The Red Wings had another poor home performance tonight, getting out played by the Stars all game long and the only real highlight came thanks to Jonathan Ericsson's fists.
Mike Ribeiro opened the scoring late in the first period on a bit of an odd play. Brendan Morrow took a shot on net that deflected off the skate of Brad Stuart and over to a wide open Ribeiro. Ribeiro would of had to be drunk to not score that goal. A few minutes later, the Wings allowed another one of those patented Budd Lynch goals. With Jason Williams in the box, the Wings had the puck in the offensive zone. A puck back to the point got past Niklas Kronwall and Loui Eriksson picked it up in a rush. Eriksson was in alone on Jimmy Howard and put a great move to get Howard out of position. The puck trickled across the line for a 2-0 Dallas lead and Eriksson delivered a big blow before the period ended.
See how the rest of the game played out after the break.
Krys Barch scored his second of the season and gave the Stars a 3-0 lead in the second period. Barch picked up a loose puck and with a moving screen in front of Howard, he had very little chance to see it until he was pulling it out of the net. The second period was marked mainly by a disallowed goal (more on that later) and a netfront altercation between Mike Ribeiro and Jimmy Howard. Ruslan Salei planted Ribeiro as he tried to make it to the net and Ribeiro gave Howard a shot as he got up. Howard, having already dealt with someone of much higher star status and whining factor than Ribeiro, had no problem giving Riberio a return shot. The scrum escalated and after Adam Burish did a lot of chirping and throwing punches from behind a metal cage (like all courageous men do), 28 total penalty minutes were doled out--Johan Franzen and Burish each receiving 10 minute misconducts.
That frustration and physicality boiled over into the third period as Jonathan Ericsson dropped the gloves with Steve Ott. The fight started as Ott shoved Franzen in the Detroit defensive zone and tried to get him to fight. Franzen went back to the bench for a new stick and Ericsson got in Ott's face. The two eventually dropped gloves and the big Swedish defenseman began raining down punches on Ott's head. Ericsson hasn't had many fighting majors in his career but he certainly won the fight against a player that constantly challenges others to fights.
Later in the third, the Red Wings finally broke Kari Lehtonen's shutout as Pavel Datsyuk entered the offensive zone and feed a great pass through the defense to Tomas Holmstrom. Holmstrom roofed a backhander while off balance past Lehtonen. Yes, Tomas Holmstrom scored a goal like that. The Wings would bring a few more good chances after that and with the game 3-1, Mike Babcock pulled Howard with about 2 minutes left in the game. The extra man didn't stay on the ice very long as Jamie Langenbrunner scored the empty net goal to solidify the game.
The Red Wings were 1 for 6 on the power play and outshot the Stars 39-25. They play next against in Buffalo on Saturday.
Player of the Game: Jonathan Ericsson earns it for feeding Steve Ott a mouthful of Swedish fist (see what I did there?)
:: Three Points for Discussion ::
- On the disallowed goal: How is it that this rule makes any freaking sense? Not only does this rule make no sense but how does a ref apply in a situation such as this one? Starting with the rule itself, via the rulebook: "Incidental contact with a goalkeeper will be permitted, and resulting goals allowed, when such contact is initiated outside of the goal crease, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact." Yet Tomas Holmstrom barely making contact with Lehtonen outside of the crease results in this? Even if he did make contact did it really impair Lehtonen's ability to make a save? I think not. The puck was on the way when the contact occurred and It's even arguable that Lehtonen wouldn't have made the save if there was no contact because the amount of time that passed between the contact and the puck passing him.
- Thank you, Jonathan Ericsson. You may have pissed us all off in the recent games but you somewhat made up for it tonight. For a guy that talks as much crap as Ott does, he sure did cower a lot in that fight. I guess he didn't get the memo that Ericsson doesn't really fight. Personally, I'd like to see Big Rig do this more. With his size alone he's able to keep control of most fights by keeping the opponent away and overpowering when he wants to throw a punch. Should Ericsson drop the gloves more?
- It just looked like one of those nights where things weren't going to be be smooth. The puck seemed to bounce around whenever the Wings were near it, but settle down on the sticks of the Stars. Detroit was also having a lot of trouble connecting on passes that they normally make with ease.