Pregame: Stars @ Red Wings – 11/7

The Red Wings are back home after a 3-1 Western Canadian road trip, hosting the Dallas Stars tonight.

Winning three of four on the road would normally be a good thing but the lack of effort in their 4-2 loss to close out the trip in Winnipeg should be a concern. It was a standard trap game and the first game back home is one as well so we’ll see what kind of team comes out tonight.

Jimmy Howard gets the start for the Wings with Jared Coreau backing him up, having switched places with Petr Mrazek earlier in the week as Jonas Gustavsson remains injured.

Mikael Samuelsson swaps in for Patrick Eaves on the fourth line. Johan Franzen remains out with a mystery injury and Jordin Tootoo, who cleared waivers earlier in the day, will be the healthy scratch.

On defense, with both Brendan Smith and Jonathan Ericsson still hurt, Adam Almquist makes his first home appearance.

Kari Lehtonen gets the start for Dallas.

Stupid stat of the day: The Red Wings are .500 all-time on November 7 with a 11-11-6 record.

Bonus stupid stat: The Red Wings have met the Stars organization exactly once on November 7, a 5-2 win over the Minnesota North Stars in 1968.

Game time is 7:30 on FSD.

Third-Period Lead Not Enough as Red Wings Fall to Stars in OT

Pavel Datsyuk gave the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 lead with 8:26 remaining in regulation on Thursday night but it wasn’t enough, with the Dallas Stars scoring in the final minutes of the third and again late in the overtime period for a 4-3 win.

Datsyuk got the puck all alone at the top of the right faceoff circle and faked around Dallas’ Shawn Horcoff to get into the slot, then snapped a shot past both defender Jordie Benn and goalie Kari Lehtonen to put the Red Wings in front.

A Justin Abdelkader penalty for goalie interference would set up the Stars’ tying goal.

Skating six-on-four with 1:10 remaining, Cody Eakin got the puck at the left faceoff dot and whipped a shot through traffic and off of Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard‘s blocker, into the top of the net for a 3-3 tie.

The Stars would sustain pressure in the Detroit zone leading to the game-winning goal. Valeri Nichushkin dropped the puck to Rich Peverley down low on the left wing and Peverley looped back up that side of the ice, cutting across the top of the faceoff circle to the slot before snapping a screened shot past Howard to give the Stars the win with just 19 seconds remaining.

Detroit had opened the game’s scoring at 7:44 of the second period when Henrik Zetteberg fed Todd Bertuzzi for a one-time from the left side of the high slot that deflected twice before getting past Lehtonen.

With 5:10 left in the middle frame, Adam Almquist‘s first NHL goal made it a 2-0 lead for Detroit. From down low, Zetterberg sent it out to Almquist pinching to the right side of the slot for a snap past Lehtonen.

Horcoff got the Stars on the board with 21 seconds left in the second. The Red Wings lost a puck battle along the right wing boards and Ray Whitney worked it to Horcoff all alone in front of Howard for a quick move to his forehand and a wrister into the back of the net.

Jamie Benn‘s individual effort at 4:08 of the third tied things up before the Datsyuk goal. Benn knocked the puck off Darren Helm‘s stick at the Dallas blue line then circled through his own zone before breaking down the ice, through four Red Wings, and sliding a shot under Howard while falling at the edge of the crease.

Howard would finish the night with 24 saves on 28 shots against. Lehtonen stopped 26 of 29 shots faced.

The Stars scored on one of two power play attempts. Detroit did not get any opportunities with the man-advantage.

The Red Wings are back at it on Saturday night when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning.


Almquist was playing in just his second NHL game… Johan Franzen, Brendan Smith, and Jonathan Ericsson all missed the game with injuries while Patrick Eaves and Jordin Tootoo were healthy scratches… Tootoo cleared waivers earlier in the day… With Gustavsson returning from injury, Jared Coreau was returned to Toledo of the ECHL.

Filppula Scores Twice as Red Wings Rebound to Down Stars

Valtteri Filppula scored twice to lead the Detroit Red Wings back from a 1-0 deficit Tuesday night and earn a 4-1 win over the visiting Dallas Stars.

Filppula got the Red Wings on the board with 6:46 left in the second period. Pavel Datsyuk stole the puck behind the Dallas net and sent a pass out to Filppula all alone in the slot for a shot past Dallas netminder Kari Lehtonen to tie the game, 1-1.

A Henrik Zetterberg goal with Detroit on a two-man advantage with 24 seconds left gave the team their first lead of the game, beating Lehtonen with a rocket shot from the top of the left faceoff circle.

Damien Brunner added his third career goal at 6:15 of the third period, deflecting a Johan Franzen shot out of the air and past Lehtonen.

Filppula closed out the scoring just 23 seconds later. Datsyuk drew three defenders in as he drove through the slot, then passed off to Filppula in the slot for a wrister past Lehtonen to make it 4-1.

Loui Eriksson had opened the game’s scoring at 10:22 of the middle period, knocking the rebound of a Cody Eakin chance past Jimmy Howard on a two-on-one.

Howard finished the night with 25 saves on 26 shots to get the win. Lehtonen stopped 21 of the 25 shots he faced in 55:15 of playing time before making way for Richard Bachman, who stopped two shots to close out the game.

Detroit went one-for-six on the power play while Dallas was scoreless on five tries with the extra attacker.

The Red Wings look to make it a streak on Friday when they host the St. Louis Blues.


Brian Lashoff was the healthy scratch on defense for the Red Wings, with Jakub Kindl sliding back into the lineup. Carlo Colaiacovo and Ian White remain on injured reserve… Darren Helm, Mikael Samuelsson (IR), and Jan Mursak (IR) were out up front… Tom McCollum once again backed up Jimmy Howard with Jonas Gustavsson still nursing a sore groin.

Postgame: Stars @ Red Wings – 1/29

Really solid win and really solid effort by the Wings tonight. Good to see after their struggles thus far this season.

As I said at the end of the second, Detroit could have given up or gotten frustrated when Kari Lehtonen was holding them off the board and a defensive breakdown led to a Dallas goal. They kept up the pressure, though, and broke through in a big way.

Unfortunately, they’ve bought themselves some skepticism, so I’ll temper my excitement with concern over whether or not they can do this consistently. St. Louis is up on Friday and that will be a pretty big test.

Red Wings Avoid Shutout but Fall to Stars

The Detroit Red Wings narrowly avoided being shutout for the second time in three games on Tuesday night, dropping a 2-1 decision in their home opener to the Dallas Stars.

One night after being the shootout hero who gave the Red Wings their first victory of the season, rookie Damien Brunner scored the team’s only goal. Pavel Datsyuk‘s pass across the top of the crease reached Brunner on the far side with a wide open net for his first career NHL goal, coming with just three seconds left in the game.

Michael Ryder provided all of the offense for Dallas.

At 5:41 of the first period, Ryder carried the puck from the left wing boards across the top of the faceoff circles and flung a shot on net. The puck deflected off of defenseman Kyle Quincey‘s stick early and sailed over goalie Jimmy Howard‘s shoulder, into the top corner.

Ryder struck again at 5:34 of the third period when he was left wide open in the left circle, taking a pass from former Red Wing Ray Whitney and snapping a shot past Howard.

Howard finished the night with 32 saves on 34 Dallas shots. Stars’ goalie Kari Lehtonen made 40 saves on the 41 shots he faced.

Though Brunner’s goal came with Howard on the bench for an extra attacker, the Wings were scoreless on four power play tries, still looking for their first power play goal of the season. Dallas did not score on either of their two tries with the man advantage.

Having completed three games in four nights, the Red Wings are now off until Friday when they host the Minnesota Wild.


Former Red Wing Tomas Holmstrom, who announced his retirement earlier in the day, participated in a ceremonial puck drop to start the game… The Red Wings were without forwards Mikael Samuelsson, Darren Helm, Todd Bertuzzi, and Jan Mursak, defensemen Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl and Carlo Colaiacovo, and goalie Jonas Gustavsson… Defenseman Kent Huskins made his Red Wings debut, having been signed earlier in the day due to the injuries decimating Detroit’s blue line… Forward Gustav Nyquist was called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins to fill in up front. He and goalie Tom McCollum were returned to the Griffins after the game.

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.

Red Wings Break NHL Record with 21st Consecutive Home Win

The Detroit Red Wings set a new NHL record Tuesday night, winning their twenty-first home game in a row with a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars.

Detroit had tied the old record of twenty wins on Sunday night. That mark was set first by the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and tied by the 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers.

Down 2-0 entering the third period, the Stars controlled play early in an effort to avert history. It wasn’t until Jiri Hudler scored with 4:49 left that the victory was secured.

Hudler’s goal came on a play that saw him sneak into the Dallas zone down the right side of the ice while the Stars’ defense was focused on Valtteri Filppula on the left wing. Filppula flipped a pass over the Hudler, who settled the puck and snapped a shot past goalie Kari Lehtonen.

Adam Burish would break the shutout with 33 seconds remaining, deflecting a pass from Michael Ryder past Detroit goalie Joey MacDonald with his skate. It wouldn’t be enough, however.

Detroit had opened the scoring at 7:57 of the first period on a power play. Zetterberg threw the puck to the front of the net from the bottom of the left faceoff circle and hit bounced right back to him. With Lehtonen having shifted to the middle of the crease, Zetterberg put it into the empty side of the net.

Just 1:18 later, Brad Stuart threaded a shot from the right wing boards through traffic and past Lehtonen to make it 2-0.

The Red Wings would finish the period having put twenty shots on net to Dallas’ ten. The scoreless second period was much more even but still saw Detroit outshoot the Stars, 11-6. Even in a third period that saw Dallas carry much of the play, they managed only five shots to Detroit’s six.

In all, Lehtonen made 34 saves on Detroit’s 37 chances. MacDonald stopped twenty of the 21 shots he faced.

Zetterberg’s goal was the only power play tally on the night. Detroit had five tries with the extra attacker while the Stars had two.

The Red Wings will get the chance to extend their streak on Friday when they host the Nashville Predators.


The Red Wings were without goalie Jimmy Howard and forward Danny Cleary, both of whom expect to return from injury on Sunday against the San Jose Sharks… Mike Commodore was the healthy scratch on defense.

Hudler Scores Twice as Red Wings Hold off Stars, 5-4

Detroit forward Jiri Hudler scored two first-period goals Tuesday night as the Red Wings held off a late comeback attempt by the Dallas Stars for a 5-4 win.

Hudler’s linemates, Valtteri Filppula and Henrik Zetterberg, each had three points on the night. Filppula had a goal and two assists while Zetterberg notched three assists.

Filppula opened the game’s scoring at 8:02 of the first period. After an Ian White shot from the blue line, Henrik Zetterberg sent the puck from the left side to Filppula on the far side of the crease, who settled it down and flung it into the open net.

Hudler’s first made it 2-0 with 2:54 left in the period, when a Zetterberg shot deflected off Hudler’s skate and past Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen.

Loui Eriksson got the Stars on the board just 50 seconds later, making a wide wraparound attempt through the right circle and into the slot to snap a shot past Red Wings’ netminder Jimmy Howard.

Hudler restored the Detroit two-goal lead with one minute left in the first. After rushing down the right wing, Zetterberg cut into the high slot and passed off to Filppula in the left circle. Filppula sent it back into the slot to Hudler, who was left uncovered for a wrister past Lehtonen.

Jamie Benn pulled Dallas to back within a goal at 1:04 of the second, beating Howard short-side from the goal line below the right circle.

Cory Emmerton returned the favor for the Red Wings at 3:51, putting a shot from below the left circle off Lehtonen and into the Dallas net.

Michael Ryder‘s first of the night at 7:25 of the middle frame made it 4-3 Detroit. Ryder snapped a shot from the left wing boards that Howard got a piece of before it fluttered into the net.

With 8:14 left in the period, Johan Franzen gave the Red Wings their fourth two-goal lead of the night. Lehtonen went down early and gave Franzen only the top corners, and Franzen lifted a shot from the left faceoff dot into the far corner for a 5-3 lead.

Ryder’s second of the night rounded out the scoring with 5:53 remaining, as he flung a shot through a screen from the right circle past Howard.

Howard finished the night with 25 saves on 29 shots against. Lehtonen made 26 saves on 31 Detroit shots.

Dallas had the game’s only power play just fifteen seconds in. They were held scoreless.

The Red Wings continue their four-game road trip on Saturday when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Stars – 1/3

Every win counts, but (as I suggested on Twitter immediately after the final buzzer) this was the sloppiest win of the season for the Red Wings, hands down.

Emblematic of the defensive side of Detroit’s game: Dallas’ fourth goal. Two Red Wings miscommunicate and collide inside the blue line, leaving Michael Ryder free to cut across the ice and overload the left side, then use Nicklas Lidstrom as a screen to get a shot past Jimmy Howard.

Howard got beat on shots through a screen three times, which I’m not sure what to think about. I feel like he should have been able to get at least one of them, as it’s not like the screens were particularly close to the net.

On the offensive side of the game, it’s crazy to think that the Wings scored five goals and that was with Kari Lehtonen playing out of his mind. It could have been 5-0 Detroit in the first period if not for some big stops, particularly on Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler. Lehtonen made those stops but then allowed one where he didn’t hold the post and had one go in off a skate, leading to a weird situation where the Wings’ offense generated great chances that they didn’t score on but the seemingly harmless plays did get a couple goals.

Weird game. Not indicative of the talent level of either team, so I hope the Wings take the points and immediately forget about it.

Red Wings – Stars Postgame Notes

I said before the game that the Red Wings’ effort would have to be raised against the Stars and unfortunately it was not. Dallas took advantages of the opportunities they got and Detroit couldn’t respond. My thoughts on the night, in no particular order…

Effort, or lack thereof
I tweeted about this (and a lot of the things I’m going to write) but I think the play leading to Jamie Langenbrunner’s ENG sums things up nicely. Four Wings on one Star with the puck. Puck gets out to Langenbrunner. Goal.

How do you have a four on one and not come up with the puck in the game’s dying minutes? At that point it’s better to take a penalty running the guy into the ground than it is to lose the puck. You have to make the effort. But no one made a move, the puck gets out, and then it’s in the Detroit net.

Ericsson vs. Ott
Worthless fight. Give Ericsson the win but it accomplished nothing. The Wings could have built off of it so I have no idea why Ott would even be willing to drop the gloves. Of course, they didn’t, so he’s off the hook for that.

Lehtonen
Kari Lehtonen came up with some big stops at key times. The scoresheet says he made 38 saves but I can’t believe the Wings got that many shots through. Bottom line is he kept the Stars in front when Detroit (finally) attempted to mount a comeback.

Booing
Debate about whether or not it’s okay to boo your team raged on Twitter during this game. For a long time I thought it was classless to boo the team you’re a fan of but I’ve since changed my mind.

If you’ll recall, my brain kind of broke after attending Game Seven of the 2009 Finals. Not because of the outcome but because of the effort. I had just paid something like $250 to watch the Red Wings skate like the game didn’t matter.

When you buy your ticket you can’t dictate what kind of game you’re going to see. Lots of stuff happens in a game, you don’t get to say something like, “I only want to go if it’s a win.” There are things you should be able to expect, however, such as the level of play.

You buy a ticket to an NHL game expecting an NHL-level game. When the Red Wings don’t put in the effort, you are not getting what you paid for. In that case, you absolutely have the right to boo.

There’s not a fine line on this. I still think booing your team is tacky. I just think that if your team isn’t putting in the effort they’re not really your team anymore.

Officiating
Okay, I don’t like the Rafalski goal that was called back but I’m not sure it was the wrong call. There was incidental contact. By the book, the right call was made.

That said, I don’t know the last time I saw that call go the other way. I’d have a lot less of an issue with it if I didn’t have the feeling that it would have been allowed were it a Goligoski shot past Howard with Ott screening. No official rule or specific play to back that up, just a feeling.

Bounces
Dallas’ first goal… Shot that deflects wide, straight to an open player with an empty net. Okay, one lucky goal.

Dallas’ second goal… Bouncing puck gets past Niklas Kronwall at the point and Loui Eriksson races in all alone to stuff it past Howard. Two lucky bounces?

Dallas’ third goal… Stars on the two-on-one, Rafalski blocks the pass but it comes right back to Barch, whose shot then deflects on its way past Howard.

That’s a lot of bounces going against Detroit. I know better defense takes care of that but you need luck, too, and they didn’t get it tonight.

Wrapup
Mike Modano and (possibly) Valtteri Filppula will be back on Saturday so maybe that’ll shake things up a bit. The Wings begin their epic five-game West Coast road trip in Buffalo (WTF?) and this could have major playoff implications, so they’ll have t get their act together.