The Detroit Red Wings kept making it interesting – and kept making it hard on themselves.
They wrapped up their four-game trek through Canada on Thursday at the Saddledome with an entertaining, high-paced score fest against the Calgary Flames. The Wings pulled Petr Mrazek with 2:30 to go in regulation only to give up an empty net goal within seconds, capping a 6-3 loss.
There was so much scoring, Anthony Mantha had a goal and two assists – and that was just in the second period. A bad play by Jonathan Ericsson hurt the Wings' cause and Mrazek could have done better on the first and fourth goals.
Martin Frk and Frans Nielsen also had goals and Dylan Larkin recorded his team-leading 13th assist.
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The Wings had a good jump to start the game, and got some good looks at Mike Smith. Mrazek made a terrific glove save on Johnny Gaudreau during a Flames power play. It was a rebound that caused the Wings to fall behind. Mrazek made the stop on Jaromir Jagr, but Mark Jankowski connected on the rebound to make it 1-0 Flames at 9:15 of the first period. Gaudreau made it 2-0 when he fired a shot through traffic at 13:56 (Gaudreau later scored the empty net goal).
Dylan Larkin had a great chance denied by Smith four minutes into the second period. Tomas Tatar won a puck battle along the walls and fired a pass to Larkin, who wound up a shot from the hashmarks. That was part of a 5-3 edge in shots as the Wings pushed the pace.
The Wings' momentum was stemmed thanks to a monumentally bad play by Ericsson. Mrazek played the puck right to him, and Ericsson didn't even look up before attempting a clearing pass up along the wall. The puck went straight to Mikael Backlund, who found Micheal Ferland; he drove to the net and made it 3-0 at 6:02 of the second period.
Frk bought the Wings some breathing room when he finished a nice play by Larkin during a Wings' power play. It's the fourth straight time Larkin's power play unit has converted, while Henrik Zetterberg's unit has not scored since the Washington game. Nielsen scored at 15:49 of the second when he redirected a sweet backhand pass from Mantha (who'd also assisted on Frk's goal).
The Flames made it 4-1 at 12:23 of the second period when Brett Kulak's shot deflected in off Matthew Tkachuk's stick, which was above his waist. The Wings challenged goaltender interference and lost their timeout when video review showed there was none. Less than two minutes after Nielsen's goal, Jagr scored on an odd-man rush to put the Wings behind by three goals again.
As the seconds ran down in the second period, Nielsen drove the puck on net. Ericsson tried for a rebound, and Mantha picked up the spoils when his shot sank into Calgary's net with 3.3 seconds to go.