DETROIT -- On a freezing Michigan afternoon, the Red Wings may also have a reason to be similarly bitter after losing Saturday’s game, 3-2, to the Anaheim Ducks.
Though it looked like Nicklas Lidstrom had tied the game with 40-seconds left in regulation, the goal was waved off by referee Dan O’Halloran when Wings left wing Tomas Holmstrom was cited for goaltender interference.
For the Red Wings, it was a frustrating way to end a game that swelled with a playoff atmosphere.
“For some reason, Homer gets the short end of the stick on those a lot of times,” Wings goalie Chris Osgood said. “By no means was he in the crease affecting the goalie’s movement. Homer was really standing his ground, in his position before (Lidstrom) had taken the shot so he wasn’t in the crease.”
Wings coach Mike Babcock had a different take on the situation.
“My thought is there’s no sense discussing it,” he said. “The calls were made and let’s move on.”
Saturday’s nationally televised matchup between two of the league’s foremost Stanley Cup contenders featured teams on two very different streaks.
The Ducks defeated the New York Islanders, Rangers and Devils over a four-day swing in the New York area. They’re also enjoying the return of superstar scorer Teemu Selanne, who spent the first half of the season contemplating retirement. Sunday’s game was the eighth straight road game for the Ducks, who also play at Colorado on Tuesday before returning to the Honda Center.
The Wings, on the other hand, had lost two straight -- to the bottom-feeding Los Angeles Kings (5-3), and in overtime at Toronto (3-2) on Saturday. To make matters worse, Dan Cleary, who had been hot (three points in two games) missed his first full game after taking a puck to the jaw. Cleary is expected to miss up to two months.
Another top end scorer like Cleary might have helped the Wings, who had difficultly trying to solve Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere. He made 27 saves in the win, and withstood Detroit’s flurry of chances on a power play with less than two minutes to go.
|Red Wings right winger Johan Franzen scores on Anaheim Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere in the third period on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2008, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)|
Similar to the robust game played in Anaheim on Jan. 23 – won the by the Wings, 2-1 – the Ducks challenged Detroit physically.
“When you’re a good team, there are some nights you know you’re going to get challenged in different ways,” Babcock said. “Anaheim challenged us physically and so we like to measure where we’re at in that way. I really thought the Mule did a great job tonight, he played really well against their big people, and that was a positive for our team.”
The Mule, Johan Franzen got the Wings back in the game with a power play goal 6:06 of the third, pulling Detroit one goal closer. Franzen buried a backhand shot high over Giguere’s glove after Jiri Hudler made a fantastic between-the-legs pass from behind the net. The assist broke Hudler’s eight game scoreless streak.
Pavel Datsyuk gave the Wings a 1-0 lead, converting on the power play at 14:16 of the first. The Ducks (31-22-7) pulled even before the end of the period when rookie center Ryan Carter scored his third of the season at 17:49.
Anaheim steamed to a 3-1 lead in the second on even-strength goals by a pair of defensemen -- former Red Wing Mathieu Schneider and Kent Huskins.
Still, the Red Wings outshot Anaheim, 29-19.
The Red Wings (41-12-5) will take on the Predators in Nashville on Tuesday, February 12. The ame can be seen on FSN Detroit beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
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