After breaking their four-game losing skid with a pretty thorough beatdown of the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, the Flames needed another solid effort tonight in Detroit to keep their streak going, and they got it...for about 50 minutes.
The Wings took an early lead just under two minutes into the opening frame on a Johan Franzen powerplay marker, but Nik Hagman tied things up at one with just over five minutes remaining, and the period would end that way, with Detroit out-shooting the Flames 9-6 through 20 minutes.
The Flames took over in the second courtesy of another strong offensive showing from Jarome Iginla. Iggy would score twice in the middle frame, once at even strength and once on one of the few powerplays the Flames enjoyed on a swell feed from Alex Tanguay to give the Flames a 3-1 advantage after two periods of play.
The final frame began in a similar fashion to the first, with the Wings scoring early to cut their visitor's lead to one on a Pavel Datsyuk powerplay tally. The Flames were beginning to run around a bit at this point, but still had some semblance of control over things after Alex Tanguay scored a beauty to put his team up 4-2. The two-goal lead was short-lived, however, as Henrik Zetterberg would score on a weak backhand that dribbled past Kiprusoff to bring the Wings back within one. All hell would break lose in the final half of the game, however. After Todd Bertuzzi got the gate for for four minutes for interference/unsportsmanlike conduct, Nik Hagman set off a string of three consecutive penalties for the Flames, and Nicklas Lidstrom would score on a brief Detroit powerplay when he beat a sliding Miikka Kiprusoff with just 3.2 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.
The Wings would out-shoot their visitors 14-8 in the third period, and their territorial dominance would translate into a 12-0 advantage in scoring chances throughout the final half of the third period. This would continue into the short OT period, as the boxscore has the Wings with four shots on goal before Lidstrom put home his second of the night just 1:38 in to claim the victory for Detroit. The final shot count was 38-27 for the Wings.
The biggest loss for the Flames tonight may not have come on the scoresheet though, as Robyn Regehr limped off the ice in the third period with the help of a few teammates after a collision with a Wings player sent him crashing hard into the end boards. Regehr did walk out of the arena unaided according to the Herald's Vicki Hall, however, which is good news. Rene Bourque also missed some time after taking a high hit from Justin Abdelkader, but he would return.
Needless to say this was an extremely disappointing loss for the Flames. While the Wings got some bounces and some help from the officials, it was another game where the Flames were the better team for the majority of it, but were done in by some stupid mistakes, bad penalties (I'm looking at you Matt Stajan), and a couple soft goals on Kiprusoff's part. It's especially frustrating when they work hard and do all the right things against a good team like Detroit that is capable of turning a game around so quickly when the opposition lets up in the slightest. The Flames' play for the first fifty minutes was certainly encouraging, but they failed to stick with it and buckle down when the going got tough, something that shouldn't be occurring with with this degree of frequency when you have a veteran team.
The Flames are in New York for another early tilt with Sean Avery and the Rangers tomorrow