Update (5:15 PM): I had written and email to Ansar Khan because I had been wondering why the Wings called up Howard without making sure he would play a game, given the fact that he’s just returned from an injury and could use the playing time. He responded thus (in part):
I’m guessing they called up Howard instead of Liv because they wanted to see how MacDonald would play Sunday before declaring him the starter in Philly. If MacDonald would have s#!t the bed against Calgary, they surely would have started Howard against the Flyers. In that case, it would have been kind of awkward to suddenly send Liv back down to GR after the Flames game and rush Howard to Philly. Howard wouldn’t have been able to fly out with the team Sunday night and would have had to fly to Philly Monday morning, not a good thing.
That makes sense, and if I’d have checked, I would have seen that Jimmy wouldn’t have played even if he had stayed in GR. The Griffins don’t play until Friday, so the question of lost playing time is moot. – Matt
Update (2:15 PM): Ted Kulfan writes on the Detroit News Wings blog that Joey MacDonald will in fact start tonight, contradicting his earlier report. Also, Danny Markov apparently will not be back. – Matt
The Wings won a wild one last night, beating the Calgary Flames 7-4 and extending their home-win streak to 12 games. It was much more of a blowout than the score indicates, as the Flames controlled play for only about 3:00 in the third period, scoring three of their goals then, when the Wings had let up. It was as much a case of the Wings dominating as it was of the Flames playing bantam hockey.
Joey MacDonald was in net for the Wings and hardly got any work through two periods. He looked steady, though, when he did face a shot, and made the stop when needed. When the Flames started scoring, the first two goals were the result of bad defense, but the third was a little weak. All in all, Joey had a strong game, and it was good to see the Wings’ take the task of defending for him seriously.
The first couple minutes of the game were pretty choppy as there were a couple stoppages due to off-sides and icings. At 3:03, play stopped again for a Stepha Yelle elbowing penalty and the Wings got their first power play. The Wings didn’t do a lot with it and they had to be careful with picking the puck up in their own zone as the Flames were forechecking hard. At 4:54, Robert Lang took his customary hooking penalty and we got 9 seconds of 4-on-4 hockey before a Calgary power play. The Flames had trouble setting up and the Wings did a good job of killing it off.
The Wings got on the board at 8:43 after Miikka Kiprusoff misplayed the puck behind the net on a slow shoot-in by Dan Cleary. Jason Williams picked it up and saw Henrik Zetterberg in the high slot. He sent it to him and Hank wasted little time releasing a snap shot that beat Kiprusoff inside the left post. Kiprusoff had taken his sweet time getting back, but should have been set. It’s not often you see him beaten like that.
The Wings struck again four minutes later. Zetterberg took the puck in on a nice rush, distracting the defense by the right point, before dishing the puck to a streaking Tomas Holmstrom in the middle. Homer didn’t get all he wanted on his shot, but Kiprusoff didn’t control the rebound and Pavel Datsyuk was able to get his stick on it. He slammed it into the net and made it 2-0 Wings at 12:44.
Right after the goal, Johan Franzen nearly made it 3-0 as he hit the post on a shot down low. Kiprusoff was slow to react and Johan had a half-empty net to shoot at, but couldn’t finish.
They did get a third goal not long after that, as Robert Lang, Jason Williams, and Dan Cleary forced a faceoff at 13:48. Four seconds later, Mathieu Schneider’s shot careened off Dion Phaneuf and into the net to make it 3-0 Wings. By that time, Jim Playfair had seen enough and Kiprusoff was pulled in favor of Jamie McLennan. It was very much an uncharacteristic game for Kiprusoff, who seems unbeatable whenever the Wings play him.
The Wings didn’t waste much time before testing McLennan. Within a minute, Datsyuk and Zetterberg flew into the zone, with Hank dishing the puck off to Pavel, whose shot rang off the corner junction.
The rest of the period consisted mainly of the Flames giving up the puck and the Wings getting chances as a result. Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Holmstrom seemed to be out there every other shift, but they didn’t look tired at all as they continued to dominate Calgary.