Steve Yzerman scored his 650th career goal, Brett Hull scored his 1200th career point, and Manny Legace extended his unbeaten streak to seventeen games, as the Red Wings downed the Minnesota Wild, 8-3.
The game started off slowly enough. Detroit put offensive pressure on Minnesota throughout the first, but were unable to score until Tomas Holmstrom backhanded a rebound of Pavel Datsyuk‘s shot past goalie Dwayne Roloson.
It was in the second period that Detroit began to unleash their true offensive capabilities. Only thirty-six seconds in, Yzerman scored his historic goal. Minnesota’s Sylvain Blouin was in the penalty box for hooking. Brendan Shanahan passed from the left wing side back to Yzerman at the blue line, and he rifled the puck past Roloson.
Nicklas Lidstrom added to Detroit’s total four and a half minutes into the period. He took a pass from Luc Robitaille, and fired the puck from the blue line, off a Wild player’s stick, and over Roloson’s shoulder for the goal.
Yzerman added goal 651 halfway through the second. Kris Draper was in the penalty box for hooking, but Hull was able to hit a Minnesota power play player and knock the puck loose, so that Yzerman was able to pick it up and break away to fake out Roloson and hit the back of the net.
Robitaille made a contribution to the goal collection during a cross-checking penalty to Marian Gaborik. Robitaille took up position near the net, and Yzerman was able to thread a pass right between two Minnesota defensemen who had left Robitaille and the puck uncovered, and just like that, the Red Wings had a five goal lead with which to start the third period.
The Wild did not give up. They took Roloson out for goalie Manny Fernandez, to shake things up for their players, and scored three goals in the first ten minutes of the third period. Richard Park was able to flip the puck over Legace and into the net only 1:18 into the period. Aaron Gavey took a pass from behind the net and stuffed the puck home for the goal 5:55 in.
Then, just as the Red Wings were starting a power play resulting from an interference call on Park, Holmstrom was called for holding the stick. He argued with the referee and was given an additional two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct and a ten minute game misconduct, sending him out for the rest of the game. During the Wild’s resulting power play, Andrew Brunette was able to slide the puck past Legace off a pass from Gaborik.
Just as the Detroit fans were starting to wonder if the Wild might be able to come back from trailing by five, the Red Wings’ offensive juggernaut kicked into gear and set those fears to rest. Robitaille got his second goal of the night by tipping in a Chris Chelios blue line shot with 6:20 left in the game.
The goal-scoring momentum continued, and Shanahan scored only twenty-seven seconds later by positioning himself in the perfect place to grab up the rebound from Freddy Olausson‘s shot and get the puck over the sprawling Fernandez from the side of the net.
Then, as if making sure that the Wild will never forget that Detroit is Hockeytown, Hull and Boyd Devereaux got a two-on-one rush down the ice. Hull passed cross-ice to Devereaux, who flipped the puck in behind Fernandez, who had apparently been expecting Hull to shoot, not pass.
Detroit was able to end the game with a full 3:20 of power play time, two minutes of which were five-on-three. Brad Brown started and continued a fight with Draper, and was given two minutes for instigating, five minutes for fighting, a ten minute misconduct, and a game misconduct. Jim Dowd was sent to the box for elbowing with only 2:20 left to play, but the Red Wings did not score again.
Legace now has a record of 5-0-0 for the season. He stopped 17 of 20 shots. Roloson was only able to stop 19 of 24 in the first two periods, and Fernandez blocked 13 of 16 in the third.
Detroit has two more games at home before heading back out on the road. They will host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.