The Red Wings were the victim of bad luck more than anything on Tuesday night as they fell to the last-place Calgary Flames 4-1.
Despite outshooting the visiting team 26 – 23, Detroit was unable to best the Flames’ goaltending trio of Miikka Kiprusoff, Leland Irving, and the crossbar. Pavel Datsyuk was hurt more than anything by this, as he hit the metal twice in five minutes all on his own. Despite both generating and being on the receiving end of many of Detroit’s scoring chances, he had no shots and ended the night as a minus-2. The Red Wings’ lone tally came off the powerplay off the stick of Johan Franzen, who received an amazing pass in front of the net from Henrik Zetterberg.
Calgary was led to victory by their captain, Jarome Iginla, who finally netted his first goal of the season three minutes and twenty-four seconds into the first period. Curtis Glencross and Mark Giordano also scored for the Flames, while Dennis Wideman added a goal and an assist and Michael Cammalleri provided two assists. The Flames were the only team to ice only one goalie through the entire season before the third period of the game, when Miikka Kiprusoff left the game with a “lower-body injury”. His Replacement, Leland Irving, stopped every shot he faced.
Alright, on to what I promised in the title:
- Pavel Datsyuk really is the best player in the world. Despite his meager stat profile, he was creating offense on every shift and providing a defensive presence at the center position. I really hope he doesn’t leave for Russia after this season…
- Johan Franzen is actually playing like he cares. Unless this is a really long streak of good play for him. Which it very well might be. Oh well, a guy can hope, right? Here’s to twenty goals this year from The Mule!
- Tomas Tatar looked impressive in his debut this season. He created offense and provided energy and tenacity no matter what line he was playing on. He’ll be a regular on the roster sooner rather than later.
- Cory Emmerton actually looked good tonight. He looked fast and skilled – not exactly what Detroit’s looking for in a fourth line center, but worthy of praise nonetheless.
- Did anyone else notice that beautiful out-of-the-air give-and-go that Brunner did with Franzen? We need to keep Brunner for the next ten years – I bet he wins a Hart Trophy before the end of his career.
- The Defense. They were juggling and losing pucks at the blue-line, provided no strong presence in front of the net, and, worst of all, were without Brendan Smith. I miss him already. On a related note, I think we should trade Quincey at the trade deadline for whatever return we can get. Just an awful, awful defenseman.
- Jordin Tootoo. He had a great fight at the beginning of the game, but wasn’t noticeable aside from that. He needs to return to the thirty-point form he found in Nashville last year and keep his energy up; the Wings need far more of an impact from their bottom six forwards.
- I really, really, REALLY miss Darren Helm.
- The officiating. The refs were horrible, arguably in favor of Detroit. Both Hudler’s and Wideman’s interference penalties were bull****, but unlike the second game against St. Louis, the Wings were unable to capitalize on gifts given to them.
- Jimmy Howard‘s stat line. The guy is playing his heart out, but his save percentage and goals-against-average are starting to look pretty bad. The defense needs to tighten up around him – I think he deserves a nod for the Vezina based on his play this season already.
- Kyle Quincey.
The Wings will look to turn their play around on Thursday as they face a much better team in the St. Louis Blues. Hopefully they can solidify their blue-line and rediscover their offensive touch before then.
Did I mention how much I miss Darren Helm?
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