By i) Pat Caputo

Midway through the second period Monday night at Joe Louis Arena, a perplexing feeling prevailed.

The Red Wings, who have made the playoffs 20 straight years, and the winners of four Stanley Cup championships since 1997, were decidedly confused.

The puck was shot innocently enough into the Red Wings’ zone. Rookie defenseman Brendan Smith, an immensely talented but inexperienced National Hockey League player, bungled while handling the puck. He then became woefully confused as he and his defense partner, Doug Janik, turned the same direction and then back. By then, the puck was in the back of the net, a goal scored by former University of Michigan standout and Red Wing Mike Knuble of the Washington Capitals. It turned a 1-0 game into a 2-0 game that was 3-0 by the end of the first period.

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