Pregame: Canadiens @ Red Wings – 12/10

Coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals, the Detroit Red Wings host the Montreal Canadiens tonight.

The Eastern Conference-leading Habs are without starting goalie Carey Price and are on a three-game losing streak. They’ll turn to Dustin Tokarski in the crease against Detroit. Tokarski held the Wings to a single goal in his appearance against them last season, a 4-1 Montreal victory on November 16.

Petr Mrazek gets the nod in goal for Detroit with no other lineup changes expected. Jakub Kindl will be the healthy scratch on defense.

Stupid stat of the day: The Red Wings have tied a franchise record with seven consecutive losses to the Canadiens.

Game time is 7:30 PM on FSD.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Canadiens – 10/17

Nope. I don’t wanna. I don’t wanna write about the Red Wings’ loss to the Canadiens.I said on Montreal Hockey Talk before the game that I expected a Detroit loss and it happened for exactly the reasons I expected it. The Wings’ defense is not what it needs to be to compete with the top teams in the league on a regular basis. The top pair of Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson is not a top pair on most of the elite teams and it dominos from there. Ericsson had an awful night. Mike Green had a brutal turnover that turned into a goal. Kyle Quincey‘s horrific misplaying of the puck led directly to Montreal’s first goal.

Which shouldn’t have happened anyway, of course.

Look, I know there are a lot of people who say that because the Wings ended up losing by three, it’s not worth complaining about one goal. Take that goal away and Montreal still wins. Yeah, but alternate history isn’t a matter of math. Take that goal away and everything after it changes. Maybe a Canadiens team playing from behind gambles more and loses. Maybe the Red Wings get cocky and make even more mistakes. We don’t know.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because I’ve said it before.

Speaking of blasts from the past, I brought it up on Twitter but I think it’s interesting to compare a blown off goal from almost a year ago in Montreal to the allowed one tonight.

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Apparently, when the goalie is Carey Price it’s impossible to stop the puck while someone’s skate is touching your pad, but if you’re Petr Mrazek you’d better just find a way to make it work.

Red Wings Fall to Habs in Overtime, Clinch Playoff Spot

The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night but the standings point gained in the loss was enough to clinch a playoff spot.

Minutes after the Canadiens finished off the Red Wings, the Florida Panthers completed a 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins, ensuring that the Bruins would be unable to pass Detroit in the standings and putting the Red Wings in the postseason for the 24th consecutive campaign.

Lars Eller gave Montreal the victory at 1:21 of overtime when his shot from the left wing was seemingly deflected by the stick of Detroit defenseman Kyle Quincey and flew past goaltender Jimmy Howard.

The Canadiens had forced overtime with a five-on-three goal with 8:21 remaining in regulation. Tomas Plekanec threw a low-angle shot from the right wing towards Howard and it slipped through, tying the game at three goals apiece.

Tomas Tatar had opened the game’s scoring with 9:41 left in the first period. Pavel Datsyuk carried the puck into the Montreal zone down the right side and Tatar raced down the left side, wide open off a line change. Datsyuk got him the puck for a quick snap past Montreal goalie Carey Price.

Andrei Markov tied things up with 2:24 left in the opening period, blasting a shot from the blue line through traffic and past Howard for a 1-1 game.

Montreal made it 2-1 with 6:24 of the second period when defenseman Jeff Petry jumped up to join the rush and take a feed from Torrey Mitchell in the slot, snapping a shot past Howard.

Datsyuk responded just 1:43 later, carrying the puck through the slot and faking around Alexei Emelin before whipping the puck past Price.

Detroit regained the lead at 3:34 of the final frame when Darren Helm outraced P.K. Subban on a shorthanded breakaway and beat Price to make it 3-2.

Price finished the night with 24 saves on 27 shots while Howard made 22 stops on 26 chances.

Plekanec’s goal was the only power play tally of the game. Montreal had four tries with the extra attacker to Detroit’s five.

The Red Wings close out their season on Saturday when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes.

Pregame: Red Wings @ Canadiens – 4/9

The Red Wings begin their final road trip of the regular season tonight as they visit the Montreal Canadiens.

Detroit can clinch a playoff spot with a win, whether in regulation or overtime. Montreal, meanwhile, can claim the Atlantic Division with a win over the Red Wings combined with a loss by the Tampa Bay Lightning or a point against the Red Wings while the Lightning lose in regulation. So a New Jersey win over the Lightning in regulation and a Detroit overtime/shootout win over the Canadiens gets both teams what they want.

A Detroit loss combined with an Ottawa Senators loss also gets the Red Wings into the playoffs. If the Red Wings earn a point, and either the Senators lose or the Boston Bruins lose in regulation, Detroit is in the playoffs.

In short, the Red Wings control their destiny if they can get a win against a team that they’ve only scored on twice all season.

Jimmy Howard gets the start in net for the Red Wings opposite Carey Price for the Canadiens.

Detroit will remain without Justin Abdelkader and Tomas Jurco, though Pavel Datsyuk will play despite missing the morning skate.

Stupid stat of the day: The Red Wings have been outscored by the Canadiens by a combined score of 26-11 all-time in regular season games in Montreal in April. Detroit is winless in those games.

Game time is 7:30 PM on FSD.

Pregame: Canadiens @ Red Wings – 11/16

Coming off a dominant 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, the Red Wings take on another Original Six foe tonight as they host the Montreal Canadiens.

The last time the two teams met, the Red Wings thought they’d gotten a late goal by Pavel Datsyuk to put them up on the Habs, but the goal was called back on Justin Abdelkader‘s goalie interference against Carey Price and Montreal went on to win in overtime.

Price will be on the bench for the Canadiens tonight, having gotten the start in Montreal’s 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers last night. Backup Dustin Tokarski gets the nod against Detroit’s Jimmy Howard.

The only lineup change for the Red Wings from the Chicago game is Brian Lashoff in for Jakub Kindl on defense. Kindl didn’t play for the final thirty minutes on Friday. Andrej Nestrasil and Daniel Cleary will be the healthy scratches, with Stephen Weiss and Jonas Gustavsson still on IR.

Stupid stat of the day: The last time the winning team scored fewer than five goals in a November 16th game in Detroit was the Red Wings’ 3-2 win over Chicago in 1959.

I’ll be on Montreal Hockey Talk‘s pregame show at about 6:20 to talk about the matchup.

Game time is 7:00 PM on FSD.

Thoughts on Goalie Interference

The “crease rule” does not exist.

It’s something that often gets forgotten in oversimplification of goalie interference calls. Shortly after Brett Hull beat Dominik Hasek to give the Dallas Stars the 1999 Stanley Cup Championship, the NHL eliminated the rule that said any time a skater was in his opponent’s crease, any goals scored would be called back (unless they were Cup-winning goals, it seemed).

Thus, when I see people reviewing Pavel Datsyuk‘s waved off goal from last night and saying, “Yeah, Abdelkader’s skate was in the crease.” cringe a little.

Okay, a lot.

Abdelkader could have been tap-dancing on the goal line and if there was no contact between he and Montreal goalie Carey Price, any puck that ends up in the net should have counted.

Rule 69.1, Interference of the Goaltender, is now entirely based on contact. Incidental, non-incidental, or lack of contact.

No contact and it’s a good goal. Non-incidental contact (the attacking player did it on purpose) and there’s a penalty in additon to the goal coming back. Incidental contact gets no penalty but the goal doesn’t count either.

Incidental contact is described as follows:

an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal

It’s further explained as

The overriding rationale of this rule is that a goalkeeper should have the ability to move freely within his goal crease without being hindered by the actions of an attacking player. If an attacking player enters the goal crease and, by his actions, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.

The problem is that there are two sometimes-competing scenarios here.

The goalie should be allowed to defend his goal. That’s the one we hear a lot, where an attacking player prevented the goalie from making a save.

An entirely different concept is that the goalie should be allowed to move freely within his crease.

I submit a series of scenarios: A goalie, call him Carey Price, is coming out to face a shooter, call him Pavel Datsyuk, wide open in the faceoff circle to his right. At the opposite post, another attacker, call him Justin Abdelkader, is perched in the crease, tap-dancing.

In Scenario 1, Datsyuk’s shot is easily stopped. No interference penalty, no goal.

In Scenario B, Datsyuk rips a shot over Price’s shoulder to the near corner. No contact between Price and Abdelkader, the goal counts.

In Scenario III, Datsyuk rips a shot into the near top corner. Price, inexplicably, dives across the crease and crashes into Abdelkader. Abdelkader has impeded Price’s ability to move about his crease, even though there’s no reason for Price to have gone there in the first place. The goal comes back.

Last night, Price inexplicably moved to his right, where Abdelkader was, causing the incidental contact while Datsyuk’s shot flew past him to his left. If the “overriding rationale” of the rule is to allow the goalie to move wherever he wants in his crease for whatever reason, I concede that he right call was made. If it’s to stop a player from impairing the goalie’s ability to defend his goal, that was the wrong call.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Canadiens – 10/21

There’s a decent amount of buzz that the Wings didn’t play well enough tonight to overcome and, thus, they didn’t deserve to win. That they can’t win without the power play clicking and since it’s not clicking yet, the loss is their fault.

I want to see the power play clicking. I want to see the Wings dominate and keep the foot on the gas and not let the Canadiens back in this one. The fact of the matter, though, is that you don’t have to do those things to win a game. You just have to score more goals.

Detroit scored two goals in regulation on Tuesday. Montreal scored one. That’s good enough to win, except for the fact that a ref bit on Carey Price‘s act that he was interfered with and all of the sudden two goals became one.

While you should go into a game planning on playing as well as you can and scoring as many goals as you can, you shouldn’t have to go in planning on having goals wiped out.

That was a good goal. They made the wrong call. 2-1.

Pregame: Red Wings @ Canadiens – 10/21

The Red Wings continue their string of games against Original Six opponents tonight, visiting the Montreal Canadiens.

Detroit is coming off a shootout loss to the Boston Bruins and then a sweep of the Toronto Maple Leafs in a home-and-home series. At 3-1-1 on the season, they sit three points back of the Canadiens (5-1-0) in the Atlantic.

The big news for the Wings is that forward Pavel Datsyuk will return from a shoulder injury and make his first appearance of the season. He replaces Stephen Weiss in the lineup, who had replaced the injured Johan Franzen for one game. Franzen is now on injured reserve, making room for Datsyuk to come off IR.

Datsyuk will skate on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader, with Gustav Nyquist bounced down to the second line with Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar. Tomas Jurco drops to the third line with Darren Helm and Andrej Nestrasil.

Jimmy Howard will get the start in goal after a short stint on IR with a minor groin injury.

Carey Price will get the start for Montreal.

Stupid stat of the day: Detroit has never scored a goal against the Canadiens on October 21. Their only previous meeting was a 2-0 Montreal win in 1950, which was also Detroit’s first game on the date.

Game time is 7:30 on FSD.

Datsyuk, Howard Selected by Team Chara for All-Star Game

Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk and goalie Jimmy Howard were selected by All-Star team captain Zdeno Chara at the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft on Thursday.

Datsyuk was the first overall selection of the draft. Howard was the last goalie selected, going in the tenth round (the round by which all goalies were required to be selected).

Team captains were Boston’s Chara, with Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul as an assistant, and Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson, assisted by Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers.

The full draft list is as follows:

Round 1
Team Chara: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit
Team Alfredsson: Erik Karlsson, Ottawa

Round 2
Team Chara: Tim Thomas, Boston
Team Alfredsson: Jason Spezza, Ottawa

Round 3
Team Chara: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh
Team Alfredsson: Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles

Round 4
Team Chara: Marian Hossa, Chicago
Team Alfredsson: Claude Giroux, Philadelphia

Round 5
Team Chara: Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia
Team Alfredsson: Kris Letang, Pittsburgh

Round 6
Team Chara: Corey Perry, Anaheim
Team Alfredsson: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay

Round 7
Team Chara:Carey Price, Montreal
Team Alfredsson: Brian Elliott, St. Louis

Round 8
Team Chara: Phil Kessel, Toronto
Team Alfredsson: Shea Weber, Nashville

Round 9
Team Chara: Ryan Suter, Nashville
Team Alfredsson: Daniel Sedin, Vancouver

Round 10
Team Chara: Jimmy Howard, Detroit
Team Alfredsson: Dan Girardi, NY Rangers

Round 11
Team Chara: Brian Campbell, Florida
Team Alfredsson: Keith Yandle, Phoenix

Round 12
Team Chara: Patrick Kane, Chicago
Team Alfredsson: Milan Michalek, Ottawa

Round 13
Team Chara: Dion Phaneuf, Toronto
Team Alfredsson: Henrik Sedin, Vancouver

Round 14
Team Chara: Jarome Iginla, Calgary
Team Alfredsson: James Neal, Pittsburgh

Round 15
Team Chara: Dennis Wideman, Washington
Team Alfredsson: Alexander Edler, Vancouver

Round 16
Team Chara: Marian Gaborik, NY Rangers
Team Alfredsson: John Tavares, NY Islanders

Round 17
Team Chara: Jordan Eberle, Edmonton
Team Alfredsson: Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia

Round 18
Team Chara: Tyler Seguin, Boston
Team Alfredsson: Jason Pominville, Buffalo

Round 19
Team Chara: Jamie Benn, Dallas
Team Alfredsson: Logan Couture, San Jose

Howard, Datsyuk Named to NHL All-Star Teams

The National Hockey League announced the list of 36 players selected to the 2012 All-Star teams on Thursday, joining six player voted in by the fans.

The Red Wings will be represented by goaltender Jimmy Howard and forward Pavel Datsyuk.

It will be Howard’s first All-Star appearance. In his third full NHL season, he has a league-leading 24 wins, with a .924 save percentage and a 2.05 goals-against average.

Datsyuk will make his second trip to the All-Star Game, having previously appeared in the 2004 contest. He was also selected to the 2009 roster but skipped the game with an injury. He currently leads the Red Wings in points with 43.

A notable omission from the roster is Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who reportedly requested the weekend off.

The All-Star Game will be played on January 29, hosted by the Ottawa Senators.

The full list of selected players is as follows:

Forwards
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
Tyler Seguin, Boston Bruins
Jason Pominville, Buffalo Sabres
Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs
Joffrey Lupul, Toronto Maple Leafs
Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Defensemen
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers
Ryan Suter, Nashville Predators
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Dan Girardi, New York Rangers
Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia Flyers
Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes
Alex Edler, Vancouver Canucks
Dennis Wideman, Washington Capitals
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets

Goaltenders
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues