Flames Heat Things Up Again

The Red Wings offense fired the puck hard and often, but the Calgary Flames’ defense and strong goaltending gave them the 4-3 win.

The Red Wings and Flames both started the game with hard-hitting defense in mind. Play went end to end in the first, with neither team really getting a quality scoring chance until Detroit ran into penalty trouble late in the first period.

Jiri Fischer and Chris Chelios had both been sent to the box for separate penalties, giving Calgary over a minute of five-on-three power play time. The penalty killing unit fought hard, even with two of the team’s best defensemen taken out of the play, but Marc Savard got the puck at the right face-off circle and ripped a hard shot past Nick Lidstrom and Manny Legace.

Detroit played a more offensive game in the second period, taking a total of fourteen shots against Roman Turek over the twenty minutes, while still holding the Flames to only four shots against Legace. One of those four found its way into the net, however. Savard stole the puck before the Wings could clear it from their zone. His shot was blocked, but he carried his own rebound behind the net and passed out front to Jarome Iginla, who was able to fire the puck past Legace.

Only a minute later, the Flames made a bad turnover of their own. Steve Duchesne got the puck away and left it for Luc Robitaille, ahead of all five of Calgary’s skaters. Robitaille carried it to the net and shot the puck over Turek’s right shoulder from point-blank range.

The Red Wings tied the game before the period was over. With only thirty-four seconds remaining, Freddy Olausson shot the puck from the blue line and banked it off the back boards to Robitaille, who sent it across the crease to Igor Larionov. Turek had been expecting the shot to come from Robitaille, and Larionov was able to flip it into the net.

Savard scored early in the third period to put the Flames back in the lead. Calgary took the play down low into Detroit’s zone, and Iginla sent the puck to Savard from behind the net. Savard was right in front of the net with no one to cover him, and sent the puck across the goal line.

Brendan Shanahan brought the Red Wings back into it a few minutes later. Sergei Fedorov carried the puck up the left wing side, and dropped the puck back for Shanahan, who fired hard. Turek was being screened by Kris Draper, and had no chance to stop the puck from bouncing off the inside of the net.

Larionov took a cross-checking penalty a minute later, and Savard regained the lead for the Flames once again. In a nearly identical play to his second goal, he parked in front of the net, took a pass Iginla threaded from behind the net between Lidstrom’s skates, and flipped it into the net just over Legace’s outstretched leg, scoring his second NHL hat trick.

The Red Wings played hard for the rest of the game, trying to come from behind once again. Their last minute of play was especially strong, with Legace gone to the bench for a sixth skater. In spite of the flurry of shots, Turek did not let the puck through again.

Shots on net were thirty-six to twenty-two in favor of Detroit. The Flames were two for five on the power play, while the Red Wings did not convert on any of their four chances.

Brendan Shanahan, Chris Chelios, Pavel Datsyuk, Nick Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Dominik Hasek, coach Scotty Bowman, and equipment manager Paul Boyer will travel to Los Angeles to participate in the All-Star game this weekend, while the rest of the team enjoys a few days off. The Red Wings will regroup in Denver Monday night to face the Colorado Avalanche.

Datsyuk, Chelios Invited to All-Star Game

Detroit rookie Pavel Datsyuk and veteran Chris Chelios will join Brendan Shanahan, Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov and Dominik Hasek in this weekend’s All-Star festivities in Los Angeles.

Datsyuk will replace Phoenix’s injured Krystofer Kolanos in the YoungStars game on Friday night. Chelios will join Shanahan on the North American All-Star roster, taking the place of New Jersey’s injured Brian Rafalski.

Datsyuk said it was “very exciting news” through interpreter Sergei Fedorov.

The 40-year-old Chelios will be making his 11th All-Star appearance. “I’ve always enjoyed going, and obviously, I don’t have too many left,” he said.

All-Star Weekend is this weekend, starting with the YoungStars Game taking place Friday night and concluding with the All-Star Game on Saturday afternoon.

Surprised by the Oilers

The Red Wings came to the Skyreach Centre in Edmonton fresh off a decisive victory against St. Louis, but weren’t able to control the game against the Oilers, which ended in a 1-1 tie.

In the first period, the Red Wings were mainly reacting to the Oilers’ strong play, rather than creating plays of their own. Edmonton scored the only goal of the period during a cross-checking penalty to Jiri Fischer. Dominek Hasek’s stick had been knocked away across the ice, and he flopped down to block a shot from Daniel Cleary. That shot stayed out, but the puck stayed loose between the goalpost and Hasek’s leg, and Anson Carter slapped it into the net.

Hasek was the one who kept the Red Wings within only one goal throughout the first; shots on net were nineteen to six in the Oilers’ favor after twenty minutes of play.

Detroit began to revitalize in the second period, holding Edmonton to only seven shots against Hasek and tying the game with a power play goal of their own. Sean Brown had taken away Kirk Maltby‘s shorthanded scoring chance by tripping him up, and was sent off to the penalty box for two minutes.

The ensuing power play kept tight control of the puck. Pavel Datsyuk carried the puck into the zone and left it for Nick Lidstrom at center. Lidstrom passed over to Brendan Shanahan at the left point. Shanahan fired a hard one-timer on net, and Tomas Holmstrom tipped the puck past Tommy Salo.

The third period was hard fought by both teams. Both had scoring chances, but Hasek and Salo kept the pucks out of the net, forcing the game into overtime.

Play went end to end in the overtime, but again, the game was dominated by the goaltending and remained a tie.

Salo stopped twenty-one out of twenty-two shots. Hasek stopped thirty-five of thirty-six shots for his sixteenth game allowing one goal or less this season. The Red Wings will continue their road trip, heading to Calgary to face the Flames on Wednesday night.

Steve Yzerman returned to Detroit from St. Louis because of a sore knee, and underwent a minor arthroscopic surgery today. He is expected to be out for ten to fourteen days.

Hull, Wings Win on the Road

Brett Hull scored a hat trick against the team he formerly captained and linemates Pavel Datsyuk and Boyd Devereaux each added a goal as the Red Wings defeated the Blues in St. Louis for their first road win since late December.

Hull’s first came just 3:39 in when he fired a one-timer on a pass from Devereaux past scrambling St. Louis netminder Brent Johnson.

His second came just seventeen seconds later when Datsyuk fed him a pass in the slot, which he one-timed under Johnson’s blocker.

Keith Tkachuk brought the Blues back within one just past the midway point of the first but with 2:42 left in the period Datsyuk knocked in a rebound while one the power play to restore the two-goal lead.

Devereaux scored early on in the second to give the Wings a 4-1 lead but Cory Stillman made it 4-2 at 11:29.

Hull completed his hat trick with an empty net goal with 27 seconds remaining in the game.

Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek stopped twenty-nine of the thirty-one shots he faced, while Johnson made twenty-seven saves on thirty-one shots.

The win moves Detroit to 12-5-2-2 on the road and 36-9-5-2 overall. The Red Wings are next in action Monday night in Edmonton.

A Howler of a Game

The Red Wings extended their home unbeaten streak to eleven games and ended Phoenix’s road winning streak at two, skating to a 4-1 victory at the Joe.

The Red Wings started out well in the first period, outshooting the Coyotes eighteen to eleven. Detroit opened the scoring less than five minutes into the game. Sergei Fedorov eluded a Phoenix defenseman behind the net and made a centering pass to Kirk Maltby, all alone in front of the net. Maltby lifted the puck into the left side of the net, just beneath the catching glove of Robert Esche.

The Coyotes did even up the game before the end of the period. Shane Doan took a shot from the right side. Manny Legace blocked the shot, but was not able to cover up the puck before Landon Wilson got to it and flipped it into the net with 1:49 left to play.

Detroit came back just a minute later. Darren McCarty fired a hard shot from the right side, and the puck bounced off of Esche, off of Steve Yzerman‘s skate, and into the net.

The rest of the game belonged to the Red Wings. They played defensive hockey, not letting the Coyotes get many good scoring chances. Legace made the stops he had to make look easy, and the Red Wings’ defensemen took care of the rebounds.

Brendan Shanahan scored the insurance goal midway through the second period. Freddy Olausson carried the puck into the Coyotes’ zone, then left a drop pass for Yzerman. Yzerman fired towards the net. The shot was in mid-air going wide until Shanahan got his stick on it and tipped it past a very surprised Esche.

Instead of loosening up in the third period, as has so often been a concern this season, Detroit continued to dominate the game, controlling the puck and taking no chances that Phoenix might get a quality shot on net.

Igor Larionov put the game away with 8:40 left to play, during a holding penalty to Todd Simpson. The Coyotes cleared the puck, and Lidstrom went back to get it from Legace. The Red Wings cycled the puck back across the blue line, and Lidstrom left it for Larionov. Larionov carried the puck right between two Phoenix defensemen, faked as if shooting low and to the left, then put the puck in the net high and to the right. Lidstrom scored his 600th career point with the assist.

Esche blocked thirty-one of thirty-five shots against him. Legace stopped twenty-eight of twenty-nine, for his ninth win out of the eleven games he has played this season.

The Red Wings leave town for a three-game road trip beginning tomorrow night against the St. Louis Blues.

Power Play Revives, But Sharks Prevent Win

The Red Wings and San Jose Sharks gave their leads over the Central and Pacific Divisions a slight boost, skating to a 2-2 tie.

The first period was full of penalties and stoppages in play which disrupted the flow of the game. The Red Wings and the Sharks had three minor penalties apiece, but neither team was able to score on the power play or at even strength.

The second period looked to continue in the same choppy style as the first, until over half of the period was gone. Niklas Sundstrom was in the penalty box for high-sticking. Steve Yzerman carried the puck back into the zone and to the right corner after a clear by the Sharks, then passed to Brett Hull coming behind. Hull blasted a one-timer past goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff to give the Red Wings the lead and break a slump of twenty-six power plays without a goal.

San Jose had their chance for a power play goal when Darren McCarty was serving a high-sticking penalty. Gary Suter fired the puck from the left point, and Adam Graves was in place to deflect the shot between Dominik Hasek‘s legs.

The Sharks used the momentum from their power play goal to take a one-goal lead into the intermission. Hasek had gone behind the net to play the puck, but Mark Smith stole the puck away and passed it out front to Matt Bradley. Bradley was able to get the puck into the net before Hasek was able to get back to block.

After taking a lead, the Sharks went on the defensive, trying to tie up the neutral zone and keep the Red Wings from getting the puck near Kiprusoff.

Despite the Sharks’ best efforts, the Detroit offense found a way through, and Hull tied up the game for the Red Wings 8:52 into the third period. Pavel Datsyuk won a faceoff just outside of San Jose’s blue line, and carried the puck into the zone. Hull took Datsyuk’s drop-back pass and lifted a wrist shot past Kiprusoff.

Both sides played a strong game thereafter, each hoping to be the one to score and keep the game from going to overtime. The goaltenders, however, were not prepared to let any more pucks past them. Hasek and Kiprusoff both made some great saves to keep the game tied at two.

Detroit started the overtime with over a minute of a four-on-three penalty remaining from a late third period interference call on Brendan Shanahan. They killed off the penalty, but neither side was able to score in the five minute period.

Shots on net were thirty-one to twenty-nine in favor of San Jose, and both teams went one for six on power play chances. The Red Wings play their next game Friday night against the Phoenix Coyotes.

One More Milestone

The two teams who started the game tied for the highest number of goals this season nearly ended the game in the same way, until Steve Yzerman‘s thousandth career assist set up the game winning goal in overtime, putting the Red Wings over the Ottawa Senators 3-2.

The Senators opened the scoring 6:37 into the game. Martin Havlat carried the puck behind the net, managed to get past Nick Lidstrom, and then brought the puck around and sent it into the net off Dominik Hasek‘s left skate.

Pavel Datsyuk evened up the game a few moments later. He got the pass from Boyd Devereaux and fired on net. Goaltender Jani Hurme blocked the shot, but Datsyuk grabbed up his own rebound, carried it around the back of the net, and banked it in off the toe of an Ottawa defenseman’s skate.

The second period was low on offense for both teams, because of Ottawa’s style of play. The Senators played a very tight defensive style, leaving four men back to keep the puck from getting across their blue line, and sending only one man up to try to get the puck away from the Red Wings and create scoring chances.

Ottawa did end the period with a one-goal lead, in spite of their defensive play. The Red Wings took a bench minor penalty for having too many men on the ice, so Boyd Devereaux went to the box to serve the penalty. Havlat was able to beat Hasek again, taking a rinkwide pass from Karel Rachunek and sending the puck between Hasek’s leg pads.

The Red Wings scored early in the third period and kept Ottawa running for the rest of the game. Zdano Chara attempted to clear the puck from the Senators’ zone, but Kirk Maltby intercepted it and kept it in. Maltby, Sergei Fedorov, and Luc Robitaille kept firing the puck at Hurme until Robitaille finally put the puck in the net while Hurme was flopped down to block the previous shot.

Detroit played with more intensity after Robitaille’s goal, keeping the play in Ottawa’s zone for most of the period, but Hurme made save after save, keeping his team’s chance to win alive. Ottawa had a chance to end it when Igor Larionov took a slashing penalty with only 1:25 left in regulation play, but the Red Wings’ penalty killing unit kept the puck away from Hasek until the end of the period.

The overtime started with thirty-five seconds left in Larionov’s penalty, causing the Red Wings to be on the disadvantage of four-on-three play. Ottawa couldn’t put the puck into the net, Larionov came out of the box, and the Red Wings carried the play down to the Senators’ end of the ice.

Steve Yzerman got the puck out of the corner and sent it to Larionov behind the net. Larionov made a centering pass to Mathieu Dandenault, who tipped the puck into the net, just before the net was lifted from behind, which would have negated the goal. The video goal judges ruled that the goal was valid, and the Red Wings extended their home winning streak to ten games. Yzerman is only the ninth player in NHL history to score one thousand or more assists.

Hasek stopped twenty of twenty-two shots he faced during the evening, while Hurme stopped an amazing thirty-six of the thirty-nine the Red Wings sent against him. The Red Wings’ next game will be Wednesday night against the San Jose Sharks.

Passing a Legend

Bobby Hull, the great “Golden Jet,” was among the 20,058 fans at Joe Louis Arena to see two of his scoring records broken and watch the Red Wings defeat the Washington Capitals, 3-1.

Detroit opened the scoring just under two minutes into the game. Kirk Maltby shot the puck from the left point, and Luc Robitaille was in just the right spot to tip it past goaltender Olaf Kolzig to score the 611th goal of his career, moving him past Bobby Hull’s record as the highest-scoring left winger of all time.

Washington did not increase the intensity of their play, but they got their chance when Chris Chelios was sent to the penalty box for interference. Adam Oates passed across the rink to Peter Bondra, wide open on the right side. Bondra took the shot, and it went into the net over Dominik Hasek‘s left arm only thirteen seconds after the power play’s start.

The rest of the game belonged to the Red Wings. Brett Hull scored the eventual game winning goal forty-six seconds before the end of the period. Pavel Datsyuk passed from behind the net to Hull waiting in front of the net with the blade of his stick down on the ice. The pass went right to the stick and into the net behind Kolzig.

The second period was scoreless, in spite of three power plays for the Red Wings and one for the Capitals.

Detroit scored once more midway through the third period. Sergei Fedorov, playing forward again after being on defense for several games, took a pass from Robitaille. Fedorov sent it out front, attempting a centering pass to Kirk Maltby. The puck apparently had other plans. It bounced off the Washington defenseman’s stick, to one of Kolzig’s leg pads, and into the net.

The Capitals brought Kolzig to the bench with over a minute and a half remaining to play, but even with the extra skater, the Capitals were never quite able to get into a scoring position against Hasek.

The Red Wings outshot Washington thirty-four to seventeen. Detroit’s next game will be Sunday night against the Ottawa Senators.

Sean Avery was sent back down to Cincinnati of the AHL to make room on the roster for Fredrik Olausson, back from injured reserve. Brett Hull’s goal was the ninety-ninth game winner of his career, putting him alone at third place on the all-time list of number of game winning goals scored. With whom was he tied at ninety-eight? None other than his own father, Bobby Hull.

Dallas Gets Their Payback

An early goal from Boyd Devereaux and a late goal from Pavel Datsyuk weren’t enough to lift the Red Wings, who lost to the Dallas Stars, 3-2.

The game play went end-to-end through the first period. Dallas had more shots on net, but the early shots were easily blocked by Dominik Hasek. The Stars seemed eager to play and ready to lay some hits on the Red Wings, but it was the Red Wings who opened the scoring with seven minutes remaining in the first.

Pavel Datsyuk tried to pass from the corner to Brett Hull in front of the net. The puck bounced off Hull’s skate and he couldn’t find it, but Boyd Devereaux was able to come up from behind and put the puck in past Ed Belfour.

The second period belonged to Dallas, who turned up the intensity and held Detroit to only nine shots on net in the period, while managing to take seventeen themselves. Joe Nieuwendyk put his team on the board seven and a half minutes into the period, moving as if to take the puck behind the Detroit net and then turning abruptly and squeezing it into the tiny space between the goalpost and the underside of Hasek’s skate.

It looked as if the Red Wings might be able to regain the lead when they got a power play chance from a slashing call on Sergei Zubov, but before the power play could get organized, Rob DiMaio, Scott Pellerin, and Derian Hatcher had the puck in the other end of the rink. DiMaio moved to the front of the net, Hatcher shot the puck in, and DiMaio was able to tip it past Hasek.

The Red Wings came out with some more energy in the start of the third period, but Nieuwendyk was able to score again. This time, he and Brenden Morrow had a two-on-one against Jiri Fischer. Nieuwendyk got around Fischer, sending him sprawling. Fischer tried to block the puck from the ice, but Nieuwendyk got off a backhand shot which caught Hasek by surprise.

Detroit finally got a needed boost with just over six minutes left to play. Pavel Datsyuk and Steve Duchesne brought the puck into the Stars’ zone. Duchesne passed from the blue line to Datsyuk at the right side, and Datsyuk sent off a fast shot which fooled both Richard Matvichuk and Belfour.

The Red Wings played with more energy after Datsyuk’s goal, but were unable to score again in spite of the added effort. Hasek left the net for the extra skater to come on with forty seconds left to play, but a hand pass called by the officials with only seven seconds left on the clock brought the faceoff back to center ice, and the Red Wings and Stars close their season series with two wins each.

Hasek stopped twenty-eight of thirty-one shots he faced in the game, while Belfour stopped twenty-six of twenty-eight. The Red Wings will return home to face the Washington Capitals on Friday night.

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