The cards were not in Detroit’s favor on a Sunday afternoon. A slow start and frustrations playing against a tough Dallas Stars squad led them to a 4-1 loss at Joe Louis Arena snapping their winning streak.
The Red Wings return to the Joe with a three game winning streak after a brief road trip to Toronto earned them a 2-1 win over Toronto. Though Detroit had plenty of reasons to win that game, they hoped to keep up the success after having a bad bump in the road last month. This was the first time they faced the Stars since Feb. 21 when Niklas Kronwall scored an overtime goal leading to the 7-6 victory in Dallas. With more offense on the Red Wings bench, defeating them once again could be easier than before.
The Red Wings got a slow start to the first period enabling the Stars to take control. Through five minutes, they were in near complete possession of the puck laying on the shots to goaltender Jimmy Howard in net for Detroit. Dallas earned a power play in the seventh minute of play that gave Patrick Sharp an easy path to the goal. His snapshot into the Detroit net scored him his sixth of the season an early lead for the Stars.
The deficit didn’t help Detroit improve on the offense as they struggled to compete with Dallas who clearly had things together. Six minutes were left on the clock and the Stars were in tight in the Detroit zone building the scoring chances. They made it 2-0 on a goal from rookie Valeri Nichushkin scoring his first of the season.
Knowing that they were down by too much, the Red Wings made an immediate change to get something going prior to the end of the period. It came on a good rush play where Detroit’s second line surrounded Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen and his defense.
Fighting for shots on the puck, they got one in on a shot from back by Niklas Kronwall that went off the stick of Nyquist directing the puck into the net for his sixth of the season. Notching one in the final minute of play gave Detroit fans hope that their team was ready to be competitive going into the second period.
Detroit had a lot more time with the puck at the start of the second period but the mission to tie the game as harder than wished. They managed to take a couple shots during a power play but nothing came of it. The struggled to get back the control of possession in the later minutes with Dallas responding well on the rebounds and takeaways.
The Red Wings had Andreas Athanasiou in the lineup hoping that he would be the difference maker in the game. He did indeed give Detroit the strength they needed but his shots on the net cam up just short. It didn’t stop him from producing for his team contributing to the fight. He and the Red Wings would have to wait for the third period to attempt their comeback and possible victory over the Stars.
Detroit showed progress but the chances of scoring were not improving their chances for a tie. To make matters worse, Dallas was playing so strong that every rush into the Red Wings zone put plenty of pressure on their defense. An incident occurred on Howard in net as he laid out for a shot only to take a knee to the head from Jason Spezza who tried to avoid contact. After the whistle was blown, Howard was evaluated on the ice and later taken out of the game to be replaced by Petr Mrazek. He did his best to remedy the situation before working through a Dallas power play that the Detroit PK knocked out.
The Red Wings suffered a bad one with eight minutes left in the game as a hit from Dallas forward Ales Hemsky as he led with the shoulder, left the ice and slammed into Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson. In a stunning call, referees called the penalty on Ericsson even though signs of blood were pouring through his face.
Despite all the arguments from Detroit coach Jeff Blashill, the game went on with the Red Wings fighting off another Stars power play. They responded with big hits while shorthanded sending the crowd into a short frenzy. Time continued to fall of the clock leaving the Red Wings with little left to work with.
During a timeout with two minutes left, Detroit pulled Mrazek to give them six men and force an overtime situation. It was disallowed by the Stars who fought hard for the puck taking two chances on the empty net. It eventually went to Tyler Seguin who slid the puck halfway down the rink to record his ninth of the season putting victory out of reach for their opponents.
Adding insult to injury, the Stars weren’t done having fun on the ice. During a Detroit power play, Cody Eakin also scored on the empty net picking up his fifth before the horn sounded the end of the game.
“Momentum was a big thing,” said Blashill to reporters after the game. “We can’t allow a goal against to take away our momentum. Our start was fine but then we let it get away from us a little bit. There were opportunities but we didn’t get enough.”
In sixty minutes, Detroit recorded 22 shots but didn’t have the power to match the dominance Dallas had. With so much physical power coming from the Red Wings, their 30 hits on Dallas didn’t stop them from start to finish leaving them wondering if more needed to be done. It would be a though for another day as they would regroup to host the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. lNHl isHis