red Wings needed and it’s still fun to go back and re-watch.

Zetterberg Leads Red Wings’ Rally Past Hurricanes

Henrik Zetterberg scored the first two goals for Detroit on Saturday night, leading the Red Wings to a 5-4 comeback win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

The win snapped Detroit’s six-game losing streak and coincided with the return from injury of defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Jakub Kindl.

The Red Wings were down 4-1 when Zetterberg scored his second of the night. With 3:02 left in the second period, Zetterberg took a feed from Valtteri Filppula and snapped a shot from the high slot off Carolina netminder Cam Ward‘s mask and into the net, through a screen by Jiri Hudler.

Just 18 seconds later, Todd Bertuzzi batted the fluttering rebound of a Gustav Nyquist chance out of mid-air and past Ward to cut the Hurricanes’ lead to a single goal.

At 8:10 of the third, Filppula banked the puck off the side of the net and out to Brad Stuart just inside the blue line. Stuart’s shot deflected first off Hudler in front of the net, then off defender Jay Harrison before trickling across the goal line to tie the game.

With 8:25 left in regulation, Drew Miller gave the Red Wings their first and only lead. The Hurricanes won a faceoff in their own zone but Cleary knocked the puck loose to Miller, who went to the front of the net alone and beat Ward on the backand to make it 5-4.

Carolina had opened the scoring just 17 seconds into the game, when Jiri Tlusty threw a backhander from down low on the right wing towards the Detroit goal. The puck deflected off defenseman Ian White‘s stick and went over the shoulder of goalie Ty Conklin to give the Hurricanes the early lead.

Another quick goal made it 2-0, with Chard Larose scoring just 26 seconds into the second period. Larose was left alone in the left corner of the Detroit zone and he cut to the middle to take a pass from Eric Staal before beating Conklin.

Zetterberg scored his first of the night to halve Carolina’s lead at 5:10 of the second. Zetterberg threw the puck to the net from the right circle and it deflected off defenseman Bryan Allen to get past Ward.

A pair of power play goals gave the Hurricanes their 4-1 lead. With 4:22 left in the second period and a single second left on a five-on-three, Jamie McBain rifled a shot from the top of the left circle past Conklin. Tlusty got in behind Kyle Quincey and tapped in a chance from the edge of the crease just 17 seconds later.

Those two goals were the only power play goals by either team on the night. Each team had two tries with the man-advantage.

Conklin finished the night with 20 saves on 24 shots, with the Red Wings holding the Hurricanes to just three shots in the third period. Ward stopped 45 of Detroit’s 50 shots on the night.


With Lidstrom and Kindl returning to the lineup, Brendan Smith was a healthy scratch. The Red Wings reassigned him to the Grand Rapids Griffins after the game. Jonathan Ericsson, Johan Franzen, Darren Helm, Patrick Eaves, Jimmy Howard and Joey MacDonald remain injured for Detroit.

Postgame: Hurricanes @ Red Wings – 3/24

There were a lot of players who made tonight’s win happen, a very solid overall effort, but I’ll be damned if Henrik Zetterberg didn’t put the team on his back tonight and carry them when they needed it most. I said it over Twitter (all of my commentary tonight was on Twitter, sorry about that forum users), he knows the playoffs are coming.

That said: Drew Miller. Does the guy score any goals that aren’t clutch? He’s got 14 goals this season and 4 are game-winners.

Speaking of trends, Todd Bertuzzi really does love the atypical goals. Spinoramas and batting it out of the air are kind of becoming his thing.

I love the fact that the Wings competed all night. Effort.

With Nicklas Lidstrom and Jakub Kindl back, the blue line seemed much more calm. Brendan Smith was returned to the Griffins after the game as the defensive corps will be 100% healthy once Jonathan Ericsson returns (supposedly on Monday).

With all the good things, there were a couple bad notes.

Really disliked Ty Conklin on the first goal against. He was down early and leaning off the post. Yeah, the shot ramped up on him, but that was an awkward position to try to make a stop from.

Danny Cleary‘s penalty to give the Hurricanes a five-on-three was pretty boneheaded. His decline in play could be related to the knee injury that I’m sure he’d be resting if Johan Franzen (and Pavel Datsyuk before him) weren’t hurt.

Speaking of boneheaded… Tomas Holmstrom gets checked into Cam Ward and then called for goalie interference. What a joke.

But a big win anyway, putting the Wings back of the Blues by six points. No games in hand but the next two for Detroit are against Columbus and there’s one more matchup between the Wings and Blues this season, so there are points to be had.