DETROIT – It’s a rivalry that lives in those men who shed blood, and those who watched intently for seven years.
Now a distant memory, a game between the Red Wings and the Colorado Avalanche today doesn’t come close to reaching the heightened intensity of the bloodiest rivalries in North American pro sports, from 1996-2002.
“Those were games that were sort of must-see TV just because you didn’t know what to expect or what was gonna happen,” Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader.
Tonight the Wings and Avs meet for just the first time this season. The two clubs will reunite in two weeks for the NHL Stadium Series game at Coors Field, the outdoor home of Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies.
“Only playing these guys twice, it’s a little different, but yeah, it’s weird we’re into mid-February and this is the first time we’ve played Colorado. That’s how it is though with the change of conferences and how it’s set up now. We get these guys twice here, so they’re big games, but obviously looking forward to that stadium series game.”
Since the 2002 Stanley Cup season, which basically marks the end of the seven-year rivalry, the Red Wings have posted a 31-9 record against Colorado, including a four-game sweep of the Western Conference semifinals in 2008.
Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey has seen both sides of the rivalry. Quincey played two-plus seasons for the Avs.
“Yeah, but it's nothing to where it was,” Quincey said. “It's cool to write off, but I'll be honest with you, there's really not much there anymore. I wish there was.”
The Avalanche capitalized on a turnover deep in the Red Wings’ zone. A pass from Andreas Athanasiou rimmed around the net and skipped over Quincey’s stick and onto the blade of Carl Soderberg.
The Avs’ center dished to Mikhail Grigorenko, who rushed toward the net before dropping a nifty back-hand pass to Matt Duchene for his team-leading 25th goal of the season.
Darren Helm had a solid period. The veteran forward finished with four of the team’s 13 first-period shots on goal. His season high is six shots, established in a 5-4 win over Buffalo on Dec. 1.
The Wings made a bid to tie the score late in the period, but Semyon Varlamov made a pair of big saves from just outside the blue paint in the waning seconds of the period. The first was a pad stop on Tomas Tatar’s one-timer which was set up by a pretty pass from below the goal line by Dylan Larkin. The next followed a face-off win by the Wings, denying a shot that Pavel Datsyuk usually scores on, but Varlamov kicked out his right leg to protect the Avs’ 1-0 lead.
COLORADO 1, DETROIT 0
SCORING: 1. COL, Duchene (Grigorenko, Soderberg), 9:27.
PENALTIES: 1. COL, Comeau (tripping), 12:36.
SHOTS: Detroit 13, Colorado 4.
The Red Wings spend most of the first 40 minutes with an obvious advantage in puck possession, but that didn’t necessarily equate to shots on goal.
The Avs, who lead the league in blocked shots, equaled their season average, blocking 17 shots in the first two periods.
Larkin had a scoring chance early in the period, but as he raced in front the left wing Avs defenseman Nick Holden harassed the rookie just enough to prevent a quality snipe.
The Wings got the equalizer on a seamlessly harmless play, but Jonathan Ericsson’s low shot from the point managed to get through Varlamov at 4:09. The goal was Ericsson’s second, but his first in 39 games, snapping the longest scoring drought by a Red Wings’ player this season.
The Wings’ defense continues to make a difference offensively. Detroit defensemen have now scored in 13 of the past 22 games. That’s a sharp improvement from earlier in the season when blue liners collected 10 goals in the first 33 games.
DETROIT 1, COLORADO 1
SCORING: 1. DET, Ericsson (Abdelkader, Marchenko), 4:09.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Sheahan (hooking), 12:42; 2. COL, Bigras (hooking), 16:51.
SHOTS: Detroit 14 (27), Colorado 7 (11).
The Avs retook a one-goal lead when Blake Comeau jumped off the bench to join the play in the Wings’ zone. Comeau beat two Wings’ defenders to the puck in the slot to score his ninth goal of the season.
The Wings pulled even on the team’s third power play chance of the game. With Abdelkader drawing the attention of Varlamov, it allowed Datsyuk to swoop in on a loose puck and lift a back-hander into the open side of the net. Henrik Zetterberg and Abdelkader picked up assists on the goal. Zetterberg is tied with Larkin for the team lead in points (38).
Datsyuk is now one point shy of 900 points in his career. He’ll become the six player in Red Wings’ history to reach the milestone, joining hall of famers Gordie Howe (1,809), Steve Yzerman (1,755), Alex Delvecchio (1,281), Nicklas Lidstrom (1,142) and Sergei Fedorov (954).
DETROIT 2, COLORADO 2
SCORING: 1. COL, Comeau (Barrie, Mitchell), 5:30; 2. DET, Datsyuk PPG (Abdelkader, Zetterberg), 9:51.
PENALTIES: 1. COL, Soderberg (slashing), 9:36; 2. COL, Tanguay (tripping), 10:03; 3. DET, Larkin (holding the stick), 11:47; 4. COL, Mitchell (tripping), 15:53.
SHOTS: Detroit 14 (41), Colorado 8 (19).
Larkin excited the crowd in the opening minute, getting off a high-rising shot on Varlamov, but the game remained tied.
The Wings continued with the pressure in the second minutes that the Avs were forced to ice the puck, and subsequently used a timeout with 2:59 remaining.
Out of the timeout, and the faceoff deep in the Avs’ zone, the Wings went with Larkin, Datsyuk and Danny DeKeyser.
The second next trio of Brendan Smith, Tatar and Gustav Nyquist nearly ended it, but Varlamov made an awesome save on Nyquist, who made a deke before going to the backhand.
Moments later, Tatar was called for holding, which gave the avs a 4-on-3 power play for the remaining 1:32 of overtime.
DETROIT 2, COLORADO 2
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Tatar (holding) 3:28.
SHOTS: Detroit 4 (45), Colorado 2 (21).
COLORADO 3, DETROIT 2
DET: Larkin, NO GOAL (glove save on backhand)
COL: Landeskog NO GOAL (left pad save)
DET: Datsyuk GOAL (forehand stick side)
COL: Duchene NO GOAL (forehand five hole)
DET: Richards NO GOAL (forehand, right pad save)
COL: MacKinnon GOAL (backhand stick side)
DET: Nyquist NO GOAL (glove save on forehand)
COL: Comeau GOAL (forehand glove side)
DETROIT – Tonight the Red Wings look to win for the third straight time at home, something they haven’t done in more than two months when they won four in a row at Joe Louis Arena.
So what’s going right for the Wings now?
“We've been playing a lot better on the road this year than we have been at home, we've been winning more games on the road,” Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “We've been talking a little bit that we maybe want to do a little too much here at home, keep it a little more simple. When you do that and you score goals, it's a good thing.”
It’s just the fourth time this season the Red Wings have accumulated at least eight goals in a two-game span. The first was at the start of the season with 4-0 and 4-3 victories over Toronto and Carolina, respectively.
Detroit scored 15 goals, netting five each in consecutive home wins against Buffalo, Arizona and Nashville at the beginning of December.
Part of the recent of the Wings’ recent success can be attributed to the reunion of the Euro Twin, Zetterberg and Datsyuk. The pair is joined by forward Justin Abdelkader.
The move gives coach Jeff Blashill the ability to use Richards the way he envisioned when the Wings signed the veteran center in the off season.
“Dylan can self-generate, a lot of times regardless of who he’s playing with but it had more to do with my belief that Brad Richards is a second-line center, he did it last year on a Stanley Cup-winning team,” Blashill said. “With Hank and Pav it gives you a 1-2 punch up the middle that is a real important piece but we wanted to take a little bit of a chance like – in Ken Holland’s words – get two percent better. By putting them together we hoped that synergy would create a little more offense and also have a real good No. 2 center in Brad Richards who can be accountable defensively.”
The Wings got lucky, literally, in the opening seconds when Senators center Zack Smith launched a shot from the blue line that beat goalie Petr Mrazek.
Fortunately for Mrazek the rising shot rang off the left goal post behind him and caromed into the corner.
The Senators managed to get four shots on goal before the Wings recorded their first. But Detroit made its count when defenseman Danny DeKeyser scored on a shot that went bar down at 3:03 of the period.
DeKeyser now has seven goals this season, with five of them coming in the last 13-plus games.
The Wings’ defenseman stepped into the slot where he took a feeding pass from Gustav Nyquist who camped out behind the Sens’ net. DeKeyser had time to gather the bouncing puck and get a shot off that appeared to go off Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s skate.
The Wings nearly built a two-goal lead – twice. Once on a Darren Helm breakaway and later on a rocket by Brendan Smith.
Sens goalie Craig Anderson likely heard Smith’s bullet shot whiz by his head. But, like Mrazek, earlier in the period, Anderson got lucky when the puck struck the middle of the crossbar and stayed out with 7:45 left in the period.
Detroit had at least one other quality scoring chance, this one on the power play at 3:43. With Alex Chiasson serving a high-sticking penalty, Abdelkader skated in front the right face-off circle to whip a low wrist shot, but Anderson snagged the puck with a quick left glove hand.
DETROIT 1, OTTAWA 0
SCORING: 1. DET, DeKeyser (Nyquist, Athanasiou), 3:03.
PENALTIES: 1, OTT, Chiasson (high-sticking), 14:27; 2. DET, Marchenko (interference), 19:39.
SHOTS: Detroit 13, Ottawa 10.
First order of business for the Red Wings was to kill off the remaining 1:21 of Alexey Marchenko’s interference penalty. They did that without yielding a shot by the Senators.
The Senators’ Smith had another good scoring chance, but this time Mrazek kept the puck in front of him, stopping the center’s shot from close range midway through the period.
For the second time in three games the Wings had an unexpected delay, though this wasn’t nearly as long as Saturday’s 30-plus minute debacle when a bolt, which got wedged under the Zamboni blade, carved a lengthy hole in the ice delaying the start of the third period.
Wednesday’s delay was caused by a broken pane of glass behind the Red Wings’ net. Repairs took less than four minutes.
The Wings continue to play stellar defensively in front of Mrazek. During one sequence, Riley Sheahan’s quick thinking prevented Mika Zibanejad from getting off a shot by tying up his stick in the low slot.
Mrazek came up big during the Sens second power play chance of the night, stymying Smith for a second time in the period. This time Smith, on a power play, tried to bank a bad-angle shot along the goal line off a fallen Mrazek.
Mrazek has gone 115:53 without giving up a goal. The last goal surrendered by the Wings was in the third period against the Islanders.
DETROIT 1, OTTAWA 0
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Helm (hooking), 13:04; 2. DET, Glendening (tripping), 19:22.
SHOTS: Detroit 8 (21), Ottawa 8 (18).
The period started on a bad note for the Wings, who lost DeKeyser to an apparent knee injury in the opening minute.
Dion Phaneuf, who was acquired in a trade with Toronto on Tuesday, whistled a blast from the point that looked to hit DeKeyser on the outside of the right knee. He was helped to the team bench and hobbled down the tunnel to the dressing room.
DeKeyser returned later and skated one shift coming out of a TV timeout with 11:24 left in regulation, but headed back to the dressing room upon returning to the bench.
Moments after DeKeyser was hurt, the Wings increased their lead on a delayed penalty to the Sens. Henrik Zetterberg raced around Phaneuf to lift a shot passed Anderson at 2:01.
The Senators’ best chance to get a goal came on a 5-on-3 power play for 27. But the Wings’ PK, led by Sheahan, Luke Glendening and Jonathan Ericsson killed off the two-man advantage before Tomas Jurco, who was serving a too-man-men penalty, exited the box.
The Sens’ Smith finally solved Mrazek, scoring a power-play goal late to ruin the shutout bid.
Helm capped the scoring with an empty netter.
DETROIT 3, OTTAWA 1
SCORING: 1. DET, Zetterberg (Datsyuk), 2:01; 2. OTT, Smith PPG (Hoffman, Karlsson), 17:36; 3. DET, Helm EN (unassisted), 18:49.
PENALTIES: 1. OTT, Borowiecki (boarding) 2:36; 2. DET, Jurco (too man men on the ice), 4:40; 3. DET, Quincey (interference), 6:03; 4. DET, Kindl (hooking), 11:42; 5. DET, Tatar (interference), 15:39.
SHOTS: Detroit 8 (29), Ottawa 5 (23).
DETROIT -- The Red Wings just faced the Panthers four days ago in Florida.
Although the Wings lost that game, 6-3, Wings coach Jeff Blashill was not disappointed in his team's play.
"I liked a lot of the process in our game. I didn’t like the result," Blashill said. "I certainly didn’t like getting down 3-nothing. They’re one of the better teams in the East for a reason. They do lots of things well. One, they’ve got a great combination of young and old, veteran, I guess I shouldn’t call it old. Veteran, young players."
One of those veteran players is Jaromir Jagr, playing in his 1,600th career game tonight.
The Wings are without defenseman Mike Green, who tweaked his groin in Saturday's 5-1 win against the New York Islanders.
Jakub Kindl replaces Green in the lineup. It's Kindl's first game with the Wings since Dec. 29 at Winnipeg.
But Kindl was playing regularly with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins so Blashill doesn't expect a drop-off.
"I’ve watched guys that when they sit for two months and try to play it’s extraordinarily hard, whereas that gives the call-up guys way more of an advantage, because they’re down there playing," Blashill said. "The levels aren’t that much different."
Kindl has two goals and three assists and is plus-1 in 23 games with the Wings this season.
OPPONENT TO WATCH: Jagr, who turns 44 on Feb. 15, has 12 goals and 24 assists in 38 games against the Wings.
The Wings got the first chance with the man-advantage when Aaron Ekblad was called for high-sticking at 2:05.
Brad Richards recorded the only shot during the power play but the Wings could not score.
Then Kyle Quincey went to the box for holding but the Wings' penalty kill was also solid.
Al Montoya started for the Panthers instead of Roberto Luongo and made a nice save on Gustav Nyquist's shot from the mid-slot at 14:24.
The Panthers had another power play when Quincey went to the box for roughing but they were unable to score.
With 43.6 seconds left in the period, Nyquist thought he had scored in the lower right corner of the net but it was waved off on the ice. A review was inconclusive so the call stood and the game remained scoreless.
RED WINGS 0, PANTHERS 0
PENALTIES: 1. FLA, minor, Aaron Ekblad, high-sticking, 2:05. 2. DET, minor, Kyle Quincey, holding, 5:10. 3. FLA, minor, Jussi Jokinen, holding, 13:22. 4. DET, minor, Justin Abdelkader, holding, 13.22. 5. DET, minor. Kyle Quincey, holding, 16:20.
SHOTS: Detroit 9, Florida 4.
The Wings had a good chance when Montoya stopped Pavel Datsyuk's shot from the left circle and Justin Abdelkader was in front for the rebound, but couldn't get a good shot off as Dmitry Kulikov was there to defend.
About five minutes into the second, Riley Sheahan had a nifty move to backhand the puck between his legs and then pass to a streaking Darren Helm on the left side but Helm missed the net.
Abdelkader hit Aleksander Barkov at 6:45 and Barkov went to the dressing room.
The Wings had three shots when Alex Petrovic was in the box for cross-checking but Montoya stopped them all.
Then Quincey went off for his third penalty of the game, this one for tripping, at 10:02, but the Panthers failed to score once again on the power play.
Jagr had a good chance at 14:18 but Mrazek was able to jump and bat the puck up over the net as Jagr did not get a clear shot.
Jagr was also alone in front with just over a minute left when Helm fell down but he shot wide of the net.
RED WINGS 0, PANTHERS 0
PENALTIES: 1. FLA, minor, Alex Petrovic, cross-checking, 6:45. 2. DET, minor, Kyle Quincey, tripping, 10:02.
SHOTS: Detroit 12 (21), Florida 11 (15).
0 The Panthers announced before the start of the third that Barkov had an upper-body injury and would not return to the game.
At 1:50, Richards was called for hooking Brandon Pirri, marking Richards' first penalty in 39 games this season.
The Wings killed off the penalty once again.
Rookie Dylan Larkin managed to keep the puck in the offensive zone despite falling down and the best efforts of Nick Bjugstad.
Larkin got the puck to Jakub Kindl, who shot from the high slot. Tomas Tatar was in front and able to deflect it past Montoya at 4:19.
That gives Larkin 38 points, tied for 16th with Dan Labraaten (1978-79) on the Wings' rookie points list.
Larkin is also tied with Steve Wojciechowski (1944-45) for 14th on the all-time Wings' rookie assist list with 20.
The goal also kept alive the Wings' streak of scoring at least one goal in 76 consecutive regular-season games.
Brendan Smith's brother Reilly was called for tripping at 10:19.
Datsyuk took the puck and his wrist shot beat Montoya at 11:26.
The Panthers challenged the goal, believing it was offside, but a review upheld the goal.
Richards and Zetterberg got the assists.
A little over a minute later, the Euro Twins were back at it.
Zetterberg passed to Datsyuk, who was heading to the net and Datsyuk deked and put the puck between Montoya's legs.
The last time Datsyuk scored two goals was Feb. 23, 2015.
RED WINGS 3, PANTHERS 0
SCORING: 1. DET, Tomas Tatar (16), Jakub Kindl, Dylan Larkin, 4:19. 2. DET, PPG, Pavel Datsyuk (7), Brad Richards, Henrik Zetterberg, 11:26. 3. DET, Pavel Datsyuk (8), Henrik Zetterberg, Justin Abdelkader, 12:34.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, minor, Brad Richards, hooking, 1:50. 2. DET, minor, Jakub Kindl, interference, 5:16. 3. FLA, minor, Aaron Ekblad, interference, 6:50. 4. FLA, minor, Reilly Smith, tripping, 10:19. 5. FLA, major, Derek MacKenzie, fighting, 18:58. 6. DET, major, Justin Abdelkader, fighting, 18:58.
SHOTS: Detroit 10 (31), Florida 8 (23)
DETROIT -- The Red Wings were already fast but now should be even faster as Andreas Athanasiou returns from Grand Rapids.
"We wanted to add a little more identity to our hockey team," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "We're not the biggest team. We think we need to be a speed, transition team, certainly a hard-working team. So Double-A gives us a ton of speed, he's got world-class speed, he's right up there with (Dylan) Larkin and (Darren) Helm, as fast as anybody I'd bet in the league."
Athanasiou played six games with the Wings from Nov. 8-18, scoring one goal -- the game-winner and only goal in a 1-0 victory over the Washington Capitals on Nov. 10.
The New York Islanders welcome back defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who missed 11 games with an upper-body injury.
"I think it's a boost," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "He hasn't played in a while so he's going to get in there, play a lot of minutes. For me, it's more his leadership role, what he brings to the room before the game, in between periods. I think the guys will rally around him."
Boychuk will pair with Nick Leddy.
OPPONENT TO WATCH: In 10 games against the Wings, Islanders center John Tavares has three goals and 10 assists.
The Wings talked about hitting the net with more shots but that wasn't happening much in the first period.
Through the first 12 minutes, the Wings managed just two shots on goal.
The Wings also took the first penalty of the game when Tomas Tatar was called for cross-checking Travis Hamonic at 9:12.
The penalty killers did not allow the Islanders a shot during their man-advantage.
But who needs a lot of shots when you make them count?
RED WINGS 2, ISLANDERS 0
SHOTS: Detroit 5, New York Islanders 10.
Blashill juggled the lines a little bit, putting Jurco with Brad Richards and Larkin and shifting Darren Helm to the line with Riley Sheahan and Luke Glendening.
Nick Leddy's shot went off of Quincey and ended up on top of the net at 5:57 but did not go in before Mrazek froze it there.
Then the Islanders found themselves in penalty trouble.
Calvin de Haan was called for holding at 6:36 and Johnny Boychuk for tripping at 7:13, giving the Wings 1:23 with the two-man advantage.
Mike Green, the player that Boychuk tripped, quickly made the Islanders pay.
Green stepped into the mid-slot and scored on a pass from Richards at 7:32. Datsyuk got the second assist, his second of the game.
At 10:32, Athanasiou's shot bounced off of Halak and Tatar, who went to the net, was there to backhand the rebound home. Nyquist got the second assist.
The assist for Athanasiou was his first NHL helper.
After allowing four goals on 13 shots, Halak was removed in favor of Jean-Francois Berube.
Jurco returned to the line with Sheahan and Glendening toward the end of the period.
RED WINGS 4, ISLANDERS 0
SCORING: 1. DET, PPG: Mike Green (4), Brad Richards, Pavel Datsyuk, 7:32.
PENALTIES: 1. NYI, minor, Calvin de Haan, holding, 6:36. 2. NYI, minor, Johnny Boychuk, tripping, 7:13. 3. DET, minor, Riley Sheahan, tripping, 11:50.
SHOTS: Detroit 12 (17), New York Islanders 9 (19).
What appeared to be a nice mid-afternoon game ended up in a lengthy delay before the start of the third as the Zamboni caught the plug that sits in the goalpost peg hole and dragged it to the blue line, creating a long gash in the ice.
Intermission was not long enough to repair the damage as the ice crew and Zamboni worked overtime.
Both captains, Zetterberg and Tavares, came out twice to inspect the ice.
The referee announced that the teams would switch sides at the 10-minute mark to account for any ice disparity.
Finally, after a 36-minute delay, the teams resumed play.
Dylan Larkin scored his team-leading 18th goal of the season at 2:56 when he beat Berube glove-side. Richards and Tatar had the assists.
With his 18th goal, Larkin moved into a tie with Chicago's Artemi Panarin for the rookie lead in goals.
It also marked Larkin's first back-to-back multi-point games. Larkin had two goals at Florida and has a goal and an assist in this game.
Brendan Smith was called for tripping at 3:18 and the Islanders capitalized at 4:07 when Tavares' shot from the right circle beat Mrazek. Kyle Okposo and Leddy got the assists.
RED WINGS 5, ISLANDERS 1
SCORING: 1. DET, Dylan Larkin (18), Brad Richards, Tomas Tatar, 2:56. 2. NYI, PPG, John Tavares (18), Kyle Okposo, Nick Leddy, 4:07.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, minor, Brendan Smith, tripping, 3:18. 2. NYI, minor, Matt Martin, boarding, 10:10.
SHOTS: Detroit 3 (20), New York Islanders 10 (29).
DETROIT – Jeff Blashill is sticking with his same philosophy on back-to-back nights.
Jimmy Howard will start for just the second time this month when the Red Wings host the Anaheim Ducks at Joe Louis Arena tonight.
Howard has certainly had his struggles this season, though he played well in his last start 13 days ago in Los Angeles. In that game, he made 27 saves in a 4-2 loss to the Kings. It was the first time that Howard wasn’t pulled from a game for a poor performance since Dec. 18 when he 37 stops in a 4-3 shootout loss to Vancouver.
“I expect him to be elite, that’s what it takes to win in the league because I think every game is a one-goal game, so you got to have elite goaltending,” Blashill said of Howard. “I think he’s done that through different parts of the season and went through a little bit of a tough stretch where, one, he might not have played good enough, but probably I also thought some games went the wrong way. I’ve been a goalie, sometimes pucks go wide, pucks hit the post, sometimes they go off guys and in and it just seemed like he was in a couple of games where it was a tough cycle for him. We hope that he can come in and be the elite goalie that he is.”
The 31-year-old Howard has a 7-6-4 record with a 2.68 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage this season.
Meanwhile, Petr Mrazek has seemingly taken control of the team’s unofficially standing as the No. 1 goaltender. In Friday’s 3-0 win at Buffalo, he turned aside all 19 shots he faced, lifting the Red Wings to a 6-2-1 record in their last nine contests.
Friday’s win was Mrazek’s third shutout of the season and the eighth of his career, improving to 6-1-1 in his last eight appearances and 17-9-4 overall with a 2.03 GAA and .932 save percentage.
Tonight’s game is the second and final game of the season series with the Ducks. The Wings defeated the Ducks, 2-1, at Honda Center on Jan. 10.
Saturday’s game is also the 1,400th regular-season game at Joe Louis Arena, which first hosted an NHL game on Dec. 27, 1979. The St. Louis Blues beat the Red Wings 3-2.
The Wings grabbed an early lead when Darren Helm converted a breakaway into his first goal in the past 19 games. Helm’s goal – with assists going to defensemen Brendan Smith and Mike Green – was the first scored by the team in the last five first periods.
Helm, who has four goals this season, last scored Dec. 10 when he netted a pair in a 3-2 win over Montreal at Joe Louis Arena.
Howard looked good early in the period. He seemed to track the puck well in his crease, and was quick laterally when he had to move from post to post. But the Ducks still managed to beat the veteran goalie twice, getting even-strength goals by Ryan Kesler and Corey Perry.
The first goal wasn’t Howard’s fault as Kesler took a pass in the slot from Jakub Silfverberg, who was stationed behind the Wings’ net. Kesler snapped a shot before Henrik Zetterberg could get back.
Perry made a nice play to deke Howard out of position before sliding a backhand into an open net.
ANAHEIM 2, DETROIT 1
SCORING: 1. DET, Helm (Smith, Green), 1:10; 2. ANA, Kesler (Silfverberg, Cogliano), 7:26; 3. ANA, Perry (Rakell, Perron), 18:36.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, DeKeyser (high sticking), 3:31; 2. DET, Smith (cross checking), 9:50; 3. ANA, Perron (goaltender interference), 19:03.
SHOTS: Detroit 9, Anaheim 13.
Two giveaways – one each by Smith and Zetterberg – set up Kesler twice in the matter of seconds. Smith’s gaff behind the net enabled Kesler’s wrap-around attempt, which slid harmlessly through the crease and out the opposite side. From there, Zetterberg’s diagonal clearing pass was intercepted by Kesler who snapped a wrist shot from the high slot. Alertly, Howard made the save on the 35-foot shot.
Dylan Larkin, who collected his fourth multi-point game, and fifth winning goal of the season Friday in Buffalo, had a glorious chance on the Red Wings’ first power play of the period. After taking a pass from Brad Richards, the rookie stepped out from beneath the goal line, but his shot, which sailed under goalie John Gibson’s right arm, hit the far goal post.
While the Wings’ didn’t produce on the power play, they did even the score when Tomas Jurco scored for the first time in 18 games. The play began with Jurco’s breakout pass to Smith From there, Jurco, Smith and Gustav Nyquist took off on an odd-man rush, finishing with Jurco’s pretty backhand shot into the top of the net behind Gibson.
Looking to spark the offense, Blashill shuffled the forward lines late in the second period, reuniting Zetterberg with Pavel Datsyuk and Larkin. Fourth liners Teemu Pulkkinen and Jurco were elevated to the second line with Richards. The third line is now Riley Sheahan with Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, and fourth-line center Luke Glendening is with Justin Abdelkader and Helm.
With 4:59 left on the period, Green brought the sold-out crowd to their feet. As the defenseman exited the penalty box he received a stretch pass that set Green in alone on Gibson. But the Ducks’ goalie made a spectacular glove save to keep the score even at 2-2.
DETROIT 2, ANAHEIM 2
SCORING: 1. DET, Jurco (Nyquist, Smith), 9:21.
PENALTIES: 1. ANA, Perron (holding), 6:07; 2. DET, Ericsson (hooking), 10:44; 3. DET, Green (delay of game), 12:52.
SHOTS: Detroit 10 (19), Anaheim 13 (26).
For the second time in the game, Perry gave the Ducks a one-goal lead with a no-look, sweeping shot from in close that squeezed between Danny DeKeyser and Howard.
A minute later the Wings went on the power play, but they couldn’t find the equalizer.
For the second straight night Larkin was worse for wear when he suffered a large cut to the left cheek. As he and defenseman Kevin Bieksa fell to the ice in front of the Ducks’ net, Larkin was accidentally cut by Bieksa’s skate.
Larkin had his nose bloodied and chipped a tooth when he was high sticked by the Sabres’ Marcus Foligno in the third period of Friday’s game. Larkin had dental work done Saturday afternoon.
Kesler scored his second goal of the game, giving the Ducks a 4-2 lead.
With 3:27 left, Rickard Rakell was called for boarding when he slammed Smith into the end boards behind the Detroit net. Smith appeared injured on the play and went to the Wings’ dressing room. Meanwhile, Howard went to the bench to give Detroit a 6-on-4 advantage.
Shortly after the penalty expired, Detroit pulled within one when DeKeyser’s blast from the point got through traffic and behind Gibson.
The Wings made it interesting in the final minute, but Gibson and the Ducks did a superb job of crowding the crease and secure their win.
The loss is the Wings’ fifth straight at home (0-4-1). Detroit’s last win on home ice was Dec. 20 in a 4-2 decision against Calgary.
ANAHEIM 4, DETROIT 3
SCORING: 1. ANA, Perry (Rakell, Maroon), 2:28; 2. Kesler (Getzlaf, Silfverberg), 6:41; DeKeyser (Pulkkinen, Tatar), 18:44.
PENALTIES: 1. ANA, Silfverberg (high sticking), 3:03; 2. ANA, Rakell (boarding), 16:33.
SHOTS: Detroit 8 (27), Anaheim 9 (35).
While Richards promises to be back in the lineup when the Wings host Anaheim at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday night, Kronwall’s absence will be weeks, not days.
Kronwall had knee surgery on Tuesday and is expected to miss 2-4 weeks before he’ll likely be ready to draw back into the lineup.
The Wings still feel that they’re in good shape because of the kind of depth they have at basically every position.
“Every team goes through injuries and through the course of the season you have to rely on your organizational depth and I think we’ve got good organizational depth,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I felt like we had seven D that all were very capable of being real good defensemen at the NHL level and we could only play six of them. So when Kronner went out we’ve got six that I think are very capable of being really good NHL defensemen. I thought Alexey Marchenko was great last game. He was the one sitting out prior to that. So obviously Nik’s a really good player, but we try to concentrate on the 18 skaters and two goalies that are dressed that night.”
The defense was definitely active for the Red Wings in the opening 20 minutes of Friday’s contest. Despite being out-shot 12-8 by Detroit, the Sabres maintain plenty of puck possession in the offense zone.
The Wings’ defense did their part to help out goalie Petr Mrazek. blocking eight shots in the period, two by Jonathan Ericsson. Meanwhile, Justin Abdelkader, Mike Green, Kyle Quincey, Teemu Pulkkinen, Danny DeKeyser and Dylan Larkin had one blocked shot each.
Making his 63rd career start, and the 29th this season, Mrazek was tested a few times, especially on a tricky play by Rasmus Ristolainen. The Sabres’ defenseman crossed the attacking blue line, dipped passed a Wings’ defender, and made a 360-spin at the top of the left faceoff circle before unleashing a 32-foot shot.
With traffic lined up in front of him on the play, Mrazek made a heady shot to keep the puck out of the Wings’ net.
Detroit had two power plays in the first period, but only mustered one long-distance shot during the second man-advantage from Green at the left point. The Wings’ penalty kill was successful during its only work in the first, making it nine straight kills for the special teams unit.
It was just the second time the Wings and Sabres played to a scoreless period in one of their four meetings this season. They battled to a scoreless first period in the Sabres’ 2-1 win on Dec. 14 at Joe Louis Arena.
DETROIT 0, BUFFALO 0
PENALTIES: 1. BUF, Larsson (hooking), 3:42; 2. DET, Larkin (tripping), 7:24; 3. BUF, C. O’Reilly(interference), 13:33.
SHOTS: Detroit 12, Buffalo 8.
The period had a more fluid up-and-down pace to it than the opening 20 minutes, and both goalies – Mrazek and Robin Lehner.
The Sheahan line with Jurco and Tatar cause some trouble for the Sabres midway through the period. During their shift they combined on three shots while managing to retrieve and possess the puck for nearly a minute.
Brian Gionta had a score chance snuffed out when he couldn’t handle Johan Larsson’s centering pass on a 2-on-1 rush into the Red Wings zone. Larsson threaded a perfectly placed pass that avoided a diving Quincey in the slot. But Gionta appeared to fumble the pass in close and his shovel attempt sailed to the left of Mrazek.
Late in the period, Larkin took a pretty big hit along the end boards deep in the Sabres’ zone. As the pursued a loose puck in the corner he was heavily checked simultaneously by defensemen Zach Bogosian and Ristolainen.
The Wings definitely side step a near catastrophe when DeKeyser escaped serious injury when it appeared that a puck, shot from close range by the Sabres’ Evander Kane, with 2:18 left in the period.
DeKeyser was helped to the bench by team trainer Piet Van Zant, but the defenseman was back on the ice before the end of the period, not missing a single shift.
DETROIT 0, BUFFALO 0
SHOTS: Detroit 15 (27), Buffalo 9 (17).
Abdelkader appeared to be shaken up, albeit momentarily, when he was hit in the side of the head by a Larkin backhand shot from the low slot. The Wings’ forward was battling with defenseman Mike Weber when both tumbled face first to the ice in front of Lehner, and Larkin shipped a backhander that connected with the right side of Abdelkader’s head. He was attended to by Van Zant, but like DeKeyser late in the second, did not miss a shift.
The Red Wings received a four-minute power play when Marcus Foligno received a double minor for high sticking that draw blood from Larkin’s face.
While the four-minute advantage didn’t produce a goal, Larkin, with cotton packed in his left nostril to absorb a bloody nose, he got some justice when he gave the Wings the lead with his 15th goal of the season. The rookie’s initial shot was saved by Lehner. As the Michigan native made his way around the back of the net to the far side Luke Glendening spot him with a perfect pass that Larkin deposited into the empty side of the net.
Larkin picked up a second point when he set up Henrik Zetterberg’s second goal in as many games. Larkin, who has 32 points in 46 games, is now tied with former forward John Ogrodnick (1979-80) for No. 21 on the franchise’s all-time rookie scoring list.
Since scoring four goals at Buffalo Jan. 2, the Red Wings have scored just 15 goals in the last eight games.
The Wings return home to host Anaheim at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday night. The Ducks were to play in Washington on Friday, but the severe snowstorm that descended upon the nation’s capital caused the NHL to postpone the game.
The shutout is Mrazek’s third of the season, the eighth of his career.
DETROIT 3, BUFFALO 0
SCORING: 1. DET, Larkin (Glendening, Ericsson), 12:01; 2. DET, Zetterberg (Larkin), 17:09; 3. DET, Glendening EN (unassisted), 19:11.
PENALTIES: 1. BUF, Foligno (double minor, high sticking), 7:19
SHOTS: Detroit 18 (45), Buffalo 2 (19).
Tatar was announced as a late scratch due to illness, flu-like symptoms.
Tatar did participate in the morning skate.
Darren Helm moved back up to the Datsyuk line with Larkin.
Meanwhile, the St. Louis Blues had illness problems of their own as rookie defenseman Colton Parayko missed both the morning skate and game as he was sick.
The Blues had to play with just five defensemen as Carl Gunnarsson, out for four games with an upper-body injury, was not yet available.
Joel Edmundson, Jay Bouwmeester, Kevin Shattenkirk, Alex Pietrangelo and Andre Benoit were the Blues defensemen.
Petr Mrazek started in goal for Detroit and Brian Elliott started for St. Louis.
Brad Richards had a couple of good chances in the first period as the Wings out-shot the Blues but Elliott made the saves.
The Blues had a power-play chance when Tomas Jurco was called for cross-checking Scottie Upshall at 13:06.
The Wings' penalty killers were very aggressive and did not allow the Blues any shots during their power play.
The Wings then went through an unlucky stretch as Pietrangelo's shot went off of Ty Rattie's leg, deflecting past Mrazek at 18:01. David Backes had the second assist.
Pavel Datsyuk had an open net at 18:14 (see video above) but the puck squirted through the crease past the net.
ST. LOUIS 1, DETROIT 0
SCORING: 1. STL, Rattie (Pietrangelo, Backes), 18:01.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Jurco (cross-checking), 13:06.
SHOTS: Detroit 11, St. Louis 7.
The Blues came out on the attack in the second, out-shooting the Wings 5-1 at the start.
Then Teemu Pulkkinen was called for high-sticking Joel Edmundson at 5:59.
The Blues did not get a shot until there was just two seconds left in the man-advantage when Paul Stastny was in the low slot and tried to deflect a shot but Mrazek was there.
The Wings finally got a chance on the power play when Patrik Berglund was called for high-sticking Brendan Smith.
Smith, a newcomer to the power play's second unit, did not get a lot of time as the first unit held the puck for most of the two minutes.
Gustav Nyquist had a good chance at 10:11 but Elliott made the save.
Danny DeKeyser got loose in the slot at 13:15 but Elliott was there.
Jori Lehtera was called for hooking Datsyuk at 13:16 but the Wings were unable to capitalize and tie the game.
ST. LOUIS 1, DETROIT 0
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Pulkkinen (high-sticking), 5:59; 2. STL, Berglund (high-sticking), 9:00; 3. STL, Lehtera (hooking), 13:16; 4. STL, Backes (interference), 14:21; 5. DET, Abdelkader (slashing), 14:21.
SHOTS: Detroit 9 (20), St. Louis 9 (16).
Mrazek had to work early in the third as Blues leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko had two good chances early.
At 5:22, Elliott had to make a save on Kyle Quincey, who went hard to the right side of the net.
Then Elliott had to stop Andersson, who was trying to push home a rebound of Teemu Pulkkinen's shot from the right boards.
The Blues took a 2-0 lead at 12:13 when Dmitrij Jaskin weaved through Riley Sheahan, Jonathan Ericsson and Mike Green to deposit the puck in the left side of the net.
Backes and Pietrangelo picked up their second assists of the game.
The Wings finally capitalized on a man-advantage opportunity when Henrik Zetterberg scored into the far side of the net from the right circle with 2:13 remaining in regulation. Mike Green had the only assist.
But Larkin was called for hooking at 19:02, which didn't help the chances of tying the game.
The Blues snapped a four-game losing streak against the Wings.
ST. LOUIS 2, DETROIT 1
SCORING: 1. STL, Jaskin (Backes, Pietranglo), 12:13; 2. DET, Zetterberg PPG (Green), 17:47.
PENALTIES: 1. STL, Steen (elbowing), 16:43; 2. DET, Larkin (hooking), 19:02; 3. STL, Steen (hooking), 19:56.
SHOTS: Detroit 10 (30), St. Louis 4 (20).
DETROIT -- Teemu Pulkkinen returned to the Red Wings' lineup after missing 18 games with a dislocated right shoulder.
"Luke is hard on the puck, Luke will go to the net, so depending on who else he’s with there, he’s got to continue to worry about his game and that’s making sure he’s on pucks and when he gets the puck shoot it in the net, so I think he’s got opportunities to do that," Blashill said. "I don’t think it matters who he plays with."
Pulkkinen knows it's going to take a little while to get back into real game shape, even though he's been able to skate and practice with the team for a while.
"That helps for sure but it's always different to play games," Pulkkinen said. "It's a different thing but it helps a little bit. You've been able to skate but not too much. Like I said before, I have to play simple and have short shifts and play hard."
Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth had just made a save on Tomas Jurco at 2:20 when Ryan White came in and targeted Jurco's head.
White was given a match penalty, which was served by Brayden Schenn. The match penalty means White will have to have either a phone or an in-person hearing with the league.
The Wings had a five-minute power play and managed five shots on goal but were unable to capitalize.
The Flyers got a power-play chance of their own when Danny DeKeyser was called for interference on Jakub Voracek at 16:09.
Petr Mrazek had to make two tough saves, the best on Schenn in the left circle as Mrazek was partially screened.
DETROIT 0, PHILADELPHIA 0
PENALTIES: 1. PHI, White (match, hit to the head), 2:20; 2. DET, DeKeyser (interference), 16:09.
SHOTS: Detroit 10, Philadelphia 11.
Larkin made two fantastic plays with his speed, once passing to Brendan Smith on the left side after Smith joined the rush. Smith couldn't get the shot off.
The other came when Larkin kept the puck in the zone and tried to backhand it but Neuvirth made the save, which left Larkin shaking his head.
At the other end, Mrazek had to make some spectacular saves as the Flyers started to carry the play.
Two of those saves came against Schenn, who was in close on the left side and had Sean Couturier with him.
Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas got a little rough with Pavel Datsyuk and was called for holding at 8:17.
Henrik Zetterberg hit the right post during the man-advantage.
Things got a little chippy after Gudas got out of the box and Evgeny Medvedev and Justin Abdelkader ended up with off-setting roughing penalties.
Mrazek made a nice glove save on Mark Streit at 11:24 which was followed at the other end by Neuvirth's save on Riley Sheahan, which went up over the top of the net.
Niklas Kronwall broke the scoreless tie with 1:35 left in the second as his shot hit Neuvirth's glove and went over and into the net.
The Flyers challenged the goal, believing that Helm had interfered with Neuvirth but after review, the goal stood.
Jonathan Ericsson and Pavel Datsyuk assisted.
DETROIT 1, PHILADELPHIA 0
SCORING: 1. DET, Kronwall (Ericsson, Datsyuk), 18:25.
PENALTIES: 1. PHI, Gudas (holding), 8:17; 2. PHI, Medvedev (roughing), 10:17; 3. DET, Abdelkader (roughing), 10:17.
SHOTS: Detroit 13 (23), Philadelphia 5 (16).
Claude Giroux scored his 13th goal of the season at 4:24, beating Mrazek stick-side on a nice pass from Jakub Voracek.
Giroux now has six goals and nine assists in 12 games against Detroit.
The Wings had a power play at 4:39 when Scott Laughton was called for hooking Zetterberg but again could not capitalize.
The Flyers then got a man-advantage chance at 7:13 when Kyle Quincey went to the box for interference.
The Wings killed that off but then got two quick penalties as Mike Green was called for delay of game at the 10-minute mark and Kronwall was called for tripping at 10:24, giving the Flyers 1:36 of 5-on-3.
Mrazek denied Voracek twice, once from the right circle with a glove flourish.
Datsyuk hit the crossbar with a backhand shot at 13:53.
Smith was called for hooking at 19:55.
The Flyers appeared to score the go-ahead goal with 1.6 seconds left when Shayne Gostisbehere's shot went in the net, but the referee ruled that Wayne Simmonds had interfered with Mrazek.
DETROIT 1, PHILADELPHIA 1
SCORING: 1. PHI, Giroux (Voracek, Simmonds), 4:24.
PENALTIES: 1. PHI, Laughton (hooking), 4:39; 2. DET, Quincey (interference), 7:13; 3. DET, Green (delay of game), 10:00; 4. DET, Kronwall (tripping), 10:24; 5. DET, Smith (hooking), 19:55; 6. PHI, Simmonds (goaltender interference), 19:58.
SHOTS: Detroit 4 (27), Philadelphia 14 (30).
The Red Wings had three shots, one by Abdelkader, one by Nyquist and one by Tatar.
The Flyers got one shot from Gostisbehere.
DETROIT 1, PHILADELPHIA 1
SHOTS: Detroit 3 (30), Philadelphia 1 (31).
It was the first shootout for the Wings since Dec. 18, a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
Gustav Nyquist hit the crossbar, then Simmonds was stopped by Neuvirth.
Datsyuk and Giroux traded goals.
Then Neuvirth stopped Richards but Voracek beat Mrazek through the 5-hole.
PHILADELPHIA 2, DETROIT 1, SO
GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Red Wings have been out-shot in six straight.
It’s kind of a misleading statistic, considering Detroit won four of those six games.
The Wings wrap up a six-game road trip – their longest of the season – tonight against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena.
In the past six games, Detroit’s skaters are averaging 25.8 shots for, while at the other end of the ice they are allowing an average of 32 shots against.
It’s a trend that the Wings’ players would like to change.
“I think we have to spend some more time in the offensive zone,” said Justin Abdelkader, who has 11 shots in the past six games. “We got caught the last handful of games of kind of playing up-and-down hockey, not spending quality time in the offensive zone. We got to do a better job cycling, obviously shooting pucks. The teams we’ve played have done a good job blocking shots. Just got to find ways to get pucks through and on net.”
The Wings average 28.4 shots per game, which ranks No. 24 in the league. Still, they have posted a 13-8-0 record when they’ve been out-shot this season.
Coach Jeff Blashill agreed with Abdelkader’s assertion that more o-zone time is necessary to create more shots and scoring chances.
“More o-zone time, that’s number one thing,” Blashill said. “We haven’t had many stretches of real o-zone time like we did from the 15-games ago mark to the 10-game we had some real o-zone time. … We have to spend more time in the other team’s zone. If you think back … we haven’t had those real long stretches and when you do that you tend to accumulate more shots.”
The Wings had one other stretch this season when they were out-shot in six straight games. That occurred in late October/early November. But like this current stretch, the Wings were 4-2-0 then as well.
Zone time has been a concern and the Red Wings seemed to do little to address that in the first period, as the Coyotes controlled much of the pace. Arizona had a 12-5 edge in shots on goal in the period.
The Coyotes had a good scoring chance taken away by Brendan Smith who started a rush with a terrific breakout pass to Pavel Datsyuk in the neutral zone. Datsyuk coasted through the middle of the ice to the top of the slot where he tried to use Connor Murphy as a screen. But the Coyotes’ defenseman dropped to a knee and blocked Datsyuk’s shot in the low slot in front of rookie goaltender Louis Domingue.
With roughly nine minutes left in the first period, Datsyuk had another good scoring chance created by a neutral-zone turnover. With one move to side step a defender at the blue line, Datsyuk was in with Nicklas Grossman back. The Russian’s shot got through this time, but Domingue made a nice stand-up save.
Petr Mrazek, who was playing in his 29th game of the season – equally his total from last season – had to make several heady saves in the opening frame.
He made two big saves on Mikkel Boedker from close range. Boedker set up a third chance – this one by Tobias Rieder – with less than six-minutes to go. Boedker’s pass from the corner changed direction off of Mrazek’s right leg pad and into the high slot to Rieder who fired a one-time that the Wings’ goalie blocked and covered up for a whistle.
The Wings had another solid scoring chance when Dylan Larkin retrieved the luck along the half wall to the right of Domingue before spotting Riley Sheahan in the middle of the faceoff circle. Domingue had to be quick to react as Sheahan waste no time in pulling the trigger on a one-timer.
DETROIT 0, ARIZONA 0
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Jurco (high-sticking) 18:36.
SHOTS: Detroit 5, Arizona 12.
The Red Wings started the period by having to kill off 36 seconds of Tomas Jurco’s high-sticking penalty. They managed to kill it off, but the Coyotes took the lead anyway when Oliver Ekman-Larsson collected his 13th goal of the season.
In a scramble in front of the Wings’ crease, Brad Richardson sent a puck into traffic. The shot pinballed off a few legs then bounced to Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who cranked a shot that beat Mrazek to his stick side.
The Wings had a nice opportunity to get an equalizing goal. But Brad Richards’s shot, which was created by a pretty give and go with Tomas Tatar t the blue line, was smothered by Domingue.
The Coyotes built a two-goal lead when Shane Doan scored on a deflection with 1:10 left in the period. The power-play goal was his team-leading 16th of the season.
ARIZONA 2, DETROIT 0
SCORING: 1. ARI, Ekman-Larsson (Martinook, Richardson) 4:51; 2. ARI, Doan PPG (Rieder, Boedker) 18:50.
PENALTIES: 1. ARI, Vermette (roughing) 8:46; 2. DET, Larkin (interference)10:25; 3. ARI, Rieder (embellishment) 10:25; 4. DET, Abdelkader (tripping) 14:09.
SHOTS: Detroit 11 (16), Arizona 8 (20).
Never out of any game, the Red Wings fought back in the third with power-play goals by Datsyuk and Gustav Nyquist. Though the second goal was originally credited to Henrik Zetterberg.
The Red Wings finally got on the board when Datsyuk sniped a shot from the top of the slot on the team’s third power-play chance of the night. Domingue never had a chance as he was screened by Justin Abdelkader and Coyotes defenseman Klas Dahlbeck.
Just 1:15 later, the Wings returned to the power play and got the equalizing tally when Gustav Nyquist snapped his 10-game scoring drought. Nyquist followed up his initial shot by diving toward the net and poking the puck over the paddle of Doningue’s out-reached stick.
The Coyotes challenged the goal, saying that Domingue was interfered with my Abdelkader who crashed the crease from the opposite side of Nyquist. The situation room in Toronto reviewed the scoring play but the goal was upheld.
DETROIT 2, ARIZONA 2
SCORING: 1, DET, Datsyuk PPG (Green, Nyquist) 11:50; 2. DET, Nyquist (Datsyuk, Green) 14:20.
PENALTIES: 1, ARI, Vermette (hooking) 10:51; 2. ARI, Duclair (hooking) 13:05.
SHOTS: Detroit 8 (24), Arizona 7 (27).
The pace was incredible and Larkin made things happen, leading to Danny DeKeyser’s shot that went top shelf over Domingue at 2:08.
Several players had chances to end this game early.
Abdelkader hit the post and then on the other end of the ice, Rieder hit the post behind Mrazek with a backhand shot. Moments later, Max Domi set up Martin Hanzal who fired a shot from in close that smacked Mrazek in the winged wheel.
But then came Larkin who entered the offensive zone with speed to burn. He later said that he tought about getting a backhand shot off, but made a pass instead, finding DeKeyser in the left circle, and the Wings’ defenseman didn’t miss on his opportunity correcting on his first game-winner of the season..
The Wings finish their six-game road trip with a 5-1-0 record. They head back to Detroit where they will face the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday night at 7:30 p.m.
DETROIT 3, ARIZONA 2
SCORING: 1. DET, DeKeyser (Larkin, Datsyuk) 2:08.
SHOTS: Detroit 1 (25), Arizona 2 (29).
LOS ANGELES – More than 10 years ago, a 21-year-old Jimmy Howard made his Red Wings debut and recorded his first NHL win in the City of Angels.
Howard was called up Nov. 28, 2005, filling in for Manny Legace when he went down with a knee injury.
That night, Howard stopped 22 shots in his first game, including a breakaway by Eric Belanger, to guide the Red Wings to a 5-2 win over the Kings.
Coming off a two-week long break, Howard now seeks a triumphant return to the lineup.
Howard last played Dec. 29 at Winnipeg. He was lifted after surrendering four goals on the first 14 shots. It was the second straight game that he was pulled for a poor performance.
The Wings look to remain perfect on their current six-game road trip. Despite being out-shot in each of the first four games of the trip, the Wings have been victorious in each, defeating Buffalo (4-3), New Jersey (1-0), San Jose (2-1) and Anaheim (2-1).
Howard, 31, has posted a 7-5-4 record with a 2.66 goals-against average and .9910 save percentage.
Tonight is the second and final time the Wings and Kings will face this season. Detroit claimed a 3-2 victory when Petr Mrazek made 35 saves on Nov. 20 at Joe Louis Arena.
Tomas Tatar, Mike Green and Dylan Larkin scored for the Wings.
The night couldn’t have started any worse for Howard.
Desperately needing a solid comeback effort, the Wings’ goalie was victimized on the Kings’ first shot of the game. It was the eighth goal that Howard has let up on the last 21 shots faced.
The Kings, on the heels of killing an opening-minute minor penalty, broke out of their zone where Anze Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli sprinted out to an odd-man rush with Wings defenseman Mike Green back.
As Green dropped to the ice in an attempt to cut off the passing lane, Kopitar waited for the Wings’ defenseman to slide by before making a pass to Toffoli on the far side of Howard, who was focused on Kopitar. Toffoli just had to redirect the puck with the blade of his stick into the open side of the net.
With Kyle Quincey back in the lineup, the Wings’ coaches chose to go with seven defensemen and 11 forwards. Part of the reason was likely because of the recent play of Alexey Marchenko and Brendan Smith has been so good that it was difficult not to have them in the lineup tonight.
The Wings bounced back in the second half of period, getting goals from Tomas Tatar and Marchenko.
For the second straight night, Tatar scored. His equalizing goal Monday was a tip in front of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. Pavel Datsyuk set up the scoring play, skating across the blue line before making a spinning pass to Darren Helm on the opposite point. It was Helm’s shot that Tatar redirected.
Less than three minutes later, Marchenko, who is playing in his 50 career NHL game, finally scored his first goal of the season. Again, Helm and Datsyuk set up the goal.
DETROIT 2, LOS ANGELES 1
SCORING: 1. LAK, Toffoli (Kopitar, Lucic) 2:59; 2. Tatar (Helm, Datsyuk) 15:49; 3. DET, Marchenko (Datsyuk, Helm) 18:16.
PENALTIES: 1. LAK, Kopitar (tripping) 0:29; 2. LAK, Ehrhoff (holding) 9:33; 3. DET, Tatar (tripping) 10:33.
SHOTS: Detroit 10, Los Angeles 12.
The Wings almost seemed compelled to allow the Kings to bring the attack to them in the second period.
Los Angeles came in waves at Howard, out-shooting the Wings, 10-4, in a period that saw the Kings tie the score on a Kopitar power-play goal.
Howard figured in the Kings’ second goal of the night when he was called for tripping Jeff Carter at 16:21. Howard’s penalty was served by Brad Richards.
But just seven seconds later, Kopitar had his 12th goal of the season, and the Kings and Wings were tied at 2-2.
From the top of the left circle, Kopitar rifled a rising shot that Howard likely never saw behind a screen in front of his crease.
For the 12th time this season, the Wings head to the second intermission tied. They have posted a 7-3-1 record when tied after two periods.
DETROIT 2, LOS ANGELES 2
SCORING: 1. LAK, Kopitar PPG (Muzzin, Lucic) 16:28.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Howard (tripping, severed by Richards) 16:21; 1. DET, Ericsson (hooking) 19:56.
SHOTS: Detroit 4 (14), Los Angeles 10 (22).
With Jonathan Ericsson serving the remaining time on his hooking penalty near the end of the second period, the Kings picked up their second power-play of the night when Detroit-area native Alec Martinez ripped a shot from the right circle that gave the Kings a 3-2 lead at 1:28.
Riley Sheahan attempted to block Martinez’s shot, but may have set more of a screen in front of Howard.
The Wings’ pulled Howard for an extra attacked with 1:26 remaining. But Dwight King out-raced Niklas Kronwall to a loose puck in the neutral zone to score an empty-net goal with 52 seconds left.
Kopitar picked up his third assist on the empty netter. It was his fourth point of the game.
It was just the first time at home this season that the Kings have scored more than one PP goal in a game.
The loss is the Wings’ first of 2016.
Detroit will conclude their six-game road trip later this week when they meet the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena in Glendale on Thursday.
LOS ANGELES 4, DETROIT 2
SCORING: 1. LAK, Martinez PPG (Doughty, Kopitar) 1:28; 2. King (Kopitar, Doughty) 19:07.
SHOTS: Detroit 12 (26), Los Angeles 9 (31).