With Pavel Datsyuk added to an almost comically large injured list, Friday night was a bad time for the Detroit Red Wings to be facing one of the hottest teams in the NHL. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what they got with the Anaheim Ducks paying them a visit.
The Ducks struck twice in rapid succession to open the third period, blowing open a close game and sending the Red Wings to a 5-2 defeat at Joe Louis Arena. Detroit’s Joakim Andersson got his first NHL goal and assist in the losing effort, while Andrew Cogliano found the net twice for the visitors.
Detroit actually led on both of its goals, but Anaheim struck back quickly each time. Andersson’s goal held up for just 26 seconds before the Ducks won a faceoff in the Red Wings zone, allowing Matt Beleskey to beat Jimmy Howard to make it 1-1 at the 3:27 mark of the second period.
The second lead didn’t last much longer. After Tomas Tatar scored for the second time in as many times on the power play, the Ducks responded in just 1:05 on a fluky play. Ian White was making what looked to be a routine pass to start his team up ice when his stick shattered, giving Corey Perry a one-on-one chance with Howard that he buried.
Cogliano went hard to the net to tip a pass from Saku Koivu by Howard just 1:02 into the third period. Bobby Ryan finished off a two-on-one with Teemu Selanne 48 seconds later, and Cogliano added a late empty netter to produce the final margin.
Andersson and Tatar looked comfortable playing together on a line with Patrick Eaves, and they skated on a power play unit with fellow Grand Rapids call-up Gustav Nyquist to fill in on a depleted Red Wings forward corps. Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Todd Bertuzzi, Jan Mursak and Mikael Samuelsson are all nursing injuries of various sorts, though Datsyuk was a somewhat surprising scratch. His status is being listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury.
The loss ended the current home stand with Detroit getting five points out of four games. The Red Wings now hit the road for a pair of games, taking on the Minnesota Wild on Sunday and the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
The game was over when…
The Red Wings couldn’t match the Ducks’ speed to begin the third period, and compounded their problems by turning the puck over too much. Howard had no real chance at stopping either of Anaheim’s quick goals, and you never got the feeling a comeback was in the cards after lightning struck twice in rapid succession.
The unsung Red Wings hero was…
Cory Emmerton for making things happen on a night when Detroit was short a center. Or two. The fourth line generated some scoring chances, with Emmerton almost setting up Drew Miller for scores on a couple of occasions.He also stood in front of Sheldon Souray‘s cannon blasts from the point on the Anaheim power play.