A good solid start, a more controlled defense, and a more disciplined game helped the Red Wings to a 2-1 victory over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Tuesday night at the Joe.
The Red Wings controlled the play in the early going, generating a number of quality scoring chances against Jean-Sebastien Giguere and making the Ducks work hard to get any shots against Curtis Joseph. Giguere was sharp in the net, though, and it was late in the first period before the Wings could score against him. Sean Avery won a faceoff deep in the offensive zone, and instead of drawing the puck back to a teammate, he knocked it forward and chased after it. He shot on net from behind the goal line, but the puck hit the back of Giguere's leg and bounced into the net.
Brett Hull increased Detroit's lead early in the second period. Henrik Zetterberg took a shot on net from the right side. Giguere had the puck in his glove, but it trickled out onto the ice. Hull got hold of it, pulled it back towards the goal line on the left side, and shot the puck into the net from a tight angle.
The Red Wings had their chances to put the game away for good during the second period, with a double minor high sticking penalty to Stanislav Chistov followed closely by a tripping penalty against Jason Krog, but the Anaheim penalty killers did a good job to take away the shot opportunities and keep Detroit from setting up a good scoring play.
When the Ducks got their first power play of the game, they were prepared. Niclas Havelid took a hard shot against Joseph from the blue line, and Steve Rucchin deflected it on its way through. The redirection caused Joseph to let the rebound slip away, and Paul Kariya was in just the right spot to seize the puck and put it into the net.
Anaheim had three power play chances in the third period and managed to get some high quality scoring chances, but they were unable to score again, even when they pulled Giguere for an extra skater at the end of the game. Joseph made two especially notable saves in the last two minutes. The first was a low shot by Rucchin from point-blank range, and the second a high shot by sniper Petr Sykora, which hit Joseph's shoulder and bounced harmlessly to the corner. The Wings played a mostly defensive posture as the game drew to its end, not wanting to risk giving up their small lead.
In the final count, Joseph made 29 saves on 30 shots, while Giguere stopped 25 of 27 shots. The Ducks went 1 for 4 and the Wings went 0 for 5 on power plays. The Red Wings' next game will be Thursday night in Phoenix, when they play the Coyotes. The Coyotes have been struggling with number one goalie Sean Burke injured: they have only a 2-5-3 record at home and an 8-12-4-1 record overall.
Notes: Chris Chelios returned to the lineup after missing Sunday's game with an injured finger.... Brett Hull extends his point streak to ten games and narrowed the gap between himself and his 700th career goal down to eleven.... Igor Larionov celebrated his 42nd birthday today.
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