A little more than three minutes into Tuesday night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks, Tomas Jurco scored his first NHL goal on a nifty move to his backhand. It’s worth mentioning that the only reason Jurco was in the lineup was because of the ridiculous number of injuries the Detroit Red Wings have suffered, enough to have eight regular players out.
The Jurco goal gave fans at Joe Louis something to cheer about, and let’s hope they did. Because for the other 56-plus minutes, there was pretty much only agony. The Wings looked every bit the part of the outmanned team against the Ducks, had another shaky start from goalie Jonas Gutavsson and possibly lost a defenseman to suspension. And oh yeah, they got smoked on the scoreboard, losing 5-2.
Detroit’s lone lead lasted for all of 25 seconds thanks to Jakob Silfverberg‘s fifth of the season, and Anaheim took a lead they would not relinquish less than two minutes after that. There was a bit of controversy about that one, thanks to Teemu Selanne colliding with Gustavsson while chasing a puck behind the Red Wings net. No call was made, and Nick Bonino scored shortly thereafter to put the Ducks ahead.
Kyle Quincey, regularly on the receiving end of some criticism from Detroit fans thanks to his lapses in judgment, made perhaps his dumbest play of the season when he blasted Ryan Getzlaf into the boards from behind, bloodying the Anaheim captain. Quincey got five minutes and a game misconduct, and his fate now lies with Brendan Shanahan and company. The Red Wings managed to kill off most of the major, but Corey Perry tallied a 4-on-4 goal that chased Gustavsson, and Petr Mrazek fared no better, allowing a goal to Sami Vatanen that barely beat the first period buzzer.
Things settled down the rest of the way, with Saku Koivu scoring for the Ducks and Dan Cleary for the Red Wings to provide the final margin. Jonas Hiller faced just 18 shots while picking up the win, while Mrazek ended up stopping 17 of the 19 shots he faced in relief—including one that slammed the five-hole shut on a Selanne breakaway.
As a game, it wasn’t one that will provide Mike Babcock with many positives to point out. But with the injured list not shrinking fast enough, maybe the fact that young players like Jurco and Riley Sheahan got a whole bunch of ice time will pay off. At least the Wings better hope so, because they’re floundering right now.
The game was over when…
Anaheim showed up with all their big guns? Just kidding. Really, the inability to capitalize on the quick start doomed Detroit on Tuesday. If the Wings could have kept themselves from falling behind so quickly, maybe they could have ground out a point, or at least made things more interesting. But it wasn’t to be, and it was a combination of sloppy play and unfamiliarity that seemed to prove so toxic.
The unsung Red Wings hero was…
Luke Glendening deserves some props tonight. Stuck on the Detroit-Grand Rapids shuttle for this season, he got a bigger role than usual due to all the missing forwards, and he acquitted himself well. The pass that set up Cleary (and hopefully got him going) was a nice one.