DETROIT, Michigan -- The Red Wings made a decisive move to increase their defensive depth today at the trade deadline by acquiring Jiri Slegr from Atlanta in exchange for Yuri Butsayev and a third round draft pick. That being done, the Red Wings just couldn't seem to get worked up for this game, even though by the numbers, it should have been a simple win. Numbers don't always tell the whole truth, however, and the Mighty Ducks of Anahiem squeaked by Detroit, 2-1.
The first two periods went by at a quick pace, with few stoppages in play. Neither team was able to score, in spite of three power play chances for each team. The Red Wings outshot the Ducks twenty to eighteen through the first forty minutes of play, and four of the Wings' shots belonged to Brendan Shanahan, still looking for his 500th career goal. His teammates kept trying to set him up with scoring opportunities, but it was no good.
Goaltenders Dominik Hasek and Steve Shields were both sharp, keeping all pucks out of their respective nets, until only four seconds remained in the second period. Paul Kariya got set up on a breakaway pass by German Titov, and flew down the left wing side. Kariya flung a hard wrist shot at the net, and it went right past Hasek, who had come forward to cut down the shot's angle.
The Red Wings came on hard in the third period, and finally were rewarded during a high-sticking penalty to Pavel Trnka. Nick Lidstrom passed the puck along the blue line to Brett Hull, who let go a hard one-timer. Shields, who was being screened by Shanahan, never had a chance.
Kariya put the Ducks ahead for the win, just as everyone was settling in for overtime. Steve Rucchin dumped the puck into the Detroit zone at a cross angle, rather than straight along the boards, and Jeff Friesen went behind the net to get it. He centered a pass to Kariya, who wristed it high over Hasek's right side.
The Wings pulled Hasek from the net for the final minute of play, but the flurry of shots from six skaters were not enough to put the puck past Shields.
Shots on net wound up twenty-eight to twenty-four in Detroit's favor. The Red Wings' next game will be Thursday night at Columbus.
Notes: Steve Yzerman will be out for at least ten and as many as fourteen more days, resting his sore knee thoroughly before attempting to return to the ice. The team definitely expects to have him back before the playoffs start"¦"¦ According to NHL.com, the Red Wings new defenseman Jiri Slegr scored his first ever NHL goal against Patrick Roy. And that, in this reporter's view, can only be a good sign.