Yet Another Tie?

The third game this season between the Red Wings and the Dallas Stars would have had a tough time being a more even match. Shots on net were 31 to 30. Penalty minutes? 15 to 13. Faceoffs? 33-32. And finally the score: it was 1-1. It was fast. It was intense. It looked a lot like playoff hockey, never mind that it’s December on the calendar. If this was a preview of the Western Conference Finals, as many hockey analysts are predicting, then hockey fans are in for an entertaining spring.

Meanwhile, it is still December, and it was the 32nd game of the Red Wings’ season. The playoffs are months away, 50 games away, but mid-season doldrums were nowhere to be found at the Joe for this game.

The game was intense from the start. There was no scoring in the first period, even though both teams had chances. There was wonderful goaltending from both Manny Legace and Marty Turco, and there was quite a lot of checking. Not the questionable obstruction kind causing so much confusion this season, just plain old clean body checking on both sides. There was a fight- Sean Avery had some “words” with Stefan Robidas, and they both wound up being sent to the penalty box to cool down. There was even a successful three-man penalty kill by Detroit. Kirk Maltby and Max Kuznetzov were sent to the box just twenty seconds apart, giving the Stars a full 1:40 of five-on-three advantage. Legace, Sergei Fedorov, Nick Lidstrom, and Chris Chelios did a phenomenal job in keeping the puck out of the net.

The second period was just as intense and tight defensively as the first, but the Wings finally scored with only 3:19 remaining. Kris Draper‘s shot was deflected by Turco, but the rebound went all the way back to Kuznetsov at the left point. Kuznetsov made a hard pass to Brendan Shanahan at the right corner of the net, and Shanahan scooped the puck high over Turco to take the lead.

Fedorov had a chance to increase the lead with a one-on-one breakaway early in the third period, but his shot rang off the goalpost. The Stars managed to score instead. Scott Pellerin got the puck to Philippe Boucher on the right side boards. Boucher’s shot deflected off the stick of Jason Woolley and high into the net before Legace could adjust to the changed direction of the puck.

Both teams played a cautious game through the rest of the third period and the overtime. With such a close match in the Conference standings (Dallas has 45 points, Detroit has 41), neither team seemed willing to take a risk of making a mistake that could give their opponent the extra point from the win, so they settled for the tie, their third tie of the season.

Legace and Turco played extremely well, with 30 and 29 saves respectively. The Red Wings continue their season with a game Saturday night against the New York Rangers.

Jesse Wallin sat out this game with a hyperextended elbow. Patrick Boileau, recently recalled from the Griffins, was in the lineup in Wallin’s place…. Mike Modano and Brenden Morrow of the Stars were also out, Modano with a concussion and Morrow with a groin injury…. Brendan Shanahan’s goal was the first even strength goal scored against Marty Turco in 230 minutes and 19 seconds of game time.

Two Periods of Solid Goaltending, 2-2 Tie

The Red Wings started out shaky against the New York Islanders and their own former goalie Chris Osgood, but a goalie switch of their own and an enlivened offense led them to come back for a 2-2 tie on Long Island.

Curtis Joseph certainly did not get the start he wanted. He gave up two goals on eleven shots in the first period. The first was tapped in by Radek Martinek on a setup by Alexei Yashin, less than a minute into the game. The second came near the end of the period, as Jason Blake took a pass from Adrian Aucoin and slid it past Joseph.

The Red Wings’ offense didn’t get the start they wanted either. The Islanders outshot them 11-9 in the first period, and former Wings goalie Chris Osgood had all the shots figured out.

Dave Lewis decided to take a chance and replace Joseph with Manny Legace to start the second period. Legace looked as sharp as he did before his knee injury, just as if he’d missed no time at all, and the rest of the team began to respond. The defense tightened up, allowing only six shots on net in the second period, and the offense started making shots with better chances of going into the net.

Igor Larionov put the Wings on the board midway through the second. Brendan Shanahan made a centering pass from behind the goal line, and Larionov put it in high over Osgood’s shoulder.

The Detroit offense continued to press, but the Islanders regrouped and tried to come back. Legace continued to play well, making saves and controlling the rebounds.

Luc Robitaille broke his goal drought with the tying goal early in the third. Sergei Fedorov made a tight pass to Darren McCarty, who went to the net with the puck. He was muscled away by an Islanders defenseman, but Luc Robitaille came right behind and banged the puck in over Osgood’s arm.

The Islanders started overtime with 37 seconds of four-on-three play carried over from a tripping call against Chris Chelios late in the third, but their power play, which had looked anemic all game, was unable to capitalize. Both teams had good chances in the four-on-four, but both goalies held steady, and the game ended with a 2-2 tie.

The final count of shots on net was 36-32 in favor of Detroit. Legace stopped 21 shots in the second and third periods. Osgood made 34 saves in the game.

The Red Wings’ next game will be at home against the Dallas Stars.

The Islanders have now had 29 consecutive successful penalty kills… Sergei Fedorov’s assist on Luc Robitaille’s goal was his 900th career point.

Wings Down Jackets After First Period Shootout

The Red Wings and the Blue Jackets combined to score seven goals in the first period and ten goals overall as Detroit downed Columbus 6-4 Saturday night. It was the third time this season the Red Wings reached six goals in one game.

Detroit’s Brendan Shanahan started the scoring just 1:10 into the game. Tomas Holmstrom broke in on Columbus goaltender Marc Denis fifty-one seconds later and beat him to the side to put the Wings up by two.

The Blue Jackets tied the game up a quarter of the way through the period with two goals almost two minutes apart.

Sergei Fedorov‘s first goal of the night gave Detroit the lead again just past the midway point of the period but Tyler Wright tied the game again for the Jackets twenty-two seconds later.

The Red Wings exited the period with a 4-3 lead after Darren McCarty scored with just over two minutes remaining.

Scoring calmed down in the second period with the only goal coming as Fedorov notched his second of the night. While shorthanded, Shanahan sent a pass out to Fedorov, who punched a shot past Denis, extending the Red Wings’ lead to two goals.

At the 1:40 mark of the third period, Columbus pulled back within one on a goal by Jody Shelley ut it would prove to not be enough.

Kirk Maltby added an insurance goal with 7:47 remaining in the game. Detroit fought off a late charge while Denis was on the bench and Columbus had a power play to get the 6-4 win.

Curtis Joseph stopped eighteen of twenty-two shots faced in net for the Red Wings while Denis made twenty-eight saves on thirty-four shots for Columbus.

The Red Wings are back in action on Tuesday night when they visit the New York Islanders.

Who Says Expansion Teams Can’t Do Well?

The Minnesota Wild are known for playing games with a lot of stops in play through offsides and icing, and turning these choppy games to their advantage with a strong, patient defensive trap. The Red Wings clearly outshot and outchanced the Wild for the entire game, but some defensive lapses on Detroit’s part led to the Wild winning the game 3-2.

Boyd Devereaux opened the scoring with his first goal of the season. He first obtained the puck on the rebound from Henrik Zetterberg‘s shot, but was too well-covered to get a clear shot away, so sent it back to Chris Chelios at the right point. The rebound from that point shot also came to Devereaux, and this time he was able to chip it in over the top of goaltender Dwayne Roloson.

The Wild came back to tie less than two minutes later. The teams were playing four-on-four because of a hooking call to Tomas Holmstrom coupled with a diving call on Willie Mitchell. Nick Schultz intercepted a failed clearing attempt in the Red Wings’ zone. He sent the puck across to Wes Walz near the corner of the net. Jason Woolley was unable to get back in time to cover, and Walz put the puck past Curtis Joseph.

The Red Wings got a little too relaxed in the secind period, and Minnesota was able to capitalize on one defensive breakdown and one strange bounce to take a two goal lead. First, Joseph let go a large rebound off a shot by Walz, and Richard Park was able to come uncovered to the front of the net to grab the rebound and put it into the wide open space Joseph had left by sliding to make the first stop.

The next goal, only two minutes later, was more of a fluke than a mistake by the defense. Joseph had come out of the net to play the puck, but it bounced off the skate of Chelios and right out in front, where Rickard Wallin was in just the right spot to slap it in for the goal.

Sean Avery attempted to provide some energy for the Wings by starting (and winning) a fight with Stephane Veilleux, and Detroit did manage to come out stronger in the third period. An interference call on Matt Johnson gave Detroit their first power play of the game early in the third. The Wild did their best to shut down the passing lanes, so the Red Wings scored their power play goal in a little different way. Igor Larionov sent a high pass towards the front of the net, and Brett Hull knocked it out of the air. Brendan Shanahan then outworked defender Antti Laaksonen to tap the puck past Roloson.

Detroit had their chances in the rest of the period, but Minnesota played a tight defense and took away most of the passing plays before they could get well set up, and so kept their win.

The final count of shots on net was 38 to 23 for Detroit. The Red Wings’ next game will be Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Rickard Wallin’s goal was the first of his career…. The two points the Wild gained with this win put them ahead of Vancouver for first place in the Northwest Division and tie them with Dallas for first place in the Western Conference…. The MRI on Manny Legace‘s knee shows no damage, but the knee is still sore, and Legace’s condition is listed as day-to-day by the team. Legace feels he should be back in practice by the end of the week. “I just have to get the soreness out,” he explained. Walking hasn’t caused him a problem, but going up and down stairs has been painful. “I have to get my wife to carry me up and down,” he joked.

Rangers Get Dunham from Predators

Moments after revealing that starting goaltender Mike Richter will miss the remainder of the season due to a concussion sustained over a month ago, the New York Rangers announced a trade with the Nashville Predators for goalie Mike Dunham.

The Rangers acquired Dunham from the Predators for forward Rem Murray, defenseman Tomas Kloucek and the rights to defenseman Marek Zidlicky. With Richter out for the season, New York needed a starting netminder. Backup goalie Dan Blackburn had started the seventeen games since Richter’s injury.

Dunham had been the starting goaltender for Nashville since his selection in the 1997 Expansion Draft. With the Predators’ slow start this season, much of the blame fell to him and he lost the starting spot to Tomas Vokoun.

Murray was aquired by the Rangers at last season’s trade deadline along with Tom Poti in the deal that sent Mike York to the Edmonton Oilers. Kloucek had three goals and four assists with the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack but was deemed expendable by the Rangers’ glut of young defensemen.

The Rangers quickly moved to replace Murray, acquring Josh Green from the Oilers for a conditional pick in the 2004 draft.

This is Dunham’s second stint in the New York area. He broke into the league backing up Martin Brodeur with the New Jersey Devils and played his first two seasons there before moving on to Nashville.

Injured Wings Triumph Over Injured Blues in OT

The St. Louis Blues came to Detroit missing quite a few of their key players for this Central Division matchup. Chris Pronger and Jamal Mayers are both out for the season. Keith Tkachuk was gone for family reasons. Pavol Demitra was gone for, of all things, chickenpox. The Red Wings weren’t in much better shape. Aside from the already-known knee problems of Steve Yzerman, Jiri Fischer, Pavel Datsyuk, and Manny Legace, Igor Larionov and Tomas Holmstrom were both out with what was reported as stomach flu by some sources and food poisoning by others. In either case, both teams had a depleted lineup, but the remaining players put on a tough, entertaining game which ended in a 4-3 overtime win for Detroit.

Rookie Barret Jackman opened the scoring for St. Louis early in the third period with a strange goal. Curtis Joseph had slid across the net to block a shot by Cory Stillman. The shot was headed harmlessly wide anyway, but Joseph stumbled a little and kept right on sliding. When the puck bounced off the boards and back out front, Jackman was able to slap it into a wide open net.

The Red Wings had two power plays towards the end of the first period, but they weren’t able to get their scoring going until Dalls Drake took a cross-checking call early in the second. Brett Hull took a hard shot from the high slot which rang off the goalpost. The rebound came back to the left point, and Nick Lidstrom shot it back towards the net. Hull had kept moving in the meantime, and when goalie Fred Brathwaite left the puck loose on the side of the net, Hull was right there to chip it up high under the crossbar.

Jason Williams gave the Red Wings their first lead of the game with just under three minutes remaining in the second. Boyd Devereaux dumped the puck deep into the Blues’ zone just as he was being hit. Mathieu Dandenault got to it first and made a centering pass, again, just as he was being hit. Williams had just come off the bench and up to the play, and he one-timed Dandenault’s pass right into the net.

Scott Mellanby tied the game back up early in the third period. Dandenault was in the box for tripping, and the Blues showed a very efficient power play. Stillman brought the puck into the zone and left a drop pass for Mellanby, who let go a remarkably quick shot which sailed underneath Joseph’s glove.

Chris Chelios thought his goal would keep the game from overtime. It came with 2:52 left in regulation. Kris Draper won the faceoff cleanly back to Kirk Maltby, who passed the puck to Chelios. Chelios sent off a slapshot which hit the stick of one of the Blues on the way through, changing direction just enough to fool Brathwaite.

Unfortunately, a Jackman shot tipped into the net by Petr Cajanek just seconds later meant the game was heading to overtime after all. The Red Wings did get to start the extra period with a 4-on-3 advantage; Stillman was sent to the box for elbowing with 4 seconds left in the third period.

The penalty to Stillman had just expired when Henrik Zetterberg decided it was time for the game to be over. Jason Woolley sent a pass up to Zetterberg at the side of the net. It was a bad angle, but Zetterberg made the shot anyway and banked it into the net off of Brathwaite’s skate for his first career overtime goal and his seventh goal of the season.

The Red Wings outshot the Blues 30-26 overall, but the vast majority of those shots came in the second period. The Blues outshot the Wings in both the first and third periods.

The Red Wings’ next game will be Thursday night at home against the Minnesota Wild. The Wild are currently just one point behind Vancouver (yes, Vancouver; that’s not a typo) for control of the Northwest Division.

The Red Wings should have the results of the MRI on Manny Legace’s knee by tomorrow. Meanwhile, Marc Lamothe of the Griffins has been playing backup to Curtis Joseph…. Scott Mellanby’s goal was his 700th career point…. The illnesses of Igor Larionov and Tomas Holmstrom prompted Dave Lewis to temporarily move Mathieu Dandenault from defense back to right wing.

Hull Gives Wings 3-3 Tie with Stars

Brett Hull continues to play his best hockey against his former team, as Friday night he took a perfect pass from Brendan Shanahan and rocketed a shot past Dallas netminder Marty Turco with just forty-seven seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Red Wings into a tie with the Stars.

The tie came in a game Detroit led much of. After a scoreless first period, the Red Wings got on the board early in the second while on the power play when Luc Robitaille sent a pass down low to Sergei Fedorov, who pushed the puck past a sprawling Turco to put the Wings up, 1-0.

Detroit had the chance to go up by two at the 6:08 mark of the second, when Mathieu Dandenault was hauled off the puck on a break and was given a penalty shot. Dandenault raced in on Turco but hinted that he was going high on the glove side. Turco knocked the shot out of the air and Dallas stayed in the game.

The Stars finally beat Detroit goalie Curtis Joseph forty-eight seconds into the third, when Bill Guerin used a Detroit defender as a screen and sent a shot through Joseph’s five-hole.

The Wings struck back just over a quarter of the way through the third when Stephane Robidas attempted to clear the puck away from Kirk Maltby in the slot. Robidas knocked the puck away but right between Turco’s legs and into the net, giving Detroit a 2-1 lead.

Just over a minute later, Rob DiMaio tied the game back up for Dallas. While on the power play, Pierre Turgeon scored to give Dallas their only lead before Hull tied things back up. That goal came just past the midway point of the third.

Once again the Red Wings allowed more shots than they took as Joseph made twenty-nine saves on thirty-three shots for Detroit while Turco stopped twenty-six of the twenty-nine shots he faced for Dallas.

The “goal” scored by Shane Doan in Thursday’s game against Phoenix was finally reviewed and it was discovered that the puck never crossed the goal line. Because the play was not reviewed before the next faceoff, the goal still stands, despite never having gone into the net.

No Goal Drought In The Desert

The Red Wings got their two game road trip off to a good start, gaining a 5-3 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Detroit led 2-0 before the game was even two minutes old. Darren McCarty scored the first goal at 0:18 by taking a centering pass from Sean Avery and backhanding a shot low past goalie Brian Boucher. Avery had forced a turnover behind the Coyotes’ net, and McCarty was able to sneak up to the front of the net to be in the right place to take Avery’s pass.

Brendan Shanahan increased the lead at 1:37. A good poke check by Mathieu Dandenault forced Phoenix to turn the puck over to Sergei Fedorov in the neutral zone. Fedorov took off down the right wing, Shanahan keeping up on the left. Defenseman Danny Markov was unable to block the pass, and when it came across, Shanahan slapped it into the net past Boucher.

The Coyotes got themselves on the board at 3:11. Kelly Buchberger sent the puck out front from behind the net, and Andrei Nazarov was able to hit it so that it deflected just slightly on its way to the net, fooling Curtis Joseph for the goal.

After the three minutes of rapid goal scoring, the two teams settled down a little, both tightening up and looking for opportunities.

An obstruction hooking call to Ladislav Nagy just at the end of the first period translated into a Detroit power play goal at the beginning of the second. Jason Woolley shot the puck hard from the blue line, and Tomas Holmstrom was in front of the net to tip it past Boucher.

Phoenix got back within one goal because of a holding-the-stick call to Chris Chelios. The penalty had just run out, but Chelios had not yet made it back to the play, when Tony Amonte put his team back in the game by tapping in a puck which had been pinballing off of Joseph and Jesse Wallin.

The Red Wings stole the momentum the Coyotes’ goal generated when only four-tenths of a second remained in the period. Kirk Maltby took a whack at the puck in front of the net, and it angled between the defenseman’s legs, then between Boucher’s legs.

Shane Doan beat Joseph with a high shot from up close with 6:36 remaining in the game, bringing the Coyotes again within one. Phoenix got their break of the game when only 1:44 remained. Brett Hull was given a high-sticking penalty and sent off the ice. The Coyotes pulled Boucher from the net when about half a minute remained, hoping for an advantage from the extra skater, but Joseph made a huge save and gave the puck to Nick Lidstrom. Lidstrom shot it down the ice and into the empty net to put the game away for the Red Wings.

The score certainly does not indicate it, but Phoenix outshot Detroit by a count of 30 to 23. The Red Wings will attempt to increase their shot totals and maintain their high shot percentage with a Friday night game against the Western Conference-leading Dallas Stars.

Darren McCarty’s goal was his 250th career point and his 6th goal of the season. 26 games in, and he’s already passed his goal total for last season? Not bad…. The Red Wings confirmed today that Jiri Fischer underwent successful knee surgery, but he is expected to be out for the rest of the regular season. The team expects to have him back in time for the playoffs.

No “Fowl” Play Here

A good solid start, a more controlled defense, and a more disciplined game helped the Red Wings to a 2-1 victory over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Tuesday night at the Joe.

The Red Wings controlled the play in the early going, generating a number of quality scoring chances against Jean-Sebastien Giguere and making the Ducks work hard to get any shots against Curtis Joseph. Giguere was sharp in the net, though, and it was late in the first period before the Wings could score against him. Sean Avery won a faceoff deep in the offensive zone, and instead of drawing the puck back to a teammate, he knocked it forward and chased after it. He shot on net from behind the goal line, but the puck hit the back of Giguere’s leg and bounced into the net.

Brett Hull increased Detroit’s lead early in the second period. Henrik Zetterberg took a shot on net from the right side. Giguere had the puck in his glove, but it trickled out onto the ice. Hull got hold of it, pulled it back towards the goal line on the left side, and shot the puck into the net from a tight angle.

The Red Wings had their chances to put the game away for good during the second period, with a double minor high sticking penalty to Stanislav Chistov followed closely by a tripping penalty against Jason Krog, but the Anaheim penalty killers did a good job to take away the shot opportunities and keep Detroit from setting up a good scoring play.

When the Ducks got their first power play of the game, they were prepared. Niclas Havelid took a hard shot against Joseph from the blue line, and Steve Rucchin deflected it on its way through. The redirection caused Joseph to let the rebound slip away, and Paul Kariya was in just the right spot to seize the puck and put it into the net.

Anaheim had three power play chances in the third period and managed to get some high quality scoring chances, but they were unable to score again, even when they pulled Giguere for an extra skater at the end of the game. Joseph made two especially notable saves in the last two minutes. The first was a low shot by Rucchin from point-blank range, and the second a high shot by sniper Petr Sykora, which hit Joseph’s shoulder and bounced harmlessly to the corner. The Wings played a mostly defensive posture as the game drew to its end, not wanting to risk giving up their small lead.

In the final count, Joseph made 29 saves on 30 shots, while Giguere stopped 25 of 27 shots. The Ducks went 1 for 4 and the Wings went 0 for 5 on power plays. The Red Wings’ next game will be Thursday night in Phoenix, when they play the Coyotes. The Coyotes have been struggling with number one goalie Sean Burke injured: they have only a 2-5-3 record at home and an 8-12-4-1 record overall.

Chris Chelios returned to the lineup after missing Sunday’s game with an injured finger…. Brett Hull extends his point streak to ten games and narrowed the gap between himself and his 700th career goal down to eleven…. Igor Larionov celebrated his 42nd birthday today.