Hours before midnight on the last day of the year the Red Wings ended 2001 the way it had began, with a 4-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena.
On January 4, 2001, Detroit downed the Dallas Stars in their first game of the year. On Decmeber 31, 2001, the Red Wings defeated the Minnesota Wild in the last game of 2001.
The Red Wings, coming off an overtime loss to Nashville in which they blew a two goal, third period lead, opened the scoring late in the first period when Darren McCarty beat Minnesota goaltender Manny Fernandez with a wrist shot high to the glove side.
The Wings scored again just over five minutes into the second period when Luc Robitaille chipped his own rebound past Fernandez on the power play. Steve Duchesne, playing his first game after missing five with an ankle injury, scored the Wings’ third goal late in the second while jumping into an odd-man rush.
Not to be kept down, the Wild jumped back in the third. Darby Hendrickson beat Dominik Hasek while shorthanded just past the midpoint of the period to put Minnesota on the board. With less than four minutes remaining in the period, Marian Gaborik added another for the Wild and the Wings’ lead was cut to one goal late in the game.
Detroit clamped down defensively for the final minutes, and with 23.7 seconds remaining Kris Draper scored into the empty net to seal the victory.
The win gave the Red Wings a 56-19-9-3 record for the Year 2001, including the playoffs, and moved them up to 28-8-3-2 on the season. The Wings will kick off 2002 on Wednesday as the Mighty Ducks of Anahiem visit Joe Louis Arena. Faceoff is at 8:00 PM.