Friday night, both the first and second periods were played to ties at Joe Louis Arena between the Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks. Then, the Ducks were the benefactor of Detroit’s lazy defensive mindset in the third, scoring three times to break away with a 5-2 victory.
Playing without Pavel Datsyuk and other key players, the Red Wings had the deck stacked against them a bit from the beginning. Following his tough performance on Wednesday night, Jimmy Howard looked determined to hold down the fort for his team. In the first period, Howard stood on his head again like he has several times in the past few weeks, turning away plenty of Anaheim chances. Offensively, the Red Wings had a few of their own including two power plays, but could not break through either. Fittingly, the game was scoreless after one period.
Early in period two, the action came a bit more fast and furiously. The Red Wings broke through first when Jokim Andersson got a nice pass and beat Viktor Fasth high over the shoulder for the 1-0 lead. Just 32 seconds later, Detroit’s terrible defense doomed them. Off a face off, Matt Beleskey was left alone in front of the net and ripped a shot past Howard to tie the score. After Anaheim put the puck out of play, Detroit’s power play finally made something happen. Tomas Tatar found a loose puck in front of a net mouth scramble and fired it home, giving the Red Wings their lead back. The Ducks got the luckiest break in their franchises history when Ian White’s stick exploded, allowing Cory Perry to tie the game easily. Scoring finally slowed down enough to allow the second intermission to take place.
That frenzy would be all the scoring Detroit would enjoy, however. Defensively, the Red Wings simply gave up to start the third period. Andrew Cogliano tipped in a goal to give the Ducks the lead and soon after that, Bobby Ryan beat Howard for the 4-2 advantage. If the Red Wings weren’t done already, after that flurry, they quickly became a dead team walking. Not managing much pressure at all the rest of the way, the Ducks wrapped things up with a tight defense which didn’t need to bail Fasth out much at all. With a second late goal, Cogliano put the icing on this tough to swallow cake for the Red Wings.
Red Wings’ Wheel: Tomas Tatar. Give the rookie credit for scoring in another game. Most impressively, he found the net after being in the right place in the right time out in front. Early in his young career, Tatar looks to be coming on strong. If he can continue to develop and keep the scoring punch up which saw him
Red Wings’ Heel: Team defense as a whole. What exactly were the Red Wings thinking with all their giveaways tonight? They gave the puck away (in your best Ed Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’s voice) nine times. Certainly, you can’t blame White for losing his stick in a freak accident, but the third period featured way too much laziness. Howard was hung out to dry several times. When that happens, he’s not going to stop every shot. The Red Wing defenders and backcheckers need to wake up in a hurry, no matter who’s hurting or not.
Most Important Play Of The Game: Cory Perry’s lucky goal. We don’t like to use the word luck around here a lot, but tonight, its truly the only term which could sum up Perry’s second period tally. Ian White’s stick completely disintegrated, allowing Perry to walk in front of Howard uncontested. The play wiped out a 2-1 Red Wings lead courtesy of a power play goal, and after that point, Anaheim started to dominate. Had Detroit held on to that lead, things could have been much different to start the third period.
Beyond The Bench: That’s two losses in a row for the Red Wings, who find themselves stuck a bit after a nice three game winning streak. Now, the most important thing is trying to get healthier. The kids from Grand Rapids won’t be able to hold down the fort forever, but that’s exactly what they’ll have to try and do until more bodies heal up.
What’s Next: the Red Wings get a day to try and put this performance behind them. Then, it’s off to Minnesota for a date with the Wild on Sunday night at 6 p.m.
Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax