Around the Rink – March 17 Edition

Photo by Brad Watson/NHLI via Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings earned a huge 2-1 win — their third straight victory — against the Calgary Flames in a crucial game as the two teams battled for two points and the eighth seed in the Western Conference standings. The win prevented Calgary from leapfrogging Detroit into the No. 8 seed and put three points in between the Wings and Flames, while moving within one point to Nashville as of Tuesday morning. It was Tomas Holmstrom’s goal with 1:19 remaining in the contest that clinched the game for Detroit. The Red Wings had three shots glance off the Calgary goal post during the game, but were down 1-0 until late in the second period.

“It was a good goal late in the third there,” Holmstrom said to FSDetroit after the game. “It’s always nice to get to the 20 [goal] mark…Every game is like a playoff game so we have to show up every night.”

With about a minute and a half left in the middle frame, Calgary’s Curtis Glencross raced up the ice and in Jason Williams’ effort to slow him down, the officials gave Glencross a penalty shot. Fortunately for Detroit, goalie Jimmy Howard turned aside his shot to keep it just a 1-0 Calgary lead. Less than a minute after the penalty shot, Pavel Datsyuk scored a power-play goal to even it up at 1-1 before the second intermission. Datsyuk’s marker extended Detroit’s streak to 10 games with at least one power-play goal, which is the longest active streak in the NHL.

Detroit’s PK stepped up big early in the third period when Brian Rafalski was sent to the penalty box for four minutes due to inadvertently high sticking a Flame. Detroit’s penalty kill limited Calgary to just two shots over the four-minute span. With 1:19 left to play in the game, Tomas Holmstrom redirected Johan Franzen’s shot into the net to put the Wings up 2-1.

“Sometimes you can’t understand him, but he’s always got something to say,” Kirk Maltby said of Homer after the game. Maltby was in the FSDetroit studio during the game, providing the network with game analysis as he recovers from shoulder surgery.

Before the game, the players faced a large media contingent at the Saddledome noted the Detroit Free Press. The Flames had won two of three games against the Wings before Monday’s game, including a 4-2 loss last week that the Wings had hoped to redeem themselves from on Monday night. Detroit did just that and seem to be on fire right now according to NHL.com.

Prior to the game, the DRW bloggers emphasized the importance of Detroit’s tilt against Calgary: Abel to Yzerman, DetroitHockey.net, DirtyGames.ca, Eight Legged Freaks, Hockeytown USA, Nightmare on Helm Street, On the Wings, Snipe Snipe, Dangle Dangle, The Production Line, Unconnected Red Wings Blog, Winging It In Motown, Wings Win, Eh?, and Word on a Wing.

Afterward, the DRW bloggers were happy and relieved to put some distance between Detroit and Calgary: DetroitHockey.net, DirtyGames.ca, Hockeytown USA, Motown Wings, On the Wings, Red Wings Blog, Red, White & Black-n-Blue, Snapshots, Snipe Snipe, Dangle Dangle, The Octopus Thrower, The Triple Deke, When Cameron was in Egypt’s Land, Winging It In Motown, and Word on a Wing.

In Other News

  • With Tomas Holmstrom scoring the game-winning goal on Monday, the media plenty of good things to write about the veteran Swedish forward from The Detroit News to MLive.com.
  • According to Ansar Khan at MLive.com, GM Ken Holland has had preliminary discussions with Holmstrom’s agent as his contract expires at the end of this season. The article says the talks will resume at the conclusion of this three-game road trip through western Canada and ideally the contract extension would be in place before the start of the playoffs. Hockeytown USA took a look at three Wings, who will be free agents this summer, including Holmstrom.
  • The Wings have three days in between their games on the three-game road trip that could make or break their playoff hopes. Detroit’s win on Monday meant the Wings could enjoy the three-day break between games per MLive.com.
  • DRW.com notes that Detroit will practice in Kelowna, British Columbia, which will be open to the public on Wednesday and Thursday in exchange for a donation to the Kelowna Community Food Bank. The arena they will be practicing in is called Prospera Place and can sit approximately 6,800 fans.
  • The Detroit News reports that Darren Helm was quite unhappy with Raffi Torres’ blindside hit to his head on Saturday when the Wings hosted Buffalo.
  • Head coach Mike Babcock originally planned on alternating between defensemen Jonathan Ericsson and Brett Lebda, but with the team winning he didn’t want to mess with the lineup so he left Lebda in the third defensive pairing with Andreas Lilja. Eight Legged Freaks addresses the improved play of Lebda since January.
  • Out of Bounds compares Jimmy Howard to Roger Crozier and talks about the likelihood that he’ll start in net should the Wings make the playoffs.
  • Matt at On the Wings linked to a great blog post by On the Forecheck that provided this impressive stat about captain Nick Lidstrom: “His penalty killing work is particularly telling. When he’s on the ice, the Red Wings give up 3.45 goals per 60 minutes, a rate that is better than the top overall PK teams in the league. When he’s on the bench, the Wings give up 8.36 goals per 60 minutes, which would rank among the worst.”
  • Jiri Hudler and his Dynamo Moscow team’s playoff run ended with a 4-0 loss to Spartak, who took four games to clinch the best-of-five series. The Detroit Free Press reports that GM Ken Holland is still committed to trying to woo Hudler back to Detroit for the 2010-11 season. Wings Win, Eh? would welcome Hudler back with open arms.
  • Craig Simpson of CBC predicts the Wings to play the spoiler role come playoff time.
  • Head coach Mike Babcock spoke at the seventh annual Red Deer College Kings and Queens Scholarship Breakfast on Tuesday morning. You can view video of his speech at Kukla’s Korner.
  • The Grand Rapids Griffins sealed a 3-2 victory over Rochester on Sunday when Ole-Kristian Tollefsen scored his first goal with the Griffins after being traded from Philadelphia at the trade deadline for Detroit’s Ville Leino. Winging It In Motown points out that the Griffins have at least one point in each of their last five games.
  • Since his start at the Wings’ development camp in July at Joe Louis Arena, prospect forward Tomas Tatar has impressed teammates and the coaching staff at each stop along the way writes Red Wings Central.
  • Word on a Wing compares how various players have played in front of Jimmy Howard vs. Chris Osgood by comparing their plus-minus ratings.
  • Do you have DirectTV? If so, you’ll be happy to hear that DirectTV and Versus reached an agreement on Monday and you can now view Versus programming on Channel 603.
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