The Detroit Red Wings started a new home streak, but not the kind that they were looking for as they lost their second straight game on their own ice to the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 at the Joe Louis Arena.
Jiri Hudler tallied twice and Valtteri Filppula scored the other goal for the Red Wings with Henrik Zetterberg registering an assist to all three goals. Jimmy Howard stopped 23 shots and has been tagged with three straight losses since returning to the lineup this week.
The Red Wings couldn’t contain the Avalanche’s line of Ryan O’Reilly, newly-acquired Steve Downie, and potential Calder Trophy candidate Gabriel Landeskog, who scored his 17th and 18 goals to lead all NHL rookies.
It seemed like Thursday’s shootout loss against the Canucks carried onto the first 2:43 minutes of the game when Landeskog and David Jones scored as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
Landeskog scored his first of the game when Downie was behind the net and attempted to make a pass, but the puck went off of Darren Helm’s leg and Landeskog picked up the puck and scored from the slot. A Red Wings’ turnover from their own zone during a power play opportunity made it 2-0 for the Avs when Kyle Quincey was tripped up by Chuck Kobasew and Jones quickly picked up the loose puck to snap it past Howard.
The only goal in the second period came from Landeskog, who got a nice pass from O’Reilly to put it past Howard and it looked as if the Avs were to steamroll the Red Wings.
The Red Wings got on the board 44 seconds into the third period when Hudler went top shelf from the top corner of the left faceoff circle, giving the fans at ‘The Joe’ some glimmer of hope. But when Downie scored midway through the period to make it 4-1, the window of opportunity was closing pretty quickly.
Things got to be interesting when minutes later, Hudler netted his second of the game to make it 4-2 when he redirected a Zetterberg shot. Ninety-one seconds later, Filppula made it a one-goal game when he was in front of the Avalanche’s net and got the pass from Hudler and got the puck past Avs goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere. That was all that the Red Wings could muster as they lose their third straight game.
Not the kind of start the Red Wings were looking for. They did get things going as the game went on as they got their legs back or that they fully recovered from the 23 straight home game winning streak hangover; take your pick. Don’t let Jimmy Howard’s stats for tonight fool you. Once again there was some bad breaks in front of him, especially the first two goals of the game, but he did keep his team in the game.
Through the first two periods, the third line of Drew Miller, Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm shined once again, but the latest ‘Euro-Line’ of Henrik Zetterberg, Jiri Hudler and Valtteri Filppula combined for eight points and should enter their next game in Columbus as the team’s top line.
Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi have combined for two points over their last five games and with their linemate Pavel Datsyuk out, they need to find a way to snap out of their slumps. Speaking of Datsyuk, the Red Wings are 12-13-5 without him in the lineup over his career. Datsyuk is more important than ever and his teammates need to find some answers.
Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson will miss the next month with a fractured left wrist. He suffered the injury when he was struck above the left glove by a Gabriel Landeskog shot early in the second period. Along with the acquisition of Kyle Quincey, the team does have a good amount of defenseman on the roster and could call on guys like Mike Commodore and Jakub Kindl. Ericsson was one of five players on the team to have played every game this season.
The clock is ticking for the Red Wings as the trade deadline is 3pm this coming Monday. The ball is on their court as they have plenty of room in the salary cap and can afford to land a top-six forward.
The Red Wings’ next game is this Tuesday as they travel to the Buckeye State for a clash with the Columbus Blue Jackets
About the Author: Alex lives in Hockeytown, USA. He is a huge Red Wings fan going back to the 1985-86 season when they were dead last with 40 points. He has seen the transition from the 'Dead Wings' to one of the top franchises in sports. You can also follow him at twitter.com/alexmuscat73.