In a showing that even superstar goalie Dominek Hasek would have been proud of, Manny Legace blocked thirty-eight shots for his first solo shutout of the year, to give the Red Wings an overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, 1-0.
Legace had his work cut out for him to keep the play scoreless. Five and a half minutes into the game, Mathieu Dandenault was sent to the box for boarding, leaving the Wings shorthanded. The Red Wings have the league’s best penalty-killing in road games, but their job became one person more difficult when Chris Chelios was given a two minute penalty for slashing, two more minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct, and a ten minute game misconduct.
The penalties to Chelios, served by Pavel Datsyuk, gave the Blue Jackets one minute and nine seconds of five-on-three power play time, followed by two minutes and fifty-one seconds of a regular five-on-four power play chance. Even so, Columbus was unable to score, mainly because of Legace’s amazing saves.
Legace wasn’t entirely alone in blocking the net. At one point, as he had dropped to one side of the net to block a shot, defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was able to get in and coevr the other side of the net to stop the rebound shot.
Columbus got another power play chance 8:40 into the second period. This one was only a five-on-four, but it was five minutes long. Brett Hull was given a major penalty for elbowing Tyler Wright. Hull also took a game misconduct because his elbow knocked one of Wright’s teeth out of his mouth and up into the air. Again, Columbus was unable to convert the chance into a goal. The Red Wings’ penalty killing unit stayed in a tight box formation in front of the net, and Legace stopped anything which managed to get through to him.
By the end of the second period, shots on net were 34-19 in the Blue Jackets’ favor.
The Red Wings played tighter defense in the third period, holding Columbus to only four shots against Legace, but were unable to generate any quality scoring chances of their own. They did get two power play opportunities in the third, first on a holding call against Jamie Pushor, and then on an interference penalty to Blake Sloan, but both times, the power play was disorganized and broken up by the Blue Jackets’ penalty killers.
Detroit didn’t get a real break until there was only 2:01 left in overtime. Mattias Timander was sent to the penalty box for slashing, giving the Red Wings a four-on-three situation. Finally, Igor Larionov took the puck in the Columbus zone and passed it back to Lidstrom at the blue line. Lidstrom sent the pass up to Luc Robitaille at the right-hand faceoff circle, and Robitaille sent the puck flying with only forty-three seconds left. The shot handcuffed goalie Ron Tugnutt, who was helpless to stop the puck from sailing into the net.
Tugnutt stopped thirty-two shots over the course of the game. Legace extended his unbeaten streak to eighteen games. He has a record of 6-0-0 for this season.
The Red Wings increased their league-leading record to 19-3-0-1. Their next game is Friday night, when they host the St. Louis Blues.