Gaffes Cost Red Wings in 3-2 Loss to Flames

Two Calgary goals off mistakes by the Red Wings were enough to lift the Flames to a 3-2 win over Detroit on Wednesday.

Steve Begin broke a 1-1 tie at 2:28 of the third period when Detroit netminder went behind the net to tee up the puck for defenseman Jonathan Ericsson. As Howard came to the side of the net, Ericsson played the puck but sent it right back into Howard’s skates. It went off both of Howard’s feet before Begin got there to poke at it, sending it off the post and back off Howard again before sliding into the net.

Begin would make it 3-1 with 7:07 remaining on another botched play. With the Red Wings shorthanded, the Flames sent the puck into the Detroit zone. No defenders came back to get it, so Howard went behind the net again, this time whiffing on his clearing attempt. Begin was there to scoop up the puck and wrap around, throwing it into the open net.

Johan Franzen pulled the Wings to within a goal with 2:42 remaining lobbing a bouncing shot from the neutral zone in on Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who misplayed it as it slipped through his legs to make it 3-2.

Curtis Glencross had opened the scoring with 6:32 remaining in the first, knocking the rebound of a Cory Sarich chance past Howard.

Gustav Nyquist tied things up with 7:29 left in the second taking a feed in the left faceoff circle from Joakim Andersson in the opposite corner for a one-timer into the open side of the net.

Kiprusoff finished the night with 36 saves on 38 shots. Howard made 14 saves on 17 shots.

Begin’s second was the only special teams goal of the night. Detroit had five power plays to Calgary’s one.

Flat Red Wings Fall to Flames

The Detroit Red Wings dug themselves a hole early and could never get out of it, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Calgary Flames Tuesday night.

Johan Franzen had the only goal of the night for the Wings, scored on a power play with 7:23 remaining in the second period. After Niklas Kronwall held the puck in the zone along the left wing boards, Henrik Zetterberg backhanded a pass down to Franzen on the inside edge of the left faceoff circle, where he flung a backhand shot past Miikka Kiprusoff to make it 2-1.

The Wings lost the momentum that goal gave them with 24 seconds left in the period when Matt Stajan won an offensive-zone faceoff back to Dennis Wideman, who sent a seeing-eye shot through traffic and past Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard to put the Flames back up by two.

Mark Giordano’s power play goal with 4:02 left in regulation sealed the deal for the Flames.

Calgary captain Jarome Iginla had opened the game’s scoring just 3:24 in, knocking a loose puck past Howard during a goal-mouth scramble.

At 10:35 of the opening period, Curtis Glencross made it 2-0 with the Flames on a five-on-three. Mike Cammalleri sent a pass to Glencross at the edge of the Detroit crease for an easy tip-in past Howard.

The Flames scored their two power play goals on five chances with the extra attacker. The Red Wings were one-for-four with the man-advantage.

Howard finished the night with 19 saves on 23 shots. Kiprusoff stopped 19 of twenty shots before leaving the game with a lower-body injury after the second period. Leland Irving stopped all six shots he faced to close out the game.

TGTW: Wings Lead NHL After Week Five

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.

After finshing their first four-game Western Canadian road trip since the return of the Winnipeg Jets with a 3-1 record, the Detroit Red Wings returned home this week for rematches with the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames and a visit from the Minnesota Wild.

On Tuesday, Jordan Eberle scored twice to lead the Oilers past the Wings to sweep their home-and-home series. Eberle opened the game’s scoring at 4:25 of the first. Kyle Quincey‘s third goal of the season tied things back up on the power play at 2:36 of the second, but Eberle put the Oilers back out in front with 24 seconds left in the middle frame. Also in the second period, Edmonton defensemen Jeff Petry left the game after taking an elbow to the face from Johan Franzen, for which Franzen was ejected.

Edmonton’s Devan Dubnyk made 33 saves on 34 shots to get the win while Detroit’s Jimmy Howard made 16 saves on 18 shots against.

The Red Wings rebounded on Friday with a 4-1 win over the Flames, in a game in which all goal-scorers played for Detroit last season. Jiri Hudler scored the game’s opening goal just 1:48 into the first period. Todd Bertuzzi tied things up with 5:26 left in the period and the Red Wings never looked back. Pavel Datsyuk put Detroit in front at 8:43 of the second and Valtteri Filppula extended his team scoring lead with 4:55 left in that period. Ian White added his first goal of the season with ten seconds remaining in regulation on the power play to finish off the win.

Howard made 21 saves on 22 shots while Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 21 of 25 chances. Todd Bertuzzi left the game with concussion-like symptoms after being boarded by Lee Stempniak late in the third.

With Bertuzzi injured, Cory Emmerton made his first appearance of the season the next night against the Wild, a 4-0 win for Detroit. Henrik Zetterberg opened the scoring with 5:31 left in the first period and Mikael Samuelsson made it 2-0 at 9:08 of the third. Samuelsson and Filppula added goals in the final minute to round out the scoring.

Minnesota free agent signings Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, who both spurned contract offers from Detroit over the summer, finished the night -2. Howard made 20 saves in his third shutout of the season. Niklas Backstrom of the Wild made 26 saves on 30 shots.

After five weeks, the Red Wings sit tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals atop the NHL standings. Filppula leads all NHL scorers with 23 points, two more than Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin. Howard is tied for the league lead in shutouts (three) and wins (10) and second in goals-against average (1.72).

Next week the Red Wings host the Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils, then visit the Wild.

TGTW Week Four: Wings Almost Sweep Western Canadian Trip

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 opened up their first four-game Western Canadian road trip with a win in Winnipeg last week and continued their streak into Vancouver and Calgary before dropping the final game of the swing in Edmonton.

Former Canuck Mikael Samuelsson was the hero in his return to Vancouver on Tuesday, scoring a hat trick that included the game-winning goal in the game’s final minute.  Vancouver’s Mason Raymond had opened the game’s scoring at 8:33 of the first before Samuelsson responded at 11:40.  Niklas Kronwall made it 2-1 for the Wings at 9:15 of the second.  Keith Ballard tied things back up 39 seconds into the third, then Samuelsson put the Wings ahead again at 4:47.  David Booth knotted it at three at 9:50.  Samuelsson potted the game-winner on a power play with 46 seconds left in regulation.

Jimmy Howard made 20 saves on 23 shots to get the win while Canucks’ starter Cory Schneider made 25 saves on 29 shots.

Samuelsson notched another game-winner on Thursday in Calgary, when his second-period goal put the Wings ahead in an eventual 4-2 win.  Roman Horak opened the game’s scoring for the Flames at 2:50 of the first period and Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk responded just 53 seconds later.  Henrik Zetterberg put the Wings out front 1:09 later before Mike Cammalleri tied it back up at 5:19.  Samuelsson scored at 4:04 of the second to put Detroit back out in front and Danny Cleary added an insurance marker on the power play at 3:27 of the third.

Again, Howard faced 23 shots, stopping 21.  Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff made 30 saves on 34 shots.

On Saturday in Edmonton, the Oilers got out to a strong start and the Red Wings couldn’t recover.  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins opened the game’s scoring at 7:00 of the first and Ryan Whitney added another goal at 10:07.  Ben Eager made it 3-0 in Edmonton’s favor just 53 seconds into the second period, with Samuelsson finally getting Detroit on the board with 1:25 left in the middle frame.  Zetterberg pulled the Wings to within a goal with 9:04 left in the third but they’d be unable to pull even.  Howard stopped 27 of 30 shots on the night and Edmonton’s Devan Dubnyk made 24 saves on 26 chances.

After four weeks, the Red Wings sit atop the Central Division and team-leading scorer Valtteri Filppula (seventeen points) is atop the league in assists with twelve.  Howard has a 1.92 goals against average and a .914 save percentage, having made every start (though he was pulled in favor of Jonas Gustavsson at the end of the first game of the season).

The fifth week of the schedule will see rematches with the Oilers and Flames and a visit from the Minnesota Wild.

Late Goals Lift Red Wings Past Flames

The Detroit Red Wings scored twice in the final half of the third period on Tuesday night, carrying them to a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames.

Jiri Hudler and Drew Miller notched Detroit’s goals, breaking a 1-1 tie.

Hudler’s goal came with 8:31 left in regulation. Valtteri Filppula sent the puck from the side of the net out front, where Hudler jumped up all alone and backhanded a chance past scrambling Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.

Miller’s goal required similar quick passing, with Danny Cleary sending the puck from the bottom of the right faceoff circle through the crease to Miller at the far side, where he knocked it in with 4:02 left.

Detroit had taken an early lead in the game when Cory Emmerton scored on the rebound of a Justin Abdelkader chance at 5:57 of the first period.

Calgary’s Mike Cammalleri made it 1-1 at 1:59 of the second period. With the Flames on a power play, Alex Tanguay was left all alone in the high slot to take his time with a shot. Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard made the save but by then the defense had moved to Tanguay, leaving Cammalleri alone in close to outwait Howard and lift a backhander past him.

It was the only power play goal of the night. Calgary had two chances with the extra attacker while Detroit had three.

Howard finished the night with 28 saves on 29 shots. Kiprusoff made 22 stops on 25 chances.

The Red Wings continue their road trip on Thursday in Vancouver.


Tomas Holmstrom and Jakub Kindl were the scratches for Detroit… Before the game, Calgary honored former Flame and Red Wing Brad McCrimmon, who was one of the victims of the Lokomotiv plane crash last fall.

Red Wings’ Rally Falls Short Against Flames

The Detroit Red Wings scored twice in the third period Thursday night but couldn’t make up for allowing three goals in the first 35:47 of play, falling to the Calgary Flames, 3-2.

Curtis Glencross scored twice for the Flames – the game’s opening goal and the eventual game-winner.

With 3:50 remaining in the first and Calgary on a power play, Detroit goalie Ty Conklin stopped an Olli Jokinen chance from the outside but couldn’t control the rebound. Glencross jumped to the side of the net and chipped the puck over Conklin to get the Flames on the board.

Just 1:30 into the second, Blake Comeau made it 2-0. Wings’ defenseman Niklas Kronwall jumped up in the neutral zone to hit Tim Jackman but Jackman got the puck through to Brendan Morrison. Morrison and Comeau continued on a two-on-one and Morrison’s centering pass slipped through the defending Brad Stuart, getting to Comeau for an easy shot into the empty side of the net.

At 5:47 of the middle period, Glencross scored again when he raced down the right wing and fired a shot off the far post and into the net as the teams skated four-on-four.

Detroit wouldn’t get on the board until 4:55 of the third period, when Jiri Hudler evaded a check and backhanded a shot past Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff from in the slot.

With just 4:12 remaining, the Red Wings drew to within a goal when Pavel Datsyuk won a draw in the right circle back to Ian White for a blast that deflected past Kiprusoff.

Detroit would be unable to even things up, though Henrik Zetterberg rang a shot off the post in the closing minutes.

The Flames finished the night one-for-three on the power play with the Red Wings going scoreless on two tries with the extra man.

Conklin stopped 24 of the 27 shots he faced while Kiprusoff made 29 saves on 31 shots.

The Red Wings finished their Western Canadian road trip with one win and two losses. They’ll pick up again in Nashville after Christmas.


Jakub Kindl was a healthy scratch for the Red Wings as Mike Commodore made only his fourth appearance of the season.

Holmstrom Leads Red Wings Past Flames

Tomas Holmstrom scored twice on the power play Wednesday night, helping the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-3 win over the visiting Calgary Flames.

The goals lifted Holmstrom into a tie with Brendan Shanahan for fifth place all-time in Red Wings power play goals scored.

Holmstrom opened the game’s scoring at 6:14 of the first period, deflecting a shot intentionally fired wide of the net by Nicklas Lidstrom past Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff midway through a Detroit power play.

Jarome Iginla evened things back up just 44 seconds into the second, getting the puck on the right wing on a three-on-two and wristing a shot past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

Brendan Morrison put the Flames up 2-1 2:12 later, getting into the left faceoff circle untouched and blasting a shot past Howard.

Former Flame Ian White, appearing in his first game since blocking a shot with his face on November 12, tied things back up at 7:38 of the middle frame. White drifted from the high slot to the right wing boards with the puck, finally flinging a shot on net that found its way through past Kiprusoff.

Holmstrom’s second of the night put the Red Wings back into the lead. At 2:42 of the third he took a Pavel Datsyuk pass at the edge of the crease and spun around, backhanding a shot past Kiprusoff from in close.

Calgary’s Olli Jokinen replied 2:24 later, snapping a shot from the left faceoff circle past Howard for a power play goal.

Pavel Datsyuk put the Red Wings in front yet again with 7:21 remaining. With the Red Wings on a two-man advantage, Datsyuk sent the puck to the front of the net and it deflected off the skate of defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, bouncing through Kiprusoff’s pads.

Valtteri Filppula made it 5-3 1:14 later when his backhand attempt deflected off the stick of defenseman Chris Butler and past Kiprusoff just three seconds after the close of a power play chance.

The Red Wings finished the night three-for-four on the power play. The Flames scored on one of their four tries with the extra attacker.

Howard made 19 saves on 22 shots against while Kiprusoff stopped 25 of the 30 Detroit chances he faced.

The Red Wings, winners of three in a row, next play in Boston in the inaugural Thanksgiving Showdown on Friday.


With Ian White’s return to the Detroit lineup, Brendan Smith was a healthy scratch. Smith was kept in Detroit in case Brad Stuart was unable to play but with both White and Stuart healthy, Smith was returned to the Griffins after the game… Fabian Brunnstrom was sent to the Griffins for the night to make room for Smith on the roster. He returned to Detroit when Smith was sent down… Patrick Eaves and Mike Commodore were healthy scratches for the Red Wings.

Postgame: Flames @ Red Wings – 11/23

Tonight’s win wasn’t the cleanest the Wings have had this season but it had a lot of good points, including the two points in the standings that the team will take regardless of how they played.

I said after the first period that it was a bit slow but that the Red Wings had managed to limit Calgary’s chances so it was good. To start the second period, Detroit continued to play slow while the Flames came out with jump and took advantage. Detroit can’t expect to coast and it could have bit them in the ass tonight.

Jarome Iginla‘s goal was textbook execution of an odd-man rush, aided by the fact that there seemingly was miscommunication on whether Nicklas Lidstrom or the backchecking Detroit forward would be covering him. Brendan Morrison’s goal was in part a rookie/lazy mistake by Jakub Kindl, who ended up covering no one on the play. The Wings need to make sure they don’t make a habit of plays like those.

That said, three out of four on the power play (and one just after the expiration of the man-advantage) is a very good thing to see from special teams that haven’t been great this season. Tomas Holmstrom had a dominant night in front of Miikka Kiprusoff, with his two power play goals moving him into a tie with Brendan Shanahan for fifth place all-time in Red Wings power play goals.

I said that Calgary’s third goal came off them taking advantage of the opportunity given to them when Darren Helm lost his stick. The Wings returned the favor with their fourth and fifth goals. Stupid penalty by Curtis Glencross put the Wings on the five-on-three and they made it work.

Red Wings Rally for Shootout Win over Flames

The Detroit Red Wings never led Friday night but rallied from two goals down to beat the Calgary Flames in a shootout, 5-4.

The Flames led 4-2 in the final minute of the second period but Patrick Eaves scored a power play goal from the left faceoff circle with 18 seconds remaining to make it 4-3.

Brian Rafalski‘s second goal of the night tied the game. At 8:16 of the third period, Rafalski jumped up to hold in the puck at the right point and carried it into the Calgary zone, beating goalie Miikka Kiprusoff with a shot from the boards.

Todd Bertuzzi scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Wings the win.

The Flames had opened the game’s scoring at 8:43 of the first, when Curtis Glencross snuck a shot under Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard‘s pad from right in front.

Darren Helm replied for the Red Wings, slipping a shot from an acute angle between Kiprusoff’s pads with 4:02 left in the period.

Jarome Iginla would restore the Calgary lead with only 10 seconds left in the first, beating Howard on a wraparound chance.

Rafalski’s first of the night came just 41 seconds into the second, when his shot on a rush deflected off a Calgary defenseman and past Kiprusoff.

Glencross outwaited Howard while cutting across the goal mouth to make it 3-2 28 seconds later. Anton Babchuk’s power play goal with 8:27 left in the second wrapped up the Calgary scoring.

Howard finished the night with 35 saves on 39 shots. Kiprusoff stopped 23 of 27 Detroit chances.

The Red Wings are back in action on Saturday night when they visit the Vancouver Canucks.


At the midway point of the third period the Red Wings lost defenseman Brad Stuart to a broken jaw, suffered on a high hit from Calgary’s Tom Kostopoulos. The team says he is out indefinitely.

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.