Wings’ Special Teams Down Flames


In order to be successful, a hockey team has to be able to take advantage of their power plays and kill off their penalties efficiently. Of course, if they spend over twenty minutes in a game killing penalties, they should probably also learn to score while shorthanded. Chris Chelios and Kirk Maltby demonstrated that skill for the Wings with a shorthanded goal apiece, putting Detroit over the Calgary Flames, 4-0.

The first period had no flow to it whatsoever. Ten minor penalties were assessed by the officials in the first twenty minutes. Neither team was able to score on the power play. Curtis Joseph calmly sent all the Flames’ shots aside, while at the other end of the ice, Jamie McLennan did the same against the Wings. The Wings had scoring chances, even though they bore the brunt of the penalty time, but the first period ended scoreless.

The second period looked as if it would follow the same penalty-filled pattern as the first when Kirk Maltby was sent out for interference. The Red Wings went into penalty-killing mode, dumping the puck down the ice and making the Flames chase after it. Calgary brought the play back down to Detroit’s end, but the Wings got a break. Chris Drury fell while trying to keep the puck in the zone, and Sergei Fedorov stole it away and took off, Brendan Shanahan keeping up on his right and Chris Chelios trailing. Fedorov dropped the pass back to Chelios at Calgary’s blue line. Chelios didn’t have a clear shot, so he sent it back. Fedorov sent a hard pass which Shanahan couldn’t handle, but Chelios had cut to the right and continued to the net, so he was in just the right place to take the puck and flip it high past McLennan for the 175th goal of his career.

Just before Maltby’s penalty was due to end, Jiri Fischer was sent to the box for high-sticking. Maltby waited his four seconds and jumped into the play, helping to keep the puck in the Flames’ end of the rink. When Calgary tried to bring it back, Nick Lidstrom intercepted a pass by Craig Conroy and sent it ahead to Maltby, already speeding up ice. Maltby took position on the left side, used the only defenseman who stayed back as a screen, and put a beautifully placed shot high into McLennan’s net.

The Flames had a chance to get back in the game shortly thereafter. Kris Draper was given a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct for hitting from behind. Even so, the Red Wings penalty-killers did so well for the full five minutes that the Flames got only one shot on goal, which Joseph stopped easily. Igor Larionov took Draper’s place centering the Grind Line for the rest of the game.

Tomas Holmstrom scored a power play goal early in the third period, showing that all of Detroit’s special teams were in working order. Dmitri Bykov took a hard shot on net from the blue line. The puck went over the top of the net and bounced off the boards to come back out front. Holmstrom knocked it down and put it just under the crossbar.

Calgary seemed to go flat after that, hardly managing to generate any offense and allowing Detroit to control the game. A defensive lapse by the Flames allowed the fourth Detroit goal. Maltby scooped up the loose puck and headed down the ice with Darren McCarty on a two-on-one. The defenseman dropped to the ice to take away the passing lane, but he dropped too far out from the net. Maltby was able to send the puck across the crease for McCarty to tap it into the net.

McLennan stopped 29 of the thirty-three shots he faced, while Joseph stopped all twenty-four of the shots that made their way through to the net, for his first shutout as a Red Wing. Detroit’s next opponent will be the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night at the Joe.

Joseph’s shutout was the 37th of his career”¦. The Red Wings have now scored 5 shorthanded goals. They have only given up 4 goals while shorthanded. If this keeps up, other teams won’t want to go on the power play against Detroit.

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