Kris Draper scored twice and Pavel Datsyuk and Steve Yzerman scored a goal apiece as the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-1, in their first game of the 2004 calendar year.
Datsyuk opened the game’s scoring 9:06 into the game. He skated down the right-side boards and fired a bad-angle shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle through Hurricanes’ goaltender Kevin Weekes, who should have been able to stop the shot. The goal put the Wings up by one and lifted Datsyuk into a tie with Washington Capital Robert Lang for second place in NHL scoring.
Yzerman scored just 1:06 later. Twelve seconds into a power play, Nicklas Lidstrom fired a shot from the blue line that Yzerman deflected past Weekes to give the Red Wings a two-goal lead.
Jamie Storr took over in the Carolina net to start the second period but he couldn’t stop the Wings’ scoring.
Draper picked off a pass at the Detroit blue line with the Hurricanes on the power play. He broke in all alone on Storr and fired a shot over his outstretched blocker 8:08 into the second.
Carolina countered with a shorthanded goal of their own with 50 seconds remaining in the middle frame. Mathieu Schneider lost the puck at the Hurricanes’ blue line and Kevyn Adams streaked down the ice toward Detroit netminder Curtis Joseph. Joseph stayed in his net rather than moving out to challenge and Adams rifled a shot over his stick hand.
Draper sealed the Wings’ victory, scoring with just 3:10 remaining in the game. Above the top of the crease, Draper collided with Storr and Carolina defenseman Sean Hill. Draper fought through a hold by Hill to put in the rebound of a Nicklas Lidstrom shot. The goal set a new personal best for Draper, breaking his previous record of 15 goals in a season.
Strong goaltending by Joseph helped Detroit kill off a 6-on-3 manpower advantage in the final two minutes of the game, as Niklas Kronwall and Ray Whitney were in the penalty box for the Red Wings and Storr was on the Carolina bench in favor of the extra attacker.
Joseph ended the game with 29 saves on 30 shots. Weekes stopped five of the seven shots he faced in the first period while Storr made 13 saves on 15 shots in the second and third periods.
The Red Wings are next in action Saturday night when Sergei Fedorov makes his second appearance in Detroit since signing with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim over the summer. Game time is 7:30 PM.