I have a friend who has the motto "C's get degrees". I think the Wings must have applied that motto to tonight's game as it was at least a C effort against one of the lower teams in the NHL. But, as with the C's getting degrees, the Wings were able to wrangle two undeserved points in Calgary and a season sweep.
Curtis Glencross put the Flames on top 1-0 at 8:43 in the first period as Jimmy Howard was already sprawled down on the ice at the time of the shot. Both Ruslan Salei and Niklas Kronwall were to Howard's right and Glencross got enough of the open ice to score his 8th of the season. The Wings tied it up with Darren Helm's fourth goal of the season at 15:58 of the first period. Helm was skating low to Kiprusoff's right and threw a puck on net. Kiprusoff wasn't quite ready and the puck got through his pads for a very soft goal.
But, as is the way with the Wings this year, and last year and the year before and so on, a goal with under a minute to play put the Wings behind heading into the locker room. With Salei and Ericsson to Howard's right, a few Calgary shots created a scramble and Jarome Iginla skated the puck around back and banked it off of Howard's right leg as he was recovering.
The Wings went in to the first intermission down 2-1 to the Flames, check after the jump to see how it played out.
Brian Rafalski notched his first goal of the season 41 seconds into the second period on another very soft goal allowed by Kiprusoff. Rafalski wristed one from the blueline and it found its way through a light screen and past Kiprusoff for a tied game. Glencross scored his second of the game about 30 seconds later by picking up a loose puck and putting it past a diving Howard. Jonathan Ericsson was whistled for a weak hooking call that also ended up likely preventing a goal. On the ensuing power play, Anton Babchuk's shot from the blueline deflected off Nicklas Lidstrom's stick and past Howard for a 4-2 lead.
Darren Helm earned a power play for the Red Wings after his great speed through the neutral zone that forced Adam Pardy to take a tripping call. With the Wings on the power play, Jay Bouwmeester sent the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty and a 5-on-3 power play for Detroit. The Wings looked horrible on the power play but finally tallied on the last stretch of the Bouwmeester penalty as a great cross-ice pass from Jiir Hudler landed on the tape of Patrick Eaves' stick. Eaves ripped a shot past Kiprusoff for his 12th of the season.
Olli Jokinen thought for sure that he had a goal as a sprawling Howard was well out of position for Jokinen's shot. The shot rang off the post and Howard covered it up, the Flames didn't get that crucial fifth goal--despite the lighting guys at Penngrowth Saddledome thinking so. Shortly after, Rafalski made a great hustle play to keep a loose puck in the zone and it payed off greatly for him as he scored his 2nd goal of the game. With a loose puck starting to make its way out of the zone, Rafalski came in from about center ice to keep it in the zone. Rafalski looked up at Kiprusoff and threw the puck on net and another soft goal allowed by the Finnish goaltender tied the game for Detroit. Bad news came to the Wings in the form of another injury as Tom Kostopoulos charged Brad Stuart and broke his jaw. Kostopoulos should be suspended for the hit, despite only getting a two minute minor in the game. The remainder of the third period saw some good chances for both teams but the overtime period was the end result.
In overtime, the best chance for the Wings came from a breakout with Todd Bertuzzi and Darren Helm. Bertuzzi's pass landed on Helm's stick but Helm sent it high. Shortly after, Bertuzzi took a slashing penalty for what seemed like a simple tap on the gloves. With Bertuzzi in the box, Howard had a huge save on Iginla and the Wings ended up going to a shootout.
Jiri Hudler skates in straight and tries to go high glove side on Kiprusoff, he makes the glove save.
Alex Tanguay dekes and almost has Howard out of position but Howard gets the left pad save.
- Bertuzzi slowly approaches Kiprusoff and out-waits him with a backhand-forehand-backhand deke and then backhands a puck past Kiprusoff for a goal.
- Niklas Hagman shoots to Howard's right, he makes an easy blocker save.
- Henrik Zetterberg seemingly outdekes himself, runs out of territory and Kiprusoff gets the save
- Rene Bourque tries to pull the string on Howard and goes backhand but misses the net, game over.
::Three points for discussion::
- Jimmy Howard had another awful night (except for the overtime and shootout). He let in some soft goals and was flailing all over the ice against a team that didn't look all that dangerous. Was this just another "bad night" for Jimmy or is he having more of a bad year?
- Tom Kostopoulos's hit on Brad Stuart was dirty in my book. But since my internet was all wonky I really didn't get a good look at it and can't quite pass judgment yet. To me, it looked like a blindside hit and Stuart's head got the end result (whether "targeted" or not). Kostopoulos should get suspended but I'm more likely to win the lottery in Russia than Colin Campbell do his job.
- The early report has Brad Stuart with a broken jaw from the Kostopoulos hit. Love him or hate him, Stuart has been one of the better defenseman on the Wings this season. With the likely extended absence from the line-up, will Jakub Kindl be able to fill the roster spot well enough? My guess is that Kindl will play with Salei on the third pairing and Ericsson will go up with Lidstrom again while Rafalski and Kronwall anchor the second pairing.