Lidstrom Lifts Red Wings Past Flames in OT

Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom scored 1:38 into overtime Sunday night, lifting the Red Wings to a 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames.

Lidstrom took a feed from Darren Helm in the left faceoff circle, cut across the top of the crease to outwait Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, and slid a backhander into the back of the net.

The Red Wings had forced overtime with just 3.2 seconds remaining in regulation while skating six-on-four.

Pavel Datsyuk carried the puck into the Flames’ zone, splitting the Calgary forwards. Defenseman Cory Sarich was caught without a stick and couldn’t block Datsyuk’s pass to Henrik Zetterberg at the left side of the slot, where he snapped a shot into the top of the net.

The Red Wings had opened the scoring just 1:56 into the game, when Johan Franzen snapped a shot from the right faceoff circle past Kiprusoff on a Detroit power play.

Niklas Hagman responsed for the Flames at 5:21 of the first, beating Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard one-on-one after Jarome Iginla gained the Red Wings’ zone on an odd-man rush.

Iginla put Calgary out front with the next two goals. Just 54 seconds into the second he beat Howard from the bottom of the right faceoff circle after a turnover behind the net. He scored again 3:15 later, flipping the puck into an open net from a sharp angle on a Flames power play.

Datsyuk tipped a Brian Rafalski shot in at 2:28 of the third period for Detroit’s second power play goal, pulling the Red Wings back within one.

Alex Tanguay carried the puck across the goal mouth and beat Howard at 7:14 of the period to restore Calgary’s two-goal lead at 4-2.

Zetterberg’s first of the night drew the Wings to back within one with 8:56 left in the third as he backhanded a shot from the slot past Kiprusoff.

Kiprusoff stopped 33 of the 38 shots he faced on the night. Howard made 23 saves on 27 shots.

The Flames scored once on three power play tries. Detroit had three goals with the extra attacker on seven chances.

The win gives the Red Wings 11 out of a possible 12 points in the standings during their season-long six-game homestand. They’ll next be in action on Wednesday night when they visit the Atlanta Thrashers.

Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson left the game during the first period after a shot hit his ankle. He returned for the second… Forward Danny Cleary did not return after leaving the game in the second period with what the team called an upper body injury.

Red Wings – Flames Postgame Notes

So I realize I’m being quite the pessimist as of late but I’d rather look at the negative after a win than the positive after a loss. I love that the Red Wings are winning games but I look at a game like tonight and think, again, that it was a win they didn’t deserve.

That said, this is a different kind of undeserved win than the ones I complained about against St. Louis and Anaheim. Well, closer to Anaheim than St. Louis at least.

The Red Wings would not have won tonight’s game without the Flames repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot.

Matt Stajan’s ridiculous holding penalty with 4:31 remaining didn’t hurt Calgary but it was pushing their luck. Jarome Iginla squaring off with Justin Abdelkader (before the linesmen intervened) was just stupid on the Calgary captain’s fault.

There was nothing for the Flames to gain by Iginla fighting Abdelkader. The penalty would have been matching whether the fight had happened or not and taking Iginla off the ice at the expense of Abdelkader is a move the Wings would make in an instant. Maybe Iginla wouldn’t have touched the ice on the PK but he should have been on the bench with his team.

Cory Sarich’s broken stick in the final seconds? The Wings couldn’t have asked for a luckier break (pun not intended). While Pavel Datsyuk‘s pass and Henrik Zetterberg‘s shot to tie the game were fantastic, none of that happens without that insane piece of luck.

Until the overtime the Red Wings could get nothing going. Their forecheck was weak, they couldn’t keep control of the puck, and in their own end Jimmy Howard had another off night.

And then Nicklas Lidstrom made a great move in OT and Detroit got two points out of a game they were four seconds away from getting none.