Brendan Shanahan and Sean Avery both contributed with their respective milestone goals, helping lead the Red Wings to a 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The first period passed by quietly for both teams: no hits, no penalties, and no scoring. Pittsburgh, feeling the offensive lack with both Mario Lemieux and Marty Straka lost to injuries, managed to make only one shot on goal in the first twenty minutes of play.
The Penguin’s second shot of the game was the one that made it past Dominik Hasek. Jan Hrdina fired on net, and the puck bounced off Hasek and in to give Pittsburgh the lead just over a minute into the second period.
The Red Wings tied the game up just a few minutes later. Chris Chelios fired a hard shot from the right point. The puck was headed wide of the net until Boyd Devereaux neatly deflected it past Jean-Sebastien Aubin.
Detroit took the lead less than five minutes later. Nick Lidstrom shot the puck from the blue line. Aubin stopped that initial shot, but Brendan Shanahan skated out from behind the net and grabbed the rebound, then wristed a turnaround shot into Aubin’s net.
The Penguins put up a fight in the third period, trying to regain their lead. The play became more physical and more likely to bang up against the boards. Pittsburgh also increased their shots on net- there was nothing more for them to gain from playing defensive hockey. Even though the Penguins got past Detroit’s defense a number of times, they were still unable to get the puck past Hasek, at his unorthodox best stopping breakaways and point-blank shots which might have easily gone past any other goaltender.
With just over five minutes left in the game, the Red Wings increased their lead. Sean Avery pulled the puck out of a tangle of players along the boards in Pittsburgh’s end, and skated with it to the goal line left of the net. Then, just as Shanahan has done so many times, Avery shot the puck along the line, banking it off Aubin and into the net for his first ever NHL goal.
Pittsburgh wasn’t ready to give up just yet. With just over a minute to play, they won a faceoff deep in the Detroit zone and proceeded to crash the net. The third rebound got past Hasek, as Stefan Richer sent the puck skimming above the ice and through the tiny spot left open between Hasek’s closing legs.
As soon as Pittsburgh controlled the puck again, they pulled Aubin in exchange for the sixth skater. Shanahan nearly scored his 500th goal into the empty net, but the aim was just barely wide. Pittsburgh brought the puck back to Detroit’s end again, but were unable to get a quality scoring chance. Finally, with just four seconds left, Lidstrom shot the puck down the ice and into the empty net from just inside his own blue line.
Shots on net were thirty to twenty-two in Detroit’s favor. Neither team was able to score on the power play.
The Red Wings next game will be on Wednesday, when they return home to the Joe to face the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Igor Larionov sat out once again due to his sore leg- a precautionary measure, according to team spokespeople. Darren McCarty was out due to an injured finger, giving Mathieu Dandenault a chance to move back to his natural position at right wing. Steve Yzerman’s knee treatment is going as planned; he hopes to be back in the lineup by March 19.