Strong, responsible defense, a shutout by Dominik Hasek, and two goals from Steve Yzerman all combined to help lead the Red Wings over the Dallas Stars by a score of 4-0.
The Red Wings and Stars appeared very evenly matched in the first period. Both teams generated scoring chances, but neither Hasek nor Dallas goalie Marty Turco had much work to do. Hasek got a lucky break with about three minutes left in the period. The puck slid right through the goal crease after he made a save. Players were scrambling for it everywhere, but it squirted out the other side and the Wings were able to clear it away.
Detroit began to assert its dominance in the second period. They started by capitalizing on a bad turnover by the Stars. Mike Modano attempted to make a pass in the Stars’ own zone along the boards to Steve Ott. Instead, the pass misfired into the high slot, where Jason Woolley was able to one-time a shot past Turco for his first goal of the year.
Yzerman increased the lead less than two minutes later. Henrik Zetterberg deked past a Dallas defenseman to bring the puck into the Stars’ zone. He left a drop pass for Yzerman. Yzerman’s hard shot blew right past Turco.
The Stars had perhaps their best scoring chance of the game on a delayed holding penalty to Jiri Fischer. Turco had left the net for an extra skater. The Stars were pressuring deep in the Red Wings’ zone. Bill Sweeney took a shot which beat Hasek, but the puck rang off the goalpost and Hasek snatched it away. The Stars went to the power play, but Hasek held them off until Fischer’s two minutes were up. The Wings wound down the second period playing solid defense and keeping the puck away from the Stars.
The Stars tried to forecheck more efficiently in the third period, trying to create some turnovers and generate some scoring chances, but the Red Wings kept control.
Another mistake by Dallas led to Yzerman’s second goal of the night. Ray Whitney stripped the puck away from Modano as Modano attempted to carry out of the zone. Whitney passed up to Zetterberg, who drove towards the net. Turco turned towards Zetterberg and stayed tight to his right goalpost, but Zetterberg had no intention of shooting. Instead he made a quick pass across the goal crease, where Yzerman was waiting to flip the puck into the wide open net.
When Woolley was sent to the penalty box with 2:35 remaining, the Stars thought they would at least have a chance to ruin Hasek’s shutout bid. Instead, they gave up a shorthanded goal. The Red Wings cleared the puck deep into the Dallas zone. Niko Kapanen picked up the puck and passed it up the middle to send the team back on the offensive, but Kris Draper was right there to pick off the pass. He took a hard shot which sailed into the net just above Turco’s blocker hand.
Shots on net were 23 to 22 in favor of Detroit. The Red Wings play next tomorrow night when they face the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
This is the first time in five games the Wings and Stars have had a clear winner. All four of their games last season ended in ties…. Yzerman’s last two-goal game was December 26, 2001 against the Minnesota Wild…. Draper’s goal was Detroit’s fourth shorthanded goal of the season….. Meanwhile, in Grand Rapids, Curtis Joseph made 20 saves on 21 shots to help the Griffins beat the Utah Grizzlies 4-1. Jiri Hudler, in Grand Rapids for a conditioning stint, had two goals and an assist.