With a pair of sharp one-timers, Jarome Iginla extended Detroit’s early-season funk.
The Calgary captain scored twice Thursday night, and the Flames beat the slumping Red Wings 4-1. Detroit’s now lost six straight (0-5-1) after winning its first five of the year. The Red Wings held Calgary to 22 shots, but managed only Danny Cleary’s second-period goal off a strange bounce. They heard plenty of boos by the time the game was over.
”I would expect them to break out pretty fast. Just a matter of time,” Iginla said. ”They have a lot of talent and a lot of winning over there.”
The only breakout on this night was Iginla’s. He scored only two goals in his first 10 games before doubling that total Thursday.
Iginla made it 2-0 with a power-play goal in the second period, beating goaltender Jimmy Howard with a one-timer from the faceoff dot to the left of the net. Then he added an insurance goal in the third in similar fashion.
With Calgary ahead 2-1, Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff denied Cleary, who was alone in front. About 20 seconds later, Iginla scored. After a couple of Red Wings overskated the puck in the Detroit zone, Curtis Glencross came up with it for the Flames and found Iginla open in the left circle. Iginla’s one-timer made it 3-1 with 11:21 remaining.
”When you keep losing, losing, losing, you’re making changes, changes, changes instead of keep it simple and believe in yourself and do what you’ve been doing all these years,” Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg said. ”It’s easy to start thinking and doing too much.”
Iginla hadn’t scored since Oct. 20.
”It feels good, for sure,” he said. ”To see that first one go in on the power play, it’s been a little while.”
Lee Stempniak scored in the first period for the Flames, and Olli Jokinen added an empty-net goal off an assist from Iginla. Kiprusoff made 28 saves.
Detroit’s scored just six goals in its last six games and were held under 31 shots for the first time this season.
”We’re the same team that was 5-0, we’re the same team that’s 5-5-1,” Cleary said. ”We’re getting good goaltending. Obviously, we’re struggling offensively. That’s an understatement for us. So, we’ve got to find a way to grind out a game until we get our groove going.”
Stempniak opened the scoring with 4:08 left in the first. He gathered the puck to the left of the net, spun and took a shot from a severe angle that somehow slipped past Howard at the near post.
Iginla scored his first of the night 4:37 into the second period, while Detroit’s Jiri Hudler was serving a hooking penalty.
Hudler was hurt shortly after when he was pushed into the boards by Scott Hannan and hit his head. Hudler was able to return later, and Hannan picked up a holding penalty.
The Wings took advantage when Niklas Kronwall’s shot was stopped by Kiprusoff and appeared to bounce in off the chest of Cleary, who had good position in front.
The goal seemed to energize the Wings a bit, but they had nothing to show for their efforts even after some sustained pressure early in the third.
”They’re always tough. A lot of traffic, a lot of shots,” Kiprusoff said. ”It was the same thing tonight.”
Iginla was alongside Jokinen when he scored the game’s final goal, but there was also a Detroit player nearby, and Jokinen decided to take the shot into the empty net.
NOTES: According to STATS, LLC, the last time the Red Wings went six games without a win was a similar 0-5-1 stretch in February 2008. … The Flames hadn’t allowed a power-play goal on the road all season before Cleary scored. … Detroit D Mike Commodore, who signed a one-year deal in the offseason, played his first game with the Wings after sitting out with a knee injury. … Jokinen’s empty-netter was also a power-play goal.