The Detroit Red Wings lost a frustrating 3-2 decision to the Florida Panthers on Saturday night, and they lost the game because of a controversial goal scored with 7.9 seconds remaining in regulation:
What Henrik Zetterberg had to say: “The inconsistency in this league right now, if it’s the refs or it’s the guys in Toronto or if it’s the suspensions or if it’s the fines, it’s hard for us as players to know what rules we are playing under.”
— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) February 4, 2018
Justin Abdelkader on controversial Jonathan Huberdeau goal: “That’s insane they call that a goal. … It shocks me that they called that a goal.”
— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) February 4, 2018
But the Red Wings made sure to point out that they lost the game to a team that now is tied with Detroit in the Eastern Conference and Wild Card standings. Detroit sits at 21-22-and-8, Florida at 22-22-and-6, with Detroit losing the tiebreaker because they’ve played in 51 games to Florida’s 50.
Get it right.
I don’t care how long it takes to review, I don’t care how embarrassed the league or the GM’s or the owners are because “It takes too long.”
Get it right. Consistently right.
— George Malik (@georgemalik) February 4, 2018
Our friends from Florida felt that the NHL’s situation room “got it right,” as they told FloridaPanthers.com’s Jameson Olive:
With time ticking down, Keith Yandle fired a slap shot towards Detroit’s net, with Huberdeau, who was jockeying for position at the top of the crease, burying the impending rebound past goaltender Petr Mrazek to give Florida the lead late.
The goal was reviewed for goaltender interference — prompting the crowd to break out in a raucous “Goal! Goal! Goal” chant – but was eventually upheld.
“The atmosphere was great tonight,” said Huberdeau, who is tied for first on the Panthers with 18 goals. “Even the chant – ‘Go, Panthers, go!’ – helped us a lot in the third period. It just got us going.”
Boughner said he was confident the call was going to stand.
“We’ve had some go against us, but in my view, looking down, he started outside the blue he got pushed in a little bit by their D,” Boughner said. “I’m thinking, at the end of the day, that’s kind of what affect their call. There was some goalie contact, but I think it was more form incidental contact. That’s what I was thinking. I was crossing my fingers that’s what they thought, too.”
As a result:
The Panthers (22-22-6) remain undefeated coming out of the All-Star break, pulling within seven points of the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with their third straight victory.
“We’ve just got to get on a roll,” Huberdeau said. “That’s what we need to have a chance to make the playoffs. I think we’ve just got to keep going. We have a day off tomorrow and then come back Monday ready to work.”
The Panthers continued discussing the call with the Sun-Sentinel’s Matthew DeFranks…
“In the moment, you don’t really pay attention to this,” Huberdeau said. “But after I saw I bumped into him a little bit, I’m just glad it went our way tonight.”
But the Panthers did prevail, and they prevailed due to a lot of hard work, a tremendous number of shot attempts, smarter play than the Wings…and a couple of good bounces:
Ekblad opened the scoring with an unusual goal 3:14 into the game. After he ducked down from the blue line on the right side, he collected a pass from Jonathan Huberdeau and swiveled past a Red Wings defender. He switched to his backhand and flipped a puck into the top left corner of the goal.
But a horn did not fill the BB&T Center. A referee’s arm did not signal a goal. So it was a goal with pomp but with confusion. Ekblad celebrated anyway in the corner with his teammates and the Panthers claimed a 1-0 lead after officials ruled it a good goal.
It was Ekblad’s 10th goal of the season, the fourth straight season he’s scored double-digit goals. Only 15 defensemen in NHL history have scored at least 10 goals in their first four seasons. Eight are in the Hall of Fame, including Ekblad’s agent Bobby Orr and Panthers’ color commentator Denis Potvin.
Then the DeKeyser Show began. DeKeyser was an unlikely source of offense for Detroit. He entered Saturday night with just two goals and two assists in 33 games. Unlike teammate Mike Green, DeKeyser isn’t lauded for his offensive ability. But he matched his season total for goals in just one game.
His first goal, at 8:51 of the second period, tied the game when he beat Harri Sateri with a wrist shot from the left circle. It marked DeKeyser’s second straight game with a goal after he scored in Carolina the night before.
DeKeyser’s second goal — which tied the game at two after Florida regained the lead on Barkov’s low wrist shot in the second period — was less pretty. He crashed the net after a rebound and the puck caromed off his skate and into the net. The officials ruled that it was a good goal, scoring without the aid of a kick.
“You’re allowed to redirect now and I looked at it three or four times and he didn’t swing his leg,” Boughner said. “He just turned his foot. I think it was the right call as well.”
The Associated Press’s recap serves as a fine pivot point between the Panthers and Red Wings’ perspectives:
“I just think it’s frustrating because it appears it’s changed in the last week,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “A week ago, for sure, that was no goal. This week it looks like everything’s a goal. Over the All-Star break they had lots of conversations, and it’s changed in a week.”
Aleksander Barkov and Aaron Ekblad also scored for the Panthers, and Harri Sateri made 26 saves for his third straight NHL win. Keith Yandle had two assists to help the Panthers win their third straight.
“I was proud of the way we kept battling to the end. It was an up-and-down game,” said Panthers coach Bob Boughner, who admitted he also wasn’t sure about that late goal. “There was some goalie contact, but it was more from incidental contact. That’s what I was thinking. And crossing my fingers that’s what they thought, too.”
Danny DeKeyser scored both goals for Detroit and Mrazek stopped 30 shots in his third straight start.
“I don’t know what’s going to be goalie interference,” Mrazek said. “He came inside the crease and bumped me a little bit and I fell. Real disappointing and very upset. We fought hard and deserved that point tonight.”
Many of the Detroit players were bitter at the loss, especially being so close to at least one point.
“Losing a game like this on a call that yesterday could have been goalie interference and today it’s not?” Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “Probably tomorrow that will be goalie interference again.”
The Wings continued discussing the call with the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan…
Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau scored with 7.7 seconds left in regulation — on a play the Red Wings felt Huberdeau interfered with goaltender Petr Mrazek — giving the Florida Panthers a dramatic 3-2 victory. The goal was analyzed by the review center in Toronto and upheld, much to the amazement of the Red Wings.
“That’s insane they called that a goal,” forward Justin Abdelkader said. “That was an easy one, I thought. It’s frustrating.”
Abdelkader said he and captain Henrik Zetterberg got different explanations from referees, only adding to the confusion of what exactly is goaltending interference these days.
Mrazek, too, felt confident the interference would be called, saying he was bumped by Huberdeau, who Mrazek felt, didn’t allow him to have an opportunity to make a save.
“There was a shot from the blue line and I just tried to come out,” Mrazek said. “I didn’t think Greener (defenseman Mike Green) pushed him (Huberdeau) at all inside. I lost the puck and I lost (balance) because he (Huberdeau) bumped me in front and he got the rebound for (himself). Real disappointing and real upset. We should have had a win.”
The captain agreed, as he told the Free Press’s Helene St. James:
“The inconsistency in this league right now, if it’s the refs or it’s the guys in Toronto or if it’s the suspensions or if it’s the fines, it’s hard for us as players to know what rules we are playing under,” Zetterberg said. “You see it over and over again.
“Losing a game like this that is really important, the points are really important, on a call that yesterday could have been goalie interference and tonight it’s not. Probably tomorrow that will be goalie interference again. That’s what’s frustrating for us. They have to find a way to deal with this.”
Zetterberg said he was told by one of the officials that there wasn’t enough interference to overturn the goal.
“I don’t know if it has anything to do with how the game was and how emotionally involved he was with us tonight or not,” Zetterberg said. “But the decision was made that it was a good goal and I believe it was the wrong call.”
Justin Abdelkader was particularly thoughtful in his remarks as he is familiar with the opposition’s goal crease:
“It’s insane that they call that a goal,” he said. “Regardless of if Petr falls or not, Petr has got to be able to make that save and he falls back, and Huberdeau puts the puck in the net. Seven seconds left. It shocks me that they call that a goal.
“It doesn’t seem like we are on the same page. I think everyone around the league – players, coaches, general managers – don’t know what’s a goal and what is not within goaltender interference. It’s frustrating because we battled our tails off to get at least a point in this game, and to get that ripped away from us at this stage, when we are really fighting for a playoff spot, it’s probably the most frustrating event.”
Abdelkader had reason to be frustrated: Like Tomas Holmstrom before him, Abdelkader’s willingness to hover around the crease has been the reason the Wings have had goals not count over the years.
“I’ve seen it where I thought I was outside the crease,” Abdelkader said. “Maybe my back end is in the crease, and I barely make any contact and the goalie falls or the goalie is not able to make a save, and it’s called no goal. I’m fine with that, as long as it is consistent. If the goalie can’t make a save in his crease or he gets bumped, I don’t care if it’s even the slightest bump, if he can’t make the save, then it’s got to be no goal.”
DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji did an excellent job of both covering the goaltender interference non-call and discussing the game that took place as well, and it’s the latter part of her recap that we’ll examine:
Danny DeKeyser: After Friday night’s 4-1 victory in Carolina in which DeKeyser and Trevor Daley both scored goals and only Daley celebrated, DeKeyser was asked about working on some better celebrations. DeKeyser said he would “let the guys who score a lot do that stuff.” Perhaps DeKeyser needs to rethink his position. At 8:51 of the second period, DeKeyser came into the zone and Frans Nielsen found him in the slot and DeKeyser’s shot went in the top left corner of the net, beating Panthers goaltender Harri Sateri. It was DeKeyser’s third goal of the season. DeKeyser was also celebrating his 350th career NHL game. But DeKeyser was hardly done. At 3:00 of the third period, DeKeyser drove to the net and the rebound of Darren Helm‘s shot went off DeKeyser’s skate into the net, tying the game at 2. DeKeyser has four goals in 34 games after scoring four in 82 games last season.
Quotable: “I think Danny’s been excellent for a month and a half really. I think he’s really played well. It was a slow start for him. I think the injury was tough, and then you jump in midstream. That’s harder than people realize, especially with the responsibility that we put on Danny. But you know we’ve emphasized the D getting involved from the beginning of the year, but we certainly have re-emphasized it and the importance of our D adding offense, and they’ve done a good job of it.” – Blashill
Petr Mrazek: Blashill decided to go with the hot hand again, starting Mrazek in both games in the back-to-back and for the third time in four nights. Mrazek was kept quite busy. Windsor, Ontario native Aaron Ekblad beat Mrazek stick-side at 3:17 of the first period. Mrazek made several big saves, on Nick Bjugstad at 14:16 of the first, on Mike Matheson early in the second and on Keith Yandle on the breakaway at 10:29 of the second. At 13:38, Aleksander Barkov broke free of Henrik Zetterberg and beat Mrazek for a 2-1 lead.
Quotable: “I felt pretty good. I got ready and do the best I can. I think it was a pretty good night for all of us tonight.” – Mrazek
I would argue that the Wings were downright dopey in the 1st period, better in the 2nd period and fully awake in the 3rd period, playing a rope-a-dope kind of game, but that’s my take.
In the end, it doesn’t matter what I think or what the Wings think, because, as NHL.com’s Alain Poupart notes (in a recap that tries to steer away from the controversial part of the result):
“It’s a big win,” Huberdeau said. “We don’t give them any points. We’ve just got to get on a roll. That’s what we need to have a chance to make the playoffs. We’ve just got to keep going.”
Because of that games played tiebreaker, the Wings look up at the Panthers in the standings as of this morning, and it’s the Panthers that are on a roll.
The Wings will host the Boston Bruins (who never seem to lose, especially against Detroit) on Tuesday; the Wings will head to Brooklyn for a road tilt on Friday the 9th, and then the Wings play every other day or more for 2 weeks and 9 games, with their final pre-trade deadline game taking place on the 25th of the month.
We’ll know whether the Wings can “make a push” soon enough, and if I may be partisan for a moment, I’ll say this: we know they’ll get no help from the rest of the NHL, nor the league itself, so they ought not to rely upon the rules to guide them.
Highlights: NHL.com posted a 4:04 highlight clip…
Post-game: The Panthers’ website posted a 1:23 clip of Aaron Ekblad, Harri Sateri and coach Bob Boughner’s post-game comments;
Fox Sports Detroit posted post-game comments from Henrik Zetterberg…
Photos: The Free Press posted a 15-image gallery;
The Detroit News posted a 10-image gallery;
The Sun-Sentinel posted an 8-image gallery;
ESPN posted a 16-image gallery;
Here’s the Game Summary…
And the Event Summary:
Final shot attempts were 66-43 Florida. That’s the telling stat to me. Florida threw a lot more rubber at Detroit’s net, and they won because of it.
Red Wings notebooks and also of Red Wings-related note: DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji asked the Wings to weigh in on the Superbowl…and she also spoke with Henrik Zetterberg about Gustav Nyquist’s play, which I think is a little more important:
When Gustav Nyquist scored the Wings’ third goal in the third period Friday night against Carolina, it was his 15th goal in his 50th game of the season.
As with many of Nyquist’s goals, this one was assisted by captain Henrik Zetterberg.
“I think last year he got going and then all of a sudden, he was away for six games there,” Zetterberg said, referring to Nyquist’s six-game suspension. “But he’s been good this year. I think he’s working hard. He’s playing the game the right way. (Friday night) he got rewarded with a goal.”
Last season Nyquist drew some criticism when he scored just 12 goals in 76 games, even though he had 36 assists.
Blashill has said that Nyquist cannot be solely judged on his goal output.
“I think Gus, if you really take it for the season, he’s been one of our best forwards, both from a chances-for production standpoint and from a compete standpoint,” Blashill said. “I thought his competition level tonight was excellent. I thought that line with Zetterberg, Nyquist and (Anthony) Mantha – I thought Mantha was excellent (Friday night) – they were great against San Jose, they were great again (Friday night).”
The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan also spoke with Danny DeKeyser regarding his surge of late:
“I definitely feel better on the ice the last few weeks,” DeKeyser said. “I’ve been playing a little better as well. The ankle injury kind of sets you back a bit. I would definitely say I’m feeling pretty good right now.”
It was Helm who fed DeKeyser on the goal, with a little bank pass of the boards for a one-timer from the point.
Trevor Daley added a goal in the second period [on Friday night], also on a feed by Helm, giving the Red Wings two goals from defensemen, who have contributed three goals in the last two games.
“We saw tonight what they can do, what the team can do, when we get a couple goals from them,” Helm said. “It’s game by committee with our team.”
Said Blashill: “Two areas I thought were easy ways to create more offense (after the break), (were) shooting the puck and defensemen getting involved more in the offense. We haven’t produced enough points from our back end and we have the ability to, and to start to show (offense) is a big thing for us.”