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POSTED ON Tuesday, 03.8.2016 / 9:52 PM ET
By Dana Wakiji - Editor | / The Wheel Deal

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Pavel Datsyuk took part in warm-ups and was able to start after missing Sunday's game in Chicago due to illness.

Datsyuk has 21 goals and 46 assists in 67 games against Columbus.

Datsyuk's Euro Twin, captain Henrik Zetterberg, has 17 goals and 31 assists in 60 games against the Blue Jackets.

Teemu Pulkkinen and Brendan Smith did not, so Alexey Marchenko returned to action.

For the Columbus Blue Jackets, Brandon Saad remained out with an upper-body injury.

Jimmy Howard got the start in goal for the Wings.

Howard is 11-5-3 with a 1.90 goals-against average and .930 save percentage against the Blue Jackets. Three of those wins were shutouts.

Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo makes his first career start against the Red Wings.

The Blue Jackets are 9-2-2 in their last 13 games against the Wings and 5-1-1 in their last seven at Nationwide Arena.

Columbus has recorded points in 11 of their last 14 games.

The Blue Jackets came out flying, putting two quick shots on Howard, but Howard was there for both.

Then Jonathan Ericsson was called for holding the stuck at 2:47, giving the Blue Jackets the first power play of the game.

Although at one point Justin Abdelkader was without a stuck and the Blue Jackets got three shots, the Wings were able to kill it off.

After Howard made a nice save on a shot from the high slot at 9:41, Mike Green and David Clarkson got a little testy with one another in front of the net.

No penalties were called on the play.

The Wings got their first power play at 12:13 when Fedor Tyutin was called for boarding.

Zetterberg had a chance with an open left side of the net but the puck was bouncing and he couldn't get a good shot.

Howard had to be good again late in the period as both Alexander Wennberg (in front), David Savard (point) and Brandon Dubinsky (mid-slots) had good attempts.

Matt Calvert was called for boarding Marchenko at 17:45 but the Blue Jackets had the better chance as Cam Atkinson came in shorthanded.

The play resulted in Niklas Kronwall taking a hooking penalty at 19:31


Scoring: None.

Penalties: 1. DET, minor, Jonathan Ericsson, holding the stick, 2:47. 2. CBJ, minor, Fedor Tyutin, boarding, 12:13. 3. CBJ, minor, Matt Calvert, boarding, 17:45. 4. DET, minor, Niklas Kronwall, hookding

Shots: Detroit 4 , Columbus 16

The Blue Jackets had 1:32 left on their power play and then top killer Luke Glendening was called for tripping 24 seconds into the period, giving Columbus 1:08 5-on-3.

It did not take long for the Blue Jackets to capitalize as David Savard's shot from the high slot beat Howard at :35. Alexander Wennberg and Seth Jones got the assists.

The Wings had another power play at 3:04 when Rene Bourque was called for cross-checking.

Despite two decent chances, the Wings could not put the puck past Korpisalo. Green hit the post.

Wings coach Jeff Blashill mixed up the lines a bit in the second, splitting up the Euro Twins for the first time in a while. Zetterberg was out with Abdelkader and Gustav Nyquist while Datsyuk shifted to a line with Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan.

It paid off at 10:24 as Nyquist found Abdelkader just ahead of him and Abdelkader's shot from the left circle beat Korpisalo glove-side. Green got the second assist.

Howard stopped Calvert's wraparound try at 12:40 while Korpisalo made a save on Jurco at the other end.

Howard stopped another shot by Calvert but this time Clarkson was there for the rebound in front, giving the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead at 16:36.

It was Clarkson's second goal of the season and first since Dec. 17 at Arizona.


Scoring: 1. CBJ, PPG, David Savard (4), Alexander Wennberg, Seth Jones, :35. 2. DET, Justin Abdelkader (16), Gustav Nyquist, Mike Green, 10:24. 3. CBJ, David Clarkson (2), Matt Calvert, William Karlsson, 16:36.

Penalties: 1. DET, minor, Luke Glendening, tripping, :24. 2. CBJ, minor, Rene Bourque, cross-checking, 3:04.

Shots: Detroit 11 (15), Columbus 8 (24).

To say that the Wings' start to the third was less than optimal would be an understatement.

Just 26 seconds into the period, Boone Jenner cleaned up a rebound of Dubinsky's shot for a 3-1 lead. Atkinson got the second assist.

Jenner tied Saad for the Blue Jackets' team lead in goals with 24.

Perhaps trying to spark his team, Andreas Athanasiou fought Calvert at 4:25.

It didn't help.

Nyquist went to the box for tripping at 7:46, followed by Glendening for hooking at 8:12, giving the Blue Jackets another long 5-on-3 chance.

Once again, the Blue Jackets took advantage as Atkinson deflected Jones' shot from the point as Jones broke his stick. Wennberg got the second assist.

The Wings had a couple of power plays late in the third , finally scoring on their second with Howard out of the net.

Tatar got his 18th, assisted by Green and Datsyuk.

Then with Howard still out, Athanasiou deflected Green's shot at 16:30 to cut the lead to 4-3.

Helm hit both posts at 17:30, nearly tying the game.

Atkinson got the empty-net goal at 19:42.


Scoring: 1. CBJ, Boone Jenner (24), Brandon Dubinsky, Cam Atkinson, :26. 2. CBJ, PPG: Cam Atkinson (22), Seth Jones, Alexander Wennberg, 9:14. 3. DET, PPG, Tomas Tatar (18), Mike Green, Pavel Datsyuk, 15:44. 4. DET, Andreas Athanasiou (5), Mike Green, 16:30. 5. CBJ, ENG: Cam Atkinson (23), Boone Jenner, Brandon Dubinsky, 19:42.

Penalties: 1. DET, major, Andreas Athanasiou, fighting, 4:25. 2. CBJ, major, Matt Calvert, fighting, 4:25. 3. DET, minor, Gustav Nyquist, tripping, 7:46. 4. DET, minor, Luke Glendening, hooking, 8:12. 5. CBJ, minor, Dalton Prout, roughing, 10:44. 6. CBJ, minor, Fedor Tyutin, hooking, 14:20. 7. DET, double minor, Darren Helm, roughing, 18:32. 8. CBJ, double minor, Nick Foligno, roughing, 18:32.

Shots: Detroit,20 (35) Columbus 8 (26).

POSTED ON Sunday, 03.6.2016 / 7:38 PM ET
By Dana Wakiji - Editor | / The Wheel Deal

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks don't really need any help but they got some before Sunday night's game.

Pavel Datsyuk was a late scratch due to illness.

In 64 career games against the Blackhawks, Datsyuk has 15 goals and 34 assists.

Henrik Zetterberg shifted to center on the top line and Dylan Larkin will move up to play wing. Justin Abdelkader is the other wing on the line.

Teemu Pulkkinen draws into the lineup and will play on a line with Andreas Athanasiou and Brad Richards.

Meanwhile, Petr Mrazek gets another chance.

After allowing five goals in a 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena, Mrazek is back in net for tonight's game at Chicago's United Center.

Although Wings coach Jeff Blashill said he made the decision after Wednesday night's game, he chose not to reveal it until today.

"Petr’s earned the No. 1 spot but I believe you need two guys ready," Blashill said. "I think Jimmy (Howard)’s played great the last number of games. It gives me great confidence to put him in the next chance we feel is the right time. I’ll evaluate that after tonight’s game."

It will be Mrazek's first career start in Chicago.

Corey Crawford will start for the Blackhawks.

In 20 career games against the Wings, Crawford is 13-3-4 with a 1.95 goals-against average and .938 save percentage.

Crawford's 13 wins over the Wings are second-most against any team. He has 14 against the St. Louis Blues.

The power play could have a slightly different look as the Wings will try Tomas Jurco as a net-front presence on the second unit in place of Riley Sheahan.

"I think there’s a number of guys that can do a good job at the net front on the power play," Blashill said. "The power play hasn’t been effective enough. Jurco I hadn’t tried yet, so I said, 'why not give him a shot at being in that spot?' Luke Glendening was in that spot when we scored the last goal because of his ability to win face-offs, which I think is an important part of the power play, so we’ll keep trying different guys in that spot and see who's most effective."

Blashill said one challenge with using Sheahan or Darren Helm in that role is they already have a lot of responsibility on the other special team.

"We’ve wanted them to really concentrate on being great penalty killers and our penalty kill was going in a real good direction until the last game and they were a big part of it, so we felt like let’s just have them focus on that," Blashill said.

Although Blashill said the rest of the lineup decisions would be made after warm-ups, based upon the last two days of practice, it appears that defenseman Brendan Smith will return to the lineup and play on a pair with Mike Green.

Alexey Marchenko will be a healthy scratch.

The Blackhawks have a potent offense and it didn't take long to show it off.

Patrick Kane scored just 21 seconds into the game, on a rush from the right circle. Michal Rozsival had the lone assist.

While Smith was in the box for tripping Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith's shot from the high slot eluded Mrazek glove-side at 6:19.

After the shot went in, Blashill pulled Mrazek in favor of Howard.

Mrazek allowed two goals on five shots.

Danny DeKeyser intercepted a Chicago pass and passed the puck to Gustav Nyquist in the right circle.

Nyquist beat Crawford top shelf at 8:34 for his 16th goal of the season.

Justin Abdelkader had to leave the game midway through the first after getting hit in the face with Mike Green's shot from the point but had returned before the end of the period.

The Blackhawks missed a golden opportunity when Anisimov was alone on the right side with an open net and missed at 13:37.


SCORING: 1. CHI, Patrick Kane (38), Michal Rozsival, :21. 2. CHI, PPG, Duncan Keith (9), Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, 6:19. 3. DET, Gustav Nyquist (16), Danny DeKeyser, 8:34.

PENALTIES: 1. DET, minor, Tomas Jurco, cross-checking, 2:26. 2. CHI, minor, Duncan Keith, toughing, 2:26. 3. DET, minor, Brendan Smith, tripping, 4:32. 4. DET, minor, Niklas Kronwall, interference, 19:11.

SHOTS: Detroit 8, Chicago 11.

The Blackhawks started the period with 1:12 left on the power play.

The Wings killed it off, allowing just one shot.

Then Richard Panik was called for tripping at 3:48, giving the Wings a power play. But the Wings were unable to capitalize.

The Wings got a second man-advantage at 8:53, when the Blackhawks were caught with too many men on the ice.

With Panarin serving the infraction, the Wings had four shots on goal but couldn't get one past Crawford.

The highlight of the period for the local fans, a season-high 22,247 of them, was the appearance of Lady Gaga and her fiancé, actor Taylor Kinney, on the Kiss Cam.

Thanks in part to time on the penalty kill, the Blackhawks were held to just three shots in the period, the fewest since Feb. 28 against the Washington Capitals.

Toews took a slashing call with less than one second left in the second.



PENALTIES: 1. CHI, minor, Richard Panik,  tripping, 3:48. 2. CHI. bench minor, too many men, 8:53.

SHOTS: Detroit 13 (21), Chicago 3 (14).

The Wings started the third with nearly an entire power play.

Although they had a couple of shots, Crawford was able to make the saves.

After a turnover, Teuvo Teravainen had a great chance from the left circle that Howard stopped at 7:23.

Darren Helm found Tomas Jurco in the right circle at 9:05 but once again, Crawford was there to deny him.

The Wings wanted to stay out of the box but weren't able to do so, which led to more Chicago scoring.

Green was in the box for hooking at 10:54 when Artem Anisimov scored his 19th of the season at 11:15. Panarin and Brent Seabrook assisted.

Just 1:08 later, Toews scored his 24th of the season, assisted by Andrew Desjardins and Rozsival.

The Wings pulled Howard for the extra attacker but were unable to make a dent in the three-goal lead.

It was Crawford's 14th career win against the Wings, tying the most against any team. He also has 14 against the St. Louis Blues.


SCORING: 1. CHI, PPG, Artem Anisimov (19), Artemi Panarin, Brent Seabrook, 11:15. 2. CHI, Jonathan Toews (24), Andrew Desjardins, Michal Rozsival, 12:23.

PENALTIES: 1. DET, minor, Mike Green, hooking, 10:54.

SHOTS: Detroit 13 (34), Chicago 12 (26).

POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.2.2016 / 10:40 PM ET
By Dana Wakiji - Editor | / The Wheel Deal

DETROIT -- It's time to renew the rivalry.

The Red Wings face the Chicago Blackhawks for the first time since Feb. 18, 2015 at Chicago.

The two teams play at the United Center on Sunday evening.

Petr Mrazek returns as the starting goaltender after missing Monday night's game with a tender groin.

"I had a problem with my groin, I stretched my leg a little bit so that was a good one day off and I'm ready to go," Mrazek said after the morning skate.

It is Mrazek's first career game against the Blackhawks.

Corey Crawford, just named to Team Canada's initial World Cup team, starts for the Blackhawks.

Crawford is 12-3-4 with a 1.95 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in 19 games against the Wings.

In order to have success against the Blackhawks, the Wings will probably need to score first and stay out of the penalty box as the Blackhawks are 34-5-3 when scoring first and have the league's second-ranked power play.

Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg will skate in his 900th career game.

In 40 games against the Blackhawks, Zetterberg has 11 goals and 33 assists.

Zetterberg's line mate, Pavel Datsyuk, has 18 goals and 30 assists in 40 games against the Blackhawks.

While Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville knows all about Zetterberg and Datsyuk, he is also concerned about facing rookies Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou.

"In a short amount of time you notice him (Athanasiou)," Quenneville said. "You've got one guy coming and if the other guy is coming late, that's a dangerous tandem. (Brad Richards) playing with those two guys, I'm sure he's loving it. Those two guys are young and creative and quick. That line is dangerous."

The Red Wings had an early chance 18 seconds into the game when Zetterberg shot from the left side in close but Crawford was there for the save.

The Blackhawks took the early lead when Brent Seabrook's shot from the right circle beat Mrazek glove side at 2:23.

Erik Gustafsson and Teuvo Teravainen picked up the assists.

On the other end, Crawford had to make saves on Justin Abdelkader and Pavel Datsyuk.

Mrazek stopped Richard Panik on the right doorstep at 9:29, drawing oohs from the crowd.


SCORING: 1. CHI, Brent Seabrook (13), Erik Gustafsson, Teuvo Teravainen, 2:23.


SHOTS: Detroit 8, Chicago 9.

Datsyuk had a couple of good chances early in the second but Crawford saved one and Datsyuk shot wide on another.

Then Andrew Shaw was called for hooking Tomas Tatar at 3:52 and the Wings got the first power play of the game.

But then Dylan Larkin was called for hooking Jonathan Toews 50 seconds into the man-advantage.

Neither team recorded a shot on goal during their brief power plays.

Midway through the period, Jonathan Ericsson hit Andrew Desjardins near the boards and Desjardins took immediate exception, dropping the gloves.

Desjardins received a double-minor for roughing and Ericsson a minor for roughing.

The Wings had three shots but were not able to capitalize.

At 13:22, Zetterberg was called for tripping and at 14:09, Niklas Kronwall was called for hooking, giving Chicago's dangerous power play a two-man advantage for 1:13.

The Blackhawks didn't take long as Patrick Kane found a wide-open Artemi Panarin at the left side of the net and Panarin didn't miss, scoring his 23rd goal of the season at 14:34.

With the second power play about to expire, it was Kane's turn, extending his league-leading point total to 87, beating Mrazek stick-side at 16:00.


SCORING: 1. CHI, PPG, Artemi Panarin (23), Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith 14:34. 2. CHI, PPG, Patrick Kane (37), Seabrook, 16:00.

PENALTIES: 1. CHI, minor, Andrew Shaw, hooking, 3:52. 2. DET, minor, Dylan Larkin, hooking, 4:42. 3. CHI, double minor, Andrew Desjardins, roughing, 9:59.  Second minor served by Dennis Rasmussen. 4. DET, minor, Jonathan Ericsson, roughing, 9:59. 5. DET, minor, Henrik Zetterberg, tripping, 13:22.

SHOTS: Detroit 15 (23). Chicago 13 (22).

The Wings got an early power-play opportunity as Niklas Hjalmarsson was called for delay of game 21 seconds into the period, but once again, the Wings weren't able to capitalize.

The power-play goal scored by Panarin in the second was the first power-play goal allowed by the Wings in the last 20 chances, dating back to Feb. 15 at the New York Islanders.

The Wings finally beat Crawford at 9:49 when Kane was in the box for slashing.

Richards' shot from the left point eluded Crawford, who was screened by Luke Glendening.

Mike Green and Tomas Tatar got the assists.

But the Blackhawks showed their offensive might once again as recently re-acquired forward Andrew Ladd scored at 14:03 on his second rebound chance, Keith and Seabrook assisting.

Just 35 seconds later, Panarin got his second of the game as Kane passed from the right boards to the left circle, where Panarin was waiting.

Gustav Nyquist scored his 16th goal of the season at 17:51. Ericsson and Riley Sheahan assisted.

Crawford improved to 34-16-3, the 34 victories a new career high.


SCORING: 1. DET, PPG, Brad Richards (8), Mike Green, Tomas Tatar, 9:49. 2. CHI, Andrew Ladd (18), Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, 14:03. 3. CHI, Artemi Panarin (24, 2nd of game), Patrick Kane, 14:38. 4. DET, Gustav Nyquist (16), Jonathan Ericsson, Riley Sheahan, 17:51.

PENALTIES: 1. CHI, minor, Niklas Hjalmarsson, delay of game, :21. 2. CHI, minor, Patrick Kane, slashing, 9:37.

SHOTS: Detroit 10 (33). Chicago 11 (33).

POSTED ON Tuesday, 03.1.2016 / 1:07 AM ET
By Dana Wakiji - Editor | / The Wheel Deal

DALLASJimmy Howard is making his 23rd start of the season as the Red Wings face the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Arena.

Both Howard and Petr Mrazek participated in the morning skate but general manager Ken Holland said Mrazek has a bit of a tender groin, so the Wings called up goaltender Jared Coreau from the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins.

Coreau was expected to arrive in time to back up Howard.

Howard is 7-9-5 with a 2.82 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in 23 games this season.

In his last start, Feb. 21 at New York, Howard shut out the Rangers until overtime.

"With Jimmy, I thought he had a few strong outings heading into that game in terms of his play," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "Sometimes the puck goes in even when you play well. His game had been building. He was excellent against the Rangers. Hopefully that can continue here tonight. I think every night is a new story, you got to go out and do a good job stopping pucks, but I think he feels real confident about his game. Through the work he put in with (goaltending coach) Jimmy Bedard he knows he can execute at this level and he really prepared himself and he’s real confident in himself."

The Stars are right behind the Chicago Blackhawks in the Central Division with 82 points to Chicago's 83.

The Stars are the only team to have scored more than 200 goals so far this season, with 202 in 63 games.

Leading the way for the Stars are Jamie Benn (32 goals, 38 assists) and Tyler Seguin (32 goals, 36 assists).

Young defenseman John Klingberg has 10 goals and 42 assists.

"Great transition team, they can really get behind you offensively, whether they’re in their own zone or the neutral zone," Blashill said. "We have to do a great job on our offense to defense transition, exiting their zone, making sure we reload hard and get back above people and we have to make sure we do a good job in the neutral zone of being above and tight."

Stars coach Lindy Ruff said although the Stars are ahead of the Wings points-wise, the Stars want to establish the level of consistency the Wings have had over the years.

"We want the opposition to look at us like here's what they're going to bring, here's what we've got to be aware of," Ruff said. "We know what they're going to bring. I think that's what's made them successful. They've got five or six guys, a couple guys on the back end, three or four guys up front that have lived all those years when they've been so successful. Any franchise wants to get to that point."

The Stars came out firing shots at Howard.

Jamie Benn, Ales Hemsky, Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp all had chances before the Wings got their first shot on goal.

Dylan Larkin finally made Niemi work at 6:34.

Then Stars forward Colton Sceviour was called for tripping Andreas Athanasiou at 8:32, giving the Wings the first man-advantage of the game.

Both Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall had chances but Niemi stopped them both.

At 12:23, Benn had another great chance when Sharp found him alone in the right circle but Howard stopped the backhand shot.

The Stars had several great chances, including Jason Demers' chance from the right boards that went off the left post.

Luke Glendening was called for holding the stick after that play and Howard had to be at his best on the penalty kill.

Benn had another good look, as did Tyler Seguin but Howard stopped both.



PENALTIES: 1. DAL, minor, Colton Sceviour, tripping, 8:32. 2. DET, minor, Luke Glendening, holding the stick, 17:42.

SHOTS: Detroit 7, Dallas 15.

Both teams had power-play chances in the second.

First it was the Wings as Jason Demers was called for hooking Athanasiou at 1:10.

The Wings were not able to capitalize for the 19th straight man-advantage in the last seven games.

Then Danny DeKeyser was called for interference at 3:04 but the Wings killed it off.

At 11:50, Niemi made a save on Gustav Nyquist but could not hang onto the rebound, which ended up on Athanasiou's stick.

Athanasiou scored his third goal of the season, assisted by Tomas Tatar and Nyquist.

The Stars tied the game with 2:28 left in the second.

Sceviour tied the game on a pass from Vernon Fiddler, who was playing in his 800th career game. Alex Goligoski got the second assist.


SCORING: DET, Andreas Athanasiou (3), Gustav Nyquist, 11:50. 2. DAL, Colton Sceviour (8), Vernon Fiddler, Alex Goligoski, 17:32.

PENALTIES: 1. DAL, minor, Jason Demers, hooking, 1:10. 2. DET, minor, Danny DeKeyser, interference, 3:04.

SHOTS: Detroit 10 (17), Dallas 13 (29).

The Stars had two excellent chances early in the third as Antoine Roussel and Hemsky both tested Howard in close.

But Athanasiou put on a show as he grabbed the puck and deked around Dallas defenseman Johnny Oduya, backhanding the puck top shelf.

After Jamie Benn hit the right post at 8:51, Henrik Zetterberg was sent to the box for tripping.

Howard had to make saves on Seguin from the left circle and on Spezza in close, stopping four shots total during the kill.

Darren Helm stole the puck from Demers at 15:25 but Niemi made the save.

Oduya was called for hooking but 42 seconds into the power play, Niklas Kronwall went off for high-sticking.

While the Stars had their brief power play, they also pulled Niemi.

With the extra attacker, the Stars tied the game with 1:31 left in regulation.

Demers kept the puck in the zone and Fiddler got a rebound at the net for his eighth goal of the season.


SCORING: 1. DET, Andreas Athanasiou (4, 2nd of game), Mike Green, Luke Glendening, 6:38.

PENALTIES: 1. DET, minor, Henrik Zetterberg, tripping, 8:51. 2. DAL, Johnny Oduya, hooking, 15:25. 3. DET, minor, Niklas Kronwall, high-sticking, 16:07.

SHOTS: Detroit 12 (27), Dallas 12 (41).

Former Wings prospect Mattias Janmark was called for hooking at 1:51 of overtime.

Datsyuk capitalized with the man-advantage at 2:33 for the victory.

It was Howard's first win since Dec. 3 against the Arizona Coyotes.


SCORING: 1. DET, PPG: Pavel Datsyuk (13), 2:33.

PENALTIES: 1. DAL, minor, Mattias Janmark, hooking, 1:51.

SHOTS: Detroit 6 (33), Dallas 0 (41).

POSTED ON Saturday, 02.27.2016 / 11:04 PM ET
By Dana Wakiji - Editor | / The Wheel Deal

DENVER -- After the excitement around the alumni game, it was a tough act to follow for the current Wings and Avalanche in the Stadium Series game.

Jonathan Ericsson returned after missing six games with a lower-body injury to play in his first NHL outdoor game. He was paired with Mike Green.

Teemu Pulkkinen and Brendan Smith were healthy scratches for the Wings.

Petr Mrazek got the start in goal for Detroit while Semyon Varlamov started for Colorado.

The official temperature at puck drop was 65 degrees.

Neither team held a morning skate and the skies got very cloudy shortly after noon so it gave the ice crew plenty of time to make sure the ice was optimal for the 6 p.m. PST start.

The Avalanche came out firing, out-shooting the Wings early.

Mrazek had to make several good saves, including one on Mikhail Grigorenko at 3:12.

Tomas Tatar opened the scoring at 5:07 with his 17th goal of the season, cleaning up his own rebound after a wraparound attempt.

It was Tatar's first point in nine games.

Originally, Gustav Nyquist was awarded the only assist but it was taken away during intermission, making Tatar's goal unassisted.

At 7:44, Nathan MacKinnon tied the game on a shot from the left circle that beat Mrazek. Gabriel Landeskog assisted.

The Wings got the first power play of the game when Andrew Bodnarchuk was called for high-sticking at 10:17 but were unable to capitalize.

At 14:38, Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie got a nice pass from Blake Comeau and made a fake to get Mrazek to commit and then scored. Grigorenko got the second assist.

The Wings elected to challenge the goal, citing goaltender interference but the officials ruled that it was a good goal.

Here's the explanation from the league:

At 14:38 of the first period in the Red Wings/Avalanche game, Detroit requested a Coach's Challenge to review whether Carl Soderberg interfered with goaltender Petr Mrazek before the puck crossed the goal line.

After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee confirmed no goaltender interference infractions occurred before the puck crossed the goal line.

Therefore the original call stands – good goal Colorado Avalanche.

Since the Coach’s Challenge did not result in the original call being overturned, the Detroit Red Wings forfeit their time-out.

The Wings had a four-minute man-advantage at 14:49 when Cody McLeod was called for high-sticking. They had four shots but could not score.

Kyle Quincey was the one who was hit with the stick and had to go to the dressing room via the third-base dugout.


SCORING: 1. DET, Tatar (unassisted), 5:07; 2. COL, MacKinnon (Landeskog), 7:44.

PENALTIES: 1. COL, Bodnarchuk (high-sticking), 10:17; 2. COL, McLeod, double minor (high-sticking), 14:49; 3. DET, Datsyuk (roughing), 18:54; 4. COL, Landeskog (holding the stick), 18:54.

SHOTS: Detroit 11, Colorado 14.

The scoring crew made one change after the first period, taking away Nyquist's assist on Tatar's first-period goal.

Quincey, who left the game after being high0sticked by McLeod in the first period, returned.

NBC Sports reported that Quincey had to have four stitches to repair the damage.

Danny DeKeyser was called for high-sticking at 4:01, giving the Avalanche their first power play.

The Wings killed it off.

Henrik Zetterberg had a good chance from the low slot that Varlamov stopped at 6:29.

The Wings had a chance when Chris Bigras was called for holding Luke Glendening at 10:14 but the Avalanche killed it off.

The Avalanche headed back to the power play when the Wings were called for too many men on the ice, which was served by Andreas Athanasiou.

The Wings lead the league with 11 penalties for too many men.



PENALTIES: 1. DET, DeKeyser (high-sticking), 4:01; 2. COL, Bigras (holding), 10:14; 3. DET, bench, too many men, served by Andreas Athanasiou, 13:20.

SHOTS: Detroit 4 (15), Colorado 4 (18).

Before the game, general manager Ken Holland mentioned that the Wings had some players who were proven scorers in the league who have not scored as much as they would have liked.

One of those players is Gustav Nyquist, who came into the Stadium Series on an 11-game goal-less streak.
That changed at 1:27 of the third when he backhanded the puck over Varlamov's left shoulder from the right circle.
Riley Sheahan and Tatar got the assists.
The Wings took the lead at 13:28 when Justin Abdelkader scored from right in front on the right side. Darren Helm and Luke Glendening assisted.
But the Avalanche tied it 14 seconds later on Alex Tanguay's goal.
With one minute exactly left in the third, Brad Richards popped the puck in from behind the net.
Niklas Kronwall assisted.
Darren Helm capped it off with an empty net goal with 19.3 seconds left. 

Scoring: 1. DET, Gustav Nyquist (15), Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, 1:27. 2. DET, Justin Abdelkader (15), Darren Helm, Luke Glendening, 13:28. 3. COL, Alex Tanguay (4), Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, 13:42. 4. DET, Brad Richards (7), Niklas Kronwall, 19:00. 5. DET, ENG, Darren Helm (8), Petr Mrazek, Niklas Kronwall, 19:40.
Penalties: 1. COL, minor, Blake Comeau, tripping, 8:22. 2. DET, minor, Mike Green, tripping, 14:39. 
Shots: Detroit 13 (28), Colorado 9 (27).

POSTED ON Friday, 02.26.2016 / 9:20 PM ET
By Dana Wakiji - Editor | / The Wheel Deal

DENVER -- More highly anticipated than the actual Stadium Series, the Alumni Game at Coors Field featured some of the top players from the history of the bitter Detroit Red Wings-Colorado Avalanche rivalry.

DET-COL Alumni Game

Unfortunately, due to recent hernia surgery, Chris Osgood could not participate in the game so Ty Conklin got the start in goal for Detroit.

Manny Legace is the other Detroit goaltender.

Naturally, one of the main centerpieces of the rivalry, Patrick Roy, currently the coach of the Avalanche, started for Colorado.

"I think it might be friendly at the start and then it might change over the course of the game," Roy said after his young team practiced Friday morning. "We’re all young inside of us and we all love competing. It’ll be fun. I’m curious to see how it’s going to go. The third period will probably be the best one."

Adam Foote made some comments on a local Denver radio station, saying he still did not care for Kris Draper.

Draper did not seem too concerned. He said he, Darren McCarty, Dino Ciccarelli and Joe Kocur shared a laugh about it when they heard it.

"Honestly, I don’t care," Draper said. "I don’t know how many times I played against him and how many opportunities he had to do that and nothing happened. I’m not worried about it. There were 1,000 to 1,500 tickets available for the game this morning and now it’s a sellout. We can thank him for that. He did his job."

After the introductions and the hoopla, the game started at a 58.8 degree temperature.

Boyd Devereaux, a forward, generously offered to play defense, paired with Nick Lidstrom.

Draper had made the same offer, as long as he could play with Lidstrom.

The Avalanche got on the board first on a goal by Valery Kamensky about five minutes into the game.

Peter Forsberg and Claude Lemieux, two of the other main characters in the rivalry, assisted.

Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman tied the game at 9:25, on a rebound of Mathieu Dandenault's shot. Doug Brown got the second assist.

Avalanche captain Joe Sakic delighted the fans when he scored for the 2-1 lead at 13:27.


SCORING: 1. COL, Valeri Kamensky (1), Peter Forsberg, Claude Lemieux, 5:09. 2. DET, Steve Yzerman (1), Mathieu Dandenault, Doug Brown, 9:25. 3. COL, Joe Sakic (1), Ray Bourque, 13:27.


SHOTS: Detroit 11, Colorado 5.

Tomas Holmstrom found himself in an odd place in the second, behind the Colorado net instead of in front of Roy.

Holmstrom was hit there but was not hurt.

Midway through the period, Manny Legace replaced Conklin in goal.

Milan Hejduk scored at 15:33 of the second, assisted by Mike Ricci and Sakic.

Dino Ciccarelli had an open left side of the net but fanned on the initial shot and Roy was able to get back in time to stop the rebound attempt at 17:30.


SCORING: 1. COL, Milan Hejduk (1), Mike Ricci, Joe Sakic, 15:33.


SHOTS: Detroit 10 (21), Colorado 6 (11).

Not a bad showing for Roy, who made 20 saves in the first two periods.

He was replaced by Craig Billington to start the third.

But that did not change Colorado's momentum as Ray Bourque's shot from the left point beat Legace at 1:01. Shjon Podein and Dan Hinote assisted.

Apparently penalties in the third periods of alumni games aren't served normally.

Instead, the offended team gets to take a penalty shot.

Tomas Holmstrom was awarded a penalty shot at 5:40 of the third but Billington made the save, preserving the three-goal lead.

Three minutes later, Ricci had a chance for a penalty shot. He made the sign of the cross before skating out but Legace made the stop.

The Wings cut the Avalanche lead to 4-2 when Brendan Shanahan scored a rebound goal at 14:39 of the third.

Stephane Yelle scores on a 2-on-1 with Chris Simon at 17:32, collecting his own rebound for the 5-2 lead.


1. DET, Brendan Shanahan (1), , Chris Chelios, 14:39. 2. COL, Stephane Yelle (1), Ray Bourque, 17:32.


SHOTS: Detroit 17 (38), Colorado 8 (19).

POSTED ON Tuesday, 02.23.2016 / 10:13 PM ET
By Dana Wakiji - Editor | / The Wheel Deal

DETROIT -- It's a special night for the Red Wings as they honor former captain Nicklas Lidstrom following his November induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Wings also welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets to town for their only visit to Joe Louis Arena this season.

Although the Blue Jackets are currently in eighth place in the Metropolitan Division, they are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games.

The Wings are only 2-6-2 in their last 10 against the Blue Jackets.

The Blue Jackets have some mobile defensemen, which means the Wings will have to be prepared to deal with them.

"Getting it by and getting in on the inside," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "Making sure we’re committed to getting pucks behind when needed. We have to be a speed, transition team for us to have success and then we have to be committed to getting on the inside. They protect the inside well. They have a lot of guys that play extremely hard so we have to be committed to get to the net and getting second and third opportunities. If we’re not getting to loose pucks, if we’re not winning the loose puck retrievals and the loose puck rebounds it’s going to be hard night for us."

The Wings get back defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who has missed the last 15 games after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery Jan. 19.

Kronwall with pair with Alexey Marchenko.

The Blue Jackets defeated the Bruins Monday night in Boston, 6-4.

The Blue Jackets had their first man-advantage at 5:28 when Darren Helm was called for delay of game.

But the Wings, who came into the game with the league's 14th-ranked penalty kill, did not allow the Blue Jackets to get a shot.

In fact, the Blue Jackets' first shot came at 9:25, from Brandon Saad.

Columbus had its best chance at 12:55 when Matt Calvert ended up with the puck in the low slot but Petr Mrazek was there to stop the backhand attempt.

The Blue Jackets had another power play when Justin Abdelkader was called for interference at 14:22.

Mrazek denied Cam Atkinson from the left circle at 14:55.

Boone Jenner scored his 22nd goal of the season at 18:18 of the first when his shot from the left circle eluded Mrazek. Brandon Dubinsky and David Savard assisted.

The Wings were shorthanded on defense from about 9:53 of the first when Kerby Rychel hit Brendan Smith along the boards and Smith went to the dressing room.


SCORING: 1. CBJ, Boone Jenner (22), Brandon Dubinsky, David Savard, 18:18.

PENALTIES: 1. DET, minor, Darren Helm, delay of game, 5:28. 2. DET, minor, Justin Abdelkader, interference, 14:22.

SHOTS: Detroit 4, Columbus 6.

The Wings finally got their first power play at 6:37 when Dalton Prout was called for cross-checking Andreas Athanasiou but were unable to capitalize.

Saad had a shorthanded chance that Mrazek stopped at 7:36.

The Wings had not scored a shorthanded goal all season.

With Kronwall in the box for hooking at 13:02, Alexey Marchenko found Riley Sheahan, who broke in on Columbus goaltender Curtis McElhinney and beat him stick-side at 13:59.

The last time the Wings scored shorthanded was Luke Glendening at Tampa Bay on April 16, 2015.

It was Sheahan's first goal since Jan. 10 at Anaheim, snapping a 17-game point-less drought.


SCORING: 1. DET, SHG: Riley Sheahan (8), Alexey Marchenko, 13:59.

PENALTIES: 1. CBJ, minor, Dalton Prout, cross-checking, 6:37. 2. DET, minor, Niklas Kronwall, hooking, 13:02. 3.

SHOTS: Detroit 11 (15), Columbus 5 (11).

Smith returned to the ice for the Wings.

Theoretically, the Blue Jackets should have tired in the third period, having played the night before in Boston.

Although the Wings appeared to have more zone time, they weren't getting too many quality chances against McElhinney.

Although Gustav Nyquist started the game with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, it was Abdelkader who returned to that line during the latter half of the game.

The Blue Jackets seemed to find a second wind in the second half of the third period, forcing Mrazek to make several quality saves, especially on Dubinsky.

It is the Wings' third straight game that has gone to overtime.




SHOTS: Detroit 9 (24), Columbus 14 (25).

Mrazek made a spectacular save on defenseman Ryan Murray in the low slot at 2:03 and tried to pass it ahead to Datsyuk but the referee blew the whistle.

Mrazek was livid, pleading his case but to no avail.

Athanasiou had a good chance at 3:15 but McElhinney stopped him on his drive to the net.




SHOTS: Detroit 2 (26), Columbus 6 (31).

POSTED ON Sunday, 02.21.2016 / 10:17 PM ET
By Bill Roose - / The Wheel Deal

NEW YORK – It’s Hockey Day in America and the Red Wings are playing in the greatest arena in the world tonight.

There are 11 American players suited up for this game, the first meeting of the season for the Original Six rivals. The U.S.-born Red Wings are Justin Abdelkader, Luke Glendening, Danny DeKeyser, Dylan Larkin and Jimmy Howard.

The Wings have lost five straight road decisions now for the first time since they dropped seven straight (0-5-2) in March 2012.

As a result of Pittsburgh’s 4-3 win at Buffalo this afternoon, Detroit begins the evening in the second wild card position with 68 points in the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay also started the day with 68 points, but is in third place in the Atlantic Division. The Lightning plays at Carolina tonight.

Two nights in a row Abdelkader has accounted for the Red Wings’ first shot on goal, though he probably wishes they were a little sooner in the game.

For the second straight night the Wings have gone more than 6 ½ minutes before registering a shot. On Saturday, Abdelkader’s 75-footer from the neutral zone was the first shot on Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson.

Tonight, the Rangers had seven shots on Howard before Abdelkader’s 51-foot wrist shot was stopped by Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist at 7:51 of the opening period.

The Wings turned things around in the second half of the period, out-shooting the Rangers, 9-5.

Howard had to be sharp on a couple of occasions, especially in the finals minutes when J.T. Miler tried scoring on a wrap-around attempt.



1. DET, Ouellet (tripping), 1:11; 2. NYR , Yandle (hooking), 4:48.

Detroit 10, New York 12.

The period got a little chippy early when Darren Helm caught the Rangers’ Miller up high with a hit in the neutral zone with 16:35 left on the clock. The hit left Miller in a heap at center ice. Miller went after Helm, but the only result was a holding penalty assessed to Derick Brassard.

The Wings had an awesome scoring chance created by the speed of Andreas Athanasiou, but Lundqvist made the save and stopped Teemu Pulkkinen’s second-chance opportunity on the rebound.

With roughly nine periods left, Henrik Zetterberg may have been the closest to breaking the scoreless deadlock when his shot hit the left post.

Moments after Zetterberg’s near goal, the Rangers came close to getting the game’s first goal when Chris Kreider was left along in front of Howard. But the Wings’ netminder came up with a big save.

New York had two power play chances when Kyle Quincey picked up a pair of tripping penalties in the period. The Rangers mustered a total of four shots during the two separate man advantages, but Howard stopped them all.



1. NYR, Brassard (holding), 3:31; 2. DET, Quincey (tripping), 7:34; 3. DET, Quincey (tripping), 12:37.

SHOTS: Detroit 7 (17), New York 9 (21).

The Rangers had a goal disallowed and didn’t connect on a penalty shot in the final period of regulation.

Howard was outstanding as he was called upon throughout the period to make one heady save after another. The first came early in the frame after Viktor Stalberg raced into the zone and set up Oscar Lindberg, who was streaking down the slot. Howard stood big in the crease to make a save on Lindberg’s redirection.

A few minutes later a scramble in front of the Wings’ crease resulted in a controversial goal by the Rangers. Lindberg tripped over Howard’s stick and as the Rangers’ center fell forward his left skate kicked Howard in the head as Kevin Hayes fired a shot from a bad angle that went in off the goalie’s arm.

As the Madison Square Garden faithful cheered, Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill challenged the validity of the goal. The play was reviewed in Toronto and overturned.

With 5:25 left, the Rangers were given a penalty shot when Jesper Fast was taken down by Mike Green. Howard, who has played perhaps his best game of the season made an outstanding blocker save on Fast.

Howard made another spectacular save after the Wings made turnover deep in their zone. DeKeyser fell giving the Rangers a 3 on 1 against Howard. Fast set up near the left post and one-timed a pass but the goalie slid across the crease in time to make the save.



PENALTIES: 1. NYR, Glass (hooking), 2:49; 2. DET, DeKeyser (interference), 7:27; 3. DET, Glendening (high-sticking), 8:02; 4. NYR, Yandle (interference), 8:02; 5. NYR, Girardi (elbowing), 10:10.

SHOTS: Detroit 3 (20), New York 7 (28).


Gustav Nyquist nearly won it for the Wings with a shot that slipped behind Lundqvist, who for a moment lost sight of the puck. Kreider scoped the puck out of the crease and started the Rangers’ rush which ended with Kevin Klein’s goal at 1:59.

Hayes slid a backhand pass over Brendan Smith’s stick, which sent Klein in a lone down the slot and the Rangers’ defenseman fired a shot behind Howard.

The Wings are the last team to suffer a shutout loss this season.


SCORING: 1. NYR, Klein (Hayes, Kreider), 1:59.


SHOTS: Detroit 2 (22), New York 2 (30).
POSTED ON Saturday, 02.20.2016 / 10:00 PM ET
By Bill Roose - / The Wheel Deal

KANATA, Ontario – The Red Wings look to snap a four-game road losing streak tonight when they faceoff against their Atlantic Division rival Ottawa Senators.

Tonight is the fifth and final meeting in the clubs’ season series with the Red Wings posting a 3-1-0 record over the Senators.

Dylan Larkin, who fell ill earlier in the day and did not join the team in their morning skate at Canadian Tire Centre, will not play tonight. The Wings had hoped he might be able to go, but he still wasn’t feeling good and didn’t participate in the team’s pre-game warmups.

Larkin’s absence opens the way for Teemu Pulkkinen to draw into the lineup for the first time in the past eight games.

With Tampa Bay’s 4-2 win this afternoon at Pittsburgh, the Wings are desperate for two points as they begin the night in the top wild card spot with 67 points in the Eastern Conference. Detroit trails Tampa Bay and Boston by one point in the standings.

But coach Jeff Blashill said the team isn’t concentrating so much on the standings as they are about playing right.

“(Our) focus is making sure we play good hockey and that we’re giving ourselves the best chance to win every night,” he said. “You can play great and not win. We have a great opponent tonight, every night is a great opponent. That’s just how close the league is. But we got to concentrate and do the things it takes from a process standpoint to make sure we’re doing our best. Secondly, we judge ourselves on our own segments and where we’re at in the segments, both cumulatively and where we’re at in that segment. And third, I see the standings, I’m not blind to that. I just think you got to control what you control and that’s your own play.”

Riley Sheahan
Goals: 7 | Assists: 6 | Pts: 13
Shots: 94 | +/-: -16
PLAYER TO WATCH: Riley Sheahan has the longest current point drought in the Red Wings’ lineup, going 15 straight games without a goal or assist. His last point was the game-winning goal late in the third period at Anaheim on Jan. 10.

Recently, Sheahan was moved from third-line center, where he had been most of the season, to fourth-line winger. He’ll start tonight’s game paired with center Luke Glendening and forward Darren Helm.

Blashill said he likes the identity of the trio – all three are natural centers.

“That’s what I was trying to create when I put that line together,” Blashill said. “We had played Tampa and I saw the line with (Valtteri) Filppula and thought they had a real identity and I wanted to make sure we had that as well down the stretch. I think Sheahan and Helm and Glendening have done a real good job. They’re all good defensively, but I think their best defense is when they can grind in the O-zone and they’re real good at it – Sheahan, especially, he can really do a good job on cutbacks and creating possession time and chances as well. I think he’s found a good niche and I think he’s playing pretty good hockey.”

in terms of minutes played they certainly have a big role on our team – but I like the identity of that line. That’s what I was trying to create when I put that line together. We had played Tampa and I saw the line with Filppula and thought they had a real identity and I wanted to make sure we had that as well down the stretch. I think Sheahan and Helm and Glendening have done a real good job. They’re all good defensively, but I think their best defense is when they can grind in the O-zone and they’re real good at it – Sheahan, especially, he can really do a good job on cutbacks and creating possession time and chances as well. I think he’s found a good niche and I think he’s playing pretty good hockey.”

It took more than four minutes before either team registered a shot on goal. But the first one was a doozy.

Senators defenseman Patrick Wiercioch fired a rocket from the blue line that struck Petr Mrazek in helmet. The play was stopped as the Red Wings’ goalie stayed down until trainer Piet Van Zant rushed on to the ice to check on him. Mrazek stayed in though.

Gustav Nyquist was called for slashing defenseman Dion Phaneuf near the Wings’ crease. While Nyquit was in the box Bobby Ryan came close to scoring what would have been one of the top highlight reel goals of the season.

The Sens’ forward backed his way toward the crease where put his stick between his legs and managed to get off a shot from in close. Fortunately, the puck hit Mrazek in the pads.

After that the period was pretty much uninspiring with not a lot of scoring chances for either team.



PENALTIES: 1. DET, Nyquist (slashing), 4:33.

SHOTS: Detroit 9, Ottawa 6.

The period started with three on-ice officials instead of the traditional four man crew.

The league sent out the following post in an email:

Referee Tom Kowal is being evaluated by medical personnel therefore the Red Wings/Senators game will continue with one referee and two linesmen.

The game continued with referee Trevor Hanson and linesmen Matt MacPherson and Steve Barton.

The Wings capitalized on a giveaway deep in the Senators zone. Nyquist forced all-star defenseman Erik Karlsson into coughing up the puck into the slot where Andreas Athanasiou wound up and rocketed a shot into the back of the net.

The goal was Athansiou's second of his career and his first since he was recalled from AHL Grand Rapids on Feb. 5.

It took the Senators exactly one minute to get their own break when Brendan Smith snapped his stick while trying to make a cleaning pass from the Wings’ zone. Nick Paul was the recipient of Smith’s second broken stick of the game. It was the first career goal for the Sens’ rookie.

Smith has had bad luck with sticks while in Ottawa these last two days, breaking four of them, including two in Friday afternoon’s practice.

Karlsson’s tough night got worse late in the period when he redirected Brad Richards’ shot past goalie Craig Anderson, giving the Wings a 2-1 lead.


SCORING: 1. DET, Athanasiou (unassisted), 10:46; 2. OTT, Smith (Pageau), 11:46; 3. DET, Richards (unassisted), 17:52.

PENALTIES: 1. OTT, Paul (slashing), 2:59; 2. DET, Glendening (holding), 12:08; 3. DET, Helm (roughing), 16:59; 4. OTT, Turris (roughing), 16:59.

SHOTS: Detroit 7 (16), Ottawa 10 (16).

Justin Abdelkader exchanged jabs at center ice with Chris Neil after the Sens’ enforcer hit Pavel Datsyuk. The pair appeared headed for a fight before cooler heads prevailed as both skated to their respective benches. The pleasantries continued as the two jawed at one another from the end of the benches with Gary Galley, the TSN analyst, caught in the middle of the barbs.

For Mrazek, this was a quality effort after giving up 10 goals on 54 shots in his previous two starts. Other than the second-period, which wasn’t solely his fault, he was spectacular in making 22 saves.

Phaneuf scored his first goal in six games since joining the Senators in a trade from Toronto. It appeared that Mrazek never saw the shot from the defenseman at the left point as he was being screened in front by Sens’ forward Mark Stone and Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser.


SCORING: 1. OTT, Phaneuf (unassisted), 16:09.

PENALTIES: 1. OTT, Stone (slashing), 6:14.

SHOTS: Detroit 8 (24), Ottawa 8 (24).

Bobby Ryan, at the end of shift, had the best scoring chance midway through the overtime period. After Cody Ceci blocked Tomas Tatar’s shot sending the puck into the neutral zone, Ryan was off, trudging toward the Wings’ net. The Sens’ forward made a series of moves but was denied by Mrazek, who made the splits on a remarkable pad save.




SHOTS: Detroit 6 (30), Ottawa 2 (26).



OTT, Ryan, NO GOAL (lost puck)

DET, Nyquist, NO GOAL (right pad save)

OTT, Turris, GOAL (five hole)

DET, Richards, NO GOAL (glove save)

OTT, Zibanejad, NO GOAL (right goal post)

DET, Datsyuk, NO GOAL (pad save)

POSTED ON Thursday, 02.18.2016 / 9:42 PM ET
By Bill Roose - / The Wheel Deal

PITTSBURGH – Sidney Crosby said Thursday that sluggish starts were to blame for the Pittsburgh Penguins rough patch earlier this season.

But since overcoming a two-goal deficit in Detroit on Dec. 31, the Penguins have been cooking, going 11-4-4 as they prepare for their New Year’s Eve rematch against the Red Wings tonight at Consol Energy Center.

“I think you build confidence from games like that,” the Penguins’ captain said. “Since then we’ve been in some tough situations going into the third, down some goals, and climbed back. So you need to go through those sorts of things to build confidence. … Yeah, it was a big win for us at that point.”

Prior to their 5-2 comeback win at Joe Louis Arena, the Penguins had struggled through a 5-8-4 stretch.

“I think our starts were kind of slow there for probably a good couple of weeks,” Crosby said. “Our start wasn’t good again in that game. That’s an area we’ve tried to improve on since but I think at this point the desperation level should be much higher for both teams with how close everything is in the standings. … But, yeah, looking back, that was a good game for us.”

Meanwhile, the Red Wings need points as they begin a stretch of three road games over the next four days.

“It’s a big game for us today,” Wings forward Gustav Nyquist said. “Both teams need these two points, so it’s gonna be a good match up. … We have an intense road trip here. Three games in four days, so for sure we want to get off to a good start here. That would be key for us.”

Tonight’s game is the second of three meetings this season between clubs with a playoff history having faced in the Stanley Cup finals in back-to-back years.

Detroit currently sits in third place in the Atlantic Division. Pittsburgh clings to the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, but is also in the thick of the Metropolitan Division race.

Pavel Datsyuk

“We got a great amount of respect for their team, the players on their team and what this organization has done in their history,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill sid. “That only helps get everybody invigorated and ready to play. We understand what’s at stake here. Two huge points we’re both fighting for and we both need. So I think it should make for a real good game. We need to make sure we come out and play at a real high level to give ourselves a real good chance.”

PLAYER TO WATCH TONIGHT: Pavel Datsyuk has points in six straight games with six goals and four assists in that span. The 37-year-old center seems to have found a higher gear since he was reunited with Henrik Zetterberg on the Wings’ top forward line.

Certainly, Datsyuk’s productivity isn’t lost on Crosby, who himself has 53 points in 54 games.

“No matter how old he is he’s always going to have those hands, he’s always going to have that vision,” Crosby said. “I really don’t think it matters how old he is. The way he sees the game, the way he anticipates, yeah, I think he’s gonna be somebody that you always have to be aware of no matter how old he is.”

Fast and furious is how this one started with an incredible pace for both teams Thursday night.

The Wings and Penguins even went 5 ½ minutes between whistles, until Petr Mrazek covered up on a 58-foot shot from Olli Maatta to get a faceoff deep in the Red Wings’ zone.

Two minutes later the Pens had themselves a 1-0 lead when Darren Helm inadvertently redirected Ben Lovejoy’s 53-foot wrist shot behind Mrazek. It appeared Lovejoy was just trying to get a shot on net when his shot struck Helm’s stick in front of the crease.

The Wings got the equalizer when the third line connected on a rush that was capped by Tomas Jurco’s fourth goal of the season. Nyquist set up the scoring play when he slid a centering pass to Jurco in the slot. Using a Pittsburgh defender as a screen, Jurco blistered a shot stick side on Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Pens regained their one-goal lead when Matt Cullen, who assisted on Lovejoy’s goal, slammed a rebound into the open net off Mrazek’s right pad.

Pittsburgh finished the period on the power play when Kyle Quincey was called for roughing Crosby behind the Wings net.

The Pens will begin the second period with 44 seconds left on the man advantage.


1. PIT, Lovejoy (Hornqvist, Cullen), 9:56; 2. DET, Jurco (Nyquist, Athanasiou), 13:40; 3. PIT, Cullen (Daley, Hornqvist), 16:47.

PENALTIES: 1. DET, Quincey (roughing), 1844.

SHOTS: Detroit 10, Pittsburgh 14.

Dylan Larkin pulled the Wings even again, scoring for the first time in six games. Larkin swooped in as Quincey battled a Pens’ defender for the puck in front of Fleury. The rookie swiped the puck before shoveling a backhander to Fleury’s glove side.

The goal gives Larkin 39 points, tying him with for 15th on the Red Wings’ all-time scoring list with Steve Wojciechowski (1944-45) and Murray Oliver (1959-60).

Unfortunately, the Pens roared back 24 seconds after the Wings’ tying tally when their top line of Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Phil Kessel collaborated on their third go-ahead goal of the game. Kessel, the former Maple Leaf, was credited with his 17th goal of the season, giving Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead.

With 5 minutes left in the period, the Wings had a goal waved off. Somehow, as Fleury was being bowled into the net by Justin Abdelkader, the Pens’ netminder managed to keep the puck from crossing the goal line with the paddle of his stick. The play was reviewed, but referee Kelly Sutherland affirmed the original call.

Pittsburgh built its first two-goal lead of the night when rookie Scott Wilson scored his first NHL goal from the bottom of the left faceoff circle. The Oakville, Ontaario, native took a pass from Conor Sheary in the near corner before sending a one-timer that beat Mrazek.


1. DET, Larkin (Glendening, Quincey), 2:19; 2. PIT, Kessel (Crosby, Kunitz), 2:43; 3. PIT, Wilson (Sheary), 16:46.


SHOTS: Detroit 11 (21), Pittsburgh 13 (27).

The Penguins scored another rebound goal, this one by Kessel, who collected his second goal of the night for his fourth multi-goal game of the season.

Kessel’s goal ended Mrazek’s night at 6:26 of the period. The Wings starter made 27 saves on 32 shots before he was lifted for Jimmy Howard.

It was the first time Mrazek – who has been a remarkable side story for the Wings this season – was been pulled in 37 straight starts.

The Wings got one back when Henrik Zetterberg scored on a pretty play made possible by Datsyuk, who stretched his consecutive point streak to seven straight games. Datsyuk split the defense at center ice to gain the offensive zone. Justin Abdelkader made a quick pass across ice to Zetterberg, who corralled the puck with the toe of the stick blade before lifting a backhander over Fleury.

Howard was lifted for an extra skater with 3:57 left in the period. The move paid off for the Wings, as they managed to draw a tripping call on Detroit-area native Bryan Rust, who went to the penalty box with 3:23 left.

The Wings were unable to capitalize on their only power play of the game, and Crosby capped the scoring with an empty-net goal at 19:12.

The Wings have lost four straight road games now for the first time since March 2014 when they lost in regulation at New Jersey, New York Rangers, Columbus and Chicago.


SCORING: 1. PIT, Kessel (Maatta), 6:26; 2. DET, Zetterberg (Abdelkader, Datsyuk), 11:13; 3. PIT, Crosby EN (unassisted), 19:12.

PENALTIES: 1. PIT, Rust (tripping), 16:37.

SHOTS: Detroit 16 (38), Pittsburgh 9 (37).






1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80