The Detroit Red Wings dropped their seventh straight home game for the first time in 24 years last night. The game, against the Washington Capitals, was tight all the way through until the shootout declared a winner.
Daniel Alfredsson was a late scratch, sitting out due to groin tightness. This forced Detroit to play with 17 skaters.
The Red Wings found themselves down early, as Washington struck first in the contest on a goal by Brooks Laich. Steve Oleksy, a native of Chesterfield, MI assisted on the notch.
Detroit would answer with two goals in nearly two minutes. Johan Franzen, who usually scores goals in bunches, was the scorer on both of them. The first goal came on a power play. Franzen fired a hard wrist shot with Tomas Tatar in front of Caps netminder Braden Holtby. The second goal was the result of a Tatar pass that found Franzen, who in turn fired a shot that deflected up and in off of Holtby’s right skate.
This all happened after Tatar almost had himself a wraparound goal. Holtby miraculously made the save on a splits-save with his left skate.
Danny DeKeyser, who uncharacteristically had a lot of time on the man-advantage (due to Alfredsson’s injury), scored the third unanswered goal for Detroit. Franzen found DeKeyser cross-ice, and DeKeyser scored it Brett Hull style, dropping to a knee and firing it home.
Detroit went into period number three up 3-1. However, the third period proved to be their unraveling. Alex Ovechkin, who had been quiet all game, made it 3-2. Michael Latta would score his first career goal, which would knot things up at three goals apiece.
Overtime was rather uneventful, so a shootout was needed to break the tie. Pavel Datsyuk shot first, going backhand-forehand, before being denied by Holtby. Howard stopped Mikhail Grabovski on Washington’s first attempt.
Franzen failed to get a shot off after being pokechecked. Ovechkin could not score on his opportunity. Bertuzzi attempted his patented spin-o-rama before having the puck pokechecked away.
Finally, Nicklas Backstrom scored on Washington’s third attempt, winning the game for the Caps.
Despite outshooting the opposition 37-33 in the contest, Detroit found themselves on the losing end of things once again.
The game did feature a lot of positives though. The Red Wings’ power play and penalty kill were very successful. Two of their three goals came on the man-advantage. They also killed off all four penalties they committed.
Tatar and Franzen played outstanding together both at even strength and on the power play, although that will likely change once Alfredsson returns. They both showed a lot of energy and effort for the full 60 minutes.
“As soon as we put [Tomas Tatar and Johan Franzen] together, I thought they were real good,” said Mike Babcock. “I thought Kindl and DeKeyser were good on the back end of that power play as well. Those guys shot the puck.”
We can’t get frustrated,” Howard said. “We can’t get discouraged. We’re doing a lot of great things out there.”
Detroit will look to rebound against the New York Islanders on the road tonight. Their road record stands at 6-3-0 as opposed to their lackluster home record of 3-2-6.
Evgeni Nabokov gets the nod tonight for the Isles, which could be beneficial for the Wings. Nabby has given up 3+ goals in 10 of his 13 starts this season. He lost his last two games, and has given up a combined 14 goals in his last three games.
Jonas Gustavsson will start for Detroit. Gus has started three games this season. In those three starts, he has posted a 1.67 GAA and .953 SP.
The Islanders have lost 5 of their last 6 games, and are 3-5 for the month of November.
Game time is at 7:00 ET tonight in Long Island.
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