Sergei Fedorov apparently doesn't believe in taking a long time to score a milestone goal after scoring the one right before it. He scored the 400th goal of his career today, just two games after scoring his 398th and 399th, but that wasn't enough to lift the Red Wings over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks took advantage of their opportunities to come out with a 4-3 overtime win, meaning that the Red Wings will finish second in the Western Conference and face the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the first round of the playoffs.
The Red Wings started the game with a lot of energy, and they opened the scoring. Jason Woolley made a pass across the slot to Kirk Maltby. Maltby faked a hard one-time shot from the left circle, but then carried the puck a few steps closer to the middle of the rink before shooting. Rookie goaltender Michael Leighton made the first save, but the rebound came right back to Maltby and he was able to put it into the net.
Luc Robitaille increased the Red Wings' lead to 2-0 just 23 seconds later. Igor Larionov made a good pass from the right point up to Mathieu Dandenault near the goal line. Dandenault sent the puck across the goal crease, and Robitaille was able to slide it into the net beneath Leighton.
A strange bounce got the Blackhawks back into the game. Eric Daze made a pass from behind the net which bounced off Alexei Zhamnov before landing on the stick blade of Nathan Dempsey. Dempsey shot the puck on net. Daze had come back out front, and the puck hit the heel of his skate as it passed through. The puck deflected up and over the shoulder of Curtis Joseph.
The Blackhawks came on a lot more strongly in the second period, applying much offensive pressure in the Red Wings' zone. Joseph made some excellent saves to hold the lead for his team.
The Blackhawks got even with a power play goal early in the third period. Steve Sullivan made a wraparound scoring attempt to Joseph's right. Joseph stopped that one easily enough, but the rebound came out to Igor Radulov right in front of the goal crease. Radulov was able to flip the puck in to the empty side of the net.
Fedorov's goal came with 8:15 left to play. The Red Wings were shorthanded due to a tripping penalty agaisnt Patrick Boileau, but Mathieu Schneider made a clearing pass that sent Fedorov flying up the ice on a full breakaway. Fedorov took a hard wrist shot which sailed into the net past Leighton's goal stick.
The lead was shortlived, however. Daze scored another strange goal 1:14 later to tie the game back up. He took a shot which bounced off the goalpost, off the back of Joseph's arm, and back into the net.
Kris Draper thought that he had regained the lead a few minutes later, but the video review showed that the puck had been kicked into the net, and the goal was disallowed.
The game went to overtime, and Tyler Arnason was able to score the game winning goal with 2:50 left, thus ending the regular season and sending the Red Wings home to get ready for the playoffs.
The final count of shots on net was 35 to 30 in favor of Detroit. The first round playoff schedule will be released by the NHL on Monday. The Red Wings' first game could be either Wednesday or Thursday against the Mighty Ducks.
The First Round Matchups
#1 Ottawa vs. #8 NY Islanders
#2 New Jersey vs. #7 Boston
#3 Tampa Bay vs. #6 Washington
#4 Philadelphia vs. #5 Toronto
#1 Dallas vs. #8 Edmonton
#2 Detroit vs. #7 Anaheim
#3 Colorado vs. #6 Minnesota
#4 Vancouver vs. #5 St. Louis
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