Red Wings Fall Short Shooting for the Stars

Despite great effort, Wings give up late tying goal and Stars score powerplay goal in OT

Tonight Detroit took on the Dallas Stars at Little Caesars Arena. Detroit was fresh off of a late comeback win over Buffalo on Monday night thanks to Larkin’s OT winner. Dallas is also following up a win over the Sabres, beating Buffalo 5-4 last night. Dallas had lost three games previous to that dating back to last Friday.

The Stars are in a similar spot as the Red Wings, chasing playoff teams with a big gap to make up. Dallas is pushing to try and gain ground on the teams in front of them to get to a playoff spot before they fall too far behind as the season reaches its midway point.

Despite picking up Gemel Smith, brother of Givani earlier this week, he would not make his debut tonight with the Wings. It may not be a permanent situation but it would be great for fans to see the brothers play together on the 4th line at some point.

Coming into the game, the player to keep an eye for the Stars was Joe Pavelski who had 10 points in his previous 5 games, red hot at the moment. Another player to watch was John Klingberg, with rumors circling him constantly as it’s been indicated he wants out of Dallas. The stalwart defenseman picked up 4 assists against Buffalo last night, showcasing his abilities. Lastly, familar face Luke Glendening is rolling along on the Stars 3rd line of late.  Between the pipes for Dallas was Braden Holtby, despite starting last night, bringing his 2.61 GAA and .916 SV% as the Stars leading man so far this season.

Detroit continued with the same lineup they had in the win over Buffalo, with the Guelph connection on the second line and Namestnikov riding shotgun with Larkin and Raymond on the top line. Alex Nedeljkovic tightened his grasp of the crease, grabbing yet another start tonight.

1st Period

Detroit grabbed an early powerplay when Seider was dumped at the offensive blue line trying to join the rush with Dylan Larkin. Detroit maintained some good pressure on the delayed penalty including a shot through traffic by Seider. The guilty part was Gurianov who tripped Seider.

The Wings opened the powerplay with the second unit, running the powerplay through Adam Erne behind the net, an interesting look. The best attempt by the second unit was a one time blast by Hronek from the top of the left circle that caught Holtby up high. The first unit got the last 0:40 or so of the man advantage and were able to create a chance for Larkin but the shot was redirected out of play. On the ensuing a faceoff, a Seider shot-pass to Bertuzzi for a redirection went just wide as the powerplay expired.

Dallas had a chance in the crease area when a puck was swatted from about waist height on net, deflecting off Nedeljkovic and wide. Detroit followed with a chance of their own as Fabbri received a pass in the slot area, he tried to catch and release quickly but a long reach from Radulov was able to thwart the attempt by Fabbri.

Following the first commercial break, Detroit gave a video tribute to long time Red Wing Luke Glendening. Luke served his role well for a lot of years, especially for a guy that was handed nothing his entire career.

Detroit looked good through the first half of the period, carrying the play for the most part and creating a few shot attempts from inside the faceoff dots, but ultimately nothing too dangerous either way.

Nedeljkovic faced his first real test as a broken play ended with a puck sent through the crease front. Erne was there to tie up a Stars forward who was sitting in a good position to bury the loose puck. But on the following faceoff, Ryan Suter grabbed a rebound that Nedeljkovic blockered to the corner. Suter fired it towards the net as Nedeljkovic retreated to hug his post. But he didn’t quite seal it as Suter’s shot found an opening somewhere and squeaked through over his pad 1-0 Stars.

Certainly one that Nedeljkovic would want back, especially given Detroit had been off to a fairly good start in this game. Nevertheless Detroit trailed early.

Immediately following the goal, Detroit sent out the Guelph line with Bertuzzi, Fabbri, and Suter. On a rush chance, Bertuzzi found Fabbri in front who couldn’t beat Holtby with a backhand attempt. But staying on the puck, Detroit forced a turnover in the Dallas zone. Bertuzzi recovered the puck and sent a pass across the zone to Fabbri again, who did a nice job picking the pass up off of his skate. Fabbri found himself in alone on Holtby, seemingly getting lost in coverage. He made a quick backhand fake before going back to the forehand and absolutely roofing it past Holtby who had bit hard on the initial fake, 1-1.

Dallas had to find Holtby after the goal as he had slid so far he jumped time zones on the play.

Dallas made a quick push following the even up goal and it earned them their first powerplay as Hronek went off for tripping Hintz on a partial break. Detroit’s penalty kill did well breaking up the Stars entry attempts, turning them away at the blue line several times. Dallas never really got to set up on the powerplay throughout the man advantage.

Hronek nearly scored on a pass through the slot area that missed at least 2 or 3 sticks on the way through. He quickly shot it from the right side but it hit the outside of the net, with Holtby mostly in position anyway.

Detroit grabbed a late powerplay when Suter went off for high-sticking Zadina behind the Dallas net. Detroit was able to gain the zone with ease but failed to connect on passes once setup. They fired a couple of shots from distance just before time expired in the period. There was a slight carryover of the powerplay to the 2nd period.

Detroit controlled the first half of the period, with Dallas taking over in the second half, and the teams exchanging goals around the midway mark. At the end of the period the shots were 11-10 in favor of Detroit. Detroit probably had a few more chances and were generally the better team so far. With Dallas having played the night before the Wings could continue to push the pace to see if Dallas would fade through the 2nd and 3rd periods.

2nd Period

There wasn’t much happening through the first couple of minutes of the period. But with 17:00 to play, Joe Veleno got caught on a tripping penalty in the offensive zone, accidentally taking Faksa’s feet out as they fought for a puck in the corner.

On the penalty kill, Detroit again did a good of turning Dallas away on their entry attempts. Dallas was only able to setup briefly at one point and never had a scoring chance with the exception of a Klingberg chance from the left dot that Nedeljkovic was able to glove. The Detroit penalty kill looked good again when called upon.

But shortly after the powerplay, Dallas was cycling the puck around the Detroit zone. Kiviranta spun and fired a shot from the top of the right circle, never even looking before shooting. But in front, right on top of Nedeljkovic, Lindstrom was battling Radulov, and provided a perfect screen in front of the Detroit netminder and the shot found its way through, 2-1 Stars.

A lot of blame on that one lies at Lindstrom’s feet. While he can’t be expected to manhandle Radulov, he has to do a better job than he did on this one. The goal also marked Kiviranta’s first of the season in 31 games. Stop me if you’ve heard that one before.

But in a game with many momentum shifts already, Detroit was quick to respond. Bertuzzi carried the puck across the blue line, dropping a pass to Suter who was cutting the opposite direction behind him. Suter gathered the puck and put a wrister towards to goal from above the left circle. The seemingly harmless show beat Holtby low to the far side, 2-2.

It was hard to tell if the shot deflected off of a Dallas stick but either way the game was all square again after Detroit quickly responded to a Dallas goal. The goal marked Suter’s 9th of the year.

This time Detroit kept the momentum and continued to put Dallas on their heels. Larkin collected the puck and circled back through his own zone, building speed as he came down the left side through the neutral zone. With a Dallas player on his back and Klingberg in front of him, Larkin made a move to the inside on Klingberg, sending the defender to the ice tripping over himself. He then made a quick move to his forehand in tight on Holtby, flipping the puck for the inside top corner. The puck caught Holtby’s shoulder but it then fluttered over the netminder and gently came down across the goal line, 3-2 Red Wings.

Certainly a fortuitous bounce at the end, but a great end to end effort by Larkin to get it there. The goal was his 19th in 36 games for the captain this year, on what is by far the best pace of his career.

Detroit continued to pour it on, first on a 2 on 1 where Seider ran out of space and pivoted back. Then Bertuzzi banged away at a puck in the crease that hit the post and sat on the goal line where Fabbri couldn’t quite get to it in time to knock it in.

At the halfway point of the game, Detroit was beginning to really tilt the ice towards the Dallas end after a tough start to the period. But that momentum was killed at least temporarily when Lindstrom got called for holding when he fell a step behind Peterson on a rush and had to reach in.

On the powerplay Detroit did a great job on the kill early with the best chance being a shorthanded attempt by Suter. The Wings again kept the Dallas powerplay without a scoring chance.

After the powerplay, the physicality increased a level with the teams exchanging some bigger hits. Dallas had one of their few chances after a turnover at the far blue line. But Peterson couldn’t convert on a 2 on 1 attempt, sending it over the goal as he tried to redirect a pass.

But late in the period, with 1:10 to play, Lindell sliced at a puck from the left corner. The puck slid towards the goal and right under Nedeljkovic’s pad, eerily similar to the Suter goal, 3-3.

This goal was probably worse than the Suter one as it went right under Nedeljkovic, and wasn’t following a rebound. A rare tough outing to this point for the goaltender.

The game was again tied, the third time the score was tied after Dallas opened the scoring back in the first. The shots were 20-20 going to the 2nd intermission. Beyond a couple of uncharacteristic squeakers on Nedeljkovic, Detroit was carrying the play more and more as this game wore on and had the majority of the good scoring chances.

3rd Period

It was announced at the start of the final frame that Michael Raffl would not return the rest of the night. It was unclear when the Stars player was hurt.

Glendening found a lane to the net when he beat Lindstrom wide down the left side, but he couldn’t beat Nedeljkovic on the backhand attempt. Rasmussen was dinged up a bit on the play as tied up another Dallas player going to the net, but lost his footing and crashed into the end boards. After being tended to on the bench, he appeared to be fine and returned to the game.

Instead of Dallas being a step behind as they were for large parts of this game, it was Detroit on their heels a bit early on in the 3rd. The result was an Erne cross-checking penalty after he knocked Peterson to the ice pursuing the Stars player as tried to cut to the net.

The Wings needed to have their penalty kill come up big again, in what was Dallas’ fourth powerplay of the game. But as they did all game, Detroit continued to clear the puck away and frustrate the Dallas powerplay, killing off the man advantage, including a near miss on a weird bounce to the front of the net that stayed out.

Following the penalty kill, it was determined Larkin had left the bench to be tended to. But he quickly returned after what was probably an equipment issue. Larkin returned just in time for a Red Wings powerplay as Radulov was called for holding Leddy in the Detroit end.

With the powerplay, Detroit was able to get set up with the first unit. Fabbri had a good look from between the hashes after a quick play down low to Bertuzzi who promptly tapped a pass to Fabbri. But the shot was blocked and steered away. Moments later Raymond collected the puck at the left dot and took a couple of side steps before letting a snap shot go that caught the cross bar over Holtby’s left shoulder and deflected out of play. A very near miss for the Red Wings rookie.

Just as the powerplay was set to expire, Hronek was taken down and the crowd cheered the apparent 5 on 3 to come, except no call was made. It was one of those ones where late in the game the refs won’t give a team a two man advantage unless it takes away a sure scoring chance.

In the second half of the 3rd period, Bertuzzi was reunited with Larkin and Raymond. Detroit had a great chance when Rasmussen broke away on a 2 on 1 with Erne. The defender leaned heavily toward blocking the pass giving Rasmussen a clear lane to the net. Rasmussen turned his attention towards taking a shot but was caught from behind just as he went to release it and it slid slowly into Holtby.

But Detroit continued to again turn the play in their favor. As Fabbri attempted a quick wraparound play, Holtby swung his stick to knock the puck away and took out Fabbri’s feet, sending Detroit to the powerplay again.

Following the previous dangerous powerplay, Detroit’s top unit looked good again. With a Bertuzzi attempt off the post from in tight, and then a Seider blast that was blocked away. But as they regrouped Bertuzzi received a pass down low on the left side. He tried to slide a pass across the crease to Larkin but it deflected off a Stars defender laying down across the net front and was immediately directed into the net, 4-3 Red Wings.

A bounce in Detroit’s favor, after a good looking powerplay. Raymond and Seider picked up the assists on the play. In a game with so many leads quickly disappearing immediately after, Detroit had less than 6:00 to try and hang on to the late lead.

After the goal, Bertuzzi was back with Fabbri and Suter, so that previous shift with Larkin and Raymond may have been a one off.

As expected Dallas made a big push to try and tie the game once again. Detroit managed a couple of odd man rushes as Dallas defenders pushed up ice. One 2 on 1 rush featured a shot from Joe Veleno who wasn’t seen much in this game, along with his linemates Gagner and Smith, aside from Gagner getting some penalty kill time.

With 1:40 to play Dallas pulled Holtby. Bertuzzi immediately sent a puck the length of the ice just missing the left post for icing. Detroit blocked several shots afterwards, but eventually a puck landed on Robertson’s stick in the slot and he quickly beat Nedeljkovic to tie the game 4-4.

A very unfortunate result as Detroit had done a good job of keeping Dallas away from the net even after pulling the goalie. A scramble play that landed right on Robertson’s stick was just a tough bounce.


A disappointing way to end up there but Detroit went to overtime for the second game in a row. Detroit opened with Larkin, Raymond, and Seider, with Detroit taking possession first. But they weren’t able to get a shot out of it as Raymond had a shot attempt knocked away. Nedeljkovic was able to snag a shot from the Stars to bring the first whistle of overtime.

Leddy had the first good chance of the overtime period when he took a pass from Suter and broke down the right side, beating his man to the net and trying to sweep across in front of Holtby but couldn’t beat the goaltender.

Robby Fabbri chased a puck down the right wall but then unfortunately took a penalty as tripped up Heiskanen. It was the correct call but Fabbri was fuming as Heiskanen was holding him all the way down the wall prior to the trip.

So at 4 on 3, Dallas had plenty of chances as expected at 4 on 3. It only took moments before the puck found it’s way through. Hintz deflected a pass through the crease area that barely squeaked in off the far post, 5-4 Stars.

Wrapping Up

A tough way to go down in a game where despite the shots being about even, Detroit had the clear majority of scoring chances. A late goal with the goalie pulled, an overtime powerplay, and two soft goals on Nedeljkovic are how Dallas won. The Wings won’t be happy (particularly Fabbri) but it was the kind of effort they’ll want to repeat.

A rare off night for Nedeljovic, which he’s permitted from time to time. He’s taken on the lion’s share of the starts for Detroit of late and this could be just a minor blip. But it’s not a workload he’s seen yet in his young career. It shouldn’t be a problem immediately as Detroit’s schedule is light through February but it could be problematic if they try this with him in the tight March and April schedules to close out the year.

Seider had offense on his mind tonight, firing 5 shots on goal amongst over 12 attempts on the night. The big dogs for the Wings all got on the scoresheet as well if you’re looking for silver linings. Bertuzzi had 3 points as he stays red hot. Lastly, the thing to remember from this game will be the Larkin unassisted end to end goal, that will be one that makes the end of season highlight reel for the captain.

The Wings will look to regroup as they travel to Nashville tomorrow night to take on the waiting Predators who beat the Jets on Thursday night, but had lost four in a row prior to that.