Detroit Red Wings scorched by Calgary Flames, goalie Jacob Markstrom in 3-0 shutout

Detroit Free Press

The shots were lopsided, but a solid performance from goalie Thomas Greiss gave the Detroit Red Wings a chance.

Marc Staal’s 1,000th career game ultimately didn’t end in a celebration, though, as the Calgary Flames took Saturday’s game at Scotiabank Saddledome, 3-0.

It was a one-goal game until midway through the third period. The Wings (24-28-7) have just one point their last five games and haven’t won since March 1.

“We had too many guys that had no jump,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We had no jump, no legs it looked like at all. We had guys that probably didn’t battle hard enough at times. So we just kind of defended and played in our end and they got chances and shots.”

Blake Coleman scored with 4:22 to play in the third period on the Flames’ 41st shot. Finals shots were 43-19, but 14 of the Wings’ shot came in the final 20 minutes.

“They hunt pucks down and we just have to find a way to tilt the ice and play in their end a little more,” Sam Gagner said. “I think that’s the main thing for us – spending less time in our own end against a team like that, and making them defend. We did that a bit in the third, created some momentum. That’s the blue print for us.”

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Greiss saw 19 shots in the first period, while Filip Hronek was the only one of his teammates to direct a shot on Jacob Markstrom in the first 20 minutes. Greiss made a terrific save in the second period on Matthew Tkachuk, who snapped a perfect behind-the-net pass from Johnny Gaudreau on net from down low. Dylan Larkin opened the third period by creating a scoring chance when he drove towards the net and fired a wrist shot, but Markstrom had a clean look at the puck and made his sixth save of the game.

Blashill has at times downplayed shots on net, but didn’t this night.

“When they’re like that, you haven’t generated anything, the first and second, and they’ve generated everything,” he said. “For as much as we defended we didn’t break down as much as we have in the past, but in the end, we just defended the whole time. I mean, we had no shots at all. The shots were very indicative of the game over the first two periods tonight.”

Besides being a memorable night for Staal because of his milestone, it was a good night for Greiss. It was his best game since he made 37 saves Feb. 17 in a 3-2 shootout victory at the New York Rangers.

“Greiss played real well, kept us in the game,” Blashill said. “Made some big saves when we broke down. It was a real positive thing for him.”

The Wings next play Tuesday at the Edmonton Oilers.

Greiss delivers

Greiss started his first game since being pulled after giving up five goals on 23 shots in 31:01 against Florida last Saturday. On Tuesday, he gave up two goals on three shots against the Arizona Coyotes, when he replaced Alex Nedeljkovic for 3:45. Greiss looked good early — he made his first save on a Tyler Toffoli wrist shot and had made half a dozen more saves the first eight minutes of the game. He gave up a bad goal to Elias Lindholm at 9:22, while Marc Staal was serving a cross-checking penalty. Lindholm carried the puck into Detroit’s zone, cut to the right, and fired a shot between Hronek and Jordan Oesterle and fired a shot that went under Greiss’ blocker.

Penalty kill falters

The Lindholm goal happened on the Wings’ first penalty kill, and they gave up another goal on their second penalty kill, while Vladislav Namestnikov was in the box for tripping. Lindholm won a faceoff against Larkin, and the puck went back to the point. Gaudreau sent it to Tkachuk, who threaded the puck across the crease to Toffoli, who swept the puck five-hole on Greiss.

Lines adjusted

The Wings had to make adjustments as Robby Fabbri (knee) is done for the season and Tyler Bertuzzi’s COVID-19 unvaccinated status restricts his travel under current border regulations. That’s two-thirds of the second line. Filip Zadina and Adam Erne moved up to play with Pius Suter, and Jakub Vrana was with Joe Veleno, with whom he seems to be developing chemistry, and Gagner. Givani Smith played for the first time since March 5 and just the third time since March 17, on a line with Michael Rasmussen and Luke Witkowski, who was called up from the minors earlier in the day.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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