With the Detroit goaltender lying on his back, Kristian Huselius fired in his 31st of the season to break a 1-1 tie as the Calgary Flames escaped with a 2-1 victory over the Red Wings on Tuesday. The winning goal came at 17:34 of the second period with Calgary was on its fifth consecutive power play.
While Dion Phaneuf was blasting a slapshot high and wide of the Detroit net, Jarome Iginla nudged Hasek while battling for position. Hasek emphatically threw his head and body backwards looking for a call.
With no penalty forthcoming, Tanguay collected the rebound off the end glass, quickly zipped a pass across the slot to an unmarked Huselius for the goal.
“Obviously, we had a lot of pressure on them there,” said Huselius. “Tangs made a great play and I saw Hasek was scrambling in front so I just tried to hit the net.”
Hasek said afterwards he didn’t know what happened.
“Somebody bumped me in the head, I don’t know it if was my teammate or their player, and I fell down on my back,” the 42-year-old goaltender said. “I was a little bit confused, I didn’t know what was going on and before I got up, they scored that goal.”
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock offered a different version of what happened adding that he addressed the situation with Hasek at the second intermission.
“It wasn’t interference at all. Our goalie tried to draw the penalty and he dove and they shot it in the net,” Babcock said bluntly. “The bottom line is embellishment is something that happens in our games, probably too much, and when you try and draw a penalty and they shoot it in our net, it’s a tough one.”
Calgary picked up an important two points in the Western Conference playoff race. Having seen a nine-point lead over the ninth place Colorado Avalanche whittled down to just four points in the past week, Calgary snapped a three-game losing streak at the expense of the Red Wings. Detroit missed an opportunity to move past Nashville into first place in the Central Division.
“It was a big game and we came through,” said Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, who made 30 saves. “We know we’re able to play well and today was a really strong game from us.”
Daymond Langkow also scored for Calgary (38-25-10). The Flames improve to an NHL-best 29-7-2 at home.
Pavel Datsyuk scored the lone goal for Detroit (45-19-9). The Red Wings dropped both games on its short trip out West having lost 4-1 Saturday night in Vancouver.
A win would have not only moved Detroit into top spot in the division, but also past Buffalo into first place overall in the NHL.
“We still have a few games left here but we missed a chance tonight and we’re starting to run out of games,” said Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom. “We want to play well down the stretch and play disciplined down the stretch and that’s not something we’ve been doing the past couple games.”
While Calgary was 2-for-5 with the extra man, the Red Wings had just one man advantage and that came in the third period.
“We wanted to be physical but at the same time, we wanted to be disciplined and we did a great job of that tonight,” said Langkow, whose first period goal was the 30th of the year. With Iginla (34) and Huselius (31) having already reached that plateau, Calgary joins Buffalo as the only two teams with three 30-goal scorers.
Detroit trailed 1-0 entering the second period but pulled even at 1:27 when Datsyuk dashed down the wing, neatly sidestepped Craig Conroy, and whipped a shot past Kiprusoff. His 23rd goal of the season extends his scoring streak to 11 games (four goals, 13 assists).
Notes – Calgary’s line-up was bolstered by the return from injury of three veterans. … Conroy (missed four games), D Rhett Warrener (three games), and C Stephane Yelle (two games). … New to the Flames injured list was rookie LW David Moss with an undisclosed lower body injury… Detroit got C Johan Franzen back from injury after missing four games… Red Wings trade deadline acquisition Todd Bertuzzi (back) is expected to make his debut during Detroit’s upcoming three-game homestand with Saturday night rumoured to be the target… Detroit entered the night ranked first in the NHL in average shots per game for (33.7) as well as average shots per game against (24.3).