There was equal importance for the Red Wings, who entered Monday’s game in second-place with 97 points. But with only five points separating the second through sixth spots, points are just as meaningful to the Wings.
Detroit rebounded to tie the game at 2-2, but lost when former teammate Marian Hossa elevated a slap shot past goalie Joey MacDonald
on the power-play to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 overtime victory.
The loss leaves the Red Wings two-points short of reaching the century mark for a remarkable 11-straight seasons, dating back to 1999-2000.
Making only his eighth start of the season, MacDonald played near flawlessly in the absence of Jimmy Howard
, who is day-to-day after suffering a shoulder sprain in Saturday’s win over Toronto.
“I knew that because I wasn’t playing a lot that they were going to throw a lot of pucks at me,” said MacDonald, who made 38 saves against the Blackhawks. “I think I did a pretty good job of not giving them second-chance opportunities and, you know what, it was a good battled game. Unfortunately enough, they got a power-play goal in overtime to end it.”
The win for the Blackhawks momentarily pushed them ahead of Anaheim for the No. 7 spot. However, the Ducks were still playing Colorado at the time this report was written.
“That’s what we need to keep battling for that playoff ticket,” Hossa said. “It’s so important to us and we have seven games left and now we have to focus on the next one.” BERT EJECTED: Todd Bertuzzi
was ejected in the first period of Monday’s game when he was tagged with a major penalty and a game ejection for elbowing Blackhawks center Ryan Johnson along the boards.
“They’re trying to eliminate hits to the head, I guess they felt (Johnson’s) helmet came off and it must have been a hit to the head,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said.
Following the hit, it appeared that Bertuzzi apologized to Johnson, who remained down on the ice for a short period.
Asked if he thought that the league would levy supplement discipline against the Wings’ power forward, Babcock wasn’t sure.
“Oh I don’t have any idea,” he said. “I didn’t think it was severe at all. Johnson played the whole game, and didn’t look like much, like he missed any action.”ROBBED:
With 15 minutes left in the second period, the Red Wings caught the Blackhawks in a long line-change. Nicklas Lidstrom
recognized the imbalance and fired a two-line pass to Holmstrom, who streaked in on Chicago’s net.
But Holmstrom was denied a reasonable scoring chance when Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson trimmed the Wings’ power forward without touching the puck first.
No penalty. No power-play. No respect for Holmstrom.ANOTHER MILESTONE:
A month shy of his 41st birthday, Lidstrom became the oldest defenseman in NHL history to net 60-points in a season when he fired a shot from the point, which tied the Blackhawks at 1 in the first period.
Lidstrom’s 15th goal, coupled with 45 assists, gives him his highest point total in the last three seasons.
Prior to Monday, he had been tied with hall of fame defenseman Ray Bourque, who compiled 59-points during his final NHL season with the Colorado Avalanche in the 2000-01 season.
“I knew that because I wasn’t playing a lot that they were going to throw a lot of pucks at me,” said MacDonald, who made 38 saves on Monday. “I think I did a pretty good job of not giving them second-chance opportunities and, you know what, it was a good battled game. Unfortunately enough, they got a power-play goal in overtime to end it.”DetroitRedWings.com Interns Michael Caples and David Burke contributed to this report.