By Matt Slovin –
DETROIT – It was a good night to be a recent Grand Rapids Griffin on the big-league club, with goals by February call-ups Joakim Andersson and Tomas Tatar.
But it was a bad night for the Red Wings overall.
Anaheim used two goals in the opening minutes of the third period to jumpstart a 5-2 win over a Pavel Datsyuk-less Detroit squad on Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.
“I thought we did lots of really good things,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “It was unfortunate because we thought we had set ourselves up pretty good for the third period. … And in the end, it didn’t work out the way we wanted.”
The goalies were the story in the first period, when neither team could break the scoreless tie.
But Anaheim’s Viktor Fasth went untested during the two Red Wing power-play opportunities in the opening period, as Detroit (7-5-2, 16 pts.) failed to muster a shot on goal with the man advantage, and just six in the frame overall. Jimmy Howard was also impressive between the pipes for the Red Wings, recording 14 saves in the first period.
In the second period, however, the goalies finally looked human.
Fasth blinked first when Jakub Kindl sailed a pass to the bottom of the right circle where Andersson, called up from the AHL club on Feb. 8, was waiting eagerly for his first career goal, finally opening the evening’s scoring at the 3:01 mark.
But just 26 seconds later, Anaheim (10-2-1, 21 pts.) equalized after Ryan Getzlaf won a face-off in the Detroit zone. He fed the puck to Matt Beleskey who buried the one-timer.
After starting the night 0-for-3, the Red Wings’ power play finally cashed at the 6:32 mark of the second period. Tatar, who joined the Red Wings from Grand Rapids on Feb. 4, sniped from the top of the slot to put Detroit back on top, 2-1.
“It’s great to see,” Howard said of the team’s younger players finishing chances. “We need them to step up until guys get healthy, so it’s great to see them on the score sheet.”
The lead was again short-lived because of a bizarre Red Wing turnover. Ian White, standing behind his own net, attempted to launch the puck out of the zone, but his stick snapped to create an easy change of possession. Beleskey retrieved the puck and picked up his second point by finding Corey Perry in front to tie the game at two apiece.
But the start of the third period is when the wheels fell off for the Red Wings.
“Up until that time, I think we played a good game,” said captain Henrik Zetterberg. “It’s always tough to play catch-up hockey, especially when you only have 20 minutes to get two or three goals.”
Just over one minute into the final frame, former Michigan Wolverine Andrew Cogliano got a stick on a beautiful feed from Saku Koivu to put the Ducks back on top.
Their lead grew to two off another White turnover, this time in the neutral zone. Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan grabbed his own rebound to beat Howard to make it 4-2.
Cogliano sent one into the empty net with 1:49 remaining for the fifth Anaheim tally.
Datsyuk missed the game with what Babcock described as a shoulder bruise and is day-to-day. Gustav Nyquist was recalled from Grand Rapids on Friday.
“In a perfect world, everybody would be healthy,” Zetterberg said. “But we aren’t losing the game because of that today. We gave them too many easy goals.”
Next up for Detroit is a Sunday game at Minnesota. In the two teams’ first meeting of the season, the Red Wings knocked off the Wild, 5-3, at Joe Louis Arena.