The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Tampa Bay Lighting and the Florida Panthers on consecutive nights with just a one goal differential in both games. Power forward Johan Franzen scored the game-winning goals in both outings.
On Thursday night against Tampa Bay, the Wings allowed two goals in the first period. It took determination by the Wings to turn it around and come back from the early deficit. In fact, Detroit tallied three goals in the final frame of action. Pavel Datsyuk got the Wings on the board first just 1:33 into the second period. Nearly 20 minutes later, Henrik Zetterberg gave Detroit a second goal on a two-man advantage. Marian Hossa assisted on both of Detroit's first two goals.
Bruce MacLeod of the Macomb Daily made an interesting note:
That flurry of power plays in the last half of the second period was sparked by Zetterberg. Z drew three Tampa Bay penalties in a seven-minute span, including the rarity of drawing one penalty then another during the delayed call.
Less than a minute after Zetterberg's gaol, Mikael Samuelsson scored to get Detroit's first lead of the game. Franzen sealed the deal with almost 11 minutes remaining with assists by Zetterberg and Samuelsson.
In the game, goaltender Chris Osgood made just 15 saves en-route to his 370th career win pushing him into 14th place on the NHL's all-time list and improved his unbeaten record against Tampa Bay to 17-0-0. After allowing three goals in the outing, Osgood snapped following the game and did not talk to reporters until the next morning.
"Just tired of letting in three goals," said Osgood, 7-1-3 with a 3.31 goals-against average. "You like winning. Winning is great and our record is good, but it comes to a point where you get frustrated and enough is enough. Had enough of (allowing) the three goals, three goals, three goals. You go from last year, it was always one or two. You never get used to giving up goals, regardless of whether they're good or bad.
Less than 24 hours after Tampa Bay's loss to Detroit, Lightning head coach Barry Melrose (and former ESPN hockey analyst) was fired. James Mirtle has the details about Melrose being fired and the expensive price tag that will come along with it. Wings GM Ken Holland was a bit surprised by the quickness of his firing.
“There have been so many rumors out there that it’s hard to say it’s a surprise,” Holland said before the Wings played the Florida Panthers. “I would say it’s more a surprise in a sense that it’s 16 games into the year. It’s hard to really get a complete evaluation on your team. They obviously know their team better than I do.
“He’s been out of the game a long time. I would like to have seen things work out better for him. I’ve known him a long time.”
On the following evening, the Wings faced off against the Florida Panthers resulting in a 3-2 win. Once again, Franzen scored the game-winning goal to give Detroit a Florida sweep. His game winner came on a tipped shot by Niklas Kronwall, who notched three assists in the two games in the sunshine state.
Franzen has been on quite the impressive offensive output of late with three goals in the past three games with eight total this season (four of which were GWG). Paul at Kukla's Korner shows that he's been like this since about 16 games before playoffs started last season.
Last season, playoffs- 16 games played, 13 goals, 5 game winning goals.
Last 16 regular season games of 2007-08- 15 goals, 6 game winning goals.
Totals in that time period- 43 games, 36 goals, 15 game winning goals.
Another player has had a past couple of games -- Marian Hossa. He notched the other two goals of the game giving Detroit a 2-0 lead in the first half of the game. He earned four points against the two Florida teams (2 G, 2 A).
I don't really think about it right now," Hossa said of tallying eight points in four games. "Just try to enjoy the ride. ... Everything seems to be pretty easy when you're winning games."
Another great note from the last two games was the turnout of Red Wings fans in both arenas. The team easily noticed the number of Winged Wheel jerseys in the crowd and apparently the "Lets Go Wings" chant and jerseys were easily noticed during the TV broadcast.
Good line by Babcock afterwards, joking that so many Red Wings jerseys in the crowd threw off the Detroit players ... "I thought the thing that threw us off in the first period is we came out and the bottom bowl was filled with Red Wings' fans. You know how we've been at home this year. We thought we had a home game. That threw us right off."
Detroit's next game is this Monday against the Edmonton Oilers at home.