Another Happy Overtime Outcome

The Red Wings closed out their five-game homestand on a high note, outplaying, outshooting, and finally outscoring the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in a 2-1 overtime victory.

Detroit outplayed the Ducks with great vigor in the first period, doubling the shots on net 10-5, in spite of two power plays for Anaheim and none for Detroit. Even so, the goaltenders were superb, with both Curtis Joseph and Jean-Sebastien Giguere turning away some high quality scoring chances to end the first in a 0-0 tie.

The Red Wings continued their dominance in the second period, but the Mighty Ducks were able to capitalize on a defensive miscue to take the lead. The Red Wings’ defensemen had joined the play and were in the Anaheim zone, with Pavel Datsyuk back to defend. When Stanislav Chistov made a pass to spring Andy McDonald on a breakaway, Datsyuk wasn’t quite sure of the defensive move to make, and McDonald got around him. Joseph blocked McDonald’s low shot, sprawling, but Petr Sykora followed the play to the net and flipped the rebound into the net over the goalie.

Detroit continued to work hard to score, refusing to let the goal shake them. Darren McCarty, Kirk Maltby, and Kris Draper caused trouble for the Ducks every time they stepped on the ice. Returning defenseman Dmitri Bykov made several wise defensive moves to block shots and steal the puck, keeping Anaheim from increasing their lead. Luc Robitaille, Igor Larionov, and Tomas Holmstrom were everywhere in the Duck’s end of the rink, wreaking havoc and creating scoring chances, but Giguere continued to frustrate them until the third period.

Robitaille’s hard work and Brett Hull‘s ability to find open ice created the goal. Robitaille intercepted a clearing pass and headed towards the net. Giguere gave him no angle to shoot at, so Robitaille carried the puck behind the net. Instead of attempting a wraparound goal, Robitaille fired a quick pass to Hull, who had managed to position himself in front of the net without being noticed. Giguere was still trying to watch Robitaille behind him, and he had no chance to stop Hull’s hard one-timer shot that tied the game. “I thought he was going to shoot,” Hull said. “And when he didn’t, I just went to an open spot.”

The third period and eventual overtime continued with superior goaltending and scoring chances for both teams. Joseph rose to the occasion…. or flopped down on the ice (kind of like that goalie the Wings had last year), or went into the butterfly position, or stood straight up with his glove hand ready…. whatever physical contortions were necessary to stop the shots by an increasingly desperate Anaheim team, Joseph was prepared for them.

Finally, with only twenty-one seconds remaining in overtime, Sergei Fedorov decided it was time to net his sixth game-winning goal of the season. Chris Chelios left a drop pass to Fedorov. Giguere was being screened by Brendan Shanahan, and Fedorov’s lightning-quick shot found its way past Giguere for the win.

Over the course of the game, Joseph made 25 saves on 26 shots, while Giguere stopped 43 of the 44 he faced. The Red Wings leave town after this game for a trip to Toronto, where they will face the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.

Fedorov’s goal was his 11th of the season, tying him for first place in the NHL. The other player in the top spot is Marion Gaborik of the Minnesota Wild. The goal also made Fedorov the all-time leader in regular season overtime goals, with a total of 12 in his career.

Fischer Out 4-6 Months

Jiri Fischer, the Red Wings’ highly-touted young defenseman, will be out for four to six months with a torn knee ligament.

Fischer was injured late in Detroit’s 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators Tuesday night. Tests on Wednesday morning revealed the extent of the injury.

The twenty-two year-old Fischer is coming off a career year. He scored two goals and added eight assists in eighty games last season along with three goals and three assists in twenty-two playoff games. Fischer spent most of the season paired with Norris Trophy runner-up Chris Chelios.

The Red Wings are already without center and captain Steve Yzerman, whose off-season knee surgery will keep him out of action until early 2003.

Fischer’s return could come as the start of the playoffs in mid-April.

Waking the Scoring Touch

The Nashville Predators were at the end of a seven game roadtrip, and they were weary. The Red Wings on the other hand, were in the middle of a five game homestand in which they had thus far tied with the Stars, been shutout by the Blackhawks, and finally squeaked out an overtime win over the Bruins. They were ready to play to win, so they did just that, and gained a 4-1 victory over Nashville.

The Red Wings definitely outplayed the Predators in the first period, outshooting them by a count of 16-6, but goalie Mike Dunham was sharp in his net. The Predators were able to open the scoring just before the period ended. Darren McCarty was in the penalty box for holding, and Nashville’s power play unit took advantage of their situation. Vladimir Orzagh pushed to the net with the puck. Martin Erat trailed close behind. When one of the Red Wings’ defensmen poked the puck away from Orzagh, Erat got it in the confusion and threw it back into the tangle of feet. The puck pinballed off the skate of Chris Chelios, past Curtis Joseph, and into the net.

Brendan Shanahan tied the game up for the Wings early in the second period. Sergei Fedorov‘s shot rebounded to the right side. Shanahan scooped it up and shot it from a tight angle. Dunham was still trapped at the other side of the net, and the puck went in high under the crossbar, ending Shanahan’s nine-game goal drought.

After that, the game belonged to Detroit. Fedorov scored a goal on a breakaway set up by Shanahan to give the Wings the lead before the period was over. He got in ahead of defenseman Bill Houlder, and his shot bounced off the goalpost, off Dunham’s skate, back off the goalpost, and finally into the net.

The Predators made a few attempts to get back into the game in the third period, even after the Wings went up by two goals. Nashville gave up the puck in their own end. McCarty got hold of it, spun around, and flung it at the net. Dunham was partially screened by Kirk Maltby, and the puck bounced off a skate to change direction on the way in. Dunham didn’t have much of a chance.

Nashville tried to make the most of a power play they were given when Jesse Wallin was penalized for delay of game, for covering up the puck with his body after a strange scramble left Joseph out of position. The Red Wings’ penalty killers took the play to them instead, giving them no chance to score against Joseph.

A slashing penalty on Scott Hartnell gave the Wings their opportunity to put the game out of reach for good. Pavel Datsyuk passed from behind the net to Fedorov on the right side. Fedorov’s shot was blocked by Dunham, but the rebound squirted straight to where Shanahan waited on the left side. Another quick one-timer from another tight angle, and the score was 4-1 to end the game.

The final tally of shots on net were 38-23 in favor of Detroit. The Red Wings will end their five game homestand on Friday night when they host the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

This was Curtis Joseph’s first ever victory against the Predators. He has a 1-2-1 lifetime record against them…. Sean Avery has been sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins to play in a few conditioning games…. Jiri Fischer left the game in the third period with a knee injury. An MRI has been scheduled.

Clutch Goals, Goaltending Lead Wings Over Bruins

Clutch goaltending from Red Wings backup netminder Manny Legace and timely goals from Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov lifted Detroit to a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins Thursday night. The win was the Red Wings’ first in four games, ending a three-game mini-slump.

Lidstrom scored the Wings’ first goal of the night just past the midway point of the third period. While on the power play, Lidstrom skated into the slot and rifled a one-timer past Boston netminder John Grahame. The goal tied the game at one at was the first Red Wings goal in over 121 minutes of play across three games.

Boston’s Joe Thornton had opened the scoring at 5:16 of the third. Detroit defenseman Mathieu Dandenault mishandled the puck, Thornton jumped past him and moved in on Legace, beating him to put the Bruins up by a goal.

Late in regulation, Red Wing Brendan Shanahan was sent off for high sticking Jozef Stumple, a penalty that would carry into the overtime period.

Legace kept the Wings alive in overtime, making several outstanding saves including a sprawling stop on a shot by Thornton from the doorstep. With Shanahan’s penalty killed off, the Red Wings jumped back onto the offensive.

At the 2:08 mark of overtime, Sergei Fedorov jumped off the bench on a line change and raced into the Boston zone. The puck came to him and he ripped a slap shot past Grahame to give Detroit the victory.

“Just changing, and the puck came between our players,” Fedorov said. “I just walked in, picked up the pass and I shot it. I knew it would be short side. Good change.”

Legace stopped thirty-three of the Bruins’ thirty-four shots in the win, while Grahame made twenty-six saves on twenty-eight shots.

Curtis Joseph did not start the game because of the flu… Kris Draper took a high stick to the face late in the second period; he returned for the third… Steve Yzerman skated with the Red Wings Thursday morning, but is still expected to be out until January.

Shutout by Chicago

In spite of strong goaltending by Manny Legace, and a number of quality scoring chances, the puck just didn’t bounce in the Red Wings’ favor tonight. The Blackhawks, on the other hand, were ready to win, and managed to shut out the Red Wings by a score of 2-0.

Detroit had ample opportunity to score in the first period. They had three consecutive power plays in the first period, but Chicago shut them down, keeping their passes from getting through, blocking shots, and not letting anyone get in front of the net to screen goaltender Jocelyn Thibault.

Kris Draper had two good breakaway chances to score, but Thibault was sharp. At the other end of the rink, Legace held off several quality shots by the Blackhawks to end the period with no score for either team.

The Red Wings had to begin the second period on the penalty kill, with Chris Chelios serving the remainder of a holding penalty he had been assessed at the end of the first period. Just as Chelios was stepping back onto the ice, the Blackhawks scored their goal. Alexei Zhamnov flung the puck towards the net, and Steve Sullivan raced after it to redirect it past Legace for the goal.

The Red Wings tried to apply some offensive pressure to tie the game back up, but Thibault continued to be huge in the Chicago net. The Blackhawks’ defensemen blocked many shots as well, especially Jon Klemm, a former defenseman for the Colorado Avalanche, and Alexander Karpotsev, who blocked a hard shot by Brett Hull with his ankle and had to be helped off the ice and sent for x-rays.

The Red Wings continued to have their chances in the third period, but the scoring didn’t follow. Pavel Datsyuk made a notable play to steal the puck from three Blackhawks and center a pass for Sergei Fedorov, but Fedorov’s shot hit Thibault in the chest, and no rebound was let go.

The Blackhawks put the game away shortly afterwards, when Draper was sent to the penalty box for slashing. Again, the very second the power play was ending, Chicago was able to score. Legace stopped two wraparound scoring attempts by Sullivan and Steve Thomas, but Thomas took the puck back, then gave it to Andrei Nikolishin, who simply kept hitting it until it slipped under Legace’s pads and into the net.

The final shots on net were 23-18 in favor of Chicago. Both teams went 0 for 6 on the power play. The Red Wings’ next game will be Thursday night at home against another Original Six rival, the Boston Bruins.

Sean Avery was a healthy scratch for this game. Dmitri Bykov is still recovering from a shoulder injury, and Brendan Shanahan stayed out for personal reasons…. Jocelyn Thibault shut out the Red Wings the last time they were unable to score in a home game, as well. That was another 2-0 Blackhawks victory, on December 17, 2001.

Wings Tie Stars While On the Mend

Twenty-four hours can improve a team’s defensive outlook greatly. It might be an exaggeration to say that the Red Wings looked like a completely different team against the Dallas Stars than they did the night before against Ottawa, but they certainly looked like a team ready to put a bad game behind them. The Stars, on the other hand, had an embarrassing loss of their own against the Columbus Blue Jackets to shake off, and the two determined teams skated to a 3-3 tie.

Dallas got the first goal of the game 5:49 into the first period. The puck bounced away from a tangle of players along the right boards. It went right out in front of the net, where Ulf Dahlen was able to flip it past Curtis Joseph and just under the crossbar.

Shortly afterwards, Brenden Morrow was given a penalty for interference against Kirk Maltby, and the Red Wings’ power play extended its scoring streak for another game. Pavel Datsyuk passed the puck from behind the net to Brett Hull. The rebound from Hull’s shot came back to him, and he sent it back to Datsyuk. Datsyuk then slipped a pass through to Nick Lidstrom at the left faceoff circle. Lidstrom took a split second to settle the puck before wristing the shot high past goalie Marty Turco.

Joseph and Turco both made some impressive saves throughout the first and second periods, but Turco blinked first. Jason Williams made a pass which sent Boyd Devereaux and Datsyuk up the ice on a two-on-two rush. Devereaux stumbled slightly as he carried the puck over the blue line, but he got back up and made a clean pass across to Datsyuk anyway, and Datsyuk tapped it right into the net to give the Red Wings the lead.

The Stars began to lay on the offensive pressure then, trying to get back into the game, but Joseph and the reinvigorated Detroit defense held them off until only 8 seconds remained in the second period. Scott Young took a wild shot on net from the right half-boards. Joseph made the save, but the rebound bounced straight out front to Mike Modano. Modano’s shot deflected slightly off the leg of Jiri Fischer and past Joseph to tie the game back up.

The Stars took the next lead of the game 7:30 into the third period while Henrik Zetterberg was serving a penalty for holding. Sergei Zubov took a shot from the right side. The rebound bounced off the skate of Darrell Sydor and over to Dahlen, who had skated around behind the net without attracting attention. He was able to stuff the puck past Joseph before anyone quite realized he had it.

A Detroit power play tied the game back up. Brendan Shanahan faked a shot from his usual power play spot on the left side, but instead he passed the puck to Williams waiting in front of the net. Williams was able to angle a shot into the tiny space between Turco and the goalpost.

The Red Wings dominated the overtime play. Sergei Fedorov had two breakaways, but he shot the puck wide of the net both times. Turco held his ground against the seven shots that did get to him. Meanwhile, Joseph made two huge stops at the other end of the rink, and the game ended with a 3-3 tie.

The game was also nearly equal in terms of total shots on net: the final count was 37 to 35 in favor of the Stars. The Red Wings’ next game will be on Tuesday evening when they host their ancient rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Igor Larionov was a healthy scratch for tonight’s game, allowing Sean Avery to rotate into the lineup. Tomas Holmstrom and Dmitri Bykov are still out with their respective injuries”¦.Head coach Dave Lewis used Scotty Bowman‘s example and rearranged the forward lines to shake up the team after Saturday’s game. What did he come up with?
Line 1: Brett Hull, Henrik Zetterberg, and Sergei Fedorov””A goat, a kid, and Sergei, who is neither goat nor kid, but certainly seemed to match well with the other two.
Line 2: Brendan Shanahan, Kris Draper, and Kirk Maltby””Not sure if it was a demotion for Shanny, or a promotion for Draper and Maltby, but with Shanahan’s innate grittiness and Maltby’s and Draper’s tendency to score goals exactly when no one expects them to, it could work pretty well.
Line 3: Jason Williams, Pavel Datsyuk, and Boyd Devereaux””a high-energy line of three young guys who are excited to be playing. They will make some rookie mistakes sometimes, but this is a line that can make good things happen.
Line 4: Luc Robitaille, Sean Avery, and Darren McCarty“”Leftovers? Okay, they were the three left without anywhere else to go, but a line with the highest scoring left winger of all time and two of the best agitators in hockey is bound to accomplish something. Just let it remind you of Steve Yzerman playing with Joey Kocur and Bob Probert, back in the day.

Wings Unfortunate on Defense in Loss to Sens

A poor defensive effort against a team desperate for their first victory in five games led the Red Wings to a 5-2 loss against the Ottawa Senators.

The game started well enough for Detroit. An early Ottawa penalty to Peter Schaefer for goaltender interference against Curtis Joseph led to the first goal of the game. Chris Chelios made a surprising deke around an Ottawa player along the right boards and got the puck back to Igor Larionov at the blue line. Larionov passed across to Brett Hull at the left faceoff circle, and Hull fired a hard one-time shot that flew into the net past goaltender Patrick Lalime.

A defensive lapse allowed the Senators to tie the game less than a minute later. Wade Redden got the puck to Magnus Arvedson in the left corner of the Detroit zone. No one covered Arvedson, and he was able to skate out to the front of the net, shoot the puck at Joseph, get his own rebound, and put the puck in for the goal.

Ottawa took the lead early in the second period. Brad Smyth managed to angle around Jiri Fischer and get the shot away while losing his balance. Joseph was slow to drop, and the puck slid into the net under his blocker.

Detroit made their best offensive effort of the game in the second period, but Lalime made several very strong stops to keep the Senators in front. Shaun Van Allen increased the lead towards the end of the period. Petr Schastlivy stole the puck from Max Kuznetsov by sneaking up behind him and pulling the puck back between his skates. The puck flipped over to Van Allen in front of the net, and Joseph didn’t have much of a chance to stop the shot.

The Red Wings had their best chance to get back into the game midway through the third period. Hull drew three Senators towards him before threading a pass to the net so Henrik Zetterberg could tip it in for a shorthanded goal. Unfortunately, Ottawa scored on that power play just seconds later. Schastlivy got the puck near the net, and just kept banging away at it until it went in.

Todd White put the game away for the Senators by flipping the puck into the net after a bad turnover by Sergei Fedorov in the Red Wings’ zone.

The Senators’ tight defense allowed the Red Wings to get only twenty-two shots against Lalime. The Red Wings allowed the Senators to get thirty-four shots against Joseph.

The Red Wings will travel home after tonight’s game to face the Dallas Stars on Sunday evening at Joe Louis Arena.