Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace set a new NHL record for wins in the month of October as he backstopped Detroit to a 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday. Legace’s ten wins breaks the old record of nine held by several players, while Detroit’s 10-1 start extends the record for the best start by a team in Red Wings history.
Legace was tested early and often, as the Blackhawks threw 12 shots at him in the first period. He allowed only one through, a goal by Matt Ellison at 10:02 of the period. Defenseman Jaroslav Spacek fired a shot from the blue line and Legace knocked the puck right out to Ellison, who put it back at the net and past Legace on his left side.
Despite pressure from the Blackhawks, the Red Wings were able to bounce back and tie the game. With 6:48 left in the period and the Wings on the power play, Mathieu Schneider fired a blast from the blue line that deflected off a Chicago player in front and beat Blackhawks netminder Nikolai Khabibulin.
Chicago regained the lead in the second period, as Spacek scored on a one-timer from the top of the left circle at 7:28.
Detroit answered back again just 1:58 later on a pretty play by Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk got the puck from Zetterberg in the neutral zone and carried it into the Chicago zone along the right wing boards. He skated into the faceoff circle and sent a centering pass into the slot, where Zetterberg reached to poke the puck past Khabibulin.
The game remained tied until Schneider scored a goal that was almost identical to his first with 8:02 left in the game.
Kris Draper scored his first goal of the season on a fluke play with 5:03 remaining to put the game away. Steve Yzerman fired the puck around the boards in the Chicago zone and Khabibulin came out to play it. The puck took a strange bounce and kicked back out in front of the goal, where Draper crashed in to put it into the empty net.
The assist was Yzerman’s first point of the season in his third game after being sidelined twice with groin injuries.
Brendan Shanahan closed the game’s scoring with 1:19 remaining. Jason Williams fought off several Blackhawks defenders through the slot and dumped the puck off to Shanahan, who lifted it into the net from the side of the goal.
After allowing 21 shots in the first two periods, the Red Wings allowed only two in the third and Legace went on to make 21 saves on the 23 shots. Khabibulin stopped 23 of Detroit’s 28 shots.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday in Chicago, the second of their three consecutive meetings.