By Michael Caples –
DETROIT – Already playing without Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk, the Red Wings watched two more players suffer injuries in their 2-1 Sunday afternoon loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Jakub Kindl missed the majority of the game after what team officials called an upper-body injury in the first period, and then starting goaltender Jimmy Howard was replaced by Joey MacDonald during the first intermission.
A Red Wings spokesman said that Howard had a lower-body injury, which is expected to be day-to-day.
“I don’t know; we’ll have to wait and see how the injury feels tomorrow,” Howard said.
“I don’t know how it happened, just as the period went on, the injury just got tighter and tighter.”
MacDonald made 12 saves in relief, but the one goal that got past him – courtesy of Patrick Kane – turned out to be the difference. Kane took a pass from Patrick Sharp above the Red Wings’ crease, and managed a quick deke to beat MacDonald for the game-winner, scored at the 18:41 mark of the second period.
The Wings’ goaltender, who has turned out to be a more-than-capable back-up for Howard throughout the last few months, said he was surprised to have to enter the game.
“As a back-up goalie, you’ve got to be prepared all the time, but yeah, surprised,” MacDonald said. “I didn’t know anything would happen until I was told. It’s tough, it’s tough coming into games like that, but you’ve got to be ready at all times, and I thought we battled pretty hard.”
The Wings’ lone goal came from Niklas Kronwall late in the first period, a shot from the point that got through traffic, and Chicago goaltender Ray Emery. Darren Helm set up the play with a crafty deke on Kane just inside the blue line, which bought time for Kronwall to enter the play and eventually score.
Detroit recorded 24 shots in the afternoon contest, but Chicago also blocked 13 attempts. MacDonald said the difference in the contest was the Blackhawks’ play in their own end.
“We just didn’t have a lot of second chances,” MacDonald said. “I thought their ‘D’ did a great job of letting Emery see a lot of shots, and we didn’t have any second chances, and we’ve just got to find a way on the power play too.”
Coach Mike Babcock said that the team might have been better off not dressing Kindl when asked about the injuries after the game.
“Kuba obviously we didn’t make a very good decision,” Babcock said. “Between us I don’t know if we pressured him or what it was, we knew it was a bit sore. We should have called someone up I guess, in hindsight. Hindsight’s great, but it won’t do you much good. And then Howie’s got a lower-body injury, he left the game and so he’ll be evaluated and we’ll go from there.”
The Wings take on the Flyers in Philadelphia Tuesday night.
Notes: The Blackhawks’ first goal was recorded by Sharp, with assists to Marian Hossa and Nick Leddy…Brad Stuart also got an assist on Kronwall’s goal…Brendan Smith fought Chicago forward Andrew Shaw in the second period…the game’s three stars were: 1. Patrick Sharp, 2. Patrick Kane, 3. Brendan Smith.