The Detroit Red Wings headed into Wednesday night’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers on a high note. On a four-game winning streak and facing a team they had beat 5-2 earlier in the season. Things got off to a good start thanks to two goals from Tomas Tatar and a tally from Johan Franzen, and Detroit went into the locker room with a 3-2 lead as the second period ended. After that, things fell apart as the Flyers scored four unanswered goals and the Red Wings penalty kill that had been among the league’s best lately let them down twice.
Jimmy Howard had quite a letdown in his first appearance since shutting out the New York Islanders on Friday, as he allowed five goals on 33 shots for an abysmal .848 save percentage. He has now lost eight of his last nine starts, and will likely be losing time to Jonas Gustavsson moving forward. Despite heading into the game with the second-best penalty kill in the league, the Red Wings surrendered goals on each of Philadelphia’s three chances. Defensemen Kyle Quincey and Jakub Kindl both took penalties that led to Flyers goals, as did Stephen Weiss, who continues to be a weak link on offense. Coupled with their failures on the penalty kill was an awful 1-for-7 performance on the power play, with Tatar’s second goal coming on a second period 5-on-3 advantage. After holding an edge in shots through two periods, Detroit was outshot 12-9 in the third, as everything seemed to go wrong all at once.
It wasn’t hard to expect a bit of a letdown with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk out of the lineup, but with the promise the Red Wings showed early on this loss was truly disappointing. Howard’s play is starting to become a cause for concern, and it seems likely there will be some lineup changes heading into Friday’s game against the New Jersey Devils.