DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings almost automatic penalty kill let them down late in the third period Thursday night against the Dallas Stars.
And it led to another defeat on home ice.
The Stars scored the equalizer on the power play with just over a minute to play in regulation and then got the game winner with 18.5 seconds to play in overtime to skate by the Wings, 4-3.
It was Detroit’s fourth straight loss on home ice.
“It’s something we really have to change,” said Henrik Zetterberg, who had three assists in the loss. “The only good thing is we have a lot more games here coming up here this month at home. We keep playing like this we’re going to win games.”
The Wings, who play seven of their next eight at Joe Louis Arena, dropped to 3-2-3 on home ice.
It’s Detroit’s first four-game losing streak on home ice since 2009.
“We’ve got a possible three points out of a possible eight in the last few at home,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We need to be better than that.”
Detroit got goals from Todd Bertuzzi, Adam Almquist and Pavel Datsyuk, while Dallas had tallies from Shawn Horcoff, Jamie Benn, Cody Eakin and Rich Peverley.
Jimmy Howard made 24 saves for the Wings and Kari Lehtonen stopped 26 shots.
Clinging to a one-goal lead late in the third period, Justin Abdelkader was sent off for goalie interference, which led to Eakin’s equalizer with 1:10 left in regulation.
“I would think a penalty 200-feet from at home isn’t a good one,” Babcock said. “All you have to do is flip it in the corner and grind out some time off the clock then life is good for you. You can’t take a penalty in the offensive zone, or anywhere if it’s going to cause a goal.
“It wasn’t his intention to hurt the team, but it’s a lesson learned,” Babcock added.
The power play goal snapped a string of 19 in a row the Wings had killed off.
Peverley got the winner with 19 seconds left in overtime, looping around the faceoff circle before firing a shot past Howard, who was screened.
“We were moving a lot in the zone and Val made a nice play to me and I just tried to come off and there was a row of traffic in front and I don’t think he (Howard) saw it,” Peverley said.
Datsyuk had given the Wings the lead in the third with another highlight reel goal to his collection.
From near the goal line, Zetterberg fired a pass right on the stick of Datsyuk, who walked by Horcoff as he swung and missed with his stick, and then wristed a shot over Lehtonen’s blocker.
The assist was Zetterberg’s third of the game.
This came after Benn tied the game at 2-2 early in the third, skating through four Wings, two at center ice and then Niklas Kronwall, before keeping his shot along the ice to beat Howard, who had his left pad raised, to tie the game early in the third period.
Benn stripped the puck from Darren Helm just over center ice before making his way into Detroit’s zone.
The Wings nearly played a complete second period, if it wasn’t for the goal they allowed with 20.1 seconds left before intermission.
It was the hard work down low by Datsyuk that led to the first goal of the game.
Datsyuk battled three Stars down below the goal line to chip a pass to Henrik Zetterberg, who in turn fed it to Bertuzzi in the slot for the one timer to beat Lehtonen just before the halfway point of the game.
Just over seven minutes later, Almquist netted his first goal of his NHL career.
The rookie defensemen snuck in from the point, taking a pass from Henrik Zetterberg to beat Lehtonen five-hole to double the Wings’ advantage.
“That was (too bad) we couldn’t get the two points we wanted,” Almquist said. “It was a bitter end, bittersweet. We worked hard and deserved to win.”
The Stars did get a goal right before the end of the period, when Horcoff found himself alone in front of Howard after taking a feed from Alex Chiasson. Horcoff waited for Howard to commit before going top shelf with his shot.
“I think that was a huge goal for Shawn Horcoff with 20 seconds left in the second there, and that really got us going,” Peverley said. “It put us in reach there and obviously Jamie’s goal was highlight reel, one of the best I’ve seen all year. So like I said, I think we did a good job of being persistent, and it showed.”