Johan Franzen broke the tie early in the third period to give the Detroit Red Wings a 4-3 lead over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers, which they held on to for their 20th straight home win. “The Mule” potted his league-leading 10th game-winning goal and 22nd goal of the season in the first minute of the third period, as Joey MacDonald earned his third straight win at home with a 26-save performance.
The play that led to Franzen’s goal started with a slap-pass from Ian White at the point. White’s pass moved through the slot to Nicklas Lidstrom, who touched the puck back across the slot to Franzen at the top of the crease. With Sergei Bobrovsky moving to square-up towards Lidstrom, the Flyers’ goalie had little chance to stop Franzen’s shot.
Special teams played a crucial role in the loss, as the Red Wings converted on two of their five power-play chances and the Flyers failed to score on either of their chances.
“Specialty teams wins and loses hockey games,” said Scott Hartnell after the Flyers’ fourth straight game without a power-play goal, “and right now, it’s losing us games.”
Brayden Schenn had his first two-goal game in the NHL in tonight’s loss, as his first goal tied the game at one and his second goal of the game gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead 5:22 into the second period.
Max Talbot scored the Flyers’ third goal on the night, which gave Philly a brief 3-2 lead before Henrik Zetterberg, who had a goal and two assists in the game, knotted the game just over two minutes later. The goal was Talbot’s 14th goal of the season, which set his career-high for goals in a season since he joined the NHL.
Early in the game, a Schenn infraction gave the Red Wings a power play they capitalized on for the 1-0 lead.
With Schenn in the box for tripping Brad Stuart at the Flyers’ blue line, Niklas Kronwall let go of a slap shot from the blue line that Bobrovsky never saw thanks to screens from Todd Bertuzzi and Matt Carle. The defenseman’s 12th goal of the season gave Detroit the lead just over seven minutes into the game.
Less than a minute later, the Flyers were given their first power play of the game due to a questionable delaying game minor to Jiri Hudler. The Wings’ forward batted the puck out of play in his defensive zone to put Philly on the man advantage.
The Flyers didn’t score on the power play, as the Red Wings also failed to convert on their next power play thanks to a charging call on Zac Rinaldo’s hit on Jonathan Ericsson before Schenn tied the game at one.
MacDonald fumbled the puck behind the net, which led to Danny Briere grabbing the puck along the end boards and throwing it to the crease. Alone in front, and with the goalie caught behind the net, Schenn slammed home his seventh goal of the season with less than four minutes left in the period to even the score.
“The puck was dumped behind the net,” said the Flyers’ rookie. “The goalie went to get it but mishandled it. Danny B. was hard on the puck there. It was a pretty easy open net. It’s good to get those.”
In the final two minutes of the period, Wayne Simmonds and Franzen exchanged gloved punches to earn coincidental roughing minors.
Neither team scored again for the remainder of the first period for a 1-1 game to start the second period. Shots were even at eight apiece after 20 minutes, but the Wings out hit the Flyers 10-4.
Both teams started to get better chances in the second period, as the line of Claude Giroux-Hartnell-Jaromir Jagr created several chances for the Flyers and Darren Helm put a wrap-around attempt through Bob’s legs. Although the Wings had more chances early, it was Schenn who scored to give the Flyers a one-goal lead.
A Braydon Coburn shot from the point led to a MacDonald save and clear to prevent a rebound attempt. Unfortunately for MacDonald, his clear found its way to Schenn, who roofed home his second goal of the game.
The lead didn’t last long, as Pavel Datsyuk deposited a power-play goal 3:05 after Schenn’s tally.
With Simmonds in the box for a slashing minor, in which Henrik Zetterberg’s stick didn’t break, Datsyuk ripped home a wrister from the slot off a Franzen pass from the corner for the Wings’ second power-play goal of the game.
Later in the period, after strong scoring bids by both teams, it was Talbot who gave Philly their second lead of the day.
After a great takeaway by Matt Read along the boards in the offensive zone, he moved the puck to Hartnell in the slot. The Flyers’ leading goal-scorer used his skate to stop the puck before he whacked the bouncing puck to Talbot standing at the bottom of the faceoff circle. Talbot proceeded to put home his 14th goal of the season in the arena where he scored two goals in Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals with Pittsburgh.
Much like Schenn’s goal earlier in the period, the Flyers didn’t hold on to the lead for too long, as Zetterberg let go of a slap shot that found its way through traffic for his 11th goal of the season with 99 seconds left in the middle stanza.
Marc-Andre Bourdon took a run at Tomas Holmstrom seconds after Zetterberg’s goal to put the Red Wings back on the power play. His minor carried over into the third period for 29 seconds.
The Flyers entered the third period looking for the decisive goal and a road win for the first time since the All-Star break. Unfortunately, Franzen’s goal put a damper on the Flyers’ hopes to end the Wings’ streak.
Franzen’s tally led to a Wings’ surge, as the fans at Joe Louis Arena became loud and Valtteri Filppula shanked the finish of a breakaway that left him with a wide open net. Luckily for the Flyers, the deficit was still at one when Hudler earned his second minor of the game with a hook.
Philly failed to convert on their second power-play chance of the game, as their chance to end the Wings’ winning streak at home started to slip away.
Despite Peter Laviolette’s decision to pull Bob in the final minutes, and the fact Giroux nearly banked in a goal with Bob on the bench, the Flyers failed to tie the game at four, as the Wings won 4-3.
The Flyers, who are 2-4-2 since the All-Star break, hope a three-day break can help them prepare for their game Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres at the Wells Fargo Center.
Notes: This was the Red Wings’ 20th consecutive win at home. It ties them with the 1929-1930 Boston Bruins and the 1975-1976 Philadelphia Flyers for longest win streaks at home in NHL history…The Flyers are 1-1-4 in their last six games and 0-2-0 in their last two road games…Tonight was the Flyers’ first one-goal loss on the road in regulation this season. Their other one-goal loss on the road this season was a 2-1 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on November 9th…Schenn recorded his first two-goal game in the NHL. He has scored five goals in the last nine games…Jakub Voracek wasn’t in the line-up tonight, as he is out day-to-day with an upper body injury…In his second game with the Flyers this season, Eric Wellwood had 11:22 TOI…The game was Lidstrom’s 1,550th, which is the most by any player who has spent their entire career with one team. He broke Alex Delvecchio’s record, who was also a Red Wing…The Flyers dropped to 0-1-0 against the Red Wings, 3-3-0 against the Central Division (DET 0-1-0, STL 0-1-0, NSH 1-1-0, CHI 1-0-0, CBJ 1-0-0), and to 9-3-2 against the Western Conference this season…The Flyers dropped to 31-18-7. They were 37-14-5 after 56 games last season.