CALGARY – The Red Wings entered Friday’s game at Calgary having averaged a league-low 22.7 shots per game while being outshot by an average margin of 9.8 through the first three weeks of the season.
The good news is they are 7-3-0 in their past 10 games in Calgary. It is the Wings best 10-game road segment against the Flames’ franchise, which dates back to the Atlanta Flames’ inaugural season, in 1972-73.
Brendan Smith returns to the lineup for the first time in a week, replacing Jakub Kindl, who is a healthy scratch.
The move is not an indictment on Kindl, rather a way for the Red Wings to rotate fresh players into the lineup to give some guys a rest with so many back-to-back games in the early going of the season.
Brad Richards will not play Friday against the Flames (1-5-0). The veteran center has been dealing with back soreness and hasn’t skated since Wednesday’s 3-1 loss at Edmonton. Consequently, Joakim Andersson will draw into the game as a fourth-line center between forwards Drew Miller and Landon Ferraro. Meanwhile, rookie Dylan Larkin takes Richards’ role on the second line between Tomas Tatar and Teemu Pulkkinen.
The Red Wings will continue the platooning of their goaltenders. Jimmy Howard gets the call tonight. The 31-year-old veteran is 2-1-0 with a 2.02 goals-against average in three starts.
Howard has posted a 8-6-0 all-time record with a 2.79 GAA in 14 career starts against the Flames.
The Red Wings’ power play has struggled lately. But Friday they had an awakening in the first period.
Detroit’s power play snapped a 0-for-12 streak by scoring on both man-advantage opportunities given to them by the Flames.
Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith registered goals to give Detroit a 2-1 lead after a scrappy 20 minutes at Scotiabank Saddledome.
For Nyquist, his goal from the near slot was his second straight on the power play. His second-period goal against Tampa Bay (Oct. 13) was Detroit’s last on the power play before the three-game drought.
Three-minutes later the Flames evened things up when Mark Giodano wired a shot from the top of the zone that Jimmy Howard, who was screened in front, had little to no chance on. Giodano’s goal was the 6,000th goal scored by the Flames at Saddledome.
Detroit regained its one-goal lead when Smith, who Friday became the 52nd defensemen in Red Wings history to appear in 200 career games for the franchise, scored his second career power-play goal.
The game got chippy in the second half of the period.
The first shot was fired when Mike Green absorbed a jaw-jarring hit as he went to retrieve a puck behind the Wings’ net. As the Wings’ defenseman wheeled around the cage, Flames center Josh Jooris zeroed in before drilling Green into the boards.
Moments later, Ferraro, who was no stranger to fisticuffs in juniors or the American Hockey League, accommodated former Wings forward Jiri Hudler by dropping the gloves and exchanging a few punches.
The scrap was NHL firsts for both combatants.
The period ended when Joe Colborne cross-checked Larkin in the Wings end of the rink. The ill-advised action puts the Red Wings on the power play to start the second period.
DETROIT 2, CALGARY 1
SCORING: 1. DET, Nyquist PPG (Zetterberg, Green), 7:38; 2. CGY, Giordano (Gaudreau, Hudler), 11:02; 3. DET, Smith PPG (Larkin, Pulkkinen),12:40;
PENALTIES: 1. CGY, Engelland (holding), 6:57; 2. CGY, Giordano (delay of game), 11:10; 3. DET, Ferraro (fighting), 17:27; 4. CGY, Hudler (fighting), 17:27; 5. DET, Ericsson (roughing), 18:31; 6. CGY, Ferland (roughing), 18:31; 7. CGY, Colborne (cross-check), 20:00.
SHOTS: Detroit 13, Calgary 8.
|Mike Green did not return to the game after the first intermission. The Red Wings defenseman was believed to suffer an upper-body injury on his first period hit. (Photo by Getty Images) |
Green did not return for the second period. According to the Wings public relations, the veteran defenseman had an upper-body injury and was doubtful to return to the game.
Green finished with one shot during 6:03 of ice time spread over eight shifts with his new defensive partner Niklas Kronwall.
The Wings didn’t capitalize in their first power play of the period, though they did create a beautiful opportunity as Colborne’s penalty expired. With the Flames’ center race back into the play, Nyquist threaded a pretty pass from below the goal line that traveled through the blue paint to a waiting Tatar on the opposite side of the crease. But Tatar swung and missed at an open net.
Jooris and Colborne continued to aggravate the Wings in the second period.
After Howard made a save on a Kris Russell shot to draw a whistle at 7:48, Quincey got into a tussle with Jooris in front of the net. Colborne entered the melee, which resulted in no actions taken by the referees. Jooris and Colborne continued to aggravate the Wings.
Howard was impressive throughout the game. But he was particularly solid in the second allowing the Wings to maintain a one-goal lead, making big stops on David Jones and Dennis Wideman.
Jones had a very good scoring chance from in close, but Howard covered up to get a whistle at 14:09.
The Flames turned up the heat with their first power play opportunity of the night.
Howard was spectacular for the first PK, making a solid save on Dennis Wideman’s shot from the half wall.
Calgary continued to put pressure on the Wings for the entire two-minutes and beyond.
At one point, Drew Miller injured his left hand when he blocked Russell’s shot in the high slot at 16:15. While the shot stunned Miller, he did not miss a shift.
Quincey earned his second penalty for interference at 17:47, but the Flames couldn’t get anything past Howard, who turned aside all 16 shots that he faced in the period.
Like the first period, the second ended in similar fashion. This time it was Hudler and Smith swinging sticks at another in the corner to the right of Flames goalie Jonas Hiller
DETROIT 2, CALGARY 1
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Quincey (interference), 14:21; 2. DET, Quincey (interference), 17:47.
SHOTS: Detroit 4 (17), Calgary 16 (24).
The period belonged to Howard.
The Wings’ goalie stymied several scoring chances by the Flames who came in waves.
The period started with the Wings’ power play going to work when Sean Monahan crosschecked Kronwall in the back. But the Wings’ opportunity was quickly shortened when Pulkkinen picked up a tripping penalty 35 seconds later.
Once Monahan returned from serving his minor penalty, the Flames made a bid to tie the score when Wideman sent a shot toward the net that caromed off two sticks – Abdelkader and Hudler – before Howard made a heady play. Hudler batted the puck out of the air and into the crest on Howard’s jersey.
Howard needed to be sharp again when Jooris converted a turnover at the near blue line into a breakaway with 12:10 left. But Howard thwarted Jooris.
The young line of Larkin, Tatar and Pulkkinen provided energy to the Wings who are looking for scoring from anyone to supplement the offense that the Zetterberg line has provided.
Larkin and Pulkkinen had a few very nice chances in the period, including a 2 on 1 with less than 10 minutes left in regulation. Pulkkinen made a perfect centering pass to Larkin racing down the right wing, Hiller slid across the crease and cut the angle on the Wings’ rookie to preserve the one-goal lead.
Hiller made a very big save of his own, sliding across the crease to made a blocker save on Tatar’s shot that was headed into the empty side of the net with 6:29 left on the clock.
The Flames scored the equalizer 15 seconds after Hiller was sent to the bench for an extra attacker. With 1:12 left, Giordano sent a shot from the high slot that was tipped by Colborne.
DETROIT 2, CALGARY 2
SCORING: 1. CGY, Colborne (Giordano, Hudler), 18:48.
PENALTIES: 1, CGY, Monahan (cross-check), 3:21; 2. DET, Pulkkinen (tripping), 3:56.
SHOTS: Detroit 9 (26), Calgary 13 (37).
The Wings had their chances in their first-ever 3-on-3 overtime.
Pulkkinen had the best one, but he was stopped on a magnificent play by Hiller.
Giordano, the Flames’ captain, completed the comeback for the home team when he took a centering pass from Johnny Gaudreau, made a deke on Howard and lifted a backhanded shot into the open net with 1:48 left in overtime.
CALGARY 3, DETROIT 2
SCORING: 1. CGY, Giordano (Gaudreau, Monahan), 3:12.
SHOTS: Detroit 3 (29), Calgary 3 (40).