Never Leave A Game Early

The puck simply bounced the right way for the Nashville Predators, who came from behind to beat the Red Wings 3-2 in overtime.

The offensive play of both teams seemed evenly matched in the first period, but it was the Red Wings who took a one-goal lead into the intermission. Max Kuznetsov recovered the puck after overskating it slightly in front of his own net, and passed it up the ice to Brett Hull. Hull passed over to Boyd Deveraux, who left the puck for Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk deked past two Nashville defensemen to shoot the puck past goalie Mike Dunham.

The second period was scoreless, despite two power plays by Detroit and three by Nashville.

Sean Avery and Vladimir Orszagh got into a fight with just under eight minutes left in the third period, and were given offsetting minor penalties for roughing. During the resulting four-on-four play, Kris Draper got the puck out from a tangle of players along the boards in the Nashville Zone, and passed to Kirk Maltby. Maltby fired on Dunham from the right circle. The puck bounced off Dunham’s leg pad, off a Nashville defenseman’s skate, and Maltby was able to grab it back and slide it underneath Dunham.

Vitali Yachmenev was able to bring the Predators within one with 4:20 left in regulation play. He attempted to make a centering pass from behind the Detroit net, but instead, the pass deflected off of Sergei Fedorov‘s stick and into the net past Dominik Hasek.

Nashville’s golden opportunity arose when Tomas Holmstrom was sent to the penalty box for closing his hand on the puck. Fedorov and Brendan Shanahan did get a two-on-one shorthanded breakaway opportunity, but Dunham was able to block both shots, and the Predators regained control.

Nashville pulled Dunham in favor of the extra skater, giving them a six-on-four advantage, and Orszagh was able to flip in the rebound from a blue line shot by Petr Tenkrat, sending the game to overtime.

Andy Berenzweig scored the game winner with 2:20 left in the overtime period. Orszagh fished the puck out from a tangle on the right side of the boards, and passed it out front. Berenzweig grabbed it up and flipped it in over Hasek, before Mathieu Dandenault could get back to stop him.

Hasek stopped thirty-two of thirty-five shots during the game. Dunham stopped twenty-six of twenty-eight. The Red Wings will play against the Minnesota Wild Monday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Plenty of Goals For All!

Even with Steve Yzerman out of the game with a badly bruised foot for a projected one to two weeks, the Red Wings still have plenty of offense and defense to go around. The Columbus Blue Jackets learned this the hard way, going down 5-1.

Mathieu Dandenault took an early lead for his team 7:02 into the first period. Lyle Odelein sent the puck around his own net trying to keep it away from the Red Wings, but Dandenault got to it and shot it towards the net. The puck bounced off a Columbus defenseman’s skate, off the back boards, and straight back to Dandenault’s stick. He was then able to slide the puck under goaltender Marc Denis.

The Blue Jackets tied up the game just a few moments later. Grant Marshall shot the puck at Manny Legace from the right point. Legace flopped down to blocked the shot, but the rebound slipped away, and Michael Sillinger was able to snatch it up and flip the puck into the net.

Luc Robitaille regained the lead for the Red Wings six and a half minutes before the end of the period, while Rostislav Klesla was serving a minor penalty for elbowing. Brendan Shanahan put the puck on the net, and Tomas Holmstrom tried to tip it in, but the puck came free to Robitaille at the left side, and he sent it into the net behind Denis.

The second period was all downhill for the Blue Jackets, as the Red Wings scored twice to increase their lead. Just over five minutes in, Brett Hull and Pavel Datsyuk got a two-on-one breakaway. Hull passed left to Datsyuk, and Datsyuk faked to the left to lure Denis, then stuffed the puck in on the right side.

Columbus’s woes increased when Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre was sent to the penalty box for tripping. Lidstrom carried the puck in front of the net and left the pass for Shanahan, and Shanahan sent a quick wrist shot flying past Denis to become the first Red Wing to reach the twenty goal mark this season, making this the fourteenth consecutive season in which he has scored twenty or more goals.

The Red Wings essentially wrapped up the game early in the third period, in the last second of a penalty to Lyle Odelein carried over from the end of the second period. Lidstrom fired a hard shot from the blue line, and rookie Sean Avery tipped it into the net, to score his first NHL goal.

Columbus attempted to play harder and score again, but the Detroit defense was able to keep them away from the net, and Legace stopped any shots which came near him. The game ended with Legace having stopped twenty-seven of twnety-eight shots, and Denis having stopped twenty-eight of the thirty-three he was bombarded with.

The Red Wings will next travel south to Nashville to face the Predators on Friday night.

Running Wild

The Minnesota Wild showed once again that even though they are an expansion team, they are not to be taken lightly, as they and the Red Wings skated to a 3-3 tie.

The first period belonged mainly to the Red Wings, as they applied strong offensive pressure to the Wild, yet still managed to keep the defense tight and keep Minnesota off their guard.

The Red Wings opened the scoring on a power play with 7:48 remaining in the period, while Ladislav Benysek was in the box for high-sticking. Luc Robitaille sent a pass rinkwide to Nick Lidstrom. Lidstrom left the puck for Steve Yzerman, who fired a hard slapshot into the net while Tomas Holmstrom screened Minnesota netminder Manny Fernandez from seeing the puck flying towards him.

Minnesota played more strongly in the second period, allowing fewer giveaways and tying the game four minutes in. Jason Marshall sent a hard shot from the right point, and ended Dominik Hasek‘s shutout streak at 162 minutes and 40 seconds. Yzerman regained the lead for his team midway through the period, during a hooking penalty to Filip Kuba. Holmstrom tried to tip a shot which was blocked by Fernandez, but regained control of the puck and sent it back to Robitaille at the right circle. Robitaille got it across to Yzerman at the blue line, and The Captain sent off a one-time shot right past Fernandez for the goal.

The Red Wings had to go on the penalty kill with 9:11 left in the second when Igor Larionov was sent to the box for high-sticking. The penalty-killers were able to shut down Minnesota’s power play without much problem, but Yzerman was injured when he dropped to the ice and blocked a shot with his left foot. Brett Hull had to help him off the ice. Yzerman tried to return to the game during a later penalty to Max Kuznetsov, but spent only a few seconds on the ice before returning to the dressing room.

The Wild were able to tie up the game again with three minutes left in the period. Wes Walz and Richard Park got a two-on-one rush against Jiri Fischer, leaving Chris Chelios unable to catch up to the play. Walz passed across to Park, and Fischer dropped to the ice to try to take the pass away, but the puck got through and Park was able to flip it past Hasek.

Minnesota took their first lead of the game only forty-eight seconds into the third period. Walz carried the puck into the Detroit zone and left it for Willie Mitchell, who took a wrist shot from the left wing side and sent the puck in on the far side of Hasek.

Robitaille scored the equalizing goal for the Red Wings with six and a half minutes left in the third. Mathieu Dandenault fired a shot from the left wing side. The shot was knocked down by Mitchell as he fell into the net, and the puck went right to Robitaille’s stick. Robitaille was easily able to lift the puck into the net over both Mitchell and Fernandez.

The last minute of regulation play was an offensive flurry by the Red Wings, but they were unable to get the puck past Fernandez again.

The Red Wings ran into penalty trouble in the overtime. Fifty-seven seconds into the extra time, Brendan Shanahan was given a penalty for hooking, sending the Wings to a four-on-three penalty kill. However, Sergei Fedorov, Lidstrom, Chelios, and Hasek were able to rise to the challenge and keep the Wild out of the net, and even carry the puck shorthanded to challenge Fernandez at the other end. Despite strong effort by both teams, neither was able to score again, and the Red Wings left the Xcel Energy Center with their third tie of the season.

Hasek stopped twenty-one of the twenty-four shots he faced, while Fernandez managed to stop twenty of the twenty-three sent against him. The Red Wings will play at home Thursday night againt the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Scotty Bowman’s Early Christmas Gift

After being shut out by the Chicago Blackhawks in Detroit on December 17, the Red Wings traveled to Chicago to return the favor, defeating the Blachawks 5-0 before a sellout crowd at the United Center.

Brendan Shanahan opened the scoring with 6:26 left in the first period. Kris Draper passed to Sergei Fedorov in the right corner, and Fedorov sent it out to Shanahan at the right circle. Shanahan sent off a quick wrist shot, and the puck slid past netminder Jocelyn Thibault.

Detroit increased their lead and their momentum with only nineteen seconds left in the first. The Red Wings won an offensive zone faceoff, and Luc Robitaille got the puck back to Chris Chelios at the blue line. Chelios fired hard and the puck flew past Thibault.

The Red Wings ended their power play drought 4:49 into the second period, while Michael Nylander was in the box for high-sticking. Brett Hull fired hard from the left point. Tomas Holmstrom was able to take the rebound from Thibault and pass it between his legs over to Luc Robitaille, who flipped it into the net to score his first goal in ten games and the Red Wings’ first power play goal in twenty-five tries.

Hull added to the Red Wings’ lead five minutes later. Steve Yzerman got the puck in the right corner, then sent a centering pass out front. Boyd Devereaux was too well covered to take the pass, but Hull was right behind him to take the puck and snap it past Thibault.

The Chicago bench decided at this point to pull Thibault from the net and send in backup goalie Steve Passmore. However, Passmore had to face a five-on-three Detroit power play right away as, Darren McCarty and Ryan Vandenbussche were given offsetting penalties for fighting. Vandenbussche was also called on an interference minor and Bob Probert was given a roughing penalty and a misconduct for taking a swipe at Dominik Hasek, all at the same time.

Yzerman fired the shot from the point, and Shanahan passed the rebound across the crease to Igor Larionov, who lifted the puck into the net behind Passmore. The Red Wings continued on a five-on-four power play, but this time Hasek had to make a sprawling save to stop a Chicago breakaway opportunity by Steve Sullivan.

The Red Wings took their lead and shut down the Blackhawks’ offense almost completely in the third period, holding them to only five shots in the twenty minutes of play.

Thibault stopped twelve of sixteen shots before being pulled, and Passmore was able to stop eight of the nine shots sent against him. Hasek stopped all twenty-three of the shots he faced, to earn his fifty-ninth career shutout and bypass Ed Belfour and Patrick Roy to become the shutout leader among active goaltenders. This game, coupled with the 3-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on December 21, marks the first time the Red Wings have earned back-to-back shutouts since January of 1998.

The Red Wings will travel to face the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.

Sharks Lack Their Usual Bite

The San Jose Sharks had a ten-game unbeaten streak snapped at Joe Louis Arena, being shut out 3-0 by the Red Wings.

The Red Wings and Sharks looked fairly evenly matched during the first period. Play went end to end, with scoring chances for both teams. Goaltenders Dominik Hasek and Evgeni Nabokov were both brilliant in net. Hasek’s most notable stop came towards the end of the period against Nicklas Sundstrom, who got the puck on a turnover and had both time and room in front of the net. He couldn’t manage to lift the puck high enough on the shot, and Hasek grabbed it and hung on.

Kris Draper opened the scoring midway through the second period. Sergei Fedorov shot the puck hard from the blue line, and Draper managed to kick it up from Nabokov’s leg pads, to his stick, and up into the net to score his ninth goal of the year and pass his last season’s goal total in this thirty-sixth game of the season.

Steve Yzerman took advantage of the momentum and made a contribution to the scoring a minute and a half later. He stole the puck from Bryan Marchment behind the San Jose net and carried it out front. The shot bounced off a San Jose defenseman’s stick and deflected into the net to put Detroit up by two.

In the third period, Detroit managed to shut down the Sharks’ offense considerably. The first shot against Hasek in the period didn’t come until 8:48 had gone by. Matt Bradley got a quality breakaway scoring chance, but Hasek was able to stop the puck in time.

The only goal in the third period came from Brett Hull with 3:11 left to play. Hull, flying up the right wing side, took a rink-wide pass from Yzerman and let fly a blistering slapshot which slid right between Nabokov’s legs.

Nabokov stopped 26 of 29 shots. Hasek stopped all of the 19 shots he faced to win his fifty-eighth career shutout, tying him with Ed Belfour for highest number of shutouts among active goaltenders.

The Red Wings will travel to Chicago to face the Blackhawks at the United Center on Sunday night.

Rested and Regrouped

The Red Wings look to be getting back to their old selves, shaking off a goal-scoring drought to bring down the Vancouver Canucks, 4-1.

Brett Hull managed to be in exactly the right place at exactly the right time to bring the Red Wings’ scoring drought to an end. Goalie Dan Cloutier came behind the net to clear the puck, but it bounced away from him, straight to Hull’s stick. Stuffing the puck into the empty net was a simple task for a goal-scorer like Hull.

The Red Wings managed to play both strong offense and strong defense throughout the first period, firing a total of twelve shots against Cloutier and holding the Canucks to only six shots against Dominik Hasek.

The Canucks tried to come back hard in the second- midway through the period, the shots on goal were eight to three in their favor. Hasek was equal to the task, and Detroit’s offense became inspired. Steve Yzerman set up a pass to Boyd Devereaux behind the net. The pass was intercepted by Ed Jovanovski, but Devereaux was right there to take back the puck and send it flying into the net with 3:24 left in the period.

Within the space of forty-four seconds, Yzerman carried the puck up the right wing side and passed across to Chris Chelios flying up the center unguarded. Chelios had a clear shot and backhanded the puck right past Cloutier.

Vancouver had a minute of five-on-three power play time with which to end the period, during penalties to Chelios and Mathieu Dandenault, but Detroit’s penalty-killers stayed in a tight triangle by the net and poked away any shots which threatened to get through to Hasek.

The Canucks did manage to get on the board 1:20 into the third period. Jason Strudwick fired a hard shot from the blue line, and the puck deflected off of Kirk Maltby‘s left skate. That changed its direction just enough that Hasek was unable to block, and the score was 3-1.

The Red Wings weren’t done yet. Kris Draper passed the puck up ice to Sergei Fedorov, who fooled Cloutier into coming towards him. Fedorov then passed across to Brendan Shanahan, who had plenty of room to flip the puck into the net and score his first goal in ten games with 8:54 left to play.

After Shanahan’s goal, the Red Wings shut down Vancouver’s offense, and improved their season record to 24-8-2-1.

Hasek stopped twenty-three out of twenty-four shots. Cloutier was able to stop twenty-six of the thirty he faced. Neither team scored on the power play.

The Red Wings will play again Friday night when they host the surging San Jose Sharks.

Frustration Continues

The Red Wings’ December scoring drought continues, leading them to be defeated by the Chicago Blackhawks, 2-0.

Chicago opened the scoring 2:49 into the game. Alexei Zhamnov stepped out of the penalty box after serving his two minutes for interference, picked off a Steve Yzerman pass in neutral ice, and faked out Manny Legace for the goal.

The Red Wings showed a lack of energy throughout the first period, not scoring in spite of three power play chances.

They came out more strongly in the second period, showing signs and spurts of lively play. In fact, during a hooking penalty to Igor Larionov midway through the period, the Red Wings had more shots on goal than did the Blackhawks. The Detroit defense was able to keep Chicago from scoring again, but they were unable to get the puck past Jocelyn Thibault to score a goal of their own.

The sporadic bursts of energy continued into the third period, but were not enough to get the job done. Mark Bell clinched the game for the Blackhawks 1:56 into the third by taking a cross-ice pass from Jaroslav Spacek and firing hard from the right wing side to get the puck past Legace.

The Detroit bench pulled Legace in favor of the extra skater with 1:40 left to play, but Thibault would let no shots through, and the Red Wings were shut out two games in a row for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

Legace made many strong saves during the course of the game, stopping 35 of 37 shots. This was his first loss of the year 2001, ending his unbeaten streak at nineteen games. Thibault was able to stop all 28 of the shots he faced.

The Red Wings will play again on Wednesday night, when the Vancouver Canucks come to Joe Louis Arena.

Not Offensive Enough

The Canucks had not won against the Red Wings in eighteen games, and with their recent record heading south quickly, they were desperate to bring that streak to an end. “We expect they’re going to come out and play hard tonight,” said Kris Draper before the game. The Canucks, with Todd Bertuzzi leading the way, succeeded in shutting out the Red Wings for the first time since 1985 to take a 3-0 victory.

The story of the first period was one of confusing penalties. Just over four minutes into the period, Donald Brashear was sent to the box for a high-stick against Chris Chelios. Detroit made it through a minute and a half of a strong-passing power play when the referees whistles sounded again. This time, Vancouver goaltender Dan Cloutier was given a penalty for tripping Tomas Holmstrom (which was served by Matt Cooke), and Holmstrom was given an offsetting penalty for goaltender interference. When Steve Yzerman protested the penalty to Holmstrom, he was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, causing the teams to have thirty-four seconds of four-man even strength play, then 1:26 of a Vancouver power play.

The second period started with a very low offensive output. Even so, the Canucks managed to score on their first shot of the second, which didn’t come until 7:23 had gone by. Matt Cooke carried the puck up the left wing side, on a two-on-one rush against Max Kuznetsov with Todd Bertuzzi on the right side. Kuznetsov tried to take away the cross-ice pass, but the puck got through, and Bertuzzi placed it perfectly in the corner of the net behind Dominik Hasek.

Hasek had a chance to show off his goaltending skill during a hooking penalty to Darren McCarty. “The Dominator” stopped three good scoring chances by the Vancouver power play before the Red Wings could clear the puck away.

Bertuzzi scored again 3:35 into the third period during a holding penalty to Sergei Fedorov. Markus Naslund fired the puck from the blue line, and it tipped into the net off of Bertuzzi’s skate.

Down by two goals, the Red Wings still were not able to muster much in the way of offensive pressure, and Bertuzzi put the game away for his team with fifty-three seconds left by knocking Chelios out of the way and firing into the empty net from a bad angle to score his second career hat trick.

Hasek stopped 15 of the 17 shots sent against him by the Canucks. Cloutier only had to face 16 shots from the Wings.

The Red Wings will travel home on Sunday and face the Chicago Blackhawks at the Joe on Monday night.

NOTE: Bertuzzi’s second goal was reviewed and awarded to Markus Naslund, with Ed Jovanovski receiving the assist.

Oilers Slip Up

One of the advertisements painted on the boards at the Skyreach Centre reads, “What’s your dream?” Judging from the smile on Boyd Devereaux‘s face as he celebrated a goal in front of that very sign, no one needs to be told what his dream is: he’s living it now. With a goal and an assist, Devereaux was instrumental in helping the Red Wings to defeat the Edmonton Oilers, 2-1.

Both teams came in to the game seeking to increase the energy of their play and turn things around. The Red Wings came in winless in their past four, while the Oilers came winless in their past three.

The energy level for both clubs was high throughout the first period, with each team carrying the play to the other team’s zone and trying to create hard work for the goaltenders, Dominik Hasek and Tommy Salo. However, it was Edmonton who scored the first goal of the game, with 9:31 left in the first. Anson Carter picked up the rebound from Mike Comrie’s shot, and sent it into the net behind Hasek.

The second period continued the energy and intense play. The Red Wings had two power play opportunities during penalties to Georges Laraque and Steve Staios, but the equalizing goal came at even strength. Just under seven minutes into the second period, Nicklas Lidstrom took a shot from the blue line. Salo was able to block it, but Devereaux grabbed up the rebound, pulled it back towards himself, and stuffed it into the net behind Salo to score the Red Wings’ one-hundredth goal of the season.

Edmonton began to apply strong pressure in the third period, managing to clog up their own blue line and force the Red Wings to dump the puck into the zone rather than carrying it in.

Even so, Devereaux came up for his team again. He stole the puck away in a tussle with Eric Brewer behind the Edmonton net, and managed to pass it out to Chris Chelios at the blue line. Chelios fired hard, Steve Yzerman redirected the puck, and scored his first goal in eight games.

The Oilers pulled Salo from the net with just under a minute left to play. They got another break when Chelios was given a penalty for high-sticking with only twenty-one seconds left in the game. Hasek didn’t let anything past, and Brendan Shanahan made a highly effective diving play to clear away the puck and any other objects in his path, just before the buzzer signaled the end of the game and the end of the Red Wings’ winless streak.

Hasek stopped twenty-two of twenty-three shots, and Salo managed to stop twenty-seven of the twenty-nine that were sent against him. Both teams were scoreless on the power play.

Detroit will finish up its road trip Saturday night in Vancouver.

Flames Re-ignite

Another game with a high number of shots on the opposing team came to no avail for the Red Wings, as they lost to the Calgary Flames, 2-0.

Detroit came to play against a rather shaken up Calgary Flames team. After a penalty-filled game against Anaheim, the Flames wound up with two players and their head coach, Greg Gilbert, suspended. It did not seem to affect their play against the Red Wings, however.

The first period went by scoreless. Both the Wings and the Flames had their share of scoring opportunities, but goaltenders Dominik Hasek and Mike Vernon came up big for their respective teams. Detroit got a power play chance five minutes into the game, when Denis Gauthier was sent to the box for holding, but was unable to score.

Detroit tightened up the play in the second period, holding the Flames to only six shots against Hasek, compared to their own thirteen against Vernon. Still, in spite of a double rebound attempt by Chris Chelios and two well-organized power play chances, Vernon kept his former team off the board.

Sixteen seconds before the end of the period, Igor Larionov was injured when Chris Clark’s stick hit him in the groin/thigh area. Larionov had to be helped off the ice and did not return for the rest of the game. No penalty was called on the play.

The Flames scored their first goal just over four minutes into the third period. In a play apparently unseen by the referees, Brendan Shanahan was slashed on the wrist and unable to clear the puck from Detroit’s zone. Jarome Iginla was waiting. He took the rebound from Dean McAmmond’s shot and flipped it into the net behind the sprawled Hasek.

Detroit tried to boost the offense for the rest of the game, but Vernon was up for the challenge. The Red Wings got what could have been their game-tying chance with 1:17 left to play, when Iginla was given an elbowing penalty. The faceoff was deep in the Calgary zone, so they pulled Hasek for an extra skater. Unfortunately, with only fourteen seconds left, Rob Niedermayer shot the puck away from the Flames’ zone, and it slid all the way down into the empty net to seal Calgary’s lock on the first shut out against the Red Wings this season.

Hasek stopped twenty-four of the twenty-five shots the Flames sent against him, while Vernon, playing in the number one goalie position for Calgary while Roman Turek is out with a knee injury, stopped all twenty-eight of the shots he faced, to gain his twenty-seventh career shutout and snap a twelve game winless streak dating from February of this year.

Hasek stopped twenty-four of the twenty-five shots the Flames sent against him, while Vernon, playing in the number one goalie position for Calgary while Roman Turek is out with a knee injury, stopped all twenty-eight of the shots he faced, to gain his twenty-seventh career shutout and snap a twelve game winless streak dating from February of this year.