Red Wings lose to Stars, but KEEP ALL THEIR PLAYERS.

“Why the ear?!”

Oy. It looked good for a while there, but the back-and-forth second period clearly gained more momentum for the Stars than it did for the Red Wings, as Detroit falls 4-3 in regulation, ending their four game winning streak.

1. Clearly, Brad May and Krys Barch like one another – they were hardly throwing actual punches. Entertaining nonetheless, but it sure as hell doesn’t have the hate factor of a McCarty/Lemiuex or Probert/Domi.
2. Drew Miller continues to make things happen. He and Kris Draper had a great flurry in the first period, and had Turco flopping all over the place. Later in the first, Miller had another scoring chance. I’m becoming a very big fan of his. I’m not certain he’s one of the top 12 forwards when everyone’s healthy, but he’s sure as hell on his way.
3. Tomas Holmstrom buried the puck to a vacated net for the first goal of the game. Great play all around: strong effort in the defensive zone, nice handling through the neutral zone, and even though Bertuzzi’s “shot” couldn’t have been much weaker, the fact that he got a stick on that puck as he was draped by two defenders was impressive. With Turco way out of the net, Homer made sure there was no “intent to blow” on the play.
4. This may have been Nicklas Lidstrom’s best game in a while. On the first power play, he made two really nice plays to keep the puck in the zone — one on EACH SIDE OF THE ICE. If you’ve never played hockey, you might not realize how insanely difficult that is, and watching him you’d think it was easy. It is not.
5. The first Stars goal was beautifully set up. Just another one of those goals that should hit mesh. Lebda maybe could have had this man (Benn) a little stronger, but Mike Ribeiro made a great pass to Karlis Skrastins.
6. I think Bertuzzi put the puck in the Wings net on the second Stars goal. It looks like it hit Rafalski somewhere, James Neal’s toe/stick, and finally Bertuzzi’s skate. Not sure it counts in Todd Bertuzzi’s OMFG TOTALLY AWESOME GOAL SCORING STREAK. He immediately made up for it, by softly passing past his man onto Pavel Datsyuk’s stick for a very slight re-direct (in fact, on the replay, it looked like it might have gone right from Bertuzzi to net). Very weak goal for Turco to allow, particularly right after having the lead for the first time all day. Tied 2-2.
7. Oh wait, we’ll take the lead back, thanks. James Neal scores his second of the period. Stars lead 3-2 on the third goal in about 11 seconds. OH WAIT AGAIN! Pavel Datsyuk with a nifty pass to Bertuzzi, who absolutely crushed a slap shot into the corner. End of the second period, which somehow finds the score 3-3. Real goaltending duel all of a sudden.
8. Not how you want to start the third period of a back-and-forth game. A little over a minute in, the Wings found themselves playing from behind – again. Great shot from Skrastins, who buried his second of the game (and season). Howard left a bit to be desired in the second half of this game after starting really strong.
9. The Stars played the last two minutes with a hell of a lot more fire than the Red Wings did, and they already had the lead. Very little urgency from our boys. With a minute left to go, Jimmy Howard made a save that gave the Wings a chance for the tie.
10. Blech. Poor second half of the game kills the Wings.

1. Howard played well in the first period penalty kill and the shifts following – lots of big saves, looked very confident. He had great saves on Ott and Richards. Then, the second period was a bit of a wild card: pucks were getting past both goaltenders, and it’s a period I’m sure Howard would like back. The fourth Stars goal was of the weak variety, but Howard made up for it as he stopped a breakaway with just under a minute to go.
2. Helm played a TON. He wasn’t eased into the lineup at all, playing over 19 minutes – the most of any Red Wings forward. Shows a lot of man-love that Babcock clearly has for Helm. He looked great. No rust. He had another breakaway and, even though he didn’t convert, I’m convinced he’ll find his hands eventually. And when he does, everyone else will have to watch out because he’s one of the biggest threats the Wings will have.
3. Datsyuk. That’s what I’m talking about. A goal and two assists, clearly realizing he has to pick up his game in Z’s absence.
4. The second line didn’t generate much, and to be honest – outside of Eaves – I don’t remember seeing much of it. Fact is, I’m not sure Eaves-Abdelkader-Leino is expected to be explosive.
5. Bertuzzi. Son of a bitch. A goal and two assists. YOU’RE KILLIN ME, SMALLS! In related news, Tyler from The Triple Deke and I are working on some sort of Contuzzi Alliance and/or Fight to the Death. Visit Twitter for details as they unfold.

What’s next?
The Wings visit the Windy City tomorrow at 7pm, getting their first glimpse of Hossa since his defection.

Photo Credit: Tim Sharp, AP