Maybe the Red Wings were overdue for a game like this “” the kind where nothing goes quite right. The frustrating kind where none of the passes are exactly where they should be, your power plays are cut short by penalties being called, none of the bounces land in spots where they might be useful, all of the shots hit the goalie or go just wide, and the skaters just can’t seem to get going. And as is typical of a bad-luck game, it just HAD to be against a team everyone hates to lose to, Detroit’s oldest rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. A 3-0 shutout, to be exact.
The Blackhawks were full of offensive fire in the first period, outshooting Detroit by a 13 to 5 margin. Manny Legace was strong in net, especially on a point blank glove save against Brett McLean with just under six minutes to go in the first.
Nathan Dempsey opened the scoring for Chicago with 4:24 left in the period. He took a pass from Kyle Calder and shot on net from a very tight angle. The puck deflected off the skate of Niklas Kronwall and slipped in between Legace and the short side goal post.
The first period flowed nicely, but the second was choppy and full of penalties. The penalty killers for both teams did such a good job that hardly any shots on net were registered in the full twenty minutes””five for Chicago and four for Detroit. Tuomo Ruutu finally increased Chicago’s lead with a power play goal with 1:36 left in the period.
Deron Quint put the game away for the Blackhawks with another power play goal late in the third. Steve Sullivan passed Quint the puck as he was coming up the slot, and Quint one-timed a high shot through a screen over Legace’s blocker. In the end, Chicago outshot Detroit by a count of 27 to 20. The Red Wings’ next game will be their traditional New Year’s Eve home game. The opponent for this year is the high-scoring Atlanta Thrashers.
Tomas Holmstrom returned to the lineup for this game, but Jason Woolley was out. He blocked a shot with his foot during Friday’s game against the Wild. He is expected back in the lineup on Wednesday…. Chris Chelios is also scheduled to return against the Thrashers.