Philly Curse Continues As Red Wings Lose 4-2 To Flyers


You’d think that in a city where they haven’t won since 1997, the Detroit Red Wings played the perfect way to change that Saturday night at the Philadelphia Flyers. They outshot the hosts 37-17, holding them without a shot for the first 13 minutes of the second period while all four lines took turns dominating puck possession in the Philly zone. You’d think that would be enough.

But you’d be wrong. Flyers goalie Ray Emery kept his team in the game while the shot totals were lopsided, and the home squad got all the timely scoring as the Red Wings fell to a 4-2 defeat.

After the teams took turns trading power play chances in the opening stanza, Detroit at least managed to grab the first lead. Riley Sheahan opened the scoring at 15:33 with his first tally of the season, converting a nifty backhand feed from Andrej Nestrasil, who recorded his first career NHL point.

The Red Wings dominated play with good shift after good shift to open the second period, though the fact that they couldn’t get another puck past Emery gave one the feeling that they were wasting too many opportunities. When Flyers coach Craig Berube used his timeout midway through the frame, shots were 20-5 in favor of Detroit, but the scoreboard still read 1-0.

Sure enough, that came back to haunt the Wings when the Flyers scored on Jonas Gustavsson with just 1:39 remaining before the second intermission. With everyone paying attention to two Philly players in the corner, Nicklas Grossman snuck in from the left point and easily converted to tie the score 1-1.

The hosts took their first lead 6:01 into the third when Michael Raffl got behind the D on the rush and shot high to score his third of the season. But the Red Wings got a scoring chance right off the ensuing faceoff, and Pavel Datsyuk opened his 2014-15 account 42 seconds later after Darren Helm hustled to keep a puck in the offensive zone and found #13 all alone in front of Emery.

The game-winner came on the power play, a depressing turn of events since the Red Wings’ PK unit hadn’t surrendered a goal all year, including killing the first four on Saturday. This time would be different, as Brayden Schenn deflected a pass from the side boards through a screen by Wayne Simmonds and just over Gustavsson’s pad. Mike Babcock pulled the goalie with 1:29 left hoping for a repeat of Thursday night’s magic, but Raffl fired home his second of the game into the empty net to end all thoughts of a comeback.

Though the Flyers’ goals were due to team breakdowns more than anything, it was still a night to forget for Gustavsson, who watched his opposite number shine while giving up three goals on just 16 shots. We’ll have to wonder if Jimmy Howard could someday break the Philadelphia curse the Red Wings seem to be under, as the team’s number one netminder has never played a game at the Wells Fargo Center.

The ninth straight Detroit loss in Philly has to be one of the most discouraging, as the Red Wings won a majority of the numbers battles but not the one that really counted. The team will have to take a page from Taylor Swift and shake it off before traveling to D.C. to face the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.

The game was over when …

Detroit failed to turn its territorial dominance into goals in the first half of the second period. Once the Flyers weathered that storm, it was a pretty even game the rest of the way, but even one more score before Berube called his timeout could have changed the script completely.

The unsung Red Wings hero was …

No one really deserves it on a night like this, but Justin Abdelkader did enough to earn a little bit of a shout-out. Whether you feel he’s miscast as a top line forward or not (and he probably is), Abs blocked a fair number of shots on a night when all the Flyers were doing the same, and he forced some tough saves from Emery as well. It would have been better if those would have been goals, but hey.

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