Red Wings Rally Past Penguins in Overtime

The Detroit Red Wings score two goals in the final three minutes of regulation and added another late in overtime to rally for a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday night.

Down 3-1 with 2:39 remaining in the third period, Henrik Zetterberg scored to give Detroit life. With Red Wings’ goalie Jimmy Howard on the bench for an extra skater, Danny DeKeyser sent a pass through the neutral zone to Zetterberg at the blue line. Zetterberg jumped between the Pittsburgh defenders and into the slot to snap a shot past goalie Thomas Greiss.

It looked like the game would be over just minutes later, as the Penguins gained control of the puck in Detroit’s end with Howard back on the bench, but DeKeyser blocked a shot at the empty net and the Wings turned it the other way.

With 39 seconds left, Zetterberg fed Pavel Datsyuk all alone in front of Greiss. Datsyuk attempted to fake out the Pittsburgh goalie but, finding nowhere to go, threw a pass back to an open Niklas Kronwall, who fired a shot back past Greiss to tie things up with his second goal of the night.

Justin Abdelkader would give Detroit the win with 44 seconds left in the overtime period. Abdelkader carried the puck into the Pittsburgh zone along the right wing and sent a pass across to defenseman Brendan Smith for a shot on Greiss. Greiss knocked it aside and the Penguins recovered but Zetterberg was able to tip Paul Martin’s clearing attempt right to Abdelkader in the slot to whack past Greiss.

Pascal Dupuis had opened the game’s scoring at 5:12 of the first period, snapping a shot past Howard on a two-on-one with Blake Comeau.

Olli Maatta made it 2-0 with 8:54 left in the first, picking up the rebound of his own shot from the high slot and cutting in from the left wing corner to squeak a backhander through Howard.

With 5:00 left in the period, Kronwall got Detroit on the board, stepping around Patric Hornqvist in the high slot to snap a shot past Greiss.

Chris Kunitz made it 3-1 for Pittsburgh at 8:29 of the second period, rifling a shot from the right faceoff circle over Howard’s shoulder.

Howard finished the night with 23 saves on 26 shots while Greiss stopped 27 of 31 Detroit chances.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night. Each had three tries with the extra attacker.

Miller Scores Only Detroit Goal in 5-1 Preseason Loss to Penguins

Drew Miller scored the only goal for Detroit on Wednesday as the Red Wings dropped a 5-1 preseason decision to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.

Miller avoided being sandwiched by defensemen Brooks Orpik and Deryk Engelland at the Penguins’ blue line but lost control of the puck, giving goalie Marc-Andre Fleury a chance to race out. Miller beat Fleury to it, though, and chipped a shot over the diving netminder and into the vacant net with 7:11 remaining in the middle period to make it 3-1.

It would not be the start of a Detroit comeback, as Chris Kunitz stole the puck in the neutral zone and broke in alone on netminder Petr Mrazek, rifling a shot from the slot past him with 2:34 left in the second.

Kunitz would add another at 9:28 of the third, roofing a shot over Mrazek from in close after being left all alone on a Pittsburgh power play.

Jussi Jokinen had opened the scoring with 4:54 remaining in the first. Jokinen got in behind the Detroit defense at the Red Wings’ blue line and took a long pass from Matt Niskanen, breaking in alone on Mrazek before putting a backhander past him.

Pascal Dupuis made it 2-0 2:29 later taking a feed from Sidney Crosby on a two-on-one before snapping a shot past Mrazek from the slot.

Craig Adams tipped a blast by Evgeni Malkin past Mrazek at 3:14 of the second to make it 3-0 before Miller finally got Detroit on the board.

The Penguins got two power play goals to Detroit’s zero, with each team having three tries with the extra attacker.

Mrazek made 32 saves on 37 shots against. Fleury stopped 16 of the 17 shots he faced.

The Red Wings wrap up their preseason schedule this weekend, facing off against the Maple Leafs at home on Friday and in Toronto on Saturday.

TGTW: Wings Fall From Central Lead in Week Twelve

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 went 1-2 on a Christmas week road trip, dropping them out of first place in the Central Division heading into the Winter Classic in Ann Arbor.

Opening their trip in Raleigh on Wednesday, the Red Wings rallied late for a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. After a scoreless first period, the Hurricanes got on the board with a Drayson Bowman goal at 6:30 of the second and made it 2-0 with 1:29 left in the period on a Jamie McBain tally. Pavel Datsyuk cut the lead in half at 3:10 of the third but Eric Staal made it 3-1 at 4:41. Johan Franzen put the Wings back within a goal while shorthanded at 7:27 and Todd Bertuzzi tied things up with 8:21 left in the period. Jonathan Ericsson‘s sixth goal of the year with 2:23 remaining gave Detroit their first lead of the game and they held on for the win. Jimmy Howard made 24 saves on 27 shots in earning the win while Cam Ward stopped 30 of 34 shots for Carolina.

The next night in Pittsburgh would feature no such comeback for the Wings, dropping a 5-1 decision to the Penguins. Chris Kunitz opened the game’s scoring at 4:40 of the first and Tanner Glass made it 2-0 midway through the opening period. Sidney Crosby‘s shorthanded goal at 3:16 of the second extended the lead to three and Kunitz added another with 6:19 left in the middle period. Carlo Colaiacovo finally got the Red Wings on the board with a power play goal with 3:03 remaining but Evgeni Malkin scored with 1:13 left to chase Howard from the Detroit crease. Jonas Gustavsson would face only six shots in the third, stopping them all for a 5-1 final. Howard finished the night with 12 saves on 17 shots in 38:47 of play while Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves on 25 shots.

The Red Wings’ scoring troubles continued on Saturday in Ottawa, where they couldn’t score a goal in a 1-0 loss to the Senators. Daniel Alfredsson scored the game’s only goal at 5:13 of the first period and 28 saves by Robin Lehner made it stand up as the game-winner. Howard rebounded from his awful night in Pittsburgh with a 31-save performance.

With only two of a possible six points earned on the week, the Red Wings fell to third in the Central Division, four points back of both the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators but with two games in hand on the Preds. The Blues are the hottest team in the league heading into the New Year, riding an eight-game winning streak.

The next week will see the Red Wings take on the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Winter Classic at Ann Arbor’s Michigan Stadium, then host the Nashville Predators in the last game before a five-game road trip.

TGTW: Wings’ Skid Reaches Seven Games

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.

Two weeks after sitting in a tie for the top spot in the National Hockey League, the Detroit Red Wings have dropped seven consecutive games and are eight points back of the Carolina Hurricanes for the league lead. The Los Angeles Kings are six points up on the Red Wings in the Western Conference. Detroit remains tied with the Nashville Predators atop the Central Division, with the Columbus Blue Jackets one point back and the St. Louis Blues two points back, each with three games in hand.

The Wings’ abysmal seventh week of the season began with a 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday. Deryk Engelland, Matt Cooke and Chris Kunitz each scored for the Penguins before the Red Wings got on the board with a third-period Johan Franzen goal. Jimmy Howard made 24 saves on 27 shots in taking the loss. Detroit lost forward Pavel Datsyuk to a knee injury in the first period after taking a charge from Brandon Sutter, who was ejected on the play.

With Datsyuk out on Wednesday, the Wings dropped a 3-1 decision to the St. Louis Blues. Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie scored in the game’s first 5:43 before Kyle Quincey got the Red Wings on the board with 6:24 left in the second. Kevin Shattenkirk re-extended the Blues’ lead with 2:47 left in the period to round out the game’s scoring. Howard stopped 23 of 26 shots on the night.

Datsyuk returned to the lineup as the Red Wings visited the Florida Panthers on Friday night but his return couldn’t prevent a rout, with an explosive second period propelling the Panthers to an 8-2 win. Jack Skille and Valtteri Filppula traded first period goals to keep the game even after a period but former Detroit prospects Shawn Matthias and Tomas Fleischmann scored three goals in the first 6:16 of the second to put the Wings out of it. Marcel Goc scored just past the game’s halfway point to chase Howard from the net, then Jonas Gustavsson allowed goals by Peter Mueller and Matthias just 18 seconds apart to make it 7-1. Mikael Samuelsson got the Wings’ a second goal late in the second and Fleischmann wrapped up the hat trick late in the third to round out the scoring.

Howard stopped only six of 11 shots in 30:09 of play while Gustavsson stopped eight of 11 in 29:51.

Howard didn’t fare much better on Saturday in Tampa, where the Red Wings took a 4-2 lead into the third period only to lose, 6-4. Filppula gave the Wings’ the lead just 3:41 into the game but Vincent Lecavalier tied things up 34 seconds into the second. Darren Helm and Franzen put Detroit up by a pair with goals at 5:45 and 7:23. Ryan Malone pulled the Lightning back to within one with 2:56 left in the middle period but Drew Miller‘s first of the season made it 4-2 with 58 seconds left.

Malone’s second of the night cut the lead again at 4:13 of the third and J.T. Wyman tied things up on the power play at 9:00. Teddy Purcell chased Howard from the net just 59 seconds later with another power play goal and Lecavalier rounded out the scoring with a third power play tally with 4:48 remaining.

Howard faced 22 shots and made 17 saves in 49:59 while Gustavsson stopped three of four shots in 10:01. Captain Henrik Zetterberg was lost to a shoulder injury in the first period and did not return to play.

After the disastrous seventh week, Howard has fallen off the NHL leaderboard in all goaltending categories. Filppula remains one of the league leaders in scoring, with his 28 points putting him behind only Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin (31). Despite missing time to injury, Datsyuk sits fourth with 25 points, with Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar (27) in third. The pair lead the league in assists with 18 each, tied with Carolina’s Eric Staal.

The next week will see the Red Wings return from their Florida trip to host a trio of Pacific Division teams in the Phoenix Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks.

Datsyuk Leads Red Wings over Malkin’s Penguins

Pavel Datsyuk scored Detroit’s first goal and made a slick stick play to set up another as the Red Wings earned a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Fellow Russian Evgeni Malkin scored Pittsburgh’s lone goal as the countrymen appeared locked in a duel early in the game.

Malkin got the Penguins on the board with just five seconds remaining in the first period. Racing down the right wing on a two-on-one with Chris Kunitz, Malkin snapped a quick shot to the wide side of Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, off the post and into the net.

Datsyuk pulled the Red Wings back even with 3:59 left in the second period. After Todd Bertuzzi took the puck away from Matt Niskanen in the left corner he got it to Datsyuk at the top of the left circle. Datsyuk slid across into the high slot and flung a backhander back across Penguins’ netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, beating him stick-side.

Johan Franzen‘s power play goal at 5:15 of the third period put Detroit out in front. Datsyuk knifed an attempt to clear the Pittsburgh zone by Matt Cooke out of the air and worked the puck down to Franzen in the left faceoff circle. Franzen wristed a high shot past Fleury to make it 2-1.

Danny Cleary added an insurance goal with 4:24 remaining. On a rush with former Penguin Chris Conner, Cleary drove to the net and tipped a pass through Fleury, giving Detroit a 3-1 lead.

Cleary’s empty-net goal with six second remaining rounded out the scoring.

Franzen’s goal was the only power play tally of the night. The Red Wings had two tries with the extra attacker while the Penguins had four.

Howard finished the game with 25 saves on 26 shots while Fleury stopped 21 of 24 chances.

The Red Wings are back in action on Thursday when they visit the Nashville Predators.


Healthy scratches for Detroit were Cory Emmerton and Mike Commodore… The Penguins were without Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek.

Red Wings Rally but Fall in OT to Penguins

The Detroit Red Wings rallied from a 4-0 deficit to force overtime Monday night but couldn’t hold off the Pittsburgh Penguins in the shootout, dropping a 5-4 decision.

Mike Modano scored a power play goal to tie the game on a power play with 9:33 remaining in the third period but James Neal scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Penguins the win.

Pascal Dupuis opened the game’s scoring with 4:46 remaining in the first period when he slid a backhander from the right of Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard past him and into the far side of the net.

Chris Kunitz made it 2-0 4:03 later, beating Howard in close after scooping up the rebound of a Dupuis shot.

Dupuis added a shorthanded goal with 9:09 left in the second, jamming the puck home from the side of the net after his own initial shot bounced off the end boards and came right back to him.

Tyler Kennedy picked up the rebound of a Kunitz shot all alone in front of the net and put it past Howard 2:25 later, ending the Detroit netminder’s night.

Henrik Zetterberg got the Red Wings on the board with 2:19 left in the middle frame, scoring on a backhander similar to the Dupuis goal that started the night off.

Valtteri Filppula made it 4-2 at 1:57 of the third, jamming the puck under Pittsburgh goaltender Brent Johnson from in close.

Danny Cleary tipped a Niklas Kronwall shot from the point past Johnson at 8:06 with the Red Wings on the power play and Modano’s goal 2:21 later tied things up.

The final two goals put the Red Wings at two-for-four on the power play. The Penguins were scoreless on three tries with the extra attacker but did net Dupuis’ shorthanded goal.

Johnson stopped Todd Bertuzzi, Modano, and Cleary in the shootout. Joey MacDonald made stops on Alexei Kovalev and Kris Letang before Neal beat him on the final shot.

MacDonald stopped all ten shots he faced in regulation and overtime but took the loss allowing one goal in the shootout. Howard stopped 11 of 15 shots he faced while Johnson stopped 31 of Detroit’s 41 chances.

Datsyuk Tallies Two Assists in Return as Red Wings Trounce Penguins

Pavel Datsyuk returned to the Detroit lineup Saturday night, notching two assists in his first appearance in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals as his Red Wings lit up the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 5-0 win.

The Red Wings now lead the series 3-2 with a chance to claim their second consecutive Stanley Cup on Mellon Arena ice in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Chris Osgood made 22 saves en route to the shutout, his second of these playoffs and third against Pittsburgh in the last two Finals.

Detroit had to survive an early push by the Penguins. Pittsburgh got the game’s first power play and outshot the Red Wings 10-8 in the first period but it was the Wings with a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Dan Cleary opened the game’s scoring with 6:28 left in the period. Datsyuk carried the puck into the Pittsburgh zone, drawing defenders to him before pushing the puck off to Cleary for heavy wrister past Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from near the top of the right faceoff circle.

The Red Wings opened the game up in the second period, scoring four more goals including three on the power play, tying an NHL playoff record for most power play goals in a single period.

Valtteri Filppula put Detroit up by a pair just 1:44 into the period, five seconds after Chris Kunitz got out of the penalty box for goalie interference.

Osgood sent a long outlet pass to Marian Hossa, catching the Penguins in a line change. Hossa gained the offensive zone and centered the puck on to Filppula, who drove to the net and lifted a backhander over Fleury.

Niklas Kronwall scored the first of Detroit’s power play goals at 6:11 of the second. Kronwall gained the Pittsburgh zone and passed the puck off to Johan Franzen at the right point before driving to the net. With no play, Kronwall went down to the corner, getting the puck back from Franzen then jumping back out to the top of the crease, lifting a shot over Fleury.

Just 2:15 later, Brian Rafalski snapped a shot from the high slot past a screened Fleury to make it 4-0.

Henrik Zetterberg ended the game’s scoring with 4:20 left in the period. Jiri Hudler sent a hard pass from the left point down to Zetterberg in the left faceoff circle and Zetterberg roofed a shot that saw Fleury chased from the crease, replaced by backup Mathieu Garon.

The five Detroit goals came on 21 shots against Fleury. Garon would go on to stop all eight shots he faced in 24:20 of playing time.

The Red Wings finished the night with three goals on nine power play chances after having scored just once with the extra attacker in the previous four games of the series. The Penguins were held without a goal on two power play tries.

Game Six of the Stanley Cup Finals will take place Tuesday.


With Datsyuk’s return, rookie Ville Leino was scratched.

Reffing Bad But Not at Fault for Wings’ Loss

As any frequent readers might guess, I’m not doing a formal recap of the Game Three loss. I’ve got an opinion about this one and I’m going to babble.

Malik already has a post up called “I don’t want to hear about the refs.” I do want to hear about them but not in the context of why the Wings lost.

Detroit lost because they got three shots in the third period. They lost because they failed to clear their defensive zone repeatedly. They lost because they did an awful job of blocking shots and because they scrambled and were out of position in their own end. None of that is any ref’s fault.

That said, I don’t think the refs can go without being criticized. While they didn’t cause the loss, they sure as hell didn’t call a good game.

The big thing that a lot of people will have trouble letting go is four officials all missing the fact that the Penguins had an extra man on the ice for a whole 20 seconds in the first period. I agree with that one. Given that it’s one of the penalties a linesman can call it’s insane to me to think that no one saw it. What else do they miss if they couldn’t see that one for over 20 seconds?

I’ve gotta just shake my head at that one. Thankfully nothing really came of it so it’s easier to ignore after the fact. Someone should get chewed out for it, though.

The penalty on Jonathan Ericsson in the third period… That’s the painful one. The Penguins got their game-winner on that one and it’s hard to ignore the cheapness of the call.

First off, yes, it was a penalty. As written in the rulebook, that is a play that should be called. So in the context of the rulebook it was the right call.

In the context of the game, however, I’m not happy about it.

First off, it’s a play that Hal Gill made repeatedly throughout the game. I can remember without video replay two or three times he held up Marian Hossa coming into the Pittsburgh end chasing after the puck. And it wasn’t called any of those times. So to treat that play as if it weren’t a penalty all game only to call it midway through the third is confusing to me.

Additionally, this came just minutes after Chris Kunitz put a high hit on Johan Franzen that went uncalled. One that even the NBC guys were questioning. By not calling that, the refs have signaled that they’ve “put the whistles away” but then they seemingly reverse that by calling Ericsson. What you end up having is a high hit not being worth a penalty but a cheap hold getting called.

It’s not a conspiracy, these refs didn’t do this to give Pittsburgh an advantage, it’s just something that looks bad. The Red Wings didn’t lose because of it but hockey fans everywhere have a right to feel like it left a bad taste in their mouths.

And just because I’m sure someone somewhere will make the argument, this is how these are different from the calls Penguins fans made for Henrik Zetterberg to be penalized for covering the puck in the Detroit crease earlier in the series:

That call was entirely subjective. The official announcement was that the officials didn’t think Zetterberg closed his hand on the puck, instead he was just sweeping the puck off Osgood’s back. Kind of like how you can knock the puck down with your glove and it’s not the same as catching it.

I can see how some might say the dirtiness of Kunitz’s hit was subjective, too, though I don’t agree that it was clean.

I can’t see how you can compare any of Gill’s uncalled holding to Ericsson’s called holding and see any subjective difference. The two players made the same play. Maybe not the exact same steps but the same effect and the same intent. Someone will have to explain what the difference is.

Speaking of subjective, the Penguins’ best player in Game Three was Evgeni Malkin with three assists. Lucky Pittsburgh that he was ruled to have not been sending a message at the end of Game Two, otherwise they’d have played this game without him.

Red Wings to Face Ducks in Second Round

The Detroit Red Wings found out their second-round opponent Monday night. The Anaheim Ducks completed a six-game upset of the San Jose Sharks, advancing to face the Red Wings in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Had the Sharks managed to come back to beat the Ducks, the Red Wings would have faced the Vancouver Canucks.

The Red Wings were 3-1 against the Ducks this season but both teams made significant changes after their last meeting. Detroit “flipped a switch” at the start of the playoffs, changing their style of play with stronger defense and better goaltending. Anaheim acquired defenseman Ryan Whitney for Chris Kunitz and James Wisniewski for Samuel Pahlsson, got Francois Beauchemin back from injury, and has been getting stellar goaltending from Jonas Hiller.

Red Wings Shut Down Ducks, Rally for Win

The Detroit Red Wings held the Anaheim Ducks to a season-low 16 shots Monday night, with goaltender Chris Osgood stopping all but one as the Wings earned a hard-fought 2-1 win.

Chris Kunitz scored Anaheim’s lone goal just 1:50 into the game as he and Teemu Selanne pressured Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart into coughing up the puck behind the Wings’ net.

Selanne moved out to Osgood’s left but pushed the puck off to Kunitz, who came out to the right side of the Detroit netminder and backhanded a shot into the back of the net.

The Red Wings battled back, firing 38 shots on Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere in the first two periods. With 5:34 left in the second, one of those found its way through as Nicklas Lidstrom sent a shot from the blue line that was tipped in front by Johan Franzen.

The goal was Franzen’s 100th career point and 60th career goal.

Giguere succumbed to dehydration in his first game in over a week and was forced to leave the game to start the third period, replaced by Jonas Hiller.

Hiller would stop eight of nine shots against but it was the first that slipped through, just 1:48 into the third.

Dan Cleary raced into the zone on a two-on-one with Marian Hossa, feeding the puck across for a shot by Hossa off the stick of defender Bret Hedican and between Hiller’s pads.

The Red Wings’ 47 total shots were a season-high for the team.

Neither team scored on the power play. Detroit had four tries with the extra attacker while Anaheim had two.

The Red Wings return to the ice on Thursday when they host the Vancouver Canucks.