By Christy Hammond
The Detroit Red Wings (19-4-4) swept their four-game stretch at home concluding with a 4-3 overtime win against the Calgary Flames (16-11-1).
For a second straight game, the Wings started off a bit slow and needed extra time to get the “W,” but the important thing is that they earned those two points in the standings.
During the first period, the Flames outshot Detroit, 14-10, and grabbed a two-goal lead courtesy of Craig Conroy and Daymond Langkow, who each scored with less than five minutes remaining in the period. Former Red Wing Todd Bertuzzi actually did most of the work on the second goal, but Langkow pounced on the rebound.
After a slow start by Detroit, head coach Mike Babcock shuffled both the defensive and offensive lines up to energize his team. It appeared to help as Red Wing forward Valtteri Filppula scored the only goal of the second period when he redirected a Kris Draper shot 6:59 into the frame.
Plenty of action came in the third period starting off with a power-play backhander by University of Michigan alum David Moss. Defenseman Dion Phaneuf earned his 20th assist of the season when he took a slapshot from the point, which led to Moss’ goal. Exactly a minute later, Henrik Zetterberg made a backhanded play of his own to bring Detroit within one.
With 7:13 remaining in the game, Brian Rafalski took a slapshot from just above the right face-off circle to even the game up at three goals apiece and eventually send the game into overtime. Flames goaltender Curtis McElhinney, who was in just his third NHL game of the season, played strong with 35 saves. Forward Johan Franzen screened him on Rafalski’s shot.
As Babcock told Ansar Khan for MLive.com, the Wings need to ensure that they have players in front of the net screening the goaltenders. Detroit’s final two goals came on slapshots with a screen down low.
“They (goalies) are all too good, they stop the puck if they can see it,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Sometimes when you’re trying to skill yourself around the rink you don’t have that. If you’re going to win in today’s NHL you got to have people at the net and you got to get the puck there on a continual basis.”
Captain Nicklas Lidstrom took a slapshot from nearly the same location as Rafalski’s to score the game-winning goal 3:50 into overtime. For his strong play with over 25 minutes of ice time and a plus-two to finish the game, Lidstrom was named the game’s first star.
The Wings will go on the road for back-to-back games against Dallas and Phoenix (Fri/Sat) before returning home for a game against the Avs on Monday.