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.

Red Wings One Win Away From Conference Finals

The Detroit Red Wings earned a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks Saturday afternoon, giving them a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference Semifinal series and putting them one win away from the Conference Finals.

If the Red Wings win game six in San Jose on Monday or game seven in Detroit on Wednesday, they will advance to face the Anaheim Ducks. San Jose would need to win both games to eliminate Detroit.

As they did in their previous two wins, the Red Wings had to come from behind to get the win.

After a Marcel Goc goal at 4:53 of the first period, Henrik Zetterberg tied things up just 3:10 into the second.

Nicklas Lidstrom got the puck on net and Tomas Holmstrom brought it across the top of the crease, trying to get a shot off. It came to Zetterberg at the side of the net and he lifted a shot over San Jose goaltender Evgeni Nabokov and into the top of the net.

Pavel Datsyuk put Detroit out in front with 3:47 remaining in the period on a miscue by Nabokov.

The puck was cleared into the San Jose zone and Nabokov came out of his crease to play it. He tried to clear it away but Datsyuk was racing in to challenge him and Nabokov’s pass ended up in Datsyuk’s skates. Datsyuk got control of the puck and skated it into the open San Jose net for the eventual game-winner.

Mikael Samuelsson and Tomas Holmstrom added insurance goals on two third period power plays.

Samuelsson scored on a one-timer from the right faceoff circle at 3:46 of the period and Holmstrom scored from the front of the net at 6:14.

The two goals accounted for all of Detroit’s power play scoring. San Jose did not score with the man-advantage. Each team had six tries with the extra skater.

Nabokov finished the game with 29 saves on 33 Detroit shots. Red Wings’ netminder Dominik Hasek made 23 stops on 24 San Jose attempts.


The Red Wings suffered a blow in the first period when defenseman Mathieu Schneider broke his wrist on a hit from San Jose captain Patrick Marleau. Schneider is expected to miss the remainder of the playoffs. Brett Lebda will return from his ankle injury to replace Schneider in the lineup… The Sharks were without Bill Guerin, who is expected to return for game six after taking a puck to the face in game four.

Red Wings Even Series with OT Win over Sharks

The Detroit Red Wings rallied from two goals down to force overtime Wednesday night, then scored with 3:56 remaining in the extra period to earn a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks and even their Western Conference Semifinal series at two wins apiece.

Mathieu Schneider scored the game-winning goal for the Red Wings on their lone power play attempt of the extra frame.

San Jose defenseman Scott Hannan attempted to clear the puck from the side of the net up the middle of the ice and Schneider knocked it down, settling it for a blast on net that deflected off a defender and under the crossbar.

Detroit forced overtime when Robert Lang scored with 34 seconds remaining in regulation.

Rookie Valtteri Filppula carried into the San Jose zone along the left wing and pushed a pass off to Lang, who skated to the top of the left circle and blasted a shot through goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.

Tomas Holmstrom, playing in his first game of the series after suffering an eye injury in overtime of Detroit’s series-clinching win against Calgary, got the Red Wings on the board with just 5 seconds remaining in the second period.

With the Red Wings starting a power play in the San Jose zone, Henrik Zetterberg won a draw back to Schneider at the blue line, who moved it to Nicklas Lidstrom for a shot on net that was blocked into the air. Holmstrom batted the puck in behind Nabokov to cut San Jose’s lead to 2-1.

The Sharks got on the board with 2:08 remaining in the first period when Todd Bertuzzi lost the puck along the right wing boards in the Detroit end. Milan Michalek and Joe Thornton combined to get the puck to Jonathan Cheechoo on the far side of the ice for a one-timer past Detroit netminder Dominik Hasek.

A fluky goal by Marcel Goc extended the Sharks’ lead at 8:07 of the second. Goc put a shot on net from the right wing boards that deflected off the head of Red Wings’ defender Andreas Lilja before floating over Hasek and into the net.

All of Detroit’s goals came with an extra attacker. Holmstrom and Schneider scored on two of the Red Wings’ five power play attempts and Lang’s marker came with Hasek on the bench for a sixth skater.

The Sharks were held without a power play goal on five tries.

Hasek made 25 saves on 27 shots against on the night. Nabokov stopped 46 of 49 shots against.

The series now shifts back to Detroit for game five on Saturday afternoon. Game six will be on Monday night from San Jose, while a possible game seven would be in Detroit next Wednesday.

Late Shanahan Goals Lead Red Wings Past Sharks

The Detroit Red Wings got two goals by Brendan Shanahan in the final five minutes of Saturday night’s matchup with the San Jose Sharks to lead them to a 7-6 victory. The second of the goals was Shanahan 99th career game-winning goal.

In a game that saw 13 total goals scored the first period was relatively tame, with each team scoring only once.

The Red Wings opened the game’s scoring just 2:14 in on a goal by Jason Williams. Williams had the puck behind the net and sent it to Robert Lang at the bottom of the right circle before looping around behind him. Lang couldn’t get a good shooting angle so he dropped the puck back to Williams, who ripped it into the net past San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

San Jose evened the game with a power play goal 9:58 later. Marcel Goc fired a shot on net that Detroit netminder Chris Osgood stopped, put the puck bounced out past the top of the crease. Scott Thornton got tied up before he could get to the rebound but Alyn McCauley snuck in and knocked the puck past Osgood.

Six minutes into the second, Marco Sturm gave the Sharks their first lead of the game. After Osgood made a stop on Goc, defenseman Andreas Lilja attempted to clear the puck through the slot. Sturm was there to pick off the pass and send it past Osgood.

Just 1:58 later, Mathieu Schneider pulled Detroit back into a tie with a fluke power play goal. He fired a shot from the blue line that deflected off the stick of Mark Smith before hitting Tom Preissing’s knee and going over Nabokov’s shoulder.

Schneider scored again 38 seconds later to put Detroit back in the lead. On a 4-on-2 rush, Lang carried the puck down the right side boards. Williams drove the net and drew a defender with him, leaving Schneider all alone to take a pass from Lang in the slot and one-time it past Nabokov.

The lead only held for 1:55, as Smith drove the net after Osgood made an initial stop on a McCauley shot, pushing the puck home before knocking the net off its moorings.

Mikael Samuelsson continued his hot streak, putting Detroit in the lead again 39 seconds later. On a rush with Schneider driving the net, Samuelsson ripped a shot from the right circle. Nabokov got enough of it to knock the puck into the air but it flipped over his head and into the net.

After a tame second half of the period, Detroit held a 4-3 lead going into the third.

Thornton tied the game 3:23 into the final period. On a delayed penalty to Detroit, Thornton got the rebound of a Nils Ekman shot and put it under Osgood.

Schneider completed his first career hat trick 3:14 later, scoring one a one-timer from the top of the right circle while the Wings had a 5-on-3 advantage.

Wayne Primeau, one of the players in the penalty box for Schneider’s third goal, scored while the Sharks were shorthanded to bring them into a tie. Just 1:18 after Detroit took the lead, the puck was chipped past the Wings defense and Primeau picked it up to skate in alone on Osgood. He rifled a shot over the goalie’s shoulder to knot the game at five goals apiece.

The Sharks took their second lead of the game with 7:11 remaining in the period on a 5-on-3 of their own. Preissing sent a pass from the goal line to Osgood’s right through the crease and to Goc on the far side, where he was free to put it in.

Shanahan’s first goal came 3:01 later, with the Red Wings on the power play. Williams carried the puck through the left circle and drew the defenders to him, before sending a pass over to Shanahan in the right circle, where he was all alone to put a one-timer past Nabokov.

With three minutes left in regulation, Shanahan scored again, deflecting the puck off the shaft of his stick while driving the net.

After all the special teams play, the Red Wings ended up going three-for-seven on the power play. San Jose scored on two of their eight chances.

Osgood stopped 27 of the 33 shots he faced, while Nabokov made 23 saves on 30 shots.

Detroit will complete their West Coast road trip Monday in Los Angeles.


Detroit captain Steve Yzerman did not play, he was reportedly “banged up” after Friday’s game in Anaheim. Mark Mowers took his place… Jim Howard was called up from Grand Rapids to back up Chris Osgood… Manny Legace is expected to miss at least two weeks after straining his MCL in his left leg… The Detroit Free Press reports that last Monday’s matchup with Nashville has been rescheduled for April 16, giving Detroit four games in as many nights. This was denyed by Detroit announcer Ken Daniels but NHL.com’s schedule confirms the Free Press report.