By Will Burchfield
Over the course of an 82-game season, these are the things that balance themselves out.
Questionable calls. Weird bounces. It’s the nature of hockey.
The Detroit Red Wings used the latter to overcome the former on Friday night, dousing the red-hot New York Islanders, 5-4, at Joe Louis Arena. The Islanders had gone 6-0-1 in their past seven games before running into the Wings.
The winning goal, a pinball-type shot by Danny DeKeyser from the left dasher boards, bounced off two Islanders before it snuck past goalie Thomas Greiss with 28 seconds to go.
“I don’t really know what to say about it,” DeKeyser said. “It was just that, I guess — a pinball.”
It’s the kind of break the Wings haven’t seemed to receive this season.
“Those bounces feel great,” said Anthony Mantha, who picked up a goal and an assist. “We (haven’t) had a lot of those, and I think having a few in the future is going to help us in the standings.”
Said Henrik Zetterberg, “Most of the time during the year, those even out. I think that we had some bounces against us lately so it was nice to see that we got one on our side.”
Was this the Hockey Gods evening their universe?
“I don’t know about that,” said coach Jeff Blashill. “I know if you shoot the puck you’ll get some bounces sometimes, we obviously had a bounce on that one.”
Still, the fortuitous bounce seemed fair — appropriate, even — for the Wings, who had been on the receiving end of some less-than-stellar officiating. The most galling example came in the second period when Frans Nielsen was called for goalie interference after clearly being shoved into Greiss by an Islanders’ defenseman.
New York scored on the ensuing power play, but not before Nielsen had a long chat with one of the referees on his way to the box.
Blashill smiled knowingly when asked about the officiating afterward.
“The one that comes to mind is just the goalie interference, the Nielsen one. He got bumped in. Now, it’s a tough call. Those are things that happen real fast and you’ve gotta fight through tough calls at times.
“I think if he could have seen the replay like we can, he wouldn’t have made the call, but he doesn’t get that opportunity. That’s why it’s a tough job,” Blashill said.
Captain Zetterberg echoed his coach, explaining poor calls aren’t worth worrying about.
“When you’re in the game you don’t think about it. Sometimes you get mad at them but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” he said. “Tomorrow, we might have them on our side.”