Mrazek Stops 35 as Red Wings Best Kings

Detroit netminder Petr Mrazek stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced and helped lead the Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night.

Dylan Larkin scored the eventual game-winning goal at 6:08 of the second period, banging home the rebound of a Justin Abdelkader chance to give the Red Wings a 3-1 lead.

Jeff Carter‘s second goal of the night made it 3-2 with 9:17 left in the middle frame. Breaking into the Detroit zone, he snapped a shot from the top of the left circle past Mrazek.

The Red Wings would hold the Kings to just eight third-period shots and Mrazek would stop them all to preserve the lead and get the win.

Detroit opened the game’s scoring with 5:50 left in the first period on the power play. Henrik Zetterberg worked the puck down to Justin Abdelkader at the front of the Los Angeles net, who then moved it on to Tomas Tatar for a shot past goalie Jhonas Enroth.

Just 2:11 later, Carter scored on a shorthanded breakaway to tie things back up.

At 3:45 of the second, Mike Green jumped in from the point to bang a rebound chance in, making it 2-1.

Enroth finished the night with 26 saves on 29 shots.

The Red Wings are back in action Saturday night when they visit the St. Louis Blues.


Detroit got forward Brad Richards back from injury for the game. Andreas Athanasiou was returned to the Grand Rapids Griffins to make room on the roster for Richards.

Why Standing Pat Won’t Work at the Deadline

Red Wings’ general manager Ken Holland is on the record stating that he’s looking to trade for talent, not depth as the NHL trade deadline approaches.

I agree with that strategy. This team already has tons of depth, to the point that they’ve been pushing bottom-six forwards into the top six all season. They just gave away Kent Huskins essentially for free because they were able to sign Danny DeKeyser and also get Carlo Colaiacovo and Kyle Quincey back from injury (though Quincey isn’t due back until later this week).

Depth isn’t going to help this team. Talent is, and a move to acquire it is admirable.

If talent isn’t available, however, standing pat should not be an option for Holland. He has to switch gears and become a seller.

As assembled, this Red Wings team is good enough to make the playoffs. They can finish in the bottom half of the postseason teams and probably drop a six-game series in the first round. Their consecutive playoff appearance streak will remain intact but, with that outcome, you would hardly be able to call the season a success.

I know people will say all you really need to do is get into the playoffs and then anything can happen. Just look at the Los Angeles Kings of last season. The Kings, however, were able to add talent in the form of Jeff Carter at the trade deadline. The team as assembled prior to the trade deadline does not make that run.

Without a move to get better, the Wings will not make a run, and as such should sell.

We keep hearing that there aren’t many sellers in the market right now. Too many teams are still in the hunt. The Wings are still in the hunt, too, but I believe it’s worth risking their position this season – a season in which they’re not likely to win the Cup anyway – to put themselves in better position next season.

With defensemen at a premium, what return could Ian White fetch the Red Wings? A second-round draft pick? More?

I’d love to suggest dealing Colaiacovo as well but, as he’s been injured all year, I can’t imagine he has much trade value.

Michael Handzus just got San Jose a fourth-round pick. What would Daniel Cleary bring Detroit?

Would Mikael Samuelsson waive his no-trade clause if Holland told him “We’re buying you out this summer, here’s your chance to impress a different team?”

The Wings want to keep him, but what would Valtteri Filppula bring in trade?

I’m not suggesting Holland blow the team up. Dealing Fil would require a good return. Pending free agent Jimmy Howard isn’t going anywhere.

Clearing out a few bodies gives a chance for more of Detroit’s youth to get playing time. DeKeyser has an open roster spot. Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist remain in the lineup.

If the young guys prove they’re not ready, Holland can go back to signing veterans like Samuelsson and Colaiacovo over the summer, as he did preemptively last year.

I just don’t think doing nothing should be an option. As assembled, this team is not going to win the Cup. Either get better and take a shot at it or risk getting worse and still not winning the Cup.

Personally, I’d rather miss the playoffs this year (a deep draft year) and come back stronger next year than have two years of seventh-place finishes and first-round exits.

Quincey’s Fluke Goal Not Enough as Kings Rally Past Red Wings

Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey scored in his return from injury on Wednesday night but it wasn’t enough for Detroit, as the Los Angeles Kings rallied in the third period for a 2-1 win.

Quincey had missed two games with an ankle injury before returning – along with Brendan Smith – to the Detroit blue line. Johan Franzen also returned from injury but the team lost Valtteri Filppula.

Quincey’s goal, scored at 9:42 of the first period, came on an improbable play. With the puck being cleared around the left wing boards, Quincey pinched in and threw it at Kings netminder Jonathan Bernier. Bernier knocked it high into the air with his glove, then lost track of it as it came down, bounced off his own back, and into the net.

It stood for over forty minutes as the game’s only goal, through a second-period stretch that saw the Red Wings kill off a four-minute LA power play, of which a full two minutes was a two-man advantage.

The Kings finally got on the board during another five-on-three. With 9:34 remaining in regulation, Jeff Carter tipped an intentionally-wide shot by Mike Richards past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard to tie the game, 1-1.

With 4:48 left the Kings took the lead. D.J. King dug the puck out from along the right wing boards and sent it to Anze Kopitar all alone in front of Howard, where he had time to slide the puck around him to make it 2-1.

Detroit would be unable to even things back up.

Howard finished the night with 27 saves on 29 shots. Bernier stopped 32 of the 33 chances he faced.

Carter’s goal was the only power play goal of the night. Detroit had three tries with the extra attacker while Los Angeles had five, including 2:46 of five-on-three time.

The Red Wings will be back in action Thursday night in San Jose.


With Quincey and Smith returning from injury, Kent Huskins and Ian White were the healthy scratches on defense for Detroit.

TGTW: Wings Snap Skid, Remain Atop Central

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 ended their seven-game losing streak this week, keeping pace with the Nashville Predators in a tie atop the Central Division.

The Wings’ skid ended on Tuesday with a 2-1 win over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes. Phoenix got on the board first with a David Moss goal just 1:05 in but Valtteri Filppula evened things up at 8:57. Todd Bertuzzi scored the go-ahead goal with 4:28 left in the second as Jimmy Howard stopped 28 of 29 shots to get the win.

The defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings made sure Detroit didn’t make it a winning streak, with a 6-2 win over the Wings. Jeff Carter opened the scoring at 5:23 of the first. Danny Cleary tied it up at 7:17 but Dustin Brown put the Kings ahead again just ten seconds later. Only 39 seconds after that, Jarret Stoll scored his first of the year to make it 3-1. Anze Kopitar made it 4-1 with 4:55 let in the opening period. Stoll and Carter each scored second-period goals and Justin Abdelkader closed out the scoring in the third. Howard made 11 saves on 16 shots against before being pulled after Stoll’s second goal. Jonas Gustavsson stopped nine of ten shots in 33:37 of play.

Howard rebounded to blank the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night. Henrik Zetterberg‘s shorthanded goal with 3:07 left in the second period got the Wings’ on the board and Johan Franzen added an insurance marker with 5:09 left in the third. Howard stopped all 25 shots he faced.

After eight weeks, Detroit is tied with Nashville atop the Central at 26 points, with both teams having played 24 games. The St. Louis Blues are two points back with three games in hand.

Team-leading scorer Filppula sits third in the league in scoring with 30 points, behind Kopitar (34) and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin (32). Filppula and Pavel Datsyuk are tied for fourth in the league with 19 assists.

Jimmy Howard is no longer on the leaderboard for goals-against average or save percentage but his four shutouts are tied for the league lead.

The coming week will see Detroit’s homestand continue with games against the Colorado Avalanche and Washington Capitals.