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).
ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Red Wings have been on the right side of more one-goal games than any NHL team this season.
Detroit has participated in 26 games decided by one goal, and leads the league with 16 one-goal wins. Minnesota, Carolina and Vancouver have also played in 26 one-goal games, but only the Wild (12 wins) comes close to the success Detroit (16-3-7) has had.
Coach Jeff Blashill thinks it’s been his team’s ability to build leads and hang on late in what has grown to become a tight league with very little time in space every night.
“I think when you’ve had the lead it’s a better chance by percentages that you’re gonna come out on top,” Blashill said Sunday afternoon. “We’ve found a way in a lot of them, I mean, it’s the way the game’s gone. I think we’ve had some opportunities to maybe make some of those two- and three-goal leads. We haven’t, so as a result (they) have been one goal (outcomes).
“We’re comfortable in that because we’ve been in that spot so much. For me it doesn’t matter, we’ve got to score one more than they score at the end of the night, and we’ve got to find a way to win.”
Winning is something the Red Wings haven’t done in nearly three years against Anaheim. Since posting consecutive wins on back-to-back nights in Anaheim during the lockout-shortened 2013 season, the Wings are 0-3-1 against the Ducks.
The Wings are seeking their first four-game winning streak in regulation since late in the 2013-14 season. Despite being out-shot and out-chanced in four straight games, the Wings have managed to string together three straight to start their current six-game road trip with wins at Buffalo, New Jersey and San Jose.
“We don’t necessarily trust the shooting chart and I don’t know if that always tells the story,” Blashill said. “We keep our own chances. The other night for example in San Jose we actually came out of top on chances. So I think, again, every game is tight, it’s real close. We’ve got to find a way to create as many positive chances and limit the other team’s chances the best that we can.”
Shots: 36 | +/-: 5
Considered an offensive defenseman, Smith has made a commitment to play a complete game at both ends of the ice.
“I think he’s managed the game the best he has,” Blashill said. “I think his decision making has been the best it’s been on a consistent level. He’s taken what’s given, he’s not trying to force stuff that’s not there. I think when you’re a talented person like him you have a tendency at times to force things. He’s learned, I think, over the last month and a half, two months, to really taken what’s given. It’s a big part of winning hockey at this level.”
In 33 games, Smith has 10 points. Two years ago, he established a single-season career high with 19 points in 71 games.
The Red Wings have done extremely well when scoring first this season. They are 19-4-4 when striking first. But Sunday, they scored fast … real fast.
Tomas Tatar’s 13 goal of the season just 16 second into the game was the fastest goal to start a contest this season. Justin Abdelkader’s goal at 1:15 on opening night had been the fastest until Sunday at Honda Center.
Tatar was credited with an unassisted goal; however, Pavel Datsyuk made a play to get the puck to Tatar at the bottom of the right circle to the left of Ducks goalie John Gibson. It appeared that Tatar tried to make a pass out in front of the crease, but the puck ricocheted off the Hampus Lindholm’s stick blade and between Gibson’s legs.
Datsyuk should have received an assist, but the way it’s been explained in the press box is because Lindholm accidently scored on his own net while making a stabbing motion with his stick, the assist is removed. Plus, Tatar isn’t given a shot on goal.
The Red Wings had two chances to go up two goals when Detroit-area native Ryan Kesler and Sami Vatanen earned high-sticking and tripping penalties, respectively, about four-minutes apart.
Kesler went to the penalty box for using his stick to whack Henrik Zetterberg in the throat behind the Ducks’ net at 3:28 of the period. Detroit managed to get two shots on net during their two-minute chance, but Gibson turned both aside.
Vatanen was called for tripping Tatar. Detroit got another shot on goal on the power play, but the Ducks definitely had the better scoring chance.
The Ducks’ penalty kill has now allowed a goal in 28 straight chances, dating back to a 4-2 win over Philadelphia on Dec. 27.
The Ducks’ PK had a glorious chance to pull even on the scoreboard when Kevin Bieksa intercepted a pass before sending a stretch pass, splitting Brad Richards and Tatar, and sending Nate Thompson in a lone on Petr Mrazek. The Ducks center beat the Wings goalie high over his left catching glove, but the puck glanced off the crossbar and into the messing behind the net.
Corey Perry eventually pulled the Ducks even with his team-leading 16th goal of the season. The Peterborough, Ontario, native fought off Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser to get a backhand off that beat Mrazek over his right shoulder. It was just the Ducks second shot of the period.
At one point the Wings had a 6-1 edge in shots. But the Ducks up their pressure in the final half of the period with six unanswered shots on Mrazek.
DETROIT 1, ANAHEIM 1
SCORING: 1. DET, Tatar (unassisted) 0:16; 2. ANA, Perry (Getzlaf, Rakell) 13:35.
PENALTIES: 1. ANA, Kesler (high-sticking) 3:28; 2. ANA, Vatanen (tripping) 7:09; 3. DET, Smith (hooking) 17:05.
SHOTS: Detroit 6, Anaheim 7.
Wave after wave, the Ducks buzzed the Wings’ zone to start the middle frame. Fortunately for the Red Wings, Mrazek, who’s been sharp all game, got some help from a goal post.
Perry was just one of three Ducks who had clear shooting lanes on the Wings’ net. Perry’s shot from the left circle beat Mrazek, but the puck rocketed off the near post.
The Ducks picked up their first power play chance of the night when Glendening was called on a questionable tripping call on Getzlaf as he rushed the puck toward the Wings’ blue line.
Mrazek had to be sharp again later in the period on Getzlaf. With about three minutes left in the period, the Ducks captain cruised into the zone and unleashed a wicked wrist shot from the high slot that Mazrek had to make a kick save on with his right leg pad.
The Red Wings’ best chance in the period occurred when Zetterberg send Nyquist into the zone on a nice pass through the neutral zone. Gibson was forced to make a pad save, but the rebound went out in front to Abdelkader, who was then tripped by Josh Manson. The Ducks’ defenseman was sent to the box with 1:03 left in the period.
DETROIT 1, ANAHEIM 1
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Glendening (tripping) 11:54; 2. ANA, Manson (holding) 18:57.
SHOTS: Detroit 9 (15), Anaheim 11 (18).
The Red Wings began the period with 57 seconds of a power play remaining as Manson finished serving his two-minute minor. However, nothing in way of a scoring chance developed for the Wings.
Tatar had a chance to regain the lead for the Red Wings when he made a great play, swiping the puck away from Vatanen at the Wings’ blue line. From there, the Wings’ forward outraced the 24-year-old defenseman through the neutral zone to get an 18-foot shot off on Gibson, who made the stop with his body.
At one point in the period, Riley Sheahan ended up in Ducks’ bench as he tried to play a stretch pass from Alexey Marchenko. The Wings’ third-line center went head-first over the board when he was drilled in the back by Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner.
The Wings did get the lead back when roommates Sheahan and Dylan Larkin combined on a pretty goal. The rookie spoted Sheahan slicing through the slot, made a centering pass and Sheahan, fighting off a check, shoveled a shot in behind Gibson.
Exactly 50 percent of the Red Wings’ games last season were decided by one goal. Already this season, 27 games – or 64.3 percent – have been won or lost by one goal.
DETROIT 2, ANAHEIM 1
SCORING: 1. DET, Sheahan (Larkin) 16:16.
SHOTS: Detroit 11 (25), Anaheim 13 (31).
SAN JOSE, Calif. – It’s been an agonizing five weeks – in more ways than one – for Drew Miller.
Miller returns to the lineup tonight after having his lower jaw fractured in a game against the Arizona Coyotes last month. He had surgery on Dec. 5 to insert two metal plates.
“I’m looking forward to getting back in the lineup,” said Miller, following Thursday’s morning skate at SAP Center. “Definitely not the funniest thing to watch the team play and not be a part of it. You want to be out there competing and playing with your team. I’m looking forward to it.”
Miller, who missed 14 games, draws back in the lineup against the San Jose Sharks, who have won just five times at home this season.
The Red Wings’ penalty kill heavily depends on Miller, who is a tenacious shot blocker and a solid positional player on special teams. Detroit’s PK struggled in Miller’s absence, surrendering 13 goals (.711) in that stretch. Prior to Miller’s injury, the PK was humming along with an. 837 efficiency rating, killing off 72 of 86 shorthanded opportunities.
“I think when I watched our penalty kill when I was out I thought the guys did a great job,” Miller said. “Sometimes the puck just goes in the net. So there’s nothing like I’m going to step in and be like ‘oh that guy did a bad job’ and I’m the one who’s going to come in and change the whole percentage and get it better. I just want to play my role and do what I do, bring what I bring to the team. I think I can help on the penalty kill.”
For at least a few games, Miller is required to wear a full protective face shield, which is similar to the one he wore last season after he was accidently cut beneath the eye.
“I’ve been skating, so it’s not like I’ve been off. I have good conditioning so I feel ready to go from that standpoint. Mentally you’ve got to get out there and give a few hits, take a few hits, make some plays. Kind of feel your way back in but make it quick.”
Danny DeKeyser’s role isn’t to score much. In fact, his first-period goal Thursday was just the ninth of his career, in 193 NHL games.
But the goal that gave the Red Wings an early lead was far and away the prettiest in his time since joining the Red Wings in 2013.
As captain Henrik Zetterberg wheeled through the neutral zone, DeKeyser joined the rush getting himself open on the left wing. Once over the blue line, Zetterberg slid a pass to DeKeyser who got behind a Sharks defender and whistled a shot that beat goalie Martin Jones high to the glove side.
Dylan Larkin picked up a secondary assist on the scoring play, giving him 28 points in 40 games this season. He is now tied for 24th on the Wings’ all-time rookie points list with Henry Boucha (1972-73) and Bill Lochead (1974-75).
But the lead didn’t last very long as the Sharks evened the score 1:31 later on Joel Ward’s tip that Petr Mrazek likely never saw. The scoring play was set up by a Sharks’ faceoff win to the left of Mrazek. San Jose cycled the puck up to the blue line where defenseman Brent Burns fired a shot from the point. Ward, who was battling with Alexey Marchenko in front of the crease, managed to get his stick on the puck, deflecting it into the top of the net.
The Sharks had two power play chances when Luke Glendening went to the penalty box twice in a 3 ½ minute span. But San Jose failed to convert on either opportunity as the Wings’ penalty killers held the home team to just one shot.
It certainly was a wide open period with the teams combining on 28 shots through the first 20 minutes.
DETROIT 1, SAN JOSE 1
SCORING: 1. DET, DeKeyser (Zetterberg, Larkin) 9:16; 2. SJS, Ward (Burns, Vlasic) 10:57.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Glendening (high sticking) 14:28; 2. DET, Glendening (holding) 18:09.
SHOTS: Detroit 12, San Jose 16.
With the exception of a few offensive burst, the second period was far different than the first 20 minutes as both teams did a better job of locking down in the neutral zone.
The Wings were held to six shots in the period, including two from Pavel Datsyuk. The other shots came from Larkin, Justin Abdelkader, Tomas Tatar and Mike Green.
The best scoring chance for the Red Wings came late in the period when Tatar threw a pass out from the wall to Datsyuk who was all alone at the top of the slot. The Russian sniper had time in space to get off a quality shot but the puck hit Jones in the crest.
Moments later, the Wings went on their first power play of the game when Dainius Zubrus was called for holding Marchenko with 1:14 left before the second intermission. Detroit had one shot in the close seconds, a 64-footer by Green, which Jones easily handled.
There’s still 46 seconds remaining in Zubrus’s minor, which carries over to the start of the third period.
DETROIT 1, SAN JOSE 1
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Larkin (tripping) 3:02; 2. DET, Smith (roughing) 14:47; 3. SJS, Hertl (slashing) 14:47; 3. SJS, Zubrus (holding) 18:46.
SHOTS: Detroit 6 (18), San Jose 10 (26).
The Sharks managed to kill off the remaining 46 seconds of Zubrus’s penalty.
Larkin seemed to find another gear early in the third when he used Paul Martin as a screen before firing a shot between the defenseman’s legs that nearly fooled Jones.
With under 13 minutes to go, Mrazek was tested when Matt Nieto sent a knuckleball of a shot from the right point that the goalie adjusted on late and had to make a blocker save.
About seven minutes later the Red Wings got the big break they needed when Mrazek made a monumental save on one end that then transpired into a game-winning goal at the other.
From a scrum in front of the Wings’ crease, Mrazek batted the puck out of the air with his stick paddle denying Ward a second goal of the night that would have given the Sharks their first lead of the night.
As the play moved up ice, Abdelkader raced to the top of the slot where he took a perfect pass from Datsyuk and wired a shot under Jones’s right arm, giving the Wings a 2-1 lead at 13:08.
The Sharks called a timeout with 32.4 seconds remaining, but they couldn’t muster an answer for the job that Mrazek did on them in their own building.
Mrazek was simply spectacular at times tonight, making 35 saves, his fourth highest save totals of the season for his 14th win. His won 16 games as a rookie last season.
The victory was also the Wings’ 25th one-goal win of the season (16-3-7). They won 41 one-goal games last season.
DETROIT 2, SAN JOSE 1
SCORING: 1. DET, Abdelkader (Datsyuk, Ericsson) 13:08.
PENALTIES: 1. SJS, Pavelski (interference) 17:07; 2. SJS, Thornton (roughing) 20:00; 3. SJS, Thornton (10-minute misconduct) 20:00.
SHOTS: Detroit 7 (25), San Jose 10 (36).
NEWARK, N.J. – The last time the Red Wings and New Jersey Devils faced – prior to the Christmas holiday break – Dylan Larkin received plenty of unwanted attention.
The Devils’ John Moore, Damon Severson and Lee Stempniak managed to get away with a few indiscretions at Larkin’s expense, which eventually cost the rookie a game played when he sat out with an upper-body injury when the Wings traveled to Nashville on Dec. 26.
Following the Red Wings’ 4-3 loss to New Jersey, coach Jeff Blashill wasn’t pleased with the treatment of his young star
“I think we’re going to have to continue to do a good job of defending him,” Blashill said. “And I think referees throughout the league have to know that young stars in the league, when they get targeted, they’ve got to make sure they do a good job of calling penalties, even if they’re close, because we don’t want our young stars in the league getting targeted and we don’t want lots of fighting anymore, so we better make sure we look after them a little bit that way.”
Though the Devils weren’t penalized for targeting Larkin, several others have been this season have been, including Buffalo’s Cody Franson, who was called for roughing on Saturday. Calgary’s Sean Monahan and Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos also received minors for roughing Larkin this season, while Nashville defenseman Seth Jones and Ottawa center Zack Smith were accessed slashing minors, and Calgary center Joe Colborne for cross-checking.
Blashill said Larkin must continue to play through a lot of the physical stuff.
“It’s just part of being a young player, it’s part of being a good player in this league,” Blashill said. “It’s the reality of it. I think he understands that. I’m sure there’s moments where he’ll be frustrated. But there’s lots of moments where he’s fought through that frustration and been real successful. He’ll have to win that battle on a nightly basis.”
Petr Mrazek will make his eighth straight appearance tonight, which includes six starts.
The Czech goalie replaced Jimmy Howard on Dec. 22 when the Devils touched the veteran for three goals on the first six shots of the game. It was the first time this season that a Wings’ goaltender has been lifted from a game for poor performance.
Howard was also lifted on Dec. 29 at Winnipeg.
Blashill has said all along that the Wings’ have an ideal goaltender situation with very little separation between Mrazek and Howard this season.
But when a reporter asked Blashill before Monday’s game about Howard’s possible next start, the coach was guarded.
“We’re going to play tonight’s game and we felt like this was the right move for tonight and then we’ll re-evaluate after the game,” Blashill said. “I never want to get too far ahead of myself. Certainly we have thoughts in place, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. We’ll keep kind of going day by day. It’s a day-by-day business.”
The Devils defeated the Red Wings twice last month, 3-2 in overtime at Prudential Center (Dec. 11) and 4-3 at Joe Louis Arena 11 days later. The Devils haven't won three straight against the Red Wings since their four-game sweep in the 1995 Stanley Cup finals.
The way the period started out it appeared the Devils would continue to target Larkin, especially after the whistle. A case in point was forward Bobby Farnham, who made use Larkin knew he wasn’t welcome around the Devils’ crease following an early stoppage.
But Larkin countered the only way he knows how.
The rookie took a perfect stretch pass from blue line to blue line, and set in alone on goalie Cory Schneider. After receiving Brad Richards’ pass, Larkin got Schneider to bite on the forehand, pulling the goalie out of position and unable to recover to make a save on Larkin’s backhand.
The first-period goal was No. 14 for Larkin, who regained the league’s rookie goal-scoring lead. He also pulled into a tie with Los Angeles Kings’ Tyler Toffoli atop of the league’s plus-minus rating at plus-22.
Larkin is No. 25 all-time on the franchise’s rookie scoring list with 27 points in 39 games. He’s tied for 18th all-time in goals with Carl Liscombe (1937-38), Len Lunde (1958-59) and Henry Boucha (1972-73).
DETROIT 1, NEW JERSEY 0
SCORING: 1. DET, Larkin (Richards, Sheahan) 9:20.
SHOTS: Detroit 8, New Jersey 12.
Early in the period, Schneider managed to keep it a one-goal deficit for the Devils when he made a fine sliding stop on Joakim Andersson with 13:55 left. The play was set up by Luke Glendening, who moved the puck to the bottom of the right circle from the near corner. Glendening spotted Andersson, who crashed the net while fighting off a check by Jon Merrill, but the shot appeared to strike the goalie in the chest.
The Devils received the game’s first power play when Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar was called for goaltender interference at 9:06. But the Wings’ penalty killers were relentless, not allowing a shot to reach Mrazek.
In fact, the Wings blocked seven Devils’ shots in the period, including two each by defensemen Alexey Marchenko and Jonathan Ericsson. Three others – Larkin, Glendening and Mike Green – had one block each.
Mrazek face just five shots in the period.
DETROIT 1, NEW JERSEY 0
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Tatar (goaltender interference) 9:06.
SHOTS: Detroit 6 (15), New Jersey 5 (17).
For the second straight period, the Wings’ defense was stellar, holding the Devils to enough shots that could be counted on one hand.
The Devils, who were held to five shots in the second period, only managed five in the final 20 minutes as the Red Wings posted a 1-0 win at the Prudential Center.
However, midway through the period, Kyle Palmieri had perhaps the Devils best chance to tie the score. He skated around Niklas Kronwall, but as the Devils’ forward cut right to left on front of Mrazek he lost control of the puck as it skipped into the corner.
It’s Mrazek’s seventh career shutout, his second this season. He made 38 saves in blanking the Washington Capitals, 1-0, at Joe Louis Arena on Nov. 10.
The Red Wings have provided nail-biting finishes all season, playing 25 of their first 40 games to one-goal decisions this season (62.5 percent). Monday’s win is Detroit’s league-leading 15 one-goal victory of the season.
The Wings are heading home tonight. They will begin a four-game trip to the West Coast later this week with games in San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles and Arizona.
DETROIT 1, NEW JERSEY 0
PENALTIES: 1. NJD, Tlusty (boarding) 10:44; 2. DET, Abdelkader (kneeing) 13:03.
SHOTS: Detroit 6 (21), New Jersey 5 (22).
|Entering Saturday's matinee, Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg has five goals and 14 points in 18 career games against the Sabres. (Photo by Getty Images)|
BUFFALO – The Red Wings and Sabres have something in common, though neither team is very happy about it.
The Wings and the host Sabres bring three-game losing streaks into this afternoon’s game at First Niagara Center.
For Detroit, a higher work ethic and fewer turnovers will be needed to prevent the Wings from establish a new season-long losing streak.
Coach Jeff Blashill said the outcome of today’s matinee is “gonna be different if our compete level is better and if our turnover ratio is better. If we limit our turnovers and we compete at a higher level we’ll give ourselves a way better chance to win. You’ve got to play great in this league to give yourself a chance to win. Certainly doesn’t guarantee victory, but it gives yourself the best chance.”
During their recent streak, scoring is down. The Wings have a combined four goals – two by Pavel Datsyuk – in their regulation losses to Minnesota, Winnipeg and Pittsburgh.
Buffalo hasn’t been much better. Only three teams – Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Anaheim – have scored less than the 88 goals the Sabres’ offense has produced.
“The teams are so close, I don’t want this to sound like our guys aren’t out there caring and not out there trying, because that’s not true,” Blashill said. “We need an increased compete level. You’ve gotta dig deep and be a little above and beyond where we’re at. I don’t want to disrespect any of our other opponents, the other teams are trying real hard too, and they’re real good too, so the difference is so miniscule every little puck matters, every little play matters, and we just gotta heighten it and be a little bit better.”
As the season reaches the midway point, every game, every point is extremely important, especially against conference rivals, as is the case today against the Sabres, who trail the Red Wings by nine points in the Atlantic Division.
“I think every game is crucial,” Blashill said. “I think regardless of where we sit that’s over, and now we’ve got to continue to move forward, try to win as many games as possible and certainly tonight’s game is a huge game.”
Petr Mrazek will play in his seventh straight game – he replaced Jimmy Howard in two of those appearances – which is the longest such game-played streak for a Wings’ goalie since Mrazek appeared in 13 straight (Jan. 7 to Feb. 11) last season.
In an effort to jumpstart the offense, Blashill revealed new line combinations during pre-game warmups. The Wings will roll out the following lines:
Good things come to the Red Wings when they score first. Detroit is 16-4-4 this season when scoring first in games, and 7-1-1 when taking a lead into the first intermission.
The Red Wings did both Saturday afternoon when Brad Richards registered his fourth goal of the season at 12:59 of the period.
Until then, Evander Kane had perhaps the best chance to score during the period when he converted a turnover at the far blue line into an odd-man rush. But his wrist shot from the top of the left circle was stopped by Mrazek’s right pad save around the six-minute mark.
The first power play of the game went to the Sabres when Darren Helm was called for hooking Nicolas Deslauriers at the nine-minute mark. But the Red Wings’ penalty killers did a terrific job of clamping down on the Sabres, limiting them to no shots on goal while clearing the zone on three separate occasions to eat up much of the special teams time.
As so often happens, a great save on one end of the ice precedes a momentum-gaining goal at the opposite end of the rink. A case in point was Mrazek’s heady save after a Jonathan Ericsson turnover deep in the Wings’ end resulted in a glorious chance for Jamie McCann. Fortunately for the Wings, Mrazek was alert and covered up drawing a faceoff.
After beating Ryan O’Reilly in the faceoff circle to the right of Mrazek, Riley Sheahan led a rush up the ice before making a nifty centering pass to Richards, who pulled the trigger from the slot beating Sabres goalie Chad Johnson.
DETROIT 1, BUFFALO 0
SCORING: 1. DET, Richards (Sheahan, Larkin) 12:59.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Helm (hooking) 9:00; 2. DET, Nosek (high-sticking) 14:08.
SHOTS: Detroit 7, Buffalo 11.
Before the game, Blashill was asked about the team’s power play that has been up and down lately. “You can talk about the timeliness of it, but the reality is power plays at 20-25 percent is a great power play,” the coach said.
Well, the power play gave the Red Wings a two-goal lead in the second, and has been operating 31.6 percent (6-of-19) over the past six-plus road games.
Sheahan, who set up Richards’ goal in the first, tipped in Mike Green’s shot from the point with two-seconds left in Cody Franson’s roughing penalty.
But the period did not end on a high note for the Red Wings, as Sabres rookie Jack Eichel scored a pair of goals – one on the power play – to pull Buffalo even at 2-2.
DETROIT 2, BUFFALO 2
SCORING: 1. DET, Sheahan PPG (Green, Tatar) 7:59; 2. BUF, Eichel PPG (Ristolainen) 14:26; 3. BUF, Eichel (Girgensons, Gionta) 17:27.
PENALTIES: 1. BUF, Weber (hooking) 1:36; 2. BUF, Franson (roughing) 6:01; 3. DET, Ericsson (holding) 12:45.
SHOTS: Detroit 8 (15), Buffalo 13 (24).
The Wings regained their one-goal lead on a nice effort by Gustav Nyquist, who raced through the neutral zone and fired a wrist shot through traffic from the top of the slot.
Johnson made the initial save, but kicked it out in front where captain Henrik Zetterberg was waiting to pounce. Brendan Smith picked up a secondary assist on the go-ahead goal. It was the defenseman’s seventh point in the past eight games.
Unfortunately, the Sabres weren’t done. They evened the score again on the power play, getting a fortuitous bounce in front of the Wings’ net. As Danny DeKeyser tried clearing the puck from the crease his effort went off Tomas Nosek’s stick in the low slot and into the open net. Sam Reinhardt was credit with an unassisted goal at 8:58.
With three minutes left in regulation, Kane moved in on the left side before firing a rocket behind Mrazek, but the shot went off the near goal post. However, Detroit countered and Tomas Tatar cruised into the slot before lifting a shot that went high far side on Johnson for the eventual game-winner with 2:50 left.
Mrazek had to come up with one more huge save though. With 1:25 left, he prevented Zach Bogosian from getting another equalizer. Bogosian broke free into the Wings’ zone when he moved across the blue line alone, courtesy of Eichel’s stretch pass. But the Wings’ goalie made perhaps the biggest stop of the game to preserve the win.
DETROIT 4, BUFFALO 3
SCORING: 1. DET, Zetterberg (Nyquist, Smith) 2:27; 2. BUF, Reinhardt PPG (unassisted) 8:58; 3. DET, Tatar (unassisted) 17:10.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Green (hooking) 5:25; 2. DET, Green (cross-checking) 7:36.
SHOTS: Detroit 8 (23), Buffalo 11 (35).
DETROIT – The Red Wings need a win in the worst way.
The Wings are trying to avoid a three-game losing streak, but they’d like to dodge equaling a low for wins in a calendar year.
In the eight years following the 2004-05 lockout – when the league went to the shootout format – the Red Wings have posted 56, 55, 49, 47, 48, 47, 42 and 41 wins between January and December.
Heading into Thursday’s 2015 finale against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Wings are 41-28-12.
Detroit is hosting the Penguins for the fourth time on New Year’s Eve, since dropping a 5-4 decision in 1978. The Wings posted a 3-1 win in 1980 and settled for a 4-4 tie in 1984.
The Red Wings rarely lack offensive firepower on the final day of the year, scoring four-plus on 34 occasions.
|Danny DeKeyser's shot goes wide of the net early in the first period against the Penguins. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)|
Limited to a single goal in each of the past two games – losses at Minnesota and Winnipeg this week – the Wings’ offense struck twice against Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff in the first period.
The speed of Dylan Larkin helped set up the Wings’ first goal. The rookie’s wrap-around attempt ended up on the tape of Justin Abdelkader’s stick in front of an open net. Abdelkader buried his chance for his 12th goal of the season, at 6:47.
The Red Wings could have had a lead earlier but Danny DeKeyser misfired on a wide-open net from a beautiful centering pass by Pavel Datsyuk. The Wings’ defenseman slipped into the low slot where he took the pass and tried to direct a one-timer into the open side of the net behind Zatkoff. But DeKeyser’s shot went between the Penguins’ goalie and the far post.
Defenseman Brendan Smith was rewarded for his hustle when he scored from almost the identical spot as Abdelkader, though Smith’s wrist shot made its way through traffic, squeezing through Zatkoff’s pads at 12:15. It was Smith’s sixth point in seven games.
DETROIT 2, PITTSBURGH 0
SCORING: 1. DET, Abdelkader (Larkin, Kronwall) 6:47; 2. DET, Smith (Nyquist, Marchenko) 12:15.
PENALTIES: 1. PIT, Letang (roughing) 10:15; 2. DET, Glendening (slashing) 10:15.
SHOTS: Detroit 10, Pittsburgh 11.
|Tomas Tatar had two shots on goal during seven second-period shifts for the Red Wings. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)|
The Penguins bounced back in the middle period, tying the score on a pair of power-play goals by Patric Hornqvist and Kris Letang. It was the first time this season the Penguins scored more than one power-play goal on the road.
Both Pens’ goals were scored with DeKeyser serving minor penalties, first for hooking David Perron then interfering with Sidney Crosby.
The Penguins trimmed their deficit on Hornqvist’s goal, but not before Wings coach Jeff Blashill challenged the validity of it, claiming goaltender interference on Hornqvist just 46 seconds into period. Moments later, referee Jean Hebert conferred with the league’s situation room in Toronto where the goal was upheld.
Replay showed that Petr Mrazek inadvertently kicked the puck into the net with his right skate.
Letang lost his cool several time through the first 40 minutes, serving separate minors for roughing, slashing and cross-checking. But the nine-year veteran settled down in time to scoring the tying goal at 11:44.
Tomas Jurco, who logged 4:09 of ice time on five first-period shifts, did not come out for the second period. It was later announced that the Wings’ forward would not return to the game because of an upper-body injury.
The Pens may have lost Nick Bonino late in the period. He rushed off the ice favoring his upper right arm when it appeared that DeKeyser may have accidently stepped on the Pens’ center.
DETROIT 2, PITTSBURGH 2
SCORING: 1. PIT, Hornqvist PPG (Malkin, Letang) 0:46; 2. PIT, Letang PPG (Malkin, Hornqvist) 11:44.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, DeKeyser (hooking) 0:15; 2. PIT, Letang (slashing) 2:35; 3. PIT, Letang (cross checking) 8:28; 4. DET, DeKeyser (interference) 11:14; 5. DET, Richards (too many men) 18:17; 6. DET, Glendening (roughing) 19:55; 7. PIT, Perron (cross-checking) 19:55.
SHOTS: Detroit 13 (23), Pittsburgh 16 (28).
Combined, the Red Wings and Penguins have skated to one-goal decisions 59 percent of the time, so entering the third knotted at 2-2, it was conceivable that Thursday’s game would end the same way.
Unfortunately for the Wings, the Penguins wanted nothing to do with a one-goal game, scoring two even-strength goals just 34 seconds apart and turning what had been a two-goal deficit into a two-goal cushion.
Crosby’s goal was definitely a lift for the visitors. Perron’s centering pass from below the goal line found Crosby in the middle of the left circle. From there, the Pens’ captain, while on one knee, whiffed on his first shot, but recoiled in time to lift a shot through traffic and over Mrazek.
Less than a minute later, the Pens’ leading goal scorer, Evgeni Malkin added his 18th of the season from the left circle.
Mrazek made a fine sprawling save to his right on Eric Fehr’s breakaway, keeping the Wings in reach.
The Wings pulled Mrazek for an extra attacker at 15:43.
With 3:27 left and the Red Wings pressing, Abdelkader and Chris Kunitz engaged in a roughing skirmish behind the Pens’ net. Both received minors, however, Abdelkader went to the Wings’ dressing room with what appeared to be a cut to his nose. Tomas Nosek served Abdelkader’s penalty.
The loss extends the Wings’ losing streak to three straight, tying a season long when they dropped three consecutive games in regulation to Carolina, Montreal and Edmonton, in October.
The Wings are now off to a six-game road trip over the next two weeks that will take them to Buffalo, New Jersey, San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles and Arizona.
PITTSBURGH 5, DETROIT 2
SCORING: 1. PIT, Crosby (Perron) 7:48; 2. PIT, Malkin (Kessel, Hornqvist) 8:22; 3. PIT, Letang EN (Bonino) 18:20.
PENALTIES: 1. PIT, Kessel (slashing) 5:13; 2. Abdelkader (roughing) 16:33; 3. PIT, Kunitz (roughing) 16:33.
SHOTS: Detroit 12 (35), Pittsburgh 9 (37).
DETROIT – The Red Wings were stunned by the New Jersey Devils when the two Eastern Conference teams met earlier this month for the first time this season.
The Devils erased a two-goal deficit in the third period to hand the Red Wings their second overtime road loss of the season, 3-2, at the Prudential Center on Dec. 11.
Damon Severson and Sergey Kalinin scored goals to force overtime, and Kyle Palmieri potted the game-winner with just 40 seconds remaining in the extra session,, while goalie Cory Schneider made 27 saves to earn his second career win against Detroit.
“First of all I know they’re a real good team,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “They played us real good shorthanded. They were missing some guys there. I know they’re very well coached but I knew that going in. I’m a big fan of (coach) John Hynes. He does a real good job. I think it’s like every game in this league. It’s extremely hard, it’s extremely close and it’s who makes the big plays at the big moments.”
Both teams were shorthanded Tuesday. The Devils were without Patrik Elias (knee) for the second straight game. Meanwhile, the Wings were without defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (upper-body), who was also missing his second consecutive game.
This definitely wasn’t one of the Red Wings’ better periods.
New Jersey scored three goals in little more than two minutes to build a three-goal lead and send goalie Jimmy Howard out of the game early.
The Red Wings had the first power play chance when native Detroiter Andy Greene was whistled for delay of game when his clearing attempt went over the glass. But the power play was short lived when Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg picked up a minor penalty for holding Adam Larsson.
And things didn’t go well from there as the Devils scored on three consecutive shots by Palmieri, Jordin Tootoo, and David Schlemko.
Howard was lifted with 5:43 left in the period after surrendering three goals on six total shots. It was the first time this season that a Wings’ goaltender has been lifted from a game for poor performance.
The Wings got one back on a late power play. Rookie sensation Dylan Larkin scored his first period on the man advantage, rocketing a shot passed Schneider that cut Detroit’s deficit to 3-1 before the end of the period.
The first period was also highlighted by a pretty big collision when Alexey Marchenko was rocked by Devils center Tyler Kennedy in the neutral zone. Marchenko was trying to settle a bouncing puck when Kennedy lowered a shoulder into the side of the defenseman’s face.
Joakim Andersson, who scored his first goal of the season last Friday, had a great opportunity to give the Red Wings an early lead, but his chance from in close was thwarted by Schneider’s blocker save.
NEW JERSEY 3, DETROIT 1
SCORING: 1. NJD, Palmieri PPG (Merrill), 12:05; 2. NJD, Tootoo (Greene), 12:47; 3. NJD, Schlemko (Palmieri), 14:17; 4. DET, Larkin PPG (Zetterberg, Kronwall), 18:32.
PENALTIES: 1. NJD, Greene (delay of game), 10:00; 2. DET, Zetterberg (holding), 10:37; 3. NJD, Severson (tripping), 18:02.
SHOTS: Detroit 13, New Jersey 7.
The period took a definite chippy tone as three separate skirmishes played out when the Devils focused much of their physicality toward Larkin, including defensemen John Moore and Damon Severson, and forward Lee Stempniak. All three Devils took liberty with the Wings’ rookie, including Severson, who appeared to intentionally slash Larkin across the arm at one point.
The Wings picked up the defensive tempo in the middle frame, which, quite honestly was a difficult thing to do considering the poor first period. Detroit held the Devils to just six shots.
Detroit chipped away at the Devils’ lead getting a goal back on the power play. Mike Green picked up his second goal as a Red Wing, scoring at 12:31 to trim the deficit to 3-2.
It’s the fifth time this season that the Wings have scored multiple power-play goals, and the second time against the Devils.
Petr Mrazek looked good in the period, making saves on all six shots he faced.
NEW JERSEY 3, DETROIT 2
SCORING: 1. DET, Green PPG (Richards, Datsyuk), 12:31.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Abdelkader (slashing), 0:49; 2. NJD, Henrique (roughing), 0:49; 3. DET, Nyquist (too many men), 3:12; 4. NJD, Greene (holding the stick), 6:03; 5. DET, DeKeyser (roughing), 8:35; 6. NJD, Cammalleri (roughing), 8:35; 7. NJD, Gionta (tripping), 12:02; 8. Severson (roughing), 17:14; 9. DET, Abdelkader (double-roughing), 17:14.
SHOTS: Detroit 5 (18), New Jersey 6 (13).
New Jersey’s a pretty stingy team when it comes to blowing third-period leads. In fact, the Devils entered Tuesday’s game with a 9-0-1 record this season when taking a lead into the final 20 minutes of regulation.
So it was already an uphill battle for the Wings, but the climb got steeper when the Devils capitalized on Detroit miscue in the defensive zone to grab an insurance goal early in the period.
Mrazek stopped a shot and paddled the puck to Jakub Kindl, who chose to play the puck into the middle of the ice instead of trying to rim it around the net. Kindl’s attempt was swapped out of the air by Kennedy. Moments later Sergey Kalinin had his fifth goal of the season and the Devils had a two-goal edge at 2:24.
As they often do, the Wings made it interesting late, when Riley Sheahan’s fourth goal of the season at 14:23 made it a one-goal game again. Detroit took advantage of a neutral zone turnover, and Sheahan sniped a from the left faceoff circle that beat Schneider low to the glove side. The goal snapped a 16-game goal drought for Sheahan, who last scored on Nov. 16 at Ottawa.
The Wings pulled Mrazek for an extra attacker with 1:40 left. But the comeback effort ended when Niklas Kronwall was called for interference when he took down Stephen Gionta with 57 seconds left.
The Red Wings are now off for the next three days to observe the Christmas holiday. The Wings will return to action on Saturday in Nashville.
NEW JERSEY 4, DETROIT 3
SCORING: 1. NJD Kalinin (Josefson) 2:24; 2. DET, Sheahan (Jurco) 14:23.
PENALTIES: 1. NJD, Merrill (tripping), 7:46; 2. DET, Abdelkader (cross-checking), 10:23; 3. DET, Kronwall (interference), 19:02.
SHOTS: Detroit 10 (28), New Jersey 4 (17).
DETROIT – If the Red Wings are to extend their current point streak to 14-straight games against the Buffalo Sabres tonight they’ll want to cut down on miscues that have prevented them from winning two games in regulation last week.
“Our turnovers have crept up over the five-game segments compared to the three previous to that,” coach Jeff Blashill said Monday after the Red Wings’ morning skate. “We had too many turnovers the other night in the third period as well.”
Last week, turnovers and penalties led to Washington and New Jersey overcoming third-period deficits en route to an eventual shootout (Capitals) and overtime (Devils).
“The best teams are the ones that are great defensively and offensively,” Blashill said. “To get to that level, we’re starting to slide too much on the spectrum towards real good offense but not good enough defensively.”
The Wings would also like to limit the opposition’s scoring opportunities.
“We’ve given up 20 chances against two of the last three games. We need to limit those. The two areas we can do that is manage our risk and limit our turnovers.”
Tonight is the second of five meetings between the Atlantic Division rivals this season. It’s also the second of three games at Joe Louis Arena. The Sabres will return to Detroit on March 28. The Red Wings will travel to Buffalo twice next month with games at HSBC Arena on Jan. 2 and Jan. 22.
The Wings’ next home win will be the franchise’s 800th at The Joe since the team moved to the downtown riverfront arena on Dec. 27, 1979.
Detroit has compiled a 799-407-119-67 (W-L-T-OTL) mark at JLA, which is the league’s best home record in that span.
For Blashill, the Wings’ home is a definite advantage for his team, which is 10-5-3 at The Joe this season.
“I think momentum is a big factor in games and as we gain momentum in this building you can really ride the momentum because of how loud the building can be,” Blashill said. “It’s obviously a real big building but it feels like (fans) are on top of you at times. So obviously it’s been a good building. We’ve had lots of good teams over the teams for certain, but I think momentum would be the No. 1 thing.”
A fairly physical period ended with the Red Wings and Sabres delivering more hits than shots on goal.
Collectively, the Atlantic Division rivals dished out a total of 27 hits and 15 shots through the opening 20 minutes of action Monday night.
As he’s been for the past several weeks, Darren Helm brought plenty of energy in the period, delivering three of the Wings 14 hits. Detroit had 11 different skaters with at least one hit, including Mike green, who had two.
The Wings had one power play opportunity in the period, but the Sabres penalty killers managed to keep the home team on the perimeter without a single shot on goalie Chad Johnson. Though Green, playing in his 600th game as an NHL defenseman, came the closest to delivering the puck to the net. His shot from inside the left face-off circle hit the post behind Johnson.
In the final 90 seconds of the period, Tomas Jurco was slightly injured when he took a puck to the face. The Red Wings’ forward, who needed five stitches to close a cut lip last Tuesday in the third period at Washington, was struck again in the face when a pass deflected off Zach Bogosian’s stick in the Sabres’ end of the ice.
The best scoring chance might have been in the last second of the period. That’s when Brendan Smith picked up a high-sticking penalty at 19:59. On the ensuing face-off, to the left of Petr Mrazek, Buffalo rookie Jack Eichel beat Luke Glendening on the draw, snapping a quick shot at the drop of the puck at the Wings’ net.
Fortunately for the Wings, Mrazek was alert on the stop as the horn sounded.
DETROIT 0, BUFFALO 0
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Zetterberg (hooking) 3:30; 2. BUF, Gorges (hooking) 8:44; 3. DET, Smith (high-sticking) 19:59.
SHOTS: Detroit 6, Buffalo 9.
It seems each game this month has been highlighted by a Helm breakaway. The speedy forward created another such chance in the first minute of the period, but failed to score.
Pavel Datsyuk’s creativity and vision led to the first goal of the game. Like magnets to steel, four Sabres – Bogosian, Sam Reinhart, Jake McCabe and Ryan O’Reilly – followed the Wing’ magic man as he moved methodically toward the slot. As the Sabres collapsed around Datsyuk he slipped a pass into the left circle where Brad Richards fired a one-timer passed Johson.
The goal at 4:01 was Richards’ second of the season. Helm also picked up an assist, his eighth point in 28 games since returning from a shoulder injury sustain on Day 1 of training camp in Traverse City.
Detroit had a chance to go up by two goals when Jurco was awarded a penalty shot with 5:04 left in the middle frame. In an attempt to catch up to Jurco who was speeding in a lone on goal, Sabres defenseman Mike Weber slashed the Wings forward from behind. As Jurco lost an edge and crashed into the near post, referee Graham Skilliter instantly pointed to center ice, signaling a penalty shot.
The opportunity was the first at Joe Louis Arena for the Wings since Cory Emmerton’s attempt against Buffalo on Oct. 2, 2013. Unfortunately, Jurco’s shot from the bottom of the slot was gloved by Johnson keeping it a one-goal game heading into the second intermission.
DETROIT 1, BUFFALO 0
SCORING: 1. DET, Richards (Datsyuk, Helm) 4:01.
PENALTIES: 1. BUF, Weber PS (slashing) 14:56; 2. DET, Tatar (holding) 18:29.
SHOTS: Detroit 13 (19), Buffalo 9 (18).
The Wings have given up third-period leads at an alarming rate this season.
In the last 14 games, Detroit has forfeited eight leads late and 11 already this season.
Trailing by one, the Sabres didn’t quit, scoring twice in a 61-second span to go from one down to one up to extinguish the Wings’ point streak at 13-straight games.
Off a face off deep in the Wings’ zone, the Sabres kept possession where Reinhart’s shot from tipped by O’Reilly for his team-leading 11th goal. A minute later the Sabres had their first lead when Johan Larsson fired a shot from the slot that beat Mrazek. It was Larsson’s first goal of the season.
Earlier in the period, Smith prevented Larsson from getting a shot off into an empty net. The Sabres’ forward was camped to the left of Mrazek and with the Wings’ goalie unable to get into position to make a save following a rebound, Smith used his stick to tie up Larsson.
Detroit had their chances to extend their lead. Once again, Helm’s speed caused problems for the Sabres early in the third. Fighting through a check as he crossed the near blue line, he was slashed by O’Reilly drawing a two-minute minor and giving Detroit just its second power play of the night.
However, the Wings did not capitalize on their chance opening the door for the Sabres’ comeback.
The Wings pulled Mazrek with 2:05 left in the period. Gustav Nyquist had a great chance to extended their point streak, but Johnson made an outstanding diving save on the Wings’ forward keeping the puck out of the net with less than half a minutes in regulation.
BUFFALO 2, DETROIT 1
SCORING: 1. BUF, O’Reilly (Reinhart, Ristalainen), 15:46; 2. BUF, Larsson (Weber) 16:47.
PENALTIES: 1. BUF, O’Reilly (slashing) 6:24.
SHOTS: Detroit 13 (32), Buffalo 12 (30).
DETROIT – Unfortunately, Drew Miller’s team ironman streak of 190 straight games played comes to an end tonight.
The Red Wings’ fourth-line forward suffered a cracked jaw during a first-period collision with Arizona forward Klas Dahlbeck in Thursday’s 5-1 win at Joe Louis Arena.
Miller underwent surgery this morning so doctors could insert plates to speed the healing process.
With Miller expected to miss up to the next six weeks, the Wings have a new ironman, Gustav Nyquist, who has played in 152 consecutive games since his rookie season.
Miller’s absence will be felt on the penalty kill. A fourth-line grinding type himself, Joakim Andersson returns to the lineup. He’s faceoff skills will be particularly useful in the defensive zone.
Andersson has drawn into the lineup three times this season, only to exit the lineup in favor of other teammates.
“He hasn’t got much opportunity and sometimes it gets misconstrued when a guy comes out of the lineup that he hasn’t played well,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “It might just mean we think that other guys are ahead of him, but it doesn’t mean that he’s not a very good hockey player. I think Andy is a very good hockey player. I think he’s a winner. I think he’s a very good penalty killer. I think he’s very accountable defensively and he can win faceoffs. I think one of the underrated things about Andy is that he’s actually a really good passer of the puck. He can really make tight area passes. That’s something he did for me in the American League and that’s something I’ve seen him do in the National Hockey League. We hope Andy can come in and be really good. I think teams have to rely on their depth through the year and this is where we’d like an opportunity to rely on our depth and have him pop in and be real good.”
November’s rookie of the month, Dylan Larkin, has points in seven of the past nine games. He leads the Red Wings with 10 goals.
Larkin’s next goal will tie him for 41st on the club’s all-time rookie goals list. Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Tim Taylor, Daniel Shank and Dennis Polonich all registered 11 goals in their freshman seasons.
It took nearly two months, but Brad Richards finally scored his first goal as a Red Wing.
As unconventional as it was – his shot from the slot was saved by Pekka Rinne, but caromed into the net off of Shea Weber’s right skate – Richards has to be relieved to finally get No. 289 of his career.
Prior to Rchards’ goal in the final minute of the period, it certainly looked like the players would head to their dressing rooms with a scoreless tie.
While the Red Wings peppered Buffalo and Arizona for a combined 90 shots on goal this week, the Predators’ defense was doing what they do best. Ranked second in the league for fewest shots allowed (26.5), the Predators held Arizona and Florida to 15 and 16 shots, respectively, this week.
With a minute remaining in the period, the Wings were being outshot 13-5 with only Larkin, Richards, Niklas Kronwall, Luke Glendening and Brendan Smith getting shots through to all-star goalie Pekka Rinne.
The Wings had a very good scoring chance early on. Tied for the team lead with 10 shots over the last two games, Darren Helm, who had a pair of breakaway chances Thursday night, had a glorious opportunity but lifted a shot wide of the net.
Racing toward the net, Helm made a move that pulled Pekka Rinne out of position, but the backhander by the Wings’ forward sailed wide of the open net.
Making his 16th start of the season, goalie Petr Mrazek was solid making 13 saves, including one that he denied from close range by Filip Forsberg.
DETROIT 1, NASHVILLE 0
SCORING: 1. DET, Richards (Tatar, Larkin) 19:21.
PENALTIES: 1. NSH, Jones (slashing) 2:37; 2. DET, DeKeyser (hooking) 9:50; 3. NSH, Jones (slashing) 17:16; 4. DET, Jurco (roughing) 19:51.
SHOTS: Detroit 6, Nashville 13
The Predators defensemen went on the offensive in the middle frame.
Weber scored two power-play goals and Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi added assists as Nashville took a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes of action.
It didn’t take long for the Predators to erase a one-goal deficit and take the lead under three minutes into the period.
Weber, who helped the Wings to a 1-0 lead when a rebound inadvertently ricocheted off his skate, got one back for the Predators with his team-leading sixth power-play goal of the season. The Preds’ veteran trails only Carolina’s Justin Faulk (8), who leads all NHL defensemen.
Less than two minutes later, former Red Wings draft pick Calle Jarnkrok won an offensive zone face-off, which led to the Preds taking a 2-1 lead. Stationed in front of Mrazek, forward Viktor Arvidsson knocked Ellis’s point shot out of midair and into the net.
Weber’s second power-play goal of the game gave the Predators a two-goal cushion late in the period. The goal came just six seconds after Helm went to the penalty box for roughing Ellis. Originally, the on-ice officials missed the goal, as it appeared that Danny DeKeyser swept the puck out of the crease before it crossed the goal line. On the next stoppage, the referees consulted with the NHL’s situation room in Toronto where it was determined that the goal had crossed.
The Wings scored their own power-play goal, trimming the deficit to 3-2 when Tomas Tatar scored his 10th of the season, re-directing Mike Green’s blast passed Rinne. Tatar is now tied for the team lead in goals with Larkin.
NASHVILLE 3, DETROIT 2
SCORING: 1. NSH, Weber PPG (Josi, Fordberg) 1:03; 2. NSH, Arvidsson (Ellis, Jarnkrok) 2:53; 3. NSH, Weber PPG (unassisted) 15:28; 4. DET, Tatar PPG (Green, Datsyuk) 17:04.
PENALTIES: 1. NSH, Ekholm (cross-check, roughing) 7:08; 2. DET, Abdelkader (roughing) 7:08; 3. DET, Helm (roughing) 15:22; 4. NSH, Smith (slashing) 15:51.
SHOTS: Detroit 17 (23), Nashville 12 (25).
Weber’s third power-play goal of the game gave Nashville a 4-2 lead. The veteran is just the fifth player in franchise history – and the first defenseman – to register a hat trick.
However, the Wings didn’t show any quit, scoring twice to equal the score 4-4.
Larkin’s 11th of the season, pulling Detroit to within one goal.
The goal was Larkin’s second career multi-point game. He drew a secondary assist on Richards’ first-period goal that gave Detroit a 1-0 lead.
Larkin now has 21 points on the season tying him for 55th on the all-time rookie franchise points list with Johnny Sheppard (1926-27), Steve Black (1949-50), Pit Martin (1963-64), Thommie Bergman (1972-73), Perry Miller (1977-78), Chris Cichocki (1985-86), Bob Probert (1985-86), Mike Sillinger (1992-93) and Anders Eriksson (1997-98).
With 2:39 left in regulation, the Wings got the break that they needed when Ellis went to the box for boarding Helm.
From there, Justin Abdelkader scored on a deflection from Gustav Nyquist’s shot.
NASHVILLE 4, DETROIT 4
SCORING: 1. NSH, Weber PPG (Josi, Forsberg) 8:03; 2. DET, Larkin (Ericsson) 9:19; 3. DET, Abdelkader PPG (Nyquist, Zetterberg) 17:37.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Andersson (slashing) 7:02; 2. NSH, Ellis (boarding) 17:21.
SHOTS: Detroit 11 (34), Nashville 5 (31).
It was a fast and furious period that ended with Nyquist picking a spot and firing a shot under Rinne’s right arm for the win.
The Red Wings finished a six-game homestand – their longest of the season – and now have produced points in the last 10 games (7-0-3).
The Wings are off until next Tuesday when they travel to Washington to face Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.
DETROIT 5, NASHVILLE 4
SCORING: 1. DET, Nyquist (Kronwall) 1:41.
SHOTS: Detroit 2 (36), Nashville 1 (32)