The Wings blew a three-goal lead, allowing six unanswered goals in the second and third periods, to lose 6-3 at the Joe today. In contrast to the trend of just a few games ago, Detroit came out of the gates flying in the first but faltered after scoring their second and third goals early in the second period. The Stars took advantage of this and dominated for the next 35 minutes or so, getting an important win for their franchise.
The Wings showed us their two sides tonight: in the first and early goings of the second, it was the crisp-passing, game-dominating team we love to see so much. In the rest of the second and all of the third, they were the sloppy-passing, on-their-heels team we see all too often. In a month where that first team needs to show up more often than not, it is extremely disappointing to see the Wings play their "B" or even "C" game.
The game started out fairly well, with an okay pace and both teams skating. Dallas helped Detroit out by taking two penalties in the first three minutes, handing the Wings a lengthy 5-on-3 power play opportunity. They took less than a minute to score, giving themselves a one-goal lead at 3:13. The goal came from Henrik Zetterberg to essentially one-timed a Mathieu Schneider shot/pass and beat Marty Turco just inside the right post. The rest of the power play was uneventful as the Wings couldn't get set up until the waning seconds.
Dallas came on a bit after this and had a good pressure shift in the Detroit zone. The Wings soon took the puck the other way, however, and drew a penalty on the resulting rush. This power play was not so successful and merely resulted in some sustained pressure that was continued after the penalty expired when the Stars inadvertently iced the puck.
At this point, the Wings were passing the puck well and out-skating Dallas, who had to commit penalties, much the way the Predators did in the last game, in order to keep up. It took the Stars until 13:20 to even get a shot and this was from 76 feet away from the net. Whatever his teammates were or were not doing, Marty Turco was equal to the task of stopping the Wings, however, and they couldn't get the puck past him again in the first, though they got yet another chance on the power play before the end.
The first period ended with a glorious scoring opportunity for the Wings. Marty Turco, known around the league as a puck-handling goalie, sent a pass up the middle that was intercepted by Zetterberg. Hank walked in on Turco and then passed the puck across the crease to Jason Williams, who had joined the play. Somehow, Turco made the save and the puck stayed out, saving his own hide.
Shots in the first were 10-3 Wings.
Detroit started the second period with a goal, scoring at :25 to double their lead. This time, it was Mathieu Schneider, notching his second point of the night, who scored from the point after receiving a pass from Pavel Datsyuk. The goal was the result of Dallas' inability to clear the zone, despite numerous chances to do so. For Datsyuk, it was his 200th career point.
Less than a minute later, the Stars took another penalty and the Wings went back on the power play. Again, they wasted no time in taking advantage of it, scoring at 1:32, just nine seconds into the man-advantage. Jason Williams scored this time, after getting the puck from Datsyuk. He took a shot from the point that found its way into the net, likely due to the good screen Tomas Holmstrom had going on Turco, who saw it too late to stop it.
Turco was pulled for the second straight game at this point and was replaced by Johann Hedberg.
The Stars rebounded well after the Wings scored and finally got themselves on the board less than a minute later. Chris Osgood made a couple good initial saves but Brett Lebda, falling into the net, got in his way and he was not able to get firm footing in order to slide across the make the final save. So, Niklas Hagman had an easy goal from the backdoor to put his team within two goals.
Dallas started to come on after this, though the Wings did have a couple of good shifts to counter this. They got another power play but spent most of it passing and skating with little shooting.
The Wings finally took a penalty at 10:12 and handed the Stars their first power play of the game. It took them a minute, but Dallas took advantage of the man-advantage, scoring at 11:10 to put them within one. Jere Lehtinen took a pass from the corner and one-timed it, with Zetterberg covering him, past Osgood, beating him stickside. I'd like to see Osgood make that kind of save but it was a bit of a defensive breakdown so it wasn't all his fault.
Zetterberg took a holding penalty half a minute later, though I thought it was a bit of a weak call. Osgood was quick, however, and stopped Dallas' shots as they set up and cycled the puck.
The Wings were becoming more and more sloppy, not connecting on passes and not standing up very well to the pressure from Dallas.
Tomas Holmstrom went off for roughing at 16:38 and again, the Stars scored within a minute, tying the game at three. This time, it was a shot from the point that may have been screened, though I still thought it a bit weak. The puck beat Osgood in the top right corner.
Just after the goal, Zetterberg had a nice scoring chance, making a nice move around the Dallas defenseman and letting loose a shot from 26 feet out. Hedberg made the save, however, and did also on a flurry around the net that soon followed.
The Wings got a power play late in the period but it looked much more like a Dallas power play than anything else as the Stars had a couple of good chances shorthanded. Osgood was sharp, however, and kept the puck out of the net.
Shots in the second were 15-8 Dallas.
The Wings began the third period on the power play but accomplished little. I thought the teams looked fairly even here but the Stars were about to take off.
Holmstrom took another penalty at 5:23 and the Stars went on the power play once again. They quickly got set up and then Jere Lehtinen scored again less than a minute later to put Dallas ahead. Sergei Zubov took a shot from the point that did not get through but Lehtinen picked up the puck and backhanded it past Osgood, who was taken off-balance by the initial shot from the point and was not in any position to stop the new one. I don't know what was going on in Osgood head on that one but it looked like a bad goal to give up.
Fourty-one seconds later, Dallas scored again. This time, the puck was turned over and the Stars got an odd-man rush going the other way. Niko Kapanen, the last man to join the rush for Dallas, received the pass and ripped the puck past Osgood, who was left out to dry by his defense. Still, it would have been nice if he could have made the save.
The Stars finished piling on the goals just under two minutes later when Mathias Tjarnqvist's shot from the top of the right circle beat Osgood at 8:44. Head coach Mike Babcock pulled Osgood in favor of Manny Legace at this point. Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond kept saying that it wasn't because they were playing bad that the two goalies were pulled, it was that the puck wasn't hitting them. Yes, that's true, but both of them could have made a save or two more than they did.
The Wings were very much outplayed in the third period, though they did not give up as many chances as they could have. They were not connecting on passes and couldn't complete the scoring chances they got themselves. As usual, they were trying to be too cute with the puck, one-timing passes back to each other instead of one-timing shots into the net. All too often, they would start out going toward the net and then angle away from it only drop a pass behind them in vain hope that a teammate would brave the low slot and score.
Henrik Zetterberg was called for hooking at 15:56, though nothing came of it. I only point it out because it was an awful example of the new NHL rules and how such a strict interpretation can lead to such BS calls. Because of the angle at which the ref was looking at the play, it looked like Hank hooked the Stars player when in fact, he did not even touch him. I'm all for calling hooking but it's when they start making phantom calls that I get angry.
Anyway, the clocked ticked away and finally the horn blew with the Wings on the other end of a 6-3 loss.
Shots in the third were 14-7 Dallas and 32-25 Dallas for the game.
Manny Legace was solid replacing Osgood, who has very likely lost the starting job, despite playing with a lack of support from his teammates.
The Wings' penalty kill was awful tonight for some reason. 2-for-5 is not acceptable for a team hoping to do well in the playoffs.
Neither is blowing a three-goal lead to a likely playoff opponent. I agree with Ken Daniels, who said, "I can't remember the last time anybody scored six unanswered goals on the Wings." Neither can I.
Johan Franzen sat out another game with that mysterious upper body injury. Maybe the papers will shed some light on it tomorrow. Mark Mowers played again in his place.
Marty Turco still hasn't beaten the Wings, since he was pulled, but his coach, Dave Tippetts now has. The Stars hadn't beaten Detroit since January 16th, 2002, going 0-5-5 in 10 meetings until this win.
So, of a possible 28 points from the 14 games in January, the most the Wings can get now is 24.
Staying ahead of the Predators will not get any easier with this loss. They play the Chicago Blackhawks tonight and as of this writing, are leading them 5-1 in the third period. The Wings' six-point lead will become a four-point one soon.
Next up, the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes. The puck drops at 7:00 ET and the game will be aired on OLN.
UPDATE (09. Jan):
Well, it looks like the Predators know how to hold on to leads. They beat Chicago 5-1
and are now just four points behind them. The two games coming later this month just became a whole lot more important.
, check out Abel to Yzerman's recap
UPDATE (12:37 PM, 09. Jan)
: The News mentions Franzen today, though his injury is still listed as an "upper body" one, with no more detail. They report that Babcock is "optimistic" that Johan will be back in the lineup tomorrow night. (News
*compiled by Brian