Red Wings struggle at home, lose to Calgary 4-1

By Michael Caples -

DETROIT – The Red Wings were trailing 3-1 with roughly 15 minutes remaining in regulation when they were given an opportunity on a power play to cut the Flames’ lead in half.

The results of the man-advantage? A pass that went the length of the ice without touching any sticks, Pavel Datsyuk with a rare mishandle of the puck in front of the Flames’ goal, and Kyle Quincey fanning on a slapshot.

The Wings would never recover, and the only goal that was added to the scoresheet was by Calgary, as they coasted to a 4-1 win over Detroit at Joe Louis Arena Tuesday night.

Johan Franzen scored the lone goal for the Red Wings, who dropped to 4-4-1 on the season just days after a similar disappointing outing against Columbus.

The Flames were aided by goals from Jarome Iginla, Curtis Glencross, and Mark Giordano, while the real back-breaker for the Wings came off the stick of Dennis Wideman. The Flames’ defenseman scored with 24 seconds left in the second period to negate the Franzen goal, return Calgary to a two-goal lead, and kill any momentum the Red Wings had found.

“Well I think this game was disappointing,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “I think we went through and forgot about that game in Columbus, I think we had a chance to play a little bit better. We had played a little better in the second, then of course when they got the third one late there in the second, it was a tough one for us. I think we…we couldn’t score goals today. We had some chances, and we couldn’t get them in.”

Coach Mike Babcock said that the two-goal lead the Red Wings fell into early – Iginla and Glencross’ goals gave the Flames a 2-0 lead just nine minutes in – was a hole his club needs to avoid.

“Well you obviously want to get off to a better start,” Babcock said. “I thought we did lots of good things tonight, but we made some mistakes, and they shot it in our net without any question about it, so we’re chasing the game. We had opportunities, but didn’t capitalize on them. I didn’t think we were terrible, but…catch-up hockey is losing hockey. You can’t start from behind, you’ve got to start from ahead, that’s what you want to do, and you want to be playing right from the get-go. We’ve got to continue to improve, that’s all there is to it.”

Jimmy Howard stopped 19 of the 23 shots he faced in the contest, as he watched his record fall to 4-4-1 on the season (he’s started every game). Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 19 of 20 through 40 minutes, before being replaced by Leland Irving to start the third period. Irving was called upon due to a reported lower-body injury for Kiprusoff, and he stopped all six shots he faced.

“I still thought we had lots of play around their net, we just didn’t have a lot of play at their net, if that makes any sense,” Babcock said of the third period. “We had lots of time in the [offensive] zone, and lots of play that way, but we didn’t score…I would have liked to see that intensity in the first period, and then you have a better chance to win a game, because you’re not chasing.”

Notes: Jordin Tootoo dropped the gloves with Steve Begin in the first period; it was Tootoo’s third fight in four games…the Wings were 1-for-4 on the power play after Franzen’s third of the season came with the man-advantage…Calgary capitalized on the lone five-on-three they had in the contest, and also scored in a five-on-four situation…former Red Wing Jiri Hudler made his first return to Joe Louis Arena since signing with Calgary in the off-season; he recorded one shot on 16:46 worth of ice-time with one penalty…Tomas Tatar dressed for the Wings for the first time this season, and skated for 12:42.