Original Six matchups generally bring out a strong sense of rivalry in both teams, and this matchup was no exception. It took the full sixty minutes of play, but the Red Wings defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 3-2.
The first period was marked by excellent goaltending at both ends of the ice. Dominik Hasek and Jose Theodore were both called upon to make amazing saves for their teams, keeping the score at zero for the first twenty minutes. The game had a swift flow to it, and play went end to end with quality scoring chances for both teams.
The Red Wings started to open up the offense in the second period, and it paid off for Sergei Fedorov. The Canadiens had the puck in Detroit's zone, and Jiri Fischer moved to block a shot. The puck hit his leg and slid the other way, up the right wing side, and Fedorov went speeding after it. He gathered it up just inside Montreal's blue line, and fired a sharp wrist shot which went beneath the legs of Theodore.
Detroit had a power play chance a few moments later, when Stefane Robidas was sent off for high-sticking. The power play unit kept good control of the puck, passing cleanly and keeping the puck away from the Montreal defenders. Nick Lidstrom passed along the blue line to Brendan Shanahan, who faked a shot to draw the defensemen towards him, then snapped a pass across to Fedorov at the right side. Fedorov put a hard shot past Theodore, who was being screened by Luc Robitaille.
Hasek continued to make save after save, but the Canadiens finally put one past him with 8:56 left in the third period. Montreal dumped the puck into Detroit's zone and Doug Gilmour regained control of it behind the net. He angled a pass in front of the goal crease, and Oleg Petrov was on hand to stuff it into the net.
The Canadiens scored once more to tie the game with just over three minutes remaining. In a very similar play to the one that gave them their first zone, Sergei Berezin put a pass in front of the net, and Yannic Perreault was able to tip it past Hasek.
The Red Wings came on hard and strong after that, keeping the play in Montreal's end of the rink. Shanahan sent an angle pass from the side of the net to Chris Chelios waiting out front. The shot by Chelios was kicked wide, but the puck came right back to Shanahan, who fired on net from the right corner. The puck banked off Theodore and into the net, giving Shanahan the game-winning goal with under fourteen seconds left on the clock.
Shots on net were thirty-four to twenty-three in favor of Detroit. The Red Wings' next game, their last before the Olympic break, will be Wednesday night against the Minnesota Wild.
Notes: Steve Yzerman played in his first game back after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. If all continues to go as planned, he will be fully able to play for Team Canada in the Olympics. Pavel Datsyuk was added to the lineup of Team Russia today, giving the Red Wings eleven players on the active roster who will be heading to Salt Lake City on Wednesday night.
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