DETROIT – It wouldn’t be a Detroit Red Wings home unless it wasn’t decided until after 60 minutes of hockey.
And Tuesday night it went even longer than the extra five minutes played after a tie score at the end of regulation.
But again the outcome was the same, as the Wings fell to the Winnipeg Jets, 3-2, in a shootout at Joe Louis Arena.
“It’s tough when we don’t get two points,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “We did a lot of good things and I think we played solid defense, created enough chances to win and (Jimmy Howard) played good enough to win the game, but we can’t find a way to go all the way. It’s frustrating. It’s tough. We want to win, but right now we can’t find a way.”
The Wings are now 0-1-5 in their last six games on home ice.
“It’s disappointing to not come away with two points, but I think it was a step in the right direction,” Niklas Kronwall said. “We did a lot of good things out there. I thought we played a full 60 minutes. We kept going. Sure there were times when they were in our zone, but we kept our composure, staying on the inside and not giving them
too many chances for free.”
It’s the Wings’ longest winless streak at home since the 1996-97 season and they’re not 3-2-5 at home this season.
“During the season you’re going to have you ups and downs and right now we’re in a bit of a slump,” Kronwall said. “Everyone really worked hard, we kept going after them, going after them. It didn’t matter if we were down by a goal, we kept going after them.
“I think tonight was a step in the right direction,” Kronwall continued. “We played decent hockey for 60 minutes. If we keep playing like this more often than not we’re going to come away with two points.”
Devin Setoguchi and Andrew Ladd scored in the shootout for Winnipeg, while Daniel Alfredsson was the lone goal scorer for the Wings, who had a season-high 43 shots on goal.
Ladd is now 5-for-5 in shootout chances this season.
Pavel Datsyuk scored both goals in regulation, both of which came on the power play and Jimmy Howard made 19 saves.
Bryan Little and Zach Bogosian scored for the Jets. Ondrej Pavelec made 41 saves.
“We played the games better and better, but we need to build it and build it,” Datsyuk said.
The teams exchanged goals in the third period.
Bogosian walked in from the point, juking his way to free up a shooting lane, before firing a shot past Howard, who was caught out after going for the first faked attempt on goal midway through the third.
Then, Datsyuk got Detroit even with his second power play goal of the game.
The Wings contained the pressure in the Jets’ zone due in large part to 49 seconds of a 5-on-3 man advantage.
Just as the first of the two penalties expired, Johan Franzen was stoned by Pavelec with this right bad, but Datsyuk was there to grab the rebound and shove the puck just inside the post.
“We got the puck back, we generated offense, scored some goals, had a good net presence,” Babcock said of the Wings’ power play that went 2-for-4 on the night. “We had just given up a second goal. We needed a big-time goal and we got it. I thought it was real good.”
It was just Detroit’s third power play goal over the last seven games.
Winnipeg had a chance to win it in overtime, with a little over a minute of power play time when Jakub Kindl was sent off for slashing. But a right pad save on Ladd by Howard and a blocked shot by Datsyuk sent the game into the shootout.
“Sometimes you win games when you’re playing really well that you should probably and I thought this was a game we could have won easy tonight,” Babcock said. “To me, that’s going in the right direction. We’ve just got to keep positive about what’s going on and keep plugging.
“We didn’t play bad against Dallas,” Babcock added. “I thought the worst game we’ve played was Tampa. They took it to us. We wind up getting a point. Any way you look at it, we probably deserved two against Dallas and probably didn’t deserve any against Tampa.”
The Jets got on the board first three minutes before the midway point of the first period.
Datsyuk was caught up ice after failing to swipe the puck at Winnipeg’s blue line, which led to an odd-man rush.
Little one timed a cross-ice pass from Blake Wheeler that Howard had no chance on.
Datsyuk made up for it and got the equalizer for the Wings on their second power play chance of the game.
After settling a cross-ice pass from Zetterberg, Datsyuk cranked a wrist shot into the open net before Pavelec could lunge back in time.
Zetterberg extended his point streak to six games, collecting four goals and five assists, in that time.
Winnipeg’s last regular season win at Joe Louis Arena came on Jan. 8, 1996. Former Wings netminder Tim Cheveldae made 43 saves the Jets in their 6-4 win. Chris Osgood took the loss, facing just 19 shots.