TGTW: Wings Drop Three Consecutive Games in Week Six

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.

Three consecutive losses dropped the Detroit Red Wings out of a tie for first place in the National Hockey League in the season’s sixth week but the team remains in a tie with the Los Angeles Kings atop the Western Conference.

The Red Wings dropped their first overtime game of the season on Tuesday when they hosted the Dallas Stars.  Dallas’ Vern Fiddler opened the game’s scoring at 9:27 of the first but Johan Franzen responded for the Wings with 49 seconds left in the period to even things up.  Pavel Datsyuk made it 2-1 in Detroit’s favor at 1:51 of the second, a score that would hold until Michael Ryder made it a 2-2 tie with 7:38 left in regulation.  At 1:34 of the overtime period, Eric Nystrom gave Dallas the win.

Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard allowed the three goals on just 19 shots while Dallas netminder Kari Lehtonen made 19 saves on 21 shots.  The lone bright spot for the Red Wings was the return of Todd Bertuzzi to the lineup after missing two games with concussion-like symptoms.

The Wings’ skid continued on Thursday with a 5-3 loss to the visiting New Jersey Devils, fueled by three quick goals in the middle of the third period.  Datsyuk got the Red Wings out to a quick start, scoring just a minute into the game and adding another at 9:38 of the first on a power play.  Ilya Kovalchuk got the Devils on the board at 3:21 of the second and Dainius tied things up with a power play goal at 6:14 of the third.  Jordin Tootoo‘s first as a Red Wing put Detroit back out in front at 8:05 but Tim Sestito re-tied it 23 seconds later.  Adam Larsson gave the Devils their first lead with 9:32 remaining and Zubrus extended after only three seconds, chasing Howard from the crease in favor of Jonas Gustavsson.

Gustavsson stopped the three shots he saw in the final 9:29 of play after Howard made 24 saves on 29 shots.  New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur stopped 29 of the 32 shots he faced.

A six-round shootout loss in Minnesota closed out the week for the Red Wings.  Cal Clutterbuck got the Wild out to an early lead at 1:04 of the first before Darren Helm responded with his first of the season at 6:46.  Valtteri Filppula put the Red Wings out front at 6:58 of the second with a power play goal and Jakub Kindl extended the lead 53 seconds later.  With 8:35 left in the third, Jared Spurgeon cut Detroit’s lead to a goal.  Just eight seconds later, Kyle Brodziak tied things up.

Franzen and Brodziak scored to open the shootout.  Datsyuk was stopped and Devin Setoguchi scored in the second round but Henrik Zetteberg scored and Howard stopped Pierre-Marc Bouchard to keep the Wings alive.  Mikael Samuelsson, Matt Cullen, Bertuzzi, Steven Kampfer and Drew Miller would all fail to score before Ryan Suter beat Howard to give the Wild the win.

Howard finished the night with 24 saves on 27 shots.  Niklas Backstrom made 29 saves on 32 chances.

After six weeks of play, Filppula remains the team’s leading scorer with 26 points, five more than Datsyuk and good for second in the NHL, one behind Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin.  Datsyuk sits fourth in the league in scoring.  Howard’s 2.09 GAA puts him at fifth in the league.

The next week will see the Wings host the Penguins and Blues before visiting the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Wings’ Trade Deadline Recap

The 2012 NHL Trade Deadline may not have brought what Red Wings fans wanted but that doesn’t mean the Wings made the wrong moves.

As far back as last summer, fans were salivating over the idea of having virtually unlimited cap space at the trade deadline. With over $22 million available to spend, there would be no player Ken Holland would be unable to afford. After years of Detroit being unable to add a significant piece on the final day of NHL trading, the shoe would be on the other foot.

And then nothing happened.

With cap space to spend, Holland couldn’t find any trading partners. Unlike in previous years, there were no superstars on non-playoff teams in the last year of their contract to be had as rentals. No Ilya Kovalchuk, no Marian Hossa.

The Washington Capitals weren’t set to trade Alexander Semin, the New Jersey Devils had already stated they wouldn’t move Zach Parise and the surging Anaheim Ducks weren’t going to give up Teemu Selanne.

With those options unavailable, the Red Wings stuck to smaller moves. In two deals with the Tampa Bay Lightning, one last week and one today, Holland turned Mike Commodore, Sebastien Piche and a first round pick into Kyle Quincey and a conditional seventh-rounder. It’s an upgrade at the blue line with the potential to be more than a rental, as Holland has already stated that the Wings will at least tender Quincey a restricted free agent qualifying offer.

Detroit’s rivals made more moves, notably the Nashville Predators.

The Predators had acquired Hal Gill on February 17, then added Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad up front today. They paid a hefty price, giving up Blake Geoffrion, a first-round pick, and two second-rounders.

In essence, Nashville paid as much for fourth-line, free agent forward Gaustad – a rental – as the Red Wings did for restricted free agent defenseman Quincey – a non-rental.

So I’m okay with Holland standing pat. I would have liked a move for a depth forward; I’d been thinking former Wing Mike Knuble could be a good fit for cheap but as he wasn’t moved at the deadline, I have to think either he wasn’t available or the Capitals were asking too much from everyone.

I’m also not going to lie – I am concerned that Nashville, Chicago, Vancouver and San Jose all added players while the Red Wings didn’t. Those teams got better and got deeper. The Red Wings got better but are not a deep team.

That last note will be proven tomorrow in Columbus. Jonathan Ericsson is already out with a broken ankle and now Quincey has a sore groin. Brendan Smith has been called up and will be in the lineup, along with Jakub Kindl. Another defensive call-up could be necessary if Nicklas Lidstrom, who didn’t practice today, can’t go.

Or maybe these late-season injuries will prove the depth the team can call on from Grand Rapids and show that a trade wasn’t necessary.

Stating the Obvious: The Red Wings Lucked Out Again

I said it when Detroit beat New Jersey and I’ll say it again tonight: The Red Wings caught a break.

Last Wednesday, Ilya Kovalchuk appeared to tie the game late. He was ruled to have pushed Jimmy Howard into the net with the puck, even though replay showed that not to be the case.

Tonight, the Senators appeared to tie the game with about eight minutes left when Chris Neil jammed the puck past Jimmy Howard. There’ll be an uproar about this one and some of it is right.

Howard made an initial save and the puck was under him. Neil jumped in and knocked it loose and into the net. In the time that the puck was under Howard, the referee deemed play to be stopped but he didn’t blow the whistle until after the puck was in the net.

It’s an infamous “quick whistle” combined with the dreaded “intent to blow” rule.

From a technical standpoint, the call was the right one. The ref lost sight of the puck so he had to blow play dead. He was slow on the whistle so “intent to blow” comes into play.

The explained call was wrong, however. After replay – which shouldn’t have mattered as the call was not reviewable – it was announced that the goal was called back because Howard was pushed into the net with the puck.

Much as in the New Jersey game, this simply did not happen.

Quick decision to stop play? Weak but explainable. “Intent to blow” rule? No one seems to like it but it’s in play here. Goalie pushed into the net? Absolutely not the case.

The call that was explained was wrong and the call that appeared to actually be made was weak. The Wings lucked out.

Red Wings Reach All-Star Break with Win over Devils

The Detroit Red Wings defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-1 Wednesday night, wrapping up their January schedule as the NHL heads into the All-Star break.

Darren Helm opened the game’s scoring just 1:43 into the first period, picking off a pass from Mark Fraser at the New Jersey blue line and skating in all alone on Martin Brodeur, beating him over the shoulder.

Brian Rolston tied things up at 6:35 of the period, banging home the rebound of an Anton Volchenkov shot after Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard bobbled it.

Valtteri Filppula put the Red Wings back in front at 5:32 of the third period, taking a cross-ice feed from Jiri Hudler and snapping a shot past Brodeur from the left faceoff circle.

Ilya Kovalchuk appeared to tie the game late in the third but the referee ruled he had pushed Howard into the net with the puck. Replay would show this was not the case but the call on the ice stood as it was not reviewable.

Johan Franzen finished off the game’s scoring with 44 seconds left in the game, snapping a shot from the high slot past Brodeur on a rush into the zone.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night. Each team had three tries with the extra attacker, though all of Detroit’s came on a double-minor and an overlapping penalty for a long five-on-three.

Howard stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced. Brodeur made 26 saves on 29 shots against.

The Red Wings are off until next Wednesday when they visit the Ottawa Senators.


Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom is the only Red Wing going to the All-Star Game. He will captain one of teams there… The Red Wings expect Pavel Datsyuk and Danny Cleary to return from injury in Ottawa. Tomas Holmstrom is expected to return shortly after.

Stating the Obvious: The Wings Lucked Out

I spend enough time questioning the officiating when it goes against the Red Wings that it would be hypocritical of me not to do to so tonight.

With Detroit up 2-1 in the game’s closing minutes, Ilya Kovalchuk poked a loose puck past Jimmy Howard. Tie game? Nope. The referee ruled that Howard had been pushed in with the puck.

Replay shows this is clearly the wrong call. The puck was loose and the goal should have been good. But the ref couldn’t have been in position to see that.

This is a case where more replay has to be allowed. Either that or more input from the other officials on the ice.

None of the spots on the ice where that ref should have been would have allowed him to see the other side of Howard’s pad. Based on a strict interpretation of the rules – the kind of interpretation that the Wings get burned on with “intent to blow” calls – the referee can never make the right call because he will never be able to see exactly what’s happening.

The Red Wings lucked out on this one but that doesn’t change the fact that it was a bad call made possible by flawed rules. It’s time to accept the simple fact that the referee can’t see everything on the ice.

Osgood Shines Early as Red Wings Double Up Thrashers

Detroit goalie Chris Osgood kept a shutout going for just over fifty minutes Friday night, finishing the night with 31 saves en route to a 6-3 win for the Red Wings over the Atlanta Thrashers.

Osgood stopped Rich Peverley twice and kept out a chance by Ilya Kovalchuk to keep the Thrashers off the board early.

“Osgood made some great saves in the first period,” Thrashers head coach John Anderson said. “Games change complexion when one team is down or us and if we had gotten up, it might have changed the way we played.”

Brian Rafalski scored the game’s first goal with 6:20 left in the first period, jumping up from the right point to snap a shot past Atlanta netminder Kari Lehtonen.

Pavel Datsyuk extended the Detroit lead just seconds after Kovalchuk failed to score, snapping a wrister from the left circle past Lehtonen on a rush with Johan Franzen.

Jiri Hudler made it 3-0 just two minutes later, scoring on a breakaway.

The teams traded third-period goals three times. Johan Franzen and Bryan Little each scored on the power play, then Marian Hossa and Vyacheslav Kozlov scored less than two minutes apart. Dan Cleary and Colin Stuart wrapped up the scoring.

Red Wings – Thrashers Pregame Notes

Some early morning notes before I head off to Atlanta…

Chris Osgood will make his fourth consecutive start for the Red Wings tonight. He’s 3-0 in his last three, winning on back-to-back days over the weekend and then again on Tuesday.

Tomas Holmstrom remains out and will not return until at least next Friday’s game against the New York Islanders.

Valtteri Filppula completed most of the Wings’ Thursday practice but his status for the game won’t be determined until after the morning skate. Today is his 25th birthday.

For the Thrashers, Ilya Kovalchuk returns to the lineup after missing three games.

This will be Marian Hossa‘s first game in Atlanta as a Red Wing. He played for the Thrashers for three seasons before being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins at last year’s trade deadline.

Thrashers Win Wild Matchup with Red Wings

A four-goal, third period comeback wasn’t enough for the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night. They fell to the Atlanta Thrashers, 7-6, after coming back from a 6-2 deficit to start the final period.

Atlanta’s Patrik Stefan scored the game-winner with 4:11 remaining in regulation. With Detroit pressuring in the Thrashers’ zone, defenseman Andreas Lilja broke his stick on a shot and the puck went straight to Stefan. The stickless Lilja was the only blueliner back and couldn’t make the play, leaving Stefan free to skate in alone on goalie Chris Osgood and put one past him.

The Thrashers had opened the game’s scoring at 3:53 of the first. J.P. Vigier intercepted a pass in the Atlanta zone with the Red Wings on the power play. He was hooked by Tomas Holmstrom as he broke through the neutral zone but the delayed penalty was negated when he rushed in at goaltender Jim Howard – who started the game in net for the Red Wings – and scored.

Pavel Datsyuk scored the first of his two goals with 8:37 remaining in the period. As Detroit skated five-on-three, Brendan Shanahan sent a pass from one side of the crease to Datsyuk at the other, where he was free to put the puck in the net.

Stefan scored his first of the night with 2:55 left in the opening period, picking up a rebound in the left circle before spinning and putting a shot over Howard’s pad on the near side.

Datsyuk tied the game again at 2:04 of the second, scoring from the slot on another pass from Shanahan.

Bobby Holik scored on a 3-on-2 to put Atlanta back in front just 1:03 later, knocking in his own rebound.

Osgood entered the game in an effort to shake things up for Detroit but he was immediately faced with 4:14 of Atlanta power play time, including two times where the Thrashers had a two-man advantage.

Former Red Wing Vyacheslav Kozlov scored on the first five-on-three while Marian Hossa scored on the second. Ronald Petrovicky scored another power play goal on a three-on-none rush against Osgood.

Down by four with 20 minutes remaining, the Red Wings began their comeback on a two-man power play just 24 seconds into the third. Shanahan took the puck to the side of the crease and lifted a shot over the far shoulder of Atlanta netminder Michael Garnett.

Jason Williams scored 1:38 later to pull Detroit within two and Osgood made a huge save on an Ilya Kovalchuk breakaway just minutes later to keep the Red Wings in it.

With yet another two-man advantage, Detroit scored their third goal of the period at 8:01. Mathieu Schneider fired a shot from the right circle past Garnett as the Wings pulled to within one.

The game was tied when Tomas Holmstrom banged in a rebound on a power play 40 seconds later.

The loss broke Detroit’s three-game winning streak and three-game road winning streak. It was their first loss to the Thrashers in franchise history.

Osgood finished the night with 12 saves on 16 shots while Howard made 13 saves on the same number of chances against and Garnett stopped 30 of the 36 shots he faced.

Detroit went four-for-eight on the power play and allowed three goals on seven Atlanta power play chances.

The Red Wings continue their Southeast Division road trip on Thursday in Miami, where they’ll face the Florida Panthers.

Locked-out Wings Help Honor Larionov

When former Red Wing Igor Larionov retired from the NHL last spring, he knew he had one game left in him. For a year, Larionov had been planning one final game in Moscow, where is Russian fans could see him skate for the last time.

With the NHL locked out and games put on hold, many of Larionov’s former teammates were able to make the trip to Russia with him, to honor the player who last year was the oldest in the NHL.

Larionov assembled a team of Russian All-Stars to take on a team representing the rest of the world, comprised mostly of his former teammates. Retired Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman returned to the bench along side former associate coaches Dave Lewis and Barry Smith to lead the world team while Larionov’s former linemates from the Soviet Red Army team, Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Krutov, coached the Russian team.

New Jersey Devils Martin Brodeur, Patrick Elias, Scott Gomez and Jay Pandolfo joined Red Wings Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios, Mathieu Dandenault, Kris Draper, Jiri Fischer, Tomas Holmstrom, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty, Brendan Shanahan, Ray Whitney and Henrik Zetterberg on the World team. Former Red Wings Steve Duchesne, Martin Lapointe, Chris Osgood and Luc Robitaille also played.

The Russian squad was made up of Pavel Datsyuk, Sergei Fedorov, Viacheslav Fetisov, Sergei Gonchar, Valeri Kamensky, Nikolai Khabibulin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Larionov, Danny Markov, Evgeni Nabokov, Andrei Nikolishin, Sergei Samsonov and Oleg Tverdovsky.

The World team, most of whom hadn’t played competitively since last season, got off to a slow start and Brodeur allowed early goals to Nikolishin and Samsonov. McCarty responded later in the period and the Russians had a 2-1 lead after one period.

Osgood replaced Brodeur between the pipes for the second period but couldn’t stop Larionov from scoring on a quick shot from the slot, as Larionov capped his career with a goal in his final game in front of his home crowd.

For the third period, Larionov and Yzerman switched teams, complete with Yzerman donning a Russian jersey with his name in Cyrillic on the back. Yzerman, possibly playing in his final game as well, scored twice for the Russians as they held off the World team for a 6-5 win.

Tkachuk Scores Four as US Defeats Russia, 5-3

Keith Tkachuk scored four goals and added an assist Tuesday night, carrying Team USA to a 5-3 win over Team Russia in the World Cup of Hockey quarterfinals.

The third-seeded American squad had lost their preliminary round matchup with the Russians by the score of 3-1.

Tkachuk opened the game’s scoring by tipping a Mike Modano backhand shot between the legs of Russian netminder Ilya Bryzgalov with 8:40 remaining in the first period.

Just 1:56 into the second period, Tkachuk struck again when he took a pass from Bill Guerin in front of the net and drove the puck by Bryzgalov.

The Russians evened the game on goals by Dmitry Afanasenkov and Danius Zubrus.

Scott Gomez scored off the rebound of a Tkachuk shot at 4:25 of the third and 22 seconds later Tkachuk got the hat trick by redirecting a pass from Guerin at the side of the net.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored on the power play to bring Russia within a goal but it wouldn’t be enough.

Tkachuk’s fourth goal of the night came with the Russian net empty and 55 seconds left to play.

The United States now advances to the semifinals, where they will face either the Czech Republic or Finland, depending on the result of the Canada-Slovakia matchup on Wednesday night.


In the first quarterfinal game of the tournament, Finland held off a hungry German team to earn a late 2-1 victory on Monday. The Czech Republic capitalized on weak Swedish goaltending to pick up a 6-1 win in Tuesday’s early game.