Three Questions: Wings-Stars
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 48th game
With defenseman Brad Stuart placed on long-term injured reserve (ribs), the Wings were able to find the cap room to make a phone call to their AHL club in Grand Rapids. General manager Ken Holland called up forwards Aaron Downey and Ville Leino to fill in for a banged-up Detroit roster today, and Downey dressed for the first time this season against Dallas. The rugged forward was an important part of the Wings’ playoff run last spring, and it was good to see him back in Hockeytown. Downey played for 4:41, and had a pretty good showing in what he does best. He threw four hits, found his way to his friendly confines of the home team penalty box, and nearly got into a scrap with Krystofer Barch. The linesmen interrupted, but it was clear that Downey was ready to drop the gloves in front of the Joe Louis Arena crowd. Downey looked like he was moving well around the ice, too; he seemed to come flying out of the gate on his first shift.
How physical was the contest?
Downey wasn’t the only one to get his nose dirty Thursday night. The official stats sheet said that there were 47 hits thrown between the two squads. The Red Wings dominated the physical play, recording 31 of the 47 collisions. Downey, Johan Franzen, and Pavel Datsyuk led the way in the hitting department, with all three recording four hits apiece. With so many hits thrown, there was an extra amount of after-the-whistle discussions and face washes in front of each team’s goal. The end results? Seven penalties for each team, which is a lot of time to spend in the box.
The Red Wings had yet another injury scare, when Johan Franzen was elbowed in the head by winger James Neal. Franzen was slow to get up, laying momentarily on the ice in front of the penalty boxes. He skated off under his own power, however, and returned to the game shortly. The Wings regained the services of Datsyuk and captain Nicklas Lidstrom, but Henrik Zetterberg was a scratch for the game due to a bad back.
What went wrong?
The Red Wings fell behind early due to penalty trouble, and their comeback attempt was spoiled by two goals being waved off after video review. After Marian Hossa got the Wings onto the scoreboard, it looked like they were going to start chipping away at the big lead. Dan Cleary took a wrist shot that hit goaltender Marty Turco but continued towards the Dallas goal, and it was initially ruled a goal. However, the officials ruled during the video review that Turco snagged the puck before it crossed the goal line.
The Wings continued to drive for the comeback, and Andreas Lilja scored on blast from the point. That made the game 4-2, and the Wings were inching back. Detroit ‘scored’ again, but this time it was waved off for incidental contact with the goaltender as Tomas Holmstrom fell into him during a mess out front. Two goals being waved off in one period made generating any momentum for the Wings difficult, and it frustrated the fans as well.