Pregame: Wild @ Red Wings – 3/20

The Red Wings host the Minnesota Wild tonight in Detroit’s only home game between their just-completed three-game Western Canadian road trip and a four-game West Coast road trip that begins in Anaheim on Friday.

Darren Helm, who suffered a setback in his return from injury on Monday, will not be available against the Wild. Neither will Patrick Eaves, who sprained the joints in his jaw when he took a puck to the face in practice on Tuesday.

Gustav Nyquist has been called up to fill in on the third line with Joakim Andersson and Daniel Cleary.

The Wings’ blue line will see no changes from Saturday’s win over the Canucks. Ian White remains in for the injured Kyle Quincey. Carlo Colaiacovo could return during the Wings’ West Coast trip.

Jimmy Howard gets the start for Detroit against Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom.

Game time is 7:30 on NBCSN.

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.

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.

Hockeytown Shifts Gears To Watch Worlds: Americans Discover Yearly Hockey Tournament

Five games into the post season (one game short of my playoff tickets) and the Detroit Red Wings have done the unthinkable.

Started their golf season early – just not as early as the Leafs, Blue Jackets, etc.

The Detroit Red Wings have become the first team to be eliminated from the playoffs; which means no more hockey for Detroit fans to enjoy (well other than if the Flyers beat the Penguins).

All of the Detroit stars and done, gone, no more hockey until the fall right. Well maybe, but adds are that is not true either.

You see there is this “little” known hockey tournaments every year (well not on Winter Olympic years) called the IIHF World Championship; and guess what. NHL players are allowed to play.

HOLY CRAP.

Now that the Red Wings have been eliminated early there is a chance that some of them will be asked to join their native country in the tournament that is taking place split between Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland.

Currently none of the Red Wings have agreed to join their teams; however, other than for injury reasons I am sure a few may. Especially the Swedes and the Finn.

Team Sweden has gained Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Johan Franzen, Jonathan Ericsson, Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Fabian Brunnstrom and Tomas Holmstrom to their potential player pool. I know Nicklas Lidstrom is a Swede, he was captain for Tre Kronor in the Vancouver Olympics; but The Perfect Human is still injured and I do not see him joining the team.

Event co-host Finland now has Valtteri Filppula available. Last year Finland won gold without Filppula; however with Mikko Koivu‘s injury during the NHL regular season and the loss of goaltender Niklas Backstrom to surgery Filppula is probably already receiving calls.

Russia has been lackluster in the international tournaments as of late and could use the help of Pavel Datsyuk; however, injury may keep the Magician off the ice.

Justin Abdelkader, Chris Conner, Doug Janik, Drew Miller, Jimmy Howard and Ty Conklin have become available for Team USA. With the horrible finish in last years tournament the USA needs a strong push this time around and hopefully Miller, Howard and Abdelkader can have a better ending to their season by helping out the national team.

Hockey Canada… Detroit gives to you Todd Bertuzzi, Danny Cleary, Riley Sheahan, Garnet Exelby, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith, Corey Emmerton, Brad Stuart, and Ian White… if you shall choose.

To the Czech Republic Jiri Hudler and Jakub Kindl would be good additions to your team.

Tomas Tatar has seen two season end thus far but could still be a big part for Slovakia.

And Slovenia The Red Wings have given you Jan Mursak.

Now Detroit fans and National Team fans sit and wait to see who will be joining as the Red Wings clear out their lockers and scatter for what is the longest off-season they have had since before winning the cup in 2008.

Red Wings’ Bertuzzi Marks 1000th Game with Shootout Winner over Wild

Detroit forward Todd Bertuzzi made the most of his 1000th career game Sunday afternoon, scoring the deciding shootout goal as the Red Wings defeated the Minnesota Wild, 2-1.

Bertuzzi slowly skated in on Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom and faked him out, lifting a shot into the top of the net. The goal gave Detroit two after three shots, with the Wild having none after two.

Pavel Datsyuk had also scored in the shootout, evading a poke check by Backstrom to lift a shot into the net.

After two scoreless periods, Nicklas Lidstrom drove a shot from the hight slot past Backstrom just 1:10 into the third.

Martin Havlat evened the game back up 3:40 later, taking advantage of a Detroit turnover at the Minnesota blue line to race in all alone and snap a shot past Jimmy Howard.

Howard finished the game with 25 saves on 26 shots. Backstrom stopped 38 of 39 chances.

Neither team scored a power play goal. Detroit had two chances to Minnesota’s three tries with the extra attacker.

The Red Wings return to the ice on Tuesday when they host the San Jose Sharks.

Red Wings Down Wild, Lose Cleary to Fractured Ankle

The Detroit Red Wings cruised to a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild Sunday night but their already-depleted forward ranks took another blow.

After blocking a shot from Brad Stuart in the third period, Danny Cleary will miss four weeks with a fractured ankle. Cleary returned to play after blocking the shot and appeared to be fine but the extent of the injury wasn’t known until after the game.

With the Red Wings already missing Mike Modano until March and Pavel Datsyuk for a month, Jan Mursak was called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Cleary figured into the game’s scoring, notching the eventual game winning goal at 8:59 of the first period when he threw a shot from the right corner on goal. It deflected off goalie Niklas Backstrom and into the net.

Henrik Zetterberg had opened the scoring 4:28 into the game on a similar play from the left side.

Kris Draper scored his first of the year at 5:30 of the second, tipping a Niklas Kronwall shot past Backstrom from the left faceoff circle to extend Detroit’s lead to 3-0.

Tomas Holmstrom wrapped up the Red Wings’ scoring on the power play with 6:30 left in the period, knocking home the rebound of a chance by Zetterberg.

Brent Burns scored on the power play with 3:40 left to play to break up Jimmy Howard‘s shutout bid.

Howard stopped 16 of the 17 shots he faced while Backstrom made 23 saves on 27 shots.

Both teams went one-for-six on the power play.

Mursak will join the team for Monday’s matchup in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche.


Jakub Kindl was in the Detroit lineup for the first time since returning from his conditioning stint with the Griffins. He took the place of Ruslan Salei, who was given an extra day off by the team to spend with his California-based family for the holidays.

Red Wings – Wild Pregame Notes

The Red Wings visit the Minnesota Wild tonight, looking to rebound from their 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues before the two-day Christmas break.

Rebounding has been a common theme for Detroit, as they’ve had a tendency to follow a bad game with a good one, only to revert to poor form the following game.

Jakub Kindl is back in the lineup, replacing Ruslan Salei. Salei was allowed to stay with his family for an extra day as they’ve remained in California this season and he’s been away from them most of that time. Kindl is fresh off an eight-game conditioning stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins, during which he scored a goal and added four assists.

Jimmy Howard gets the start for the Red Wings. Niklas Backstrom is expected to get the nod for the Wild.

Red Wings Suvive Wild Comeback, Win in Shootout

The Detroit Red Wings survived a late two-goal comeback by Minnesota and the longest shootout in team history Thursday night, earning a 4-3 win over the Wild.

Drew Miller won the game for Detroit in the eighth round of the shootout, snapping a shot over Niklas Backstrom‘s shoulder.

Miller had scored what seemed to be an insurance goal at 9:03 of the third period, deflecting a Derek Meech shot from the blue line past Backstrom to give the Red Wings a 3-1 lead.

Minnesota battled back with a pair of goals one minute apart.

With 6:12 remaining in regulation, Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard got his toe on a Kyle Brodziak chance from in front. The puck then deflected off of Martin Havlat‘s skate and trickled into the net.

The game was tied when Andrew Brunette gloved the puck out of mid-air, dropped it to his stick, and swatted it past Howard from the slot with 5:12 left.

All three of Minnesota’s goals came on fortunate bounces, as they got on the board with 7:26 left in the second when a Shane Hnidy shot went high, deflected off the glass behind the goal, then floated back out in front before hitting the chest of Robert Earl and dropping into the net.

The Red Wings had opened the scoring at 7:52 of the first when Todd Bertuzzi beat Wild goaltender Josh Harding.

Harding left the game with a lower body injury after the first period and Backstrom allowed his first goal against at 2:28 of the third when Patrick Eaves banged in a rebound chance after Darren Helm drove the net.

Howard finished the night with 27 saves on 30 Minnesota shots, stopping six of eight shootout attempts. Harding stopped ten of the 11 first-period shots he faced while Backstrom made 16 stops on 18 shots and went five-for-eight in the shootout.

Neither team scored a power play goal. Detroit had three chances with the extra attacker and Minnesota had one.

Red Wings Rebound Late to Beat Wild

The Detroit Red Wings scored late in regulation for force overtime against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night, then added a goal in the extra frame to complete the comeback win.

With Detroit down 2-1 and 1:20 left in regulation, Dan Cleary through a low-angle shot on net from the left wing that slipped between Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom‘s pads and into the net to tie the game.

Cleary then assisted on the game-winning goal, forcing a turnover in the Wild zone.

Henrik Zetterberg got the puck from Cleary and took it behind the goal line before turning to send a pass out front to a pinching Brett Lebda. Lebda grabbed the puck at the back door and knocked it home, giving Detroit the win.

Johan Franzen had scored Detroit’s first goal at 9:58 of the first period, putting home the rebound of a Tomas Kopecky shot.

Brian Rolston tied the game 1:12 later, stuffing the puck under Dominik Hasek from in front with the Wild on a power play.

Minnesota took the lead at 5:36 of the second when Pavol Demitra rifled a shot over Hasek’s glove from the left circle on a two-on-one.

Hasek finished the night with 24 saves on 26 shots against to remain unbeaten in his career against Minnesota. Backstrom stopped 35 of 38 Detroit chances in his first career loss when leading after two periods.

Red Wings’ Comeback Not Enough in Loss to Wild

The Detroit Red Wings came back from trailing by two goals to take a late lead Thursday night but couldn’t put away the Minnesota Wild, falling 6-5 in a shootout.

Brian Rolston scored on a slap shot from the slot and Marian Gaborik faked out goalie Chris Osgood in the shootout, giving the Wild the win when only Jiri Hudler could score for Detroit.

With just 49 seconds left in regulation, Eric Belanger tied the game for Minnesota. At the side of the net, Belanger gloved the puck out of the air and threw it onto his stick to put a shot in behind Osgood.

The Red Wings had taken the lead 19 seconds earlier when Dan Cleary backhanded the rebound of a Jiri Hudler shot from the blue line past Josh Harding.

The teams traded early goals just 1:03 apart, with Martin Skoula and Henrik Zetterberg scoring. Late-period goals by Marian Gaborik and Todd Fedoruk just 15 seconds apart put the Wild up by a pair before Valtteri Filppula pulled the Wings back to within a goal with 28 seconds left in the period.

Matt Foy gave Minnesota another two-goal lead at 3:00 of the second period.

A shorthanded goal by Dallas Drake cut the lead again at 7:32 and Niklas Kronwall tied the game 1:06 later, chasing starting goalie Niklas Backstrom from the Wild crease.

The Red Wings finished the night with 46 shots on goal, 15 of 19 stopped by Backstrom and 26 of 27 stopped by Harding. Osgood made 23 saves on 28 Minnesota shots.