Detroit Red Wings Lose 7-1 Without Zetterberg on Gordie Howe's 85th Birthday

Eric McKelvieSenior Writer IApril 1, 2013

DETROIT, MI - MARCH 31: Jonas Gustavsson #50 of the Detroit Red Wings replaces Jimmy Howard #35 after Howard surrendered the fourth goal of the game in the second period during an NHL game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena on March 31, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings put forth a dismal effort on the day the greatest player in franchise history, Gordie Howe, celebrated his 85th birthday. 

The Red Wings lost 7-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena Sunday afternoon, their worst loss since being shut out by the St. Louis Blues in the first game of the season. 

The Red Wings’ players took to the ice in warm-up wearing Howe’s No. 9 jersey, while fans had the opportunity to sign a card and sing "Happy Birthday" to Mr. Hockey during the game. 

In attendance along with Howe were a couple of other Red Wings legends, Ted Lindsay and Alex Delvecchio. Former captain Nicklas Lidstrom was also at the game, while current captain Henrik Zetterberg sat out due to a groin injury, according to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. 

Detroit’s poor performance out of the gate allowed the Blackhawks to go up big early, with three goals in a 1:39 span in the first five minutes of the game. Jeremy Morin scored his first of the season, while Brandon Saad and Dave Bolland notched the next two goals, all at even strength. 

The Red Wings, meanwhile, still hadn’t recorded a shot at this point. 

Jonathan Toews scored his 17th of the season early in the second, which led to Jonas Gustavsson replacing Jimmy Howard. Gustavsson didn’t fare much better, allowing Saad and Bolland to score their second goals of the game, before Nick Leddy made it 7-0 late in the third.

All this offensive output came from a Chicago team that was missing Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp.

Cory Emmerton scored the lone goal for the Wings, ending Corey Crawford’s shutout bid at 19:27 of the third period. 

Ian White was the only Detroit player to not record a minus rating, while Mikael Samuelsson was injured yet again and didn’t play in the third period.   

With the loss the Red Wings find themselves in seventh place in the Western Conference, just two points ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets and one point behind the San Jose Sharks.