A Sound Thrashing

The Red Wings’ recent problems against spoiler teams unable to make the playoffs were eradicated tonight, with their high-energy 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers.

The first goal of the game came during four-on-four play resulting from offsetting roughing calls to Darren McCarty and Chris Tamer. The Thrashers got a breakaway on Manny Legace, but Legace made the save and set up a three-on-two for his teammates. Igor Larionov, Jiri Slegr, and Brett Hull carried the puck down the ice. Some crisp passing got the puck to Hull in the Thrashers zone, and he paused just long enough to fake out goaltender Frederic Cassivi before snapping a low wrist shot into the net.

The Thrashers had two power play chances in the first period, but just as they had done all period, the Red Wings kept the puck away from Atlanta for the most part, and kept the Thrashers from making any passes to get a scoring play set up. Legace only had to face five shots in the first period, compared to the twelve that Cassivi faced.

The second period continued with the same Detroit intensity the Wings had shown in the first, leaving Atlanta scrambling to get any time controlling the puck. Mathieu Dandenault posted the Red Wings’ second tally of the night during a high-sticking double minor penalty to Yannick Tremblay. Dandenault skated up a clear path from the blue line down the middle, took Larionov’s pass from behind the net, and tapped it past Cassivi for his eighth goal of the season.

Atlanta ran into more penalty trouble when Tremblay was sent back to the box for hooking a moment later. Sergei Fedorov won the faceoff, and slipped the puck back to Hull. Hull’s first shot bounced off of Tomas Holmstrom and straight back to Hull, who wrested the second shot high and into the net. The entire power play lasted five seconds.

Atlanta tried to play with more intensity in the third period, and they were rewarded with a goal two and a half minutes in. Legace flopped down low to block Tomi Callio’s original shot, but J.P. Vigier was able to get the puck and flip it in high before Legace could return to his position.

The Red Wings answered with another goal of their own a few minutes later. Larionov made a good pass to Dandenault, who fired on net from the right wing side. The puck bounced off the leg of Jason Williams and into the net.

A fight broke out in the final minutes, when Francis Lessard attacked Chris Chelios, and McCarty followed up on Lessard. The resulting penalties- a slashing to McCarty, a roughing to Chelios, and one of each to Lessard- offset each other and did not put either team on the power play.

The final count of shots on net was thirty-two to twenty-two in Detroit’s favor. The Red Wings were three for six on the power play and kept Atlanta from scoring on any of their four power play chances. The Red Wings’ next game will be Monday night, when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Brendan Shanahan and Nick Lidstrom sat out tonight’s game to rest minor injuries. Scotty Bowman plans to rest Lidstrom by leaving him home during next week’s West Coast road trip”¦.. The team is planning on having Uwe Krupp return to the lineup sometime during that California trip”¦.. The Atlanta Thrashers have not once beaten the Red Wings in their three seasons of existence.

Rallying Late

After a slow start and difficulty with penalties, a late-game rally by the Red Wings brought them from behind to tie the Nashville Predators at 3 goals apiece.

The rematch against the Predators did not get off to as good a start as the Wings would have hoped. Just before the midway point in the first period, Detroit had to kill off a minute and sixteen seconds of a five-on-three Nashville power play resulting from overlapping penalties to Jiri Slegr and Kris Draper. The Predators were able to capitalize when Andy Delmore passed along the blue line to Kimmo Timonen, who one-timed a shot which deflected off the skate of Kirk Maltby and into the net past Dominik Hasek.

The Predators followed up their lead by clogging up the center ice area and keeping the Red Wings from setting up quality scoring plays in the Nashville zone. Many of the shots Detroit sent against goaltender Tomas Vokoun were blocked by Nashville players before they could even get to the net.

The Red Wings had a few power play chances of their own, including a high-sticking double minor to Steve Dubinsky early in the second period for clipping Brendan Shanahan on the nose. Even so, the Red Wings were unable to score, and then they ran into more penalty trouble.

This time, they had to kill off fifty-six seconds of Nashville’s five-on-three because of penalties to Tomas Holmstrom and Nick Lidstrom. The three men out aggressively harrassed the Nashville players and kept them from getting comfortable enough to set up a scoring play, until the first penalty had just expired. Just as Holmstrom was stepping out of the box to head up to the play, Timonen sent a blue line pass to Delmore, who one-timed a wrist shot past Hasek.

Detroit finally got a five-on-three power play of their own early in the third period, on calls to Legwand and Cale Hulse. Lidstrom passed the puck along the blue line to Brett Hull at the left point, and Hull sent off a one-timer which bounced off of Vokoun and into the net.

Unfortunately, the Predators used an unusual bounce to score once more and regain their two-goal lead. After a turnover at the blue line, Legwand fired a shot from close to the net. The puck bounced off of Scott Hartnell, then off of Mathieu Dandenault and over Hasek’s shoulder.

Finally, with less than four minutes to play, Kris Draper brought his team a goal and the momentum which went along with it. Draper deflected Steve Duchesne‘s point shot, but Vokoun was able to block. Draper tapped his own rebound into the net as he was falling to bring the Wings back within one, scoring a career-high fourteenth goal of the season.

Shanahan tied up the game a minute and a half later. Hull was unable to hit the original shot hard enough to get it into the net, but Shanahan grabbed the puck before Vokoun could cover it and stop the play. Just as on Draper’s goal, it took two tries to put the puck past Vokoun, and Shanahan made the successful shot while being knocked to the ice.

Pavel Datsyuk had a chance to put the game away before the end of regulation time, with Vokoun caught behind the net, but his shot rang off the goalpost and away from the crease. Neither team was able to score in the overtime period.

Shots on net were forty to twenty-four in Detroit’s favor. Their next game will be Saturday night against the Atlanta Thrashers.

Steve Yzerman plans to begin skating and accompany the team on next week’s West Coast trip, hopefully to return to the ice against one of the California teams”¦.. Dominik Hasek needs three more victories to tie Terry Sawchuk‘s franchise record for the highest number of victories in one season”¦.. Scotty Bowman needs four more victories to tie Jack Adams‘ franchise record for number of wins as the Red Wings’ head coach”¦”¦ Tonight’s tie, with Philadelphia’s loss to Carolina, has won the Red Wings the President’s Trophy and guaranteed them home ice advantage for every round of the playoffs.

Dunham Spoils the Fun

On most counts, the Red Wings outplayed the Nashville Predators on Monday night, but Nashville goalie Mike Dunham outdid himself against the Wings’ offense, and the two teams skated to a 3-3 tie.

Nashville played a flat game in the first period, and the Red Wings seemed to be still buoyed by the leftover momentum from Saturday’s defeat of the Avalanche. Detroit outshot the Predators fifteen to five in the first.

The Red Wings got their first goal of the night on their first power play of the night, during an interference penalty to Vladimir Orzog. Nick Lidstrom one-timed Brett Hull‘s pass from the blue line, and goaltender Mike Dunham let the rebound slip up center. Sergei Fedorov was able to get to it before any Nashville defenders could, and he slapped it into the net between Dunham’s legs.

The Predators came back from the first intermission playing like a different team. They managed to block up the neutral zone and keep the Red Wings from setting up many quality scoring chances. Nashville scored a power play goal of their own to even up the game during an interference call to Max Kuznetsov. Manny Legace blocked the original shot, and Jiri Fischer tried to clear the rebound away, but the puck bounced off of Denis Arkhipov and into the net.

The Red Wings kept on and on firing shots on net, but Dunham demonstrated why he was named to the US Olympic team, and the game remained tied at one.

Nashville scored again to take the lead with less than two minutes left in the period. Scott Hartnell sent a backhand pass across to Karlis Skrastins, who slid the puck beneath Legace and into the net.

Detroit didn’t have to go to the intermission trailing. Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom, and Jason Williams took off on a three-on-one. Draper gained the zone and passed to Holmstrom at the right wing side, who sent the puck to Williams at center. Williams waited just long enough for Dunham to drop down low before putting the puck into the top of the net.

A defensive lapse by the Red Wings early in the third gave Nashville the lead again. Nashville had six skaters in Detroit’s end, due to a delayed penalty call, and Hartnell managed to get to the front of the net with no one to cover him. Jukka Hentinen sent the pass across, and Hartnell flipped it into the net.

With a one-goal lead, the Predators shut down and played defensively for the rest of the game. They lined up across their zone and sent only one forechecker up on the attack, causing Detroit to have to dump the puck into the zone and chase after it, rather than carry it in as they prefer to do. Dunham continued to make the necessary saves.

Legace made some strong saves to keep his team within one, and the Red Wings finally tied up the game with just under two minutes to go. Brendan Shanahan fired hard from the left wing side, with Luc Robitaille going to the net. Robitaille partially blocked Dunham’s view, and Shanahan’s shot flew into the net just above Dunham’s right shoulder.

Neither team was able to score in the overtime period. The best chance came to Mathieu Dandenault, who put a shot towards an empty net while being dragged down to the ice. The puck rang off the far goalpost, and the game ended in a tie.

Legace stopped seventeen shots of the twenty he faced during the game. Dunham stopped thirty-five of the thirty-eight the Red Wings put on net. The Red Wings will play the Predators again on Thursday night at home.


A milestone goal, an octopus, an epic brawl, and sewing up the Western Conference lead all in the same game….. It must be getting near playoff time! The Red Wings and Avalanche showed the world that their bitter rivalry is far from dead, as the Wings posted a 2-0 victory.

The first two periods went by mildly enough as the teams felt out each other’s defenses. Dominik Hasek and Patrick Roy kept the puck out of their nets, in spite of power plays and scoring chances for both teams. The Red Wings and Avalanche looked to be fairly equal in goaltending, defense, and offense.

It was in the third period that the game became interesting. Detroit gained over a minute of five-on-three power play opportunity on penalties to Alex Tanguay and Adam Foote, and they were able to take the advantage. Nick Lidstrom passed from the right point to Brendan Shanahan at his usual position on the left wing side, and Shanahan sent off a laser-guided one-time shot that ripped past Roy and into the back of the net, finally scoring his 500th career goal after an eight game goal slump. A Detroit fan in the crowd saluted Shanahan in traditional style, tossing a slimy octopus onto the ice for the Pepsi Center rink staff to clean up.

Shortly thereafter, Martin Skoula dumped Kirk Maltby into Roy’s net, and Roy decided he wanted to fight. Maltby was surprised, but perfectly willing to take the gloves off and throw a few punches. That set off a fight between Sean Avery and Pascal Trepanier in the corner, leaving Trepanier’s lip bruised and bleeding. Finally, everyone on the ice was drawn into the fight, including Hasek, who came all the way from the other end of the rink, dropping gloves and equipment on his way to stick up for the rest of his team. He wound up stepping on his own goal stick and falling, bowling Roy over rather than fighting, but the officials had to keep the two separated while they shouted insults at each other.

The resulting penalty tangle gave Colorado a power play, but Hasek and the penalty killing unit regained their focus with a quickness, giving the Avalanche no chance to score.

Boyd Devereaux gave the Red Wings an insurance goal with just under seven minutes left to play. Brett Hull took a blue line pass from Lidstrom and fired on goal, and Devereaux got just enough contact with the puck to put it into Roy’s net.

The Red Wings ran into trouble at the end of the period. Darren McCarty was sent to the penalty box for hooking, and during the Avalanche power play, Mike Keane purposely fell on Hasek. Chris Chelios took exception to this, and cross-checked Keane in the back. Several times. Finally, the referees called the penalty on Chelios, and when the defenseman argued back, he was given another two-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, as well as a game misconduct.

This would have put the Red Wings shorthanded for the remainder of the game, over four minutes, had Radim Vrbata not been penalized for high-sticking Kris Draper a few seconds later. Colorado had nearly two minutes of power play time left when the four-on-four was over, and they pulled Roy from the net to gain a six-on-four advantage. Hasek stayed sharp, however, and the Avalanche left the game scoreless.

Roy stopped twenty-four of twenty-six shots over the course of the game, and Hasek stopped all thirty-one of the shots the Avalanche fired on his net, moving him into sole first place as the shutout leader among active goaltenders and putting him three wins away from Terry Sawchuk‘s all-time franchise record for most wins in one season.

The Red Wings’ next game will be Monday night against the Nashville Predators.

Today’s win guaranteed the Red Wings the top spot in the Western Conference. One more loss or two more ties by the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins, and the Red Wings will have earned the President’s Trophy for most points in a season… Brendan Shanahan is in good company, scoring his 500th career goal against Patrick Roy “” Steve Yzerman did the same thing, 158 goals ago.

Not Their Nicest Win

The Red Wings played a lackluster game overall Thursday night, but star moments from Nick Lidstrom, Brendan Shanahan, and Sergei Fedorov, as well as a good, solid debut for Jiri Slegr, were enough to carry them over the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2.

The game began on a somber note, with a moment of silent remembrance for Brittanie Cecil, the little girl killed by an injury from a deflected puck at the Blue Jackets’ game against Edmonton on Saturday night.

Columbus played a clumsy game in the first period, making several mistakes in attempting to clear the puck from their zone. Even though the Red Wings were able to set up a few scoring chances from the Blue Jackets’ errors, they were unable to put the puck past goaltender Marc Denis.

The Blue Jackets came on harder and the Red Wings eased off in the second period. Columbus opened the scoring just over two minutes in. David Vyborny put an unremarkable shot towards the net, but it slipped past the Red Wings’ defensemen and Ray Whitney managed to redirect it just enough to put it into the net past Dominik Hasek.

Kirk Maltby evened up the game a few minutes later. Nick Lidstrom passed the puck to Maltby, who flew up the right wing side and threw a hard shot towards the net. Igor Larionov was skating towards the net looking to pick up the rebound, but it proved to be unnecessary, as Maltby’s shot bounced off Denis’s blocker and in for the goal.

Columbus regained the lead midway through the period, managing to score against an uninspired Red Wings power play. Espen Knutsen intercepted a pass and took off down the ice, then passed across to Jaroslav Spacek coming up the left wing side. Spacek brought the puck in close to the net, then backhanded a shot over the top of Hasek.

The Red Wings tried to kick up the offense in the third period, but seemed to have to kill off a penalty just as the game’s momentum would be starting to favor them. Sergei Fedorov finally tied the game with less than five minutes remaining. Lidstrom passed neatly to Brendan Shanahan, who fired towards the net, but the puck angled off a Columbus player’s skate and directly to Fedorov, waiting with a hard one-time shot. Denis was being screened by Darren McCarty, and did not see that the puck had angled across to Fedorov, so was completely out of position for the shot.

Just as Fedorov, Shanahan, and Lidstrom sent the game to overtime, they also brought the overtime to a speedy conclusion. Only twenty-five seconds in, Fedorov grabbed up a rebound from Shanahan’s shot, set up by Lidstrom, and skated it quickly around the back of the net, then stuffed it in before Denis could quite realize where the puck had gone.

Shots on goal were twenty-two to twenty-one in the Blue Jackets’ favor. The Red Wings’ next game will be Saturday afternoon at the Pepsi Center in Denver, facing down their archrivals, the Colorado Avalanche.

Trade deadline acquisition Jiri Slegr, after being a “”21 in the plus/minus rating with Atlanta, was rated a +2 in his first game with his new team…… The Columbus players will wear Brittanie Cecil’s initials on their helmets for the rest of the season. Visiting teams to Nationwide Arena will do likewise, so as to honor the little girl and her family.

No Victory to Celebrate the Trade Deadline

The Red Wings made a decisive move to increase their defensive depth today at the trade deadline by acquiring Jiri Slegr from Atlanta in exchange for Yuri Butsayev and a third round draft pick. That being done, the Red Wings just couldn’t seem to get worked up for this game, even though by the numbers, it should have been a simple win. Numbers don’t always tell the whole truth, however, and the Mighty Ducks of Anahiem squeaked by Detroit, 2-1.

The first two periods went by at a quick pace, with few stoppages in play. Neither team was able to score, in spite of three power play chances for each team. The Red Wings outshot the Ducks twenty to eighteen through the first forty minutes of play, and four of the Wings’ shots belonged to Brendan Shanahan, still looking for his 500th career goal. His teammates kept trying to set him up with scoring opportunities, but it was no good.

Goaltenders Dominik Hasek and Steve Shields were both sharp, keeping all pucks out of their respective nets, until only four seconds remained in the second period. Paul Kariya got set up on a breakaway pass by German Titov, and flew down the left wing side. Kariya flung a hard wrist shot at the net, and it went right past Hasek, who had come forward to cut down the shot’s angle.

The Red Wings came on hard in the third period, and finally were rewarded during a high-sticking penalty to Pavel Trnka. Nick Lidstrom passed the puck along the blue line to Brett Hull, who let go a hard one-timer. Shields, who was being screened by Shanahan, never had a chance.

Kariya put the Ducks ahead for the win, just as everyone was settling in for overtime. Steve Rucchin dumped the puck into the Detroit zone at a cross angle, rather than straight along the boards, and Jeff Friesen went behind the net to get it. He centered a pass to Kariya, who wristed it high over Hasek’s right side.

The Wings pulled Hasek from the net for the final minute of play, but the flurry of shots from six skaters were not enough to put the puck past Shields.

Shots on net wound up twenty-eight to twenty-four in Detroit’s favor. The Red Wings’ next game will be Thursday night at Columbus.

Steve Yzerman will be out for at least ten and as many as fourteen more days, resting his sore knee thoroughly before attempting to return to the ice. The team definitely expects to have him back before the playoffs start”¦”¦ According to NHL.com, the Red Wings new defenseman Jiri Slegr scored his first ever NHL goal against Patrick Roy. And that, in this reporter’s view, can only be a good sign.

Last Minute Deal Brings Slegr to Hockeytown

The Detroit Red Wings waited until nine minutes before the NHL’s trade deadline to make a move.

After seeing highly-coveted Darius Kasparaitis head to the Colorado Avalanche and Lyle Odelein get dealt to the division-rival Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit dealt Yuri Butsayev and their third-round pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft to the Atlanta Thrashers for gritty defenseman Jiri Slegr.

Slegr, twenty-nine, has three goals and five assists in thirty-eight games with the Thrashers. He brings with him a minus twenty-one rating and fifty-one penalty minutes. He had previously played for Vancouver, Edmonton and Pittsburgh before being dealt to Atlanta last season.

Butsayev, twenty-two and the Red Wings’ first choice, forty-ninth overall, in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, has six goals and four assists across three seasons in the NHL with Detroit.

The trade is one of thirteen reported on Tuesday, the day of the NHL’s trade deadline.

Kasparaitis Colorado-Bound

Darius Kasparaitis, the gritty, oft-penalized defenseman rumored to be heading to Detroit at the NHL trade deadline, has been traded to the Colorado Avalanche in return for forward Ville Nieminen and defenseman Rick Berry.

This is the third time in as many seasons that the Avalanche have made a deadline deal for a defenseman. Last year they aquired Rob Blake from the Los Angeles Kings. In 2000, Ray Bourque was sent to Colorado after spending over twenty years with the Boston Bruins.

Kasparaitis, twenty-nine, has two goals and twelve assists in sixty-nine games this season for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He’s racked up 123 penalty minutes and has a minus-one plus/minus rating.

Nieminen, twenty-four, has twelve goals and sixteen assists in his sophomore season with the Avalanche. He was drafted seventy-eighth overall by Colorado in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.

Berry, twenty-three and also in his sophomore NHL season, has no points and is a plus-one in fifty-seven game with the Avalanche. He was Colorado’s third choice, fifty-fifth overall, in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.

Detroit’s offer to the Penguins is rumored to have been speedy defenseman / right wing Mathieu Dandenault and an another unnamed young player.

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