Red Wings Claim Central Division in Loss to Blackhawks

The Detroit Red Wings fell in a shootout to the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night but the point they earned was enough to clinch their sixth-straight Central Division Championship.

The Red Wings moved to three points ahead of the Nashville Predators, who can earn only two points with one game remaining. Detroit also moved to four points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks in the race for the Western Conference Championship. With two games remaining for Anaheim, they can still pull even with the Red Wings.

Detroit threw a season-high 58 shots at Chicago goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who made a career-best 56 saves on the night. At the other end of the ice, Chris Osgood saw only 21 shots, stopping 19.

Patrick Sharp won the game for Chicago in the fourth round of the shootout. Sharp went high to Osgood's glove side with a shot that went off of the goaltender's arm and into the top of the net.

Chicago had taken an early lead when Nikita Alexeev scored on a blast from the top of the left circle. That goal, scored just 5:03 into the first, also came on a shot that Osgood caught a piece of.

Blackhawks' rookie Bryan Bickell put his team out in front by two at 3:04 of the second, tipping a shot from the top of the right circle by Jonas Nordqvist past Osgood.

The Red Wings began their comeback with 40 seconds remaining in the middle frame. After a chance in front by Johan Franzen, the puck came to the corner. Pavel Datsyuk picked it up and threw it back into the slot, where Tomas Holmstrom outwaited Khabibulin and lifted a shot over him.

At 9:36 of the third, former Blackhawk Kyle Calder tied the game on a Detroit power play. Khabibulin made the stop on Calder's initial chance from the top of the crease but Calder pushed at the Chicago netminder, shoving the puck into the net.

That was the game's only power play goal. It came on the last of Detroit's three chances with the extra attacker. Chicago had only one power play opportunity.

The Red Wings will have the chance to lock up their final playoff seed on Saturday when they host the Blackhawks in both teams' final game of the season. If the Anaheim does not win on Friday night, the Red Wings will need one point in Saturday's game to clinch the conference title.


Notes: Nicklas Lidstrom sat out the game with to continue resting his back sprain. Mathieu Schneider was back in the lineup to take his place... Todd Bertuzzi left the game as a precautionary measure after the first period, during which he collided with Osgood. He did take shifts after the collision and was described as having a sprained neck.

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User Comments

Home-and-home to end the season. The Wings can clinch the conference with a win. Failing that, a point clinches the Central.

Osgood gets the start. Zata isn't back yet. Lidstrom gets another night off with Schneider back in.

Posted by YzerFan19 on 4/5/2007 at 8:41 PM

 

Wings already down and I've gotta head off to a soccer game. The DVR will be my friend for most of the game.

Posted by YzerFan19 on 4/5/2007 at 8:52 PM

 

Wing offense not clicking, coupled with a strong performance by the Hawks. Wings' Power play ineffective. This problem will need to be addressed ..... A couple of Wings underperforming, one by name is LANG ..... I hate to single him out, but he's just not getting it done.

Posted by skyguy52 on 4/5/2007 at 9:52 PM

 

I get back in time to see the Wings get a bit of a lucky goal. Could have been frozen, kind of surprising that it wasn't. Power play goal, tie game.

Posted by YzerFan19 on 4/5/2007 at 10:39 PM

 

The Red Wings are the Central Division Champions. We go to overtime and, unless they pull their goalie and lose, that gets the Wings a point, putting them out of reach of Nashville.

Posted by YzerFan19 on 4/5/2007 at 11:00 PM

 

Shootout. Chicago burned Nashville the other night in the tiebreaker, we'll see if the Wings can do better.

Posted by YzerFan19 on 4/5/2007 at 11:08 PM

 

Damn, Osgood just can't get enough of Patrick Sharp's high shot, 'Hawks win.

Posted by YzerFan19 on 4/5/2007 at 11:22 PM

 

Would the Wings be better off with Anaheim ahead of them in points to take the Conference title? <img src="http://forums.detroithockey.net/public/style_emoticons/default/wink.png" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=";)" border="0" alt="wink.png" />

Posted by skyguy52 on 4/5/2007 at 11:33 PM

 

I missed this one lat night because I had to work, but it looks like Buffalo will get the presidents trophy this year

Posted by SYfanSD on 4/6/2007 at 9:16 PM

 

Buffalo definately has a better shot but is it really so hard to believe that the Sabres would drop two in a row to close out the season, when they already have their seed locked up? Same can be said for Detroit, of course.

Wings will have Lidstrom and Bertuzzi back in the lineup today, though. Osgood gets the start with Hasek's thigh acting up and the team not wanting to push it. Liv stays on as backup.

Posted by YzerFan19 on 4/7/2007 at 12:13 PM

 

Looks like whichever paper I read about Bertuzzi was wrong. He's out, Langfeld is in. Chelios also rests with Lidstrom back.

Posted by YzerFan19 on 4/7/2007 at 1:11 PM

 

Ha! Way crazy goal by Markov and then he pretends to be a forward and assists on a goal by Samuelsson. He's having fun.

Posted by YzerFan19 on 4/7/2007 at 1:17 PM

 

Damn, Wings get three goals before the Blackhawks even get a shot. Buzzing early.

Posted by YzerFan19 on 4/7/2007 at 1:31 PM

 

Holy hell, the Wings are frikkin' rolling today. 6-0 with almost half a game left to play.

Posted by YzerFan19 on 4/7/2007 at 2:26 PM

 

No one got hurt and a couple people who could use a spark heading into the playoffs get goals. Not a bad afternoon.

Posted by YzerFan19 on 4/7/2007 at 3:46 PM

 

Figures there would be a blow out, had to work again! And that was my last chance to catch a game for the rest of the season!

Posted by SYfanSD on 4/8/2007 at 1:36 PM

 

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