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 dropping a 5-4 decision to the Nashville Predators to open the 2012-13 season, the Detroit Red Wings rebounded with three consecutive wins in the second week of the schedule.
On Tuesday, it looked like Buffalo Sabres’ goaltender Ryan Miller was going to shut the Red Wings down until Todd Bertuzzi broke the scoreless tie with 90 seconds left in regulation. Miller made 27 saves on 28 shots in taking the loss, while Detroit’s Jimmy Howard needed to stop just 14.
The Red Wings continued their road trip in St. Louis on Thursday, with a 6-1 rout of the Blues.
After a scoreless second period, Filppula added another just 29 seconds into the third. Jonathan Ericsson scored his second of the season at 3:56 and Mikael Samuelsson scored the first goal of his return to the Wings on the power play at 9:24, chasing Blues’ goalie Brian Elliot. Jakub Kindl added a power play goal with 2:06 remaining to round out the scoring.
Howard finished another slow night with 14 saves on 15 shots. Elliot stopped 20 of the 25 shots he faced while Jaroslav Halak made four saves on five shots.
Detroit closed out the week in Chicago with a 3-1 win.
The Blackhawks opened the scoring at 5:31 of the first period on a goal by Jonathan Toews but Danny Cleary answered right back for the Wings 2:05 later.
Filppula’s league-leading fourth goal of the season put Detroit out front at 2:19 of the second period and Niklas Kronwall scored his first of the year at 4:39.
Howard had a third consecutive quiet night, facing just 17 shots and stopping 16. Chicago’s Corey Crawford made 30 saves on 33 shots in taking the loss.
After four games, the Red Wings sit one point back of the Predators in the Central Division with a game in hand. The team’s leading scorer is Filppula, with four goals and three assists. Jimmy Howard has made all four starts, going 3-1 with a shutout, a 1.79 GAA, and a .899 save percentage. Jonas Gustavsson appeared late in the opener, facing no shots.
The Red Wings lead the league in shots allowed with just 17.25 per game. Second are the Pittsburgh Penguins at 21.2 per game.