Red Wings Sign Goalie Bernier

The Red Wings made official their signing of goalie Jonathan Bernier, who most recently played with the Colorado Avalanche.

Club policy dictates that financial terms not be announced but even before the deal was formalized, pretty much everyone reported that it was three years at $3 million per year.

I summed up my thoughts on this in this morning’s pre-free agency post:

I think I would have preferred 26-year-old Lehner over 29-year-old Bernier, as Lehner still has time to turn his career around and possibly become what Petr Mrazek was supposed to be for the Red Wings.  That said, Bernier has stats that are similar to Jimmy Howard‘s over the last several seasons and, with Howard a free agent next summer, it gives the Red Wings the option of trading him at next spring’s trade deadline if they’re out of playoff position.

The Red Wings have absolutely no one in their goaltending pipeline ready to backup Howard, so there’s no issue of Bernier taking away someone’s job.  Actually, they probably need to sign one more goalie to be the starter in Grand Rapids, though that could just be Tom McCollum, with Jared Coreau moving on.

If anything, my big complaint is that Bernier wears #45 and I don’t like “non-traditional” goalie numbers.  If that’s the gripe, it’s a pretty good deal.

Final Thoughts on Petr Mrazek

Much like my thoughts on Andreas Athanasiou‘s mindset during his holdout last fall, I have a theory on Petr Mrazek‘s tumultuous tenure with the Red Wings.  A lot of it is conjecture, so take it with a grain of salt, but I don’t think I’m far off.

Mrazek was known as a cocky goalie from the start.  His celebrations while playing for the Czech Republic in the 2012 World Junior Championship introduced him to the world.  His “attitude problems” through the 2016-17 season can be attributed to it.  His comments upon being traded reflect it.

“The pressure for both of us was pretty high,” he said. “You have to show up every night if you want to play the next game. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. It’s a really good thing when we can battle between goalies and do the best that we can. Sometimes when they say, ‘you’re the guy who’s gonna play for a while,’ I think it’s better.”

Specifically that last line.  I read that as Mrazek being frustrated that he was never made “the guy” in Detroit.  Some might say he never earned it, given his regression last season, but I think the slump was caused by feeling threatened by the presence of Jimmy Howard.

We don’t know what went down in meetings between Mrazek and Ken Holland.  We don’t know the reasons behind decisions made by Mike Babcock and Jeff Blashill.  But what if it went something like this…

In 2012, Mrazek is coming off being named the best goaltender at the World Juniors.  He wraps up his OHL career and goes pro in the fall.  The Red Wings assign him to the ECHL to start the season but he quickly replaces future doctor Jordan Pearce in the AHL as the backup for the Grand Rapids Griffins, then supplants Tom McCollum as the starter.  He even gets in a couple games in Detroit, going 1-1 with a respectable .922 save percentage and 2.02 GAA.  By spring, he’s leading the Griffins to their first-ever Calder Cup Championship.

For 2013-14 Mrazek is back with the Griffins, with Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson manning the crease in Detroit.  In 32 games he drops his GAA to 2.10 and his save percentage gets up to .924.  He gets into nine games in Detroit, putting together a 1.74 GAA and a .927 save percentage.

Come summer of 2014, Mrazek has put together stellar numbers through the first two years of his pro career and Gustavsson’s contract is up.  There is no reason for him to not think that he’s earned the backup role in Detroit.  Yet the Red Wings re-sign Gustavsson after a season where he had a 2.63 GAA and a .907 save percentage.  With one year left on his existing deal, Mrazek signs a one-year contract extension – a one-way  contract to ensure he’s in Detroit for 2015-16 – but starts 2014-15 in Grand Rapids.

Injuries open the door for Mrazek, who steps in and plays 29 games.  His 2.38 GAA and 9.18 save percentage are better than both Howard and Gustavsson.  He starts all seven games of Detroit’s playoff series with the Tampa Bay Lightning and, though the Red Wings drop the series, Mrazek  improves on his regular season stats, going 2.11 and .925.

Despite his playoff starts, Mrazek is the backup when the Red Wings start the 2015-16 season.  He ends up starting 49 games, though, with a 2.33 GAA and a .921 save percentage, better than Howard’s 2.80 and .906.

Come Game One of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs – with the Red Wings facing the Lightning again – Howard gets the start.  In the first two games of the series, Howard puts up a .891 save percentage and a 3.59 GAA as the Red Wings go down, 2-0.  Mrazek takes over for Game Three but Detroit falls in five games.  Mrazek’s GAA is 1.36 and his save percentage is .945.

Mrazek’s contract extension from 2014 is up and on July 27, 2016, he agrees to something of a bridge deal, two years at $4 million each.  It’s less than Howard’s salary and a shorter deal but he’s being paid like a starter.  The rumor is that Howard will be dealt.  By all appearances, the Red Wings are now Mrazek’s team.

But Howard isn’t dealt.  Mrazek gets the start to open the season in Tampa and at the final home opener at Joe Louis Arena.  He gets 14 starts in the first two months, being pulled once.  Howard started 11 games, also being pulled once.  It’s clear it’s a 1A-1B situation.

It’s at this point that the wheels come off for Mrazek.  Even with Howard hurt for much of the season, Mrazek puts up the worst numbers of his career, with a 3.04 GAA and a .901 save percentage.  Both are better than the 3.46 and .887 of Jared Coreau, who “steals” some of Mrazek’s starts, including the outdoor Centennial Classic in Toronto.  Rumors abound about Mrazek’s attitude and it’s even suggested that Coreau is the true heir-apparent to the Detroit crease.

Six months later, Mrazek is left unprotected in the expansion draft, going unclaimed.

He comes into the 2017-18 season the clear backup.  It’s expected the Red Wings won’t even give him a qualifying offer when his contract is up (which has since been confirmed).  His .910 save percentage and 2.89 GAA nearly match Howard’s numbers but Mrazek ends up dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers.

If I were in Mrazek’s skates, I would have a bad attitude, too, and it would certainly impact my play.  I’m not saying it’s okay for that, just that I can understand it.

You rise up from the ECHL to the AHL to the NHL in your first season and carry your team to a Calder Cup Championship.  The next year your stats are even better, but a worse goalie is re-signed to play in front of you.  You take over the starting role anyway and make the most of it, putting up great numbers in a seven-game playoff series.

By next fall, you lose the starting role anyway.  You fight your way back to become the playoff starter again, you get a starter’s contract, and then again you’re the backup on opening night and the guy who they said they’d trade is still there taking up space in your crease.

It’s in your head, you falter, and suddenly the third-string goalie who hasn’t done anything is stealing your starts.  The spiral continues.  You pull yourself together over the summer.  After a rough start, you’re putting up similar numbers to your partner in the crease.  But it’s too late, you’re out.

Again, I’m not saying that Mrazek didn’t slump and didn’t have an attitude.  I’m saying that I can see why he would have one and why it would impact his play.  And, with that perspective in mind, it’s also why I think the Red Wings should have tried harder to deal Jimmy Howard, rather than giving up on Mrazek.

On Draft Pick Quantity vs. Quality

After trading Petr Mrazek to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said something that triggered a gut reaction of concern in me.  I honestly don’t know if there are numbers to back up my worry, so I’m going to walk through it a bit.

“What’s driving me is I want us to be a team that can compete for the Stanley Cup. We’re competitive, but we’re not quite where we need to be in order to be where we want to be. I have to acquire draft picks and we need to hit on those draft picks.

“The more draft picks I can acquire, or young players through trades, is a better chance we’re going to wake up three or four or five years from now, or two years from now, and start to see young players coming on to the team and have an impact.”

That’s from the Detroit News but Winging it in Motown highlighted it this morning.  It also comes coupled with rumblings that the Red Wings may accept two second round picks for Mike Green rather than a first-rounder.

It’s well-known that the Red Wings haven’t had many high draft picks in the last several decades.  Trying to find a team that has consistently picked near the Wings in the draft even just going back to the big lockout in 2005 is impossible.  They’re in a relatively unique situation that has – to a large extent – led to their current downswing, as they haven’t been able to restock their talent pool with top prospects.

Knowing that – yet hearing Holland declare than the answer is to acquire more second, third, and fourth round draft picks – is triggering my spidey sense, so to speak.  If the team’s downfall is because they never pick at the top, how is the path to a rebuild through the second and third and fourth rounds?

Let me take a second to acknowledge that defining picks by round is somewhat lazy.  The 32nd overall pick and the 62nd overall pick this summer will both be second-rounders but they’re not really comparable.  As such, while I’m attempting to apply some logic to this, it’s entirely unscientific.

With that in mind, I’ve been looking back at Detroit’s recent drafts, trying to determine just how good the organization is at making use of picks outside of the first round.  I went back to the 2005 draft as the salary cap era is really when the Wings were no longer able to replenish their roster via free agency.

Detroit has had 95 draft picks in that time.  Thus far, 33 of them have played at least one NHL game.  Yes, that measure means there’s built-in bias against recent drafts, as those players haven’t had the chance to make their debuts.

Eliminate the first-rounders, since we’re talking about what the Wings can do if they don’t acquire extra picks in the opening round, and we’re down to 26 players.  We might as well drop the sixth- and seventh-rounders, too, since no one has claimed you rebuild with those.  That’s another four gone, so we’re at 22.

Of those, only 14 are still in the NHL, though that leaves out Dominic Turgeon, who got a call-up earlier this year and is now back with the Griffins, so let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and call it 15.

That means since 2005, the Red Wings have drafted 15 players who “made it” (by a generous definition of the term) in the NHL in the second through fifth rounds.  That list is as follows:

If you’re looking at a rebuild, are those the players you’re looking for?

The Red Wings’ draft record in the rounds where they’re targeting picks seems to show that they won’t be able to do what they’re trying to do.

Obviously not every draft is equal and, as I already mentioned, not every pick in the same round of the same draft is equal.  If the Wings grabbed another Tatar and Nyquist in the second round this summer – combined with a good pick in the first round – it’d be a successful draft.  But if adding all of these picks results in more Xavier Ouellets and Ryan Sprouls, it’ll just be a waste.

Frankly, I’d be a lot more comfortable if the asking price for Mike Green went back to being a first-rounder.


Update, 12:15 PM: Via Twitter, @RedWingRubbish pointed out that @ChartingHockey has statistically determined that, outside of the top 24 picks, quantity does indeed beat quality.

This made me take a second look at the first-rounders I dropped from my original list.

Player Year Overall
Jakub Kindl 2005 19
Dylan Larkin 2014 15
Anthony Mantha 2013 20
Tom McCollum 2008 30
Riley Sheahan 2010 21
Brendan Smith 2007 27
Evgeny Svechnikov 2015 19

If you should be able to reasonably expect a “hit” in the top-24, the Red Wings are still doing something wrong.

Kindl made it into 353 games but never really panned out.  Larkin and Mantha are the players the Red Wings are building around right now.  McCollum is a bust.  Sheahan seems to have maxed out as a third-line center.  Smith – somewhat like Kindl – has washed out of the NHL.  Svechnikov is still a question mark.

Seven first-round picks – five in the top 24 overall – and only two players that can reliably play in the top half of the lineup.  Will Svechnikov or Michael Rasmussen or Filip Hronek or Vili Saarijarvi join that list?  Perhaps.  So for the sake of discussion I’ll switch to the 2005 – 2014 date range.

That gives the Red Wings six first-round picks, four in the top 24, with a 50% “hit” rate.

Who are their hits through the other rounds?  Tatar.  Nyquist.  I think it’s safe to include Athanasiou.  Mrazek, too, despite his epic slump.

There are plenty of other useful players, guys like Abdelkader and Helm.  A team needs those guys.  But you can’t make a team of them, you need high-end talent to lead them.

Over a decade, the Red Wings managed to draft one starting goalie (assuming Mrazek has shaken that slump), no top-three defensemen, and five top-six forwards.  It’s worse if you don’t include Mrazek or Athanasiou.

So maybe it’s not about the Wings needing to get more first-round picks.  Maybe it’s that – contrary to the myth – the Red Wings just don’t draft very well.

I don’t want to dig in to compare them to other teams.  As I said originally, it’s near-impossible to find a team that picked near the Red Wings for that whole period to use as a comparison anyway.  Maybe San Jose?

If it’s that the Wings don’t draft well, and they’re putting everything they have into the draft, things could get ugly fast.

Thoughts on Day One of Free Agency

Sigh.  Okay, I guess we’re doing this.

Day One of the 2017 Free Agent Season is in the books (or at least as far as the Red Wings are considered).  Detroit general manager Ken Holland called it “a great day for the Red Wings.”  Lets take a look at what the team did and didn’t do.

Trevor Daley

The big – and most-expected – signing for Detroit was veteran defenseman Trevor Daley.  It’s a three-year deal for $9.5 million with a no-trade clause that scales back in the third year.

I don’t love it.  I wish the Wings were just going with the kids for a bit and seeing where it takes them.  That said, I don’t hate it, either.  By all accounts, Daley will be a great mentor for some of those kids and, assuming Mike Green is dealt at the deadline next year, the lost roster spot will only be for half a season.  The contract is much better than I was expecting.

It says something when a resounding “meh” is the most you can say for the best signing of the day.

Luke Witkowski

The other deal the Wings closed immediately upon the opening of free agency was to bring in Tampa Bay defenseman Luke Witkowski.

This is the guy who broke Anthony Mantha‘s hand in a stupid fight near the end of the season.  I see no reason to bring a guy like him in.

The deal is for $750,000, which can be completely buried in the AHL.  But we said that about Steve Ott‘s deal at this time last summer and he saw zero minutes in Grand Rapids so don’t count on it.

If the Wings were looking for a big, tough, young defenseman, they had Dylan McIlrath in Grand Rapids already.  If they wanted that from a forward, where they supposedly are ready to shift Witkowski, then they had Tyler Bertuzzi.  This signing was completely unnecessary.

I feel like this is also part of a “grass is greener” issue with the Wings’ front office.  Too many times of late they’ve brought in someone else’s marginal player rather than give their own marginal player a shot.  Which is funny because if someone lasts long enough to become a veteran in the Detroit system, Holland will bring them back repeatedly.  See Darren Helm, Daniel Cleary, Kyle Quincey.

Tom McCollum

Speaking of bringing someone back, the Wings traded for goalie Tom McCollum, one year after letting him walk from the Griffins as a free agent.  I guess this makes McCollum and Matej Machovsky the tandem in Grand Rapids after the Wings find a way to unload Petr Mrazek.

Turner Elson

In another Grand Rapids move, the Wings signed Turner Elson out of the Colorado organization.  He’s a center, so I suppose he somewhat makes up for the loss of Tomas Nosek to the Vegas Golden Knights via expansion.  Or he makes up for any of the other minor leaguers getting shuffled around this summer…

Kyle Criscuolo

… such as the Griffins losing Kyle Criscuolo to the Sabres.  It’s always tough to see big pieces of a championship team depart.  He had an AHL-only deal with Grand Rapids and now he gets a two-way deal with Buffalo so he’s moving up in the world.

Mitch Callahan

Moving up or moving home is Mitch Callahan.  He signed with the Edmonton Oilers and will either get the shot with them that he never really got in Detroit or will get to play closer to home, as the Oilers’ AHL affiliate is the Bakersfield Condors, who play just a couple hours from Callahan’s hometown of Wittier, CA.

Eddie Pasquale

Joining Callahan in the Edmonton organization is goalie Eddie Pasquale, who spent only a season with the Griffins.  As mentioned above, the Griffins seem to have their tandem set, but that’s a lot of turnover at goaltender through the organization.

Matt Caito

The Griffins also lost Matt Caito to the Iowa Wild.  Caito spent most of the season with ECHL Toledo so I don’t think we can call this a big loss.


So the Wings got the defenseman they wanted but who might not be able to help them much at a price that was acceptable.  They added a guy they definitely didn’t need, and they swapped some players around at the AHL level.

Are they better than they were yesterday?  Probably.  Are they good enough to make the playoffs?  Probably not.  And the Griffins are probably worse than they were when they won the Calder Cup.

Red Wings Open Preseason with OT Loss to Blackhawks

The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night to open their 2015 exhibition schedule.

Featuring a team made up mostly of players destined for the Grand Rapids Griffins against a large NHL contingent playing in front of their home crowd, Detroit rallied from a 4-1 third-period deficit to force overtime before Trevor Daley scored to give the Blackhawks the win.

Detroit’s trio of Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, and Nick Jensen sustained pressure in the Chicago end on the second shift of overtime but Larkin was tripped and took down Mantha, leading to a three-on-one against Ryan Sproul – who had come on for Jensen – for the Blackhawks. Patrick Kane moved the puck to Artem Anisimov who moved it on to Daley for an easy snap past Red Wings’ goalie Tom McCollum at 1:40 of the extra period.

The Blackhawks had opened the game’s scoring 7:16 in, when Kyle Baun batted the mid-air rebound of a Ryan Garbutt chance past Jimmy Howard, who started the game in net for Detroit.

Jonathan Toews made it 2-0 just 1:08 later, snapping a shot from the top of the left circle past Howard.

Chicago’s power play gave the Blackhawks a 3-0 lead at 6:24 of the second period, as Howard stopped Toews’ initial shot was blocked aside by Howard but Teuvo Teravaninen put the puck back between the Detroit netminder’s pads from in close.

Mantha got the Red Wings on the board with 5:05 left in the middle period, beating Mark Visentin from the slot off a feed from Andy Miele. Visentin had replaced started Scott Darling midway through the period.

Garbutt restored the Chicago lead at 2:39 of the third period, capitalizing on a turnover by Brian Lashoff and a mental mistake by Sproul to step up and snap a shot past McCollum. Sproul appeared to think the play was offsides and made no move to challenge Garbutt as he jumped into the zone.

Riley Sheahan started Detroit’s comeback at 5:58 of the third, tipping a Nathan Paetsch shot past Visentin to make it 4-2.

With 7:07 remaining, Teemu Pulkkinen made it 4-3, crashing the crease to get to the rebound of a Miele chance and shovel it into the open side of the net.

Luke Glendening tied things up on a power play with just 2:05 remaining, gathering up the rebound of an Andreas Athanasiou chance and lifting it past Visentin from the edge of the crease.

Each team finished the night with a power play goal. Detroit had three chances with the extra attacker to Chicago’s four.

Howard stopped 18 of 21 shots he faced and McCollum made 14 saves on 16 shots for the Red Wings. Darling was perfect on 22 shots while Visentin stopped 12 of 16 for the Blackhawks.

The two teams will meet again on Wednesday in Detroit, with the Red Wings expected to dress a mostly-NHLer lineup and the Blackhawks icing a prospect-heavy team.


With none of their usual leaders in the lineup, Drew Miller, Riley Sheahan, and Luke Glendening wore alternate captain’s As for the Red Wings.

Red Wings Re-Sign Miele, McCollum

Just before free agency opened across the National Hockey League, the Detroit Red Wings locked up two pieces of their American Hockey League affiliate’s run to the Western Conference Finals.

Forward Andy Miele signed a one-year, one way deal with Detroit while goalie Tom McCollum also signed a one-year deal.

Miele, of Grosse Pointe Woods, led the Griffins in scoring during the 2014-15 season, his first with the team. His 26 goals and 44 assists for 70 points in 71 games were second-best in the AHL.

In 280 career AHL games, mostly with the Portland Pirates, Miele has 88 goals and 161 assists for 249 points. He has two assists in 15 career NHL games, all with the Phoenix Coyotes.

McCollum, 25, went 19-11-7 for the Griffins and helped carry the team after previous starting goalie Petr Mrazek was called up to the Red Wings. Originally drafted by Detroit 30th overall in 2008, McCollum earned his first NHL win in relief of Mrazek against Buffalo on January 18.

In 196 career AHL games, McCollum is 88-78-17.

The Griffins did lose one veteran on Wednesday as Kevin Porter signed a two-way deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Red Wings’ Mrazek Blanks Avs in 3-0 Win

Detroit netminder Petr Mrazek stopped all 28 shots he faced on Thursday night for his first shutout of the season as the Red Wings earned a 3-0 win over the host Colorado Avalanche.

The Avalanche thought they had cracked Mrazek just six minutes into the first period but an apparent goal by Gabriel Landeskog was disallowed due to a hand pass by Nick Holden.

Justin Abdelkader scored the first goal to count with 6:35 left in the second period. Abdelkader got the puck in front of the net and was stopped by Semyon Varlamov but dug out his own rebound and flipped it past the Colorado netminder for a power play goal and a 1-0 lead.

There would be no further scoring until the closing minutes. With Varlamov on the bench for an extra attacker early, both Darren Helm and Luke Glendening scored into the empty net.

Varlamov finished the night with 26 saves on 27 shots.

Detroit went one-for-three on the power play while the Avalanche were scoreless on three tries with the man-advantage.

The Red Wings conclude their short road trip on Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes.


Detroit goalie Jonas Gustavsson returned from his rehabilitation stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins, replacing Tom McCollum in the lineup… Defenseman Xavier Ouellet was called up from the Griffins for the trip but did not play… Daniel Cleary and Jakub Kindl were the other healthy scratches.

Zetterberg Scores Three as Red Wings Rally Past Sabres

Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg scored a third-period hat trick on Sunday night, capping the Red Wings’ come-from-behind win over the Buffalo Sabres.

Zetterberg’s first came just 1:59 into the final frame and the game already tied 3-3. Pavel Datsyuk‘s shot from the high slot made it through traffic to Buffalo netminder Jhonas Enroth, who made a pad stop. Zetterberg was on the doorstep, however, and he grabbed the rebound and backhanded a shot into the back of the net to give the Red Wings their first lead.

At 5:05 of the period, Zetterberg took a feed from Gustav Nyquist and snapped a shot past Enroth from the front of the net for a power play goal and a 5-3 lead.

Tyler Ennis scored his second of the night 3:26 later to pull the Sabres back to within a goal. Off a faceoff win in the left circle, Ennis gathered up the puck and spun to throw a shot on net, with the puck just trickling between the pads of Detroit goalie Tom McCollum.

Zetterberg rounded out the game’s scoring with 8:01 left, snapping a shot from the left circle on Enroth that found it’s way through and in.

Three first period goals by Buffalo had given the Sabres an early lead and chased Detroit starter Petr Mrazek from the crease.

At 1:46 of the period, Drew Stafford fired a shot from the inside edge of the right circle to beat Mrazek. A turnover in the opposite corner behind the Detroit net got the puck to Cody Hodgson, who sent a centering pass to Stafford for the shot.

Ennis’ first goal of the game made it 2-0 with 9:39 left. Ennis threw a shot from low on the right wing towards the goal and it deflected off of defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, beating Mrazek as Matt Moulson crashed the net.

Chris Stewart’s power play goal 3:18 later gave Buffalo the three-goal lead. Stewart deflected Ennis’ shot from the top of the left circle while positioned in front of the net.

McCollum would take over for Mrazek at that point.

Nyquist would score on the power play just 1:00 into the second to start Detroit’s comeback. Zetterberg’s high shot from the top of the left circle deflected off Tyson Strachan‘s head and came to Nyquist in the slot. Enroth stopped Nyquist’s first chance but he batted the rebound out of mid-air and into the net to make it 3-1.

Drew Miller‘s spinning shot from the inside edge of the left circle made it 3-2 3:07 later.

Tomas Tatar would complete the comeback eight seconds past the game’s midway point. After losing the puck in the slot, Tatar snatched it back and whipped a quick shot past Enroth for a 3-3 tie.

The Sabres finished the night one-for-three on the power play while the Red Wings went two-for-four.

McCollum stopped seven of the eight shots he faced to earn his first-ever National Hockey League win. Mrazek made four saves on seven shots before getting pulled, while Enroth stopped 20 of 26 Detroit chances.

The Red Wings are next in action on Tuesday when they host the Minnesota Wild in their last game before the All-Star break.

Mrazek Shines on Hasek’s Night in Buffalo

On the night that saw his idol’s jersey number raised in Buffalo, Detroit netminder Petr Mrazek stopped 25 of 26 shots to earn the win for the Red Wings.

Longtime Sabre and former Red Wing Dominik Hasek was honored before the game with his Number 39 raised to the First Niagara Center rafters. The Czech Olympic champion was an inspiration for a generation of players from his country, including Mrazek and Buffalo goalie Michal Neuvirth, who stopped 27 of 30 shots in taking the loss.

Darren Helm opened the game’s scoring for Detroit at 9:42 of the first period. On a shorthanded two-on-one with Joakim Andersson, Helm snapped a shot from the right wing over Neuvirth’s stick and into the top corner for a 1-0 lead.

The special teams continued to produce for the Red Wings in the second period. At 7:34 of the middle frame, Gustav Nyqiust knocked home the rebound of a Pavel Datsyuk shot after it bounced off Justin Abdelkader for a power play goal.

Mike Weber‘s first goal of the season cut Detroit’s lead to 2-1 with 6:36 left in the period. After a turnover in the Buffalo zone by Tomas Tatar, crisp passing from Drew Stafford and Brian Flynn got the puck to trailing man Weber for a shot past Mrazek as the Red Wings struggled to recover.

Tatar would make up for the turnover 1:45 later, knocking the rebound of a Kyle Quincey chance under Neuvirth for a 3-1 score in what would be the last goal of the game.

Detroit finished the night one-for-four on the power play while Buffalo went scoreless and allowed a goal in two chances with the man-advantage.

The Red Wings will close out their six-game road trip on Thursday in St. Louis.


The Red Wings announced earlier in the day that starting goalie Jimmy Howard is expected to miss two-to-four weeks with a slight groin tear… Howard, Jonas Gustavsson, Johan Franzen, and Jakub Kindl all remained on injured reserve… Xavier Ouellet and Teemu Pulkkinen remained in the Detroit lineup while Tom McCollum backed up Mrazek… Daniel Cleary, Tomas Jurco (back), and Brian Lashoff were healthy scratches.

Howard Out 2-4 Weeks with Groin Tear

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland announced on Tuesday that starting goalie Jimmy Howard is expected to miss two-to-four weeks with a slight groin tear.

The injury occurred just 1:53 into Saturday night’s loss to the Washington Capitals. Howard made an awkward slide across the crease, failing to stop a Troy Brouwer attempt, and had to be carried off the ice on a stretcher.

An MRI showed damage on Sunday when the team got back to Detroit and an ultrasound on Monday confirmed the severity.

Howard will be unavailable for the All-Star Game. He was named as the Red Wings’ lone representative only an hour before the injury occurred.

With backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson still out with a separated shoulder, Petr Mrazek takes over between the pipes for Detroit. Tom McCollum will be his backup. As the shift cascades down to the Red Wings’ affiliates, Jared Coreau is now the starter for the Grand Rapids Griffins (backed up by pro tryout Pat Nagle) and Jeff Lerg starts for the Toledo Walleye (backed up by Neil Conway).