Red Wings Fall to Blue Jackets in Shootout After Dual Shutouts

Both Detroit goallie Jimmy Howard and Columbus netminder Sergei Bobrovsky earned shutouts on Tuesday night, but Bobrovsky’s Blue Jackets came away the winners as the Red Wings fell in the shootout.

Howard stopped all 29 shots he faced through regulation and overtime. Bobrovsky was perfect on thirty Detroit chances prior to the shootout.

Looking to shake their shootout bad luck, the Red Wings opted to have Columbus go first in the tiebreaker, and the gambit paid off in the first round with Howard stopping Cam Atkinson and Pavel Datsyuk beating his countryman Bobrovsky.

Ryan Johansen beat Howard in the second round while Gustav Nyquist rang a shot off the crossbar.

Boone Jenner put the Blue Jackets in the lead and Henrik Zetterberg never really got a shot off, giving Columbus the win.

The Red Wings are now 1-6 on the season in the shootout, with their only win coming against the hapless New Jersey Devils.

Detroit is back in action on Friday when they host the New York Islanders.


The Red Wings were without forward Johan Franzen (illness)… Justin Abdelkader and Danny DeKeyser returned from injury for Detroit… Brian Lashoff and Jakub Kindl were healthy scratches.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Blue Jackets – 3/25

I’m unhappy with the game-winner tonight but to focus entirely on that is to ignore the problems the Red Wings have.

Coming down the stretch, needing a goal to get even, how many unscreened shots from the blue line got straight through to McElhinney to grab for a stop in play? No second chances, no tips in front. And if it wasn’t the Gustav Nyquist / Riley Sheahan / Tomas Tatar line, there was no offense. They really are the new Eurotwins.

It’s not just Nyquist and Tatar, though. Sheahan is becoming a force. His move to get the puck to Nyquist on the first Detroit goal was beautiful.

Also on the personnel front, Mitch Callahan looked acceptable in his NHL debut. Better than Landon Ferraro, probably worse than Teemu Pulkkinen. Didn’t do enough to make me want to see more of him if Tomas Jurco comes back on Thursday but I wouldn’t expect that.

That said, let’s come back to that game-winner. I have issues with it on multiple fronts.

First is the call, that the net came off because Brendan Smith pushed Cam Atkinson into it. Yes, Smith pushed Atkinson. He didn’t push him that much.

Second is that Atkinson was standing in the space normally occupied by the post while he handled the puck. If he wasn’t able to be in that spot, he wouldn’t have been able to score. If he was able to be in that spot, clearly the net being off its moorings had an affect on the play.

Third, goes back to last weekend, when this goal was waived off but then Columbus’ is allowed to stand. Just feels like the Wings are the only team that can’t get away with anything around the net.

But coming out of the night Detroit still holds a playoff spot, sitting in eighth due to tiebreakers as they’re tied for seventh with Columbus, Toronto and Washington. Big games coming up against Montreal and Toronto later this week.

More Thoughts on Columbus’ Disputed Goal and the Human Element

In my postgame notes last night, I talked a bit about Cam Atkinson‘s disputed game-winning goal for the Blue Jackets, scored after the net had come off its moorings. I want to come back to that, briefly.

When the goal first happened, I was sure they were going to allow it as the position of the goal at the time the puck crossed the line had no impact on the play. The puck crossed the line solidly between where the posts would have been and at ice-level, you could have seen that even if the goal itself was in the zamboni tunnel.

As I said after the game (and brought up on Twitter at the time), I wondered if the fact that Atkinson scored while standing where the post should have been would make a difference. I would assume not but we didn’t get an answer for that, instead we were told it didn’t matter because Brendan Smith was at fault for the net coming off in the first place. And that’s fine, we can’t expect a March game between the Red Wings and Blue Jackets to set a precedent on such an edge-case play.

So what we get is the proper result but a stupid reason for it. That goal should have counted but whether or not Smith pushed Atkinson enough to knock the net loose is not as definite as we were told.

It also brings to mind Smith’s apparent goal against the Minnesota Wild last weekend. In that case, Johan Franzen was pushed into goalie Darcy Kuemper by defenseman Marco Scandella, leading to Smith’s goal being called back due to incidental contact.

Four days ago, when Franzen gets pushed it’s his fault for making contact. Last night, when Atkinson got pushed it was Smith’s fault for doing it.

I think some of the outrage at Atkinson’s goal standing is because of the little bit of cognitive dissonance required for both of those cases to be true.

That said, that’s what baseball fans call the “human element,” isn’t it? The referees won’t always get it right and the game is better for it?

It’s an idea I strongly disagree with. As I said last night, missing calls doesn’t make the game better, it just makes the refs look worse.

Of course, there’s a certain amount of double-think required in being a sports fan. We saw Drew Miller take a high stick, he had to be helped off the ice, but because neither ref saw it, it officially did not happen. Because officials are treated as infallible, there’s not even an admission of having missed it. Video of the play exists but it never occurred.

That’s a bit of hyperbole. You hear mention all the time of even-up calls but that’s not quantifiable, it’s just another manifestation of the human element.

So maybe the outrage comes from expecting an even-up here, one that didn’t happen. Maybe it comes from looking at how Detroit lost a goal against Minnesota and how Columbus scored one against Detroit and not being able to process the double-think, figuratively throwing up your hands, and saying, “This is a joke.”

Gustavsson Stops 36 as Red Wings Edge Blue Jackets

Just a day after a surprise start in Boston in which he stopped 28 of 30 shots against, Detroit backup netminder Jonas Gustavsson got the nod again and stopped 36 of 37 shots to lead the Red Wings to a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It marked the first back-to-back wins for Gustavsson since January 23 and 24 of 2012, when he was with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Cam Atkinson‘s power play goal at 7:48 of the second period was the only shot to get past Gustavsson on the night. Atkinson went end-to-end on a rush, racing around defenseman Danny DeKeyser to get a shot from in close in on Gustavsson, who made the initial stop before Atkinson swatted home the rebound to briefly tie the game.

The Red Wings would regain the lead 3:26 later with a power play goal of their own. After getting knocked down in front of the net on a slew-foot by Fedor Tyutin, Todd Bertuzzi got back up to get a backhand chop in at the rebound of a Henrik Zetterberg shot. The puck bounced between Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovski’s pads with Pavel Datsyuk also there whacking at it.

Daniel Alfredsson‘s first goal as a Red Wing had opened the scoring at 5:05 of the first period. Driving through the slot, Zetterberg attempted to pass off to Datsyuk but the puck was blocked. Datsyuk got to it and poked it over to Alfredsson in the right faceoff circle for a slapper past Bobrovski and a 1-0 lead.

Each team scored once on the power play. Detroit had four chances with the extra attacker to Columbus’ three.

Bobrovski, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner as the league’s best goaltender, made 30 saves on 32 shots against.


The game was Gustavsson’s first career regular season start at Joe Louis Arena… During the game it was announced that injured forward Darren Helm was assigned to Grand Rapids for a conditioning stint. He is expected to play for the Griffins in their games this weekend before returning to Detroit on October 26th against the New York Rangers.

Blue Jackets Blank Red Wings in Home-and-Home Opener

Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets earned his first career shutout Saturday afternoon, leading his team to a 3-0 win over the visiting Detroit Red Wings in the first game of a weekend home-and-home series between the two clubs.

Bobrovsky stopped 30 shots in the effort, while counterpart Jonas Gustavsson made 21 saves on 24 shots against.

Cam Atkinson opened the game’s scoring with 6:14 left in the first period off a botched play behind the net by Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall. Kronwall attempted to complete a pass but whiffed on it as Matt Calvert pressured him on the forecheck. Calvert took the puck and sent it out to Atkinson all alone in front of the net for a shot past Gustavsson.

Jack Johnson made it 2-0 at 5:12 of the second period when his blast from up high found its way through traffic and past Gustavsson for a power play goal.

Another botched play behind the net gave the Blue Jackets their third goal. Brendan Smith passed it along the end boards to Kyle Quincey but the puck bounced off the back of Quincey’s skate and right to Ryan Johansen, who sent it out to Nick Foligno to snap past Gustavsson.

Jared Boll thought he had made it 4-0 early in the third period but his apparent goal was waived off as it was ruled that Gustavsson had control of the puck on a delayed penalty to Detroit.

The two teams wrap up their home-and-home series on Sunday in Detroit.

Blue Jackets’ Rally Extends Wings’ Losing Streak to Five Games

Vinny Prospal of the Columbus Blue Jackets scored with 24.7 seconds remaining in regulation on Thursday night, giving Columbus a come-from-behind win over the Detroit Red Wings and extending Detroit’s losing streak to five games.

In the waning moments of the game, Prospal joined Derek Dorsett and James Wisniewski on a three-on-two into the Detroit zone. Dorsett sent the puck to Wisniewski at the top of the left faceoff circle while Prospal went to the front of the net. Rather than shooting, Wisniewski passed to Prospal, who shoveled a spinning backhander past Red Wings’ goalie Jimmy Howard.

The goal capped a comeback from down 2-0 less than three minutes in.

R.J. Umberger got Columbus on the board with a power play goal at 4:23 of the first period. Jack Johnson’s shot from the blue line was knocked down at the top of the crease by Cam Atkinson. Umberger gathered up the loose puck and flipped it past Howard to make it 2-1.

After a scoreless second period, Dorsett tied things up at 5:03 of the third. Off a giveaway in the corner to the right of Howard, Derrick Brassard carried the puck out into the slot and put a shot on net. Dorsett got the rebound and put it around Howard.

Damien Brunner had opened the game’s scoring just 18 seconds into the game. Brunner picked off an attempted pass behind the Columbus net and wrapped around, eventually knocking in his own rebound.

At 2:40 of the period, Brian Lashoff collected the rebound of his own blocked shot and put it back on net, with it deflecting off of Valtteri Filppula on the way and beating Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to make it 2-0.

Bobrovsky finished the night with 28 saves on 30 shots. Howard stopped 21 of 24 shots.

Umberger’s goal was the only one on the power play on the night. Columbus had three tries with the extra attacker while Detroit had four.

The Red Wings are back in action on Saturday when they host the Nashville Predators.


Blue Jackets forward Artem Anisimov had to be carried off the ice on a stretcher early in the second period after a collision with Detroit’s Kyle Quincey and Ian White. Quincey left the game with an apparent leg injury on the same play… Jan Mursak played his first game since the season opener, returning from a shoulder injury.

Brunner Scores Shootout Winner for Red Wings in Columbus

Playing in only his second career NHL game, Damien Brunner was the hero for the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night, scoring in the fourth round of the shootout to lift Detroit past the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Brunner faked out Columbus netminder Sergei Bobrovsky, dragging the puck to his left to jam it between the post and Bobrovsky’s outstretched pad for the only goal of the shootout.

Pavel Datsyuk, Valtteri Filppula and Henrik Zetterberg failed to score for Detroit earlier in the shootout. Cam Atkinson, Artem Anisimov, Ryan Johansen and Matt Calvert were held off by Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, though Atkinson appeared to score before video review showed that he took two shots by knocking in a rebound chance.

After a scoreless first period, Red Wings’ defenseman Brian Lashoff, making his first NHL appearance in place of the injured Jonathan Ericsson, opened the game’s scoring at 1:10 of the second. After Mikael Samuelsson‘s one-timer from the top of the left faceoff circle was blocked, Samuelsson got the rebound and sent it to Lashoff at the blue line for a blast that found its way through a Johan Franzen screen and past Bobrovsky.

Detroit’s defense contributed again to make it 2-0 with 5:54 left in the period. Franzen lugged the puck through the left circle and drew a group of defenders to him before sending it across to Ian White in the right circle for a shot over Bobrovsky and under the bar, into the top of the net.

The Blue Jackets began their rally 1:14 later. Atkinson split Kyle Quincey and Brendan Smith after taking a pass from Johansen, breaking in alone to beat Howard.

At 3:24 of the third period, James Wisniewski fired a blast from the blue line with the Blue Jackets on a power play to tie things up.

Vinny Prospal put Columbus out in front with another power play goal at 8:43 of the third. Nikita Nikitin’s shot from up high bounced off the glass behind the net and came back out front. With Howard spun around, Prospal put home the rebound from the slot to make it 3-2.

Datsyuk made it 3-3 with 6:04 left in regulation, just as a Detroit power play expired. Niklas Kronwall got the puck all alone in the slot and raced down the middle. His delay drew everyone to him, leaving Datsyuk wide open at the side of the net to take a pass and knock the puck home.

Because that goal came just seconds late, the Red Wings finished the night scoreless on seven power play tries. Columbus had two goals on seven attempts with the extra attacker.

Howard made 30 saves on 33 Columbus shots on the night to earn his first win of the season. Bobrovsky stopped 39 of the Red Wings’ 42 chances.

The Red Wings are right back in it on Tuesday when the host the Dallas Stars in their home opener.


In addition to Ericsson, Detroit was without forwards Todd Bertuzzi, Darren Helm and Jan Mursak, backup netminder Jonas Gustavsson, and defenseman Jakub Kindl. They also lost defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo to injury in the third period… Forward Patrick Eaves made his first appearance in 14 months, returning from post-concussion syndrome to take Mursak’s spot in the lineup… New Red Wing Jordin Tootoo fought Jared Boll off the opening faceoff.

TGTW: Wings Remain Atop Central Eleven Weeks In

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 remain atop the Central Division after the eleventh week of play in the 2012-13 NHL season, but the Nashville Predators have moved into a tie with them, having played one more game. The Predators went 3-0 in a week that saw the Red Wings go 2-1, making up two points lost last week.

The Red Wings opened their week with a 3-2 win over the league-leading Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. Todd Bertuzzi scored at 3:57 of the first to get Detroit out to an early lead and Henrik Zetterberg made it 2-0 just 32 seconds later. Darren Helm extended the lead to three goals at 1:03 of the second. Simon Gagne got the Kings on the board with 8:55 left in the middle frame and Anze Kopitar pulled LA to within one with 7:08 left in regulation but Jimmy Howard held on for the win, stopping 26 of 28 shots on the night and ten of 11 in the third.

The New York Islanders continued their run of wins over the Red Wings on Thursday, as Detroit dropped a 6-3 decision. Valtteri Filppula scored the only goal of the first period at 4:17 but the Islanders would score the next five goals. Frans Nielsen tied the game up at 2:15 of the second and Brad Boyes put the Islanders in front with 7:14 left in the period. Kyle Okposo’s power play goal 1:49 later made it 3-1. Josh Bailey made it 4-1 at 8:04 of the third period and Nielsen’s second of the night with 7:00 remaining chased Howard from the Detroit net. Jordin Tootoo and Mikael Samuelsson scored 1:04 apart to make it 5-3 but Matt Moulson closed out the scoring with 2:38 remaining. Howard made 19 saves on 24 shots in his abbreviated night, with Jonas Gustavsson stopping two of three shots he faced.

The Red Wings appeared to be heading to another loss on Saturday but rallied for a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Drew Miller opened the scoring with a power play goal with 50 seconds left in the first period. Derick Brassard scored at 8:52 and 9:01 of the second to put the Jackets in front and Cam Atkinson made it 3-1 with 6:48 remaining in the middle period. It looked like the Wings would be down a pair heading into the second intermission, but Jonathan Ericsson scored with 49 seconds remaining and again with 31 seconds left to tie things back up. Todd Bertuzzi’s power play goal at 3:15 of the third would be the difference-maker as the Wings went on to win. Howard made 23 saves on 26 shots in the effort.

After eleven weeks of play, Valtteri Filppula leads the Wings in scoring with 40 points, six back of the league-leading Kopitar. Howard’s 19 wins leave him tied for second in the NHL and his five shutouts are tied for first in the league.

The Red Wings hold the Central Division’s top spot by virtue of a game in hand on Nashville, who also has 40 points. The St. Louis Blues sit two points back with a game in hand on Detroit.

The coming week will see the Red Wings play three games on the road after the Christmas break. On Wednesday they’ll visit the Carolina Hurricanes before moving on to see the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday and the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.

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.