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Red Wings Burst Into Flames, Lose 5-3

Detroit managed a two-goal lead after the first period, but gave up three in the second, and a penalty-fest in the third smothered their attempts at a comeback.

NHL: Calgary Flames at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Happy New Year, everyone! New year, new Red Wings, which probably will actually be the same old Red Wings because time is a flat circle.

First Period:

The broadcast started out praising Johnny Gaudreau’s incredible December, but the Flames got a stellar chance about three minutes in when Sean Monahan passed to Elias Lindholm right in front of Jimmy Howard. Lindholm made a couple of dekes to try and freeze Howard, but the newest All-Star stayed with him and Lindholm flung the puck wide. This just in: teams have more than one player, so hopefully the Wings’ entire strategy wasn’t focusing on neutralizing Gaudreau.

To make up for his gaffe on the Lindholm chance, Dylan Larkin took a shot at Mike Smith and followed up hoping for a loose puck as it appeared it may have gotten through the Calgary goalie. No such luck. however, and the game remained scoreless. Later, Frans Nielsen ran into a loose puck at the side of the Flames net and quickly flung a surprise backhander at Smith, but hit the goalie in the chest instead.

Oh you forgot about Darren Helm? Well it seems he learned a few new tricks while he was injured, because he opened the scoring tonight in his return from injury with some truly non-ham hands. He grabbed the puck at center, deked around a sliding Noah Hanifin, and slid a sneaky backhander just underneath the left toe of Smith. Just saying, one of my favorite Helm memories is the other time he scored the opening goal against an Alberta team after coming back from an extended injury...

Tonight is shaping up to be a Spanish Inquisition type of game, with contributions from those you wouldn’t expect. Nick Jensen threw a puck at the net with Michael Rasmussen and Christoffer Ehn in front. It bounced off the skates of Mark Giordano and Jacob de la Rose on the way to the net, where Rasmussen threw the puck Mikael Samuelsson style high and wide, but luckily it hit de la Rose again, this time in the abdomen, and it found its way into the net. Weird, but I’ll take it!

Shots: 13-12 Red Wings
Score: 2-0 Detroit

Second Period:

Picture this: the Red Wings have a 3-on-2 with Glendening, Helm, and Athanasiou as the three. One of these things is not like the other, you ponder. How did this happen? Well while you were having a Sesame Street-themed existential crisis, Helm made a cross-ice pass to Athanasiou while Glendening was crashing the net, which was the best possible iteration of plays. Unfortunately, Smith made the save anyway.

The Flames cut their deficit in half on a sudden, strange play of their own. Monahan tried to throw the puck back deeper into the Red Wings zone, but the puck flew up off of Jonathan Ericsson’s skate. Filip Hronek dove to try and block the airborne puck, but he missed and basically bellyflopped onto the ice. Gaudreau grabbed it behind Hronek and deked Howard around a little before Howard made the save, but Monahan grabbed the loose puck and flung it into the open net.

We got what was the first penalty of the game on a hook by Gaudreau with just over eight minutes to go in the period. The first 80 seconds were largely spent outside of the offensive zone, which is exactly where you want to be on the man advantage. Then the Flames had a broken stick, essentially turning into a 5-on-3, but the Wings still couldn’t manage a shot on goal during the entire two minutes.

Then it was Detroit’s turn on the penalty kill as Helm was sent off for holding. The Wings actually did a decent job neutralizing the Flames, as they too weren’t able to generate a single shot on their power play.

The last two minutes and one second of the period saw three goals. Ready?

At 17:59, TJ Brodie scored on a long slapshot that Mickey Redmond was convinced went through Howard’s glove. Like literally through it.

At 18:23, Andreas Athanasiou got awarded a penalty shot after his breakaway attempt was foiled by Oliver Kylington. He didn’t try to get too fancy and just shot it straight through Smith’s five-hole for his 14th of the season.

At 19:01, Lindholm scored a post-ringing power play goal, just nine seconds after Hronek was called for charging against Matthew Tkachuk, who probably deserved it.

Shots: 23-22 Flames
Score: 3-3 tie

Third Period:

Five seconds into the third and we have an injury! The puck flew up and high over the glass and apparently hit a fan in the stands. Good news: they’re okay.

Bad news: the Wings ended up on the penalty kill again a minute later when Larkin was called for a trip. Good news again: they didn’t give up a goal.

Bad news again: I think Ken and Mick might be delusional, because they said a lot of teams would be asking about Niklas Kronwall at the trade deadline.

Smith might have been hurt for a minute there, which probably wasn’t helped by the fact that one of his teammates pretty much ran over his leg on the way to a post-whistle scrum. Fortunately, he wasn’t injured severely enough to have to leave the game.

Gaudreau took a long pass through center to get behind Kronwall and Jensen, but Howard stopped his breakaway backhander. Jimmy really did a good job following Gaudreau’s move to not really give him much to shoot at, and the puck went straight into Howard’s glove.

Back to the power play for Calgary as de la Rose was nabbed for a hook. Helm and Glendening had a shorthanded break that turned into nothing, which was really unfortunate as the Flames came right back to score on the other end. Monahan passed to Tkachuk at the opposite faceoff dot, who ended up drawing Howard away from his post enough to pass it behind the Detroit netminder, leaving it for Gaudreau to swoop in through the slot to bang it in.

Flames were back to the man advantage again as another Calgary player fell down and went boom. Womp womp, Helm to the box for tripping. Fortunately, the Wings were able to kill this one off as well to keep it a one-goal game. They nearly immediately screwed that up by letting Gaudreau take another long pass through center and outskate Kronwall to get in alone on Howard, who made the save.

Remember when the Red Wings were the team that erased multiple two-goal deficits to come back and win games? Well we’ve gone back through the looking glass to the team that can’t hold the most dangerous lead in hockey. It was fun while it lasted.

Empty net for Detroit. First attempt at an insurance goal saw the puck roll on its side and then bounce off the outside of the post. Second attempt was dead on from Michael Frolik.

Final Shots: 35-32 Flames
Final Score: 5-3 Calgary

Final Thoughts:

  • I was somehow completely unaware of the fact that James Neal now plays for Calgary? I feel like he’s gotta be one of the better players that has bounced around teams like he has.
  • For not having any penalties in the first period, the third sure turned into a whistle-fest. So much for establishing a reffing standard early on.
  • I’ve done a lot of complaining about FSD’s broadcasts on these recaps, but somehow they got worse tonight, as more than a few times the commercials started while Ken and Mick were still talking. Like just cut them off, didn’t even wait for them to send them off to break properly.
  • Writing a hockey recap while eating tacos is a difficult but delicious endeavor.
  • Finally, caption this: