Tie with Panthers Leads Wings into Break

The Red Wings returned home Thursday night after their four-game road trip and played the Florida Panthers to a two-two tie in both teams’ final game before the All-Star Break.

Florida’s Viktor Kozlov scored with 12:30 remaining in the third period to force the tie.

Detroit had opened the scoring just past the midway point of the first period. Pavel Datsyuk beat Panthers’ netminder Roberto Luongo for his first goal since November 3, 2002, at 13:38 of the first.

Florida tied the game back up late in the opening period as Andreas Lilja beat the Red Wings’ Manny Legace with 47.2 second remaining.

The Red Wings regained the lead in the second period as Darren McCarty took a pass from Kris Draper and made a nifty move to beat Luongo at 9:39.

Both sides were scoreless for the rest of the game aside from Kozlov’s tying goal.

Legace stopped thirty-five of the thirty-seven shots he faced in net for Detroit, while Luongo turned aside thirty-three shots for the Panthers.

The Panthers were without defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh and left wing / defenseman Lance Ward, who were traded earlier in the day to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

The Red Wings will return to action on Tuesday when Nashville visits Joe Louis Arena. Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov, along with coach Dave Lewis, will represent the Red Wings for the Western Conference in Sunday’s All-Star Game… Sandis Ozolinsh will still make his scheduled start for the Eastern Conference, despite having been traded to a Western Conference team.

Brodeur Blanks Struggling Wings

Maybe it’s best that this road trip is over.

The Red Wings closed out their unmemorable four game road trip unable to get past the stifling defense of the New Jersey Devils, and the Devils took a 1-0 win.

The first period was defensively strong for both teams. Shots were blocked, passes were taken away, and neither team had a very good chance to set up a scoring play. The Devils outshot the Wings by a count of 9-5, but Manny Legace was strong in net and the score stayed at zero.

The Red Wings began to carry the play more as the second period wore on, and they generated more chances against goalie Martin Brodeur. Sergei Fedorov had a breakaway try, and his shot rang off the post. Brett Hull was in the clear near the side of the net and received a bouncing pass from Henrik Zetterberg. Hull got the shot away, but Brodeur slid across just in time to deny Hull his 700th goal.

Detroit took a questionable penalty for having too many men on the ice early in the second (Luc Robitaille played the puck as Darren McCarty was stepping off of the ice), and the Devils were able to capitalize on their power play. Brian Rafalski passed to Scott Niedermayer at the right point. Niedermayer’s shot got through to the net, Legace was screened enough to not see the shot in time, and the Devils led 1-0.

Once the Devils had their lead, they tightened up their defense even more. The Red Wings were only able to get three shots against Brodeur in the entire twenty minutes of play, even though a sixth skater was sent in in the last minute of play.

The final count of shots on net was 29 to 16 for the Devils. The Red Wings will return home for their last game before the All-Star Break. They will face off against the Florida Panthers on Thursday evening.

Chris Chelios had an MRI on the injured leg which kept him out of this, his third straight game. The MRI showed nothing serious, but Chelios will rest and return to the lineup after the All-Star Break…. Tomas Holmstrom sat out this game with a bruised chest, but should return for Thursday’s game…. Manny Legace currently holds the NHL lead for save percentage, at 0.937. His goals against average is 1.86, which is second only to the Stars’ Marty Turco, who has 1.81.

Determined Flames Burn Bright At Home

The Calgary Flames were ready to break out, after having been shutout by the Red Wings twice already this season, and after suffering an embarrassing 7-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in their last home game. The Red Wings were perhaps tired after playing the Canucks just last night. They couldn’t quite match the Flames’ hustle, and the Flames managed to win, 4-1.

Calgary began the game by immediately putting Detroit into defensive mode. They carried the play and kept the puck in the Red Wings’ end of the ice most of the time. The Wings’ defense, playing without Chris Chelios for the second straight game, did a good job of meeting the challenge for the most part, but Rob Niedermayer got the Flames on the board 6:47 into the game. Stephane Yelle pushed the puck into the zone and up to Niedermayer, whose shot went high over Curtis Joseph.

Brendan Shanahan and Bob Boughner got into a fight at center ice less than a minute later. Shanahan won the fight, by most accounts, but the fight didn’t give the team much momentum. Sean Avery and Jarome Iginla had some strong words and some pushing and shoving shortly thereafter, but the officials broke that up before it could develop into a real fight and the pair was given incidental roughing minors.

Martin Gelinas increased the Flames’ lead early in the second period. He shoved his way through to the front of the net, and when Chris Drury made the pass, Gelinas flipped it in over Joseph.

The Red Wings began to come into their own after that, taking back control of the game and generating more scoring chances against Roman Turek. They finally got the break they were looking for at the tail end of a power play towards the end of the period. Micki Dupont was in the penalty box for holding, and the Grind Line had come out on the ice to play the last few seconds of the power play and defend against any odd man rushes that might result from Dupont’s escape from the box. Instead, Kris Draper got the puck down deep, Mathieu Dandenault moved in from the right point, and Draper had a clear passing lane. Darren McCarty was screening Turek, and Dandenault was able to one-time Draper’s pass into the net.

The Flames got the game-making break just seconds before the end of the period. Iginla let loose a shot which trickled through Joseph’s leg pads and started to cross the goal line. Pavel Datsyuk scooped the puck away from the net just before it could cross the line completely, and the referee said it was not a goal. It went to video review, and the video goal judge overturned the on-ice ruling to give the Flames a 3-1 lead.

The late, controversial goal took away a lot of the Red Wings’ momentum for the third period, and Calgary basically shut the game down to sit back and play defense for the last twenty minutes. Detroit pulled Joseph from the net for a last-ditch effort to score two goals in a minute and a half, but Dave Lowry sent the puck into the empty net from center ice to put the game away.

The shots on net were fairly even. Calgary had 29, and Detroit had 28. The Red Wings will return home for a short rest before heading east to face the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

Calgary coach Darryl Sutter sported a painful-looking black eye, the result of being hit in the face by an errant puck during the Flames’ loss to Phoenix…. Flames mascot Harvey the Hound, whose tongue was ripped out and thrown into the crowd by Edmonton coach Craig McTavish when the Oilers and Flames met a few nights ago, was back in action, tongue firmly reattached. He did seem to be avoiding Joey Kocur and the Red Wings’ bench, however.

Deja vu and a Win

Didn’t we see this game already?

We had the Red Wings down two games to the Vancouver Canucks, and heading out for a third game in Vancouver. We had both teams putting up quite a fight. And then we had Nicklas Lidstrom scoring a most timely goal, Dan Cloutier coming undone, and the Red Wings coming up with an important win.

Obviously no one counts a regular season series as more important than a playoff series. But the Red Wings’ 5-2 win over the Canucks was vital in its own way. The defense came back. The offense came back. The Wings gained two points and inched back in front of the Canucks in the standings. And maybe most importantly, they reminded the Canucks (thought by many analysts to be the most likely team to challenge the Wings for the Western Conference Title this year) of that plain old Detroit stubbornness that came through and won the Conference Quarterfinals last season.

The Red Wings controlled the game from the beginning, even with two penalties to kill off one after the other midway through the first period. The Canucks did outshoot Detroit, but the Wings’ defense was so careful that most of the shots were weak shots or hurried, badly aimed shots. Manny Legace was in the net to skillfully knock the puck aside anytime it got through.

Tomas Holmstrom‘s hard work led to the opening goal late in the period. He battled for the puck in the corner and along the boards. Brendan Shanahan came in to help and got the puck out towards center, then made a pass to Sergei Fedorov, who was all alone in front to the net. Fedorov flipped the puck in high over Cloutier.

Legace was called upon just as the period was ending. The Canucks were on a power play, and Legace made two difficult saves on Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi right in a row to keep the lead for Detroit.

Patrick Boileau scored his first NHL goal 1:59 into the second period to increase the Red Wings’ lead. He was just off the bench and into the Vancouver zone. Fedorov saw him open and made the pass across, and Boileau’s shot went right through Cloutier.

The Red Wings continued their dominant play throughout the second period, but a bad bounce with only 17 seconds remaining let the Canucks get on the board. The Canucks were pressuring in the Detroit zone. A clearing pass was attempted, but instead of sending it straight out along the boards, it was sent out center to Dmitri Bykov. The pass missed Bykov’s stick completely and bounced off his skates right to Naslund, whose quick shot went past Legace and in under the crossbar.

The late goal gave the Canucks a lot of energy to start the third period, and they were able to score again before two minutes had gone by. Brendan Morrison stole the puck from Kirk Maltby just at the blue line, and passed it to Bertuzzi. Bertuzzi carried to the net and whacked at the puck, which deflected up and over Legace to tie the game.

The Red Wings were not thrown off by the two quick goals. They were patient. They calmed the game down and took back the momentum, and their patience was rewarded with 6:45 left to play. Henrik Zetterberg had the puck along the left side boards, and Nicklas Lidstrom got over in front of the net without being noticed. The pass came across, and Lidstrom put it high over Cloutier.

Detroit knew better than to sit back on a one goal lead. They continued to pressure in the offensive zone. When the Canucks tried to carry the puck out to center, Darren McCarty slowed Naslund down just enough that Maltby could get the puck away from him, and Maltby and McCarty went in alone against Sami Salo. Maltby held onto the puck long enough to fool Salo before passing across to McCarty, who put the shot past Cloutier.

Bertuzzi was sent off to the box for holding with 4:03 left to play, and the Red Wings capitalized on their power play chance. Fedorov stole the puck from the Vancouver player attempting to clear it at the blue line and carried it deep. He made a saucer pass to Holmstrom right in front of the net, and Holmstrom’s shot hit the underside of the crossbar and fell into the net to put the game away.

The Canucks led in shots on net by a count of 29-24. The Red Wings will finish out the Western portion of their road trip Saturday night against the Calgary Flames. Detroit has a 3-0 record against the Flames this year. Two of the previous matchups were shutouts for Curtis Joseph.

Chris Chelios sat out this game with a flare-up of his previous leg injury.

An “A” for Effort, But Still Only One Point

The Red Wings’ fans have been waiting all month to see their team play against a “normal” team (as in, not the Avs) with as much jump and energy as they had in the second and third period against the Edmonton Oilers. They won two-thirds of the faceoffs. They outshot and outscored the Oilers by a large margin, and their passing was excellent. It was a wonderful, dominating performance, the sort of game we would expect from the defending Stanley Cup Champions. There was just one problem.

The Oilers won anyway, 4-3 in overtime.

Edmonton came out with a lot of enthusiasm to start the game and really controlled the first period. They started off the scoring with a goal by Anson Carter. Mike York made the first shot, and Curtis Joseph made the first save. Carter came out from behind the net to get the puck and put it in through Joseph’s five-hole.

Another defensive breakdown by Detroit led to the Oilers’ second goal. Dan Cleary won a battle for the puck in the corner and centered the puck. Jani Rita got to it before anyone could stop him. He took the extra second to wait for Joseph to drop to block the expected low shot, then put the puck high.

The Red Wings managed to slow the game down enough to keep the Oilers from scoring again, but they didn’t really take charge of the game until the second period. As soon as the second period started, they looked like a completely different team than they had in the first. Detroit applied its considerable offensive pressure in the Edmonton zone, and goalie Jussi Markkanen had to come up with some large saves to hold onto the lead.

Detroit got on the board with two skillful power plays. Igor Larionov scored the first goal 7:34 into the period. Jason Woolley made the pass from the blue line to Henrik Zetterberg behind the net. Zetterberg passed out front to Brett Hull, who took the shot. Larionov then banged at the rebound until it went in- an unusual role for him, but it got the goal.

The Red Wings then got the golden opportunity of a five-on-three power play with Todd Marchant and Ethan Moreau both in the penalty box. Sergei Fedorov won the draw and got the puck back to Nicklas Lidstrom. Lidstrom passed across to Hull, who one-timed the shot into the small space between Markkanen and his short side goalpost for his 20th goal of the season and the 699th goal of his career.

The Red Wings continued their dominant play into the third period, even during a slashing penalty to Dmitri Bykov. Marchant mishandled the puck at the blue line, and Kirk Maltby poked it through to Kris Draper, flying up the ice. Draper got the shot off and into the net just before he was taken down by Eric Brewer.

Unfortunately, the Red Wings relaxed for just 30 seconds after the shorthanded goal, and that was all the Oilers needed to tie the game back up. Carter got through and made a shot on net which deflected up and over Joseph’s leg pads.

Markkanen had to continue his excellent game, as the Wings continued pressing, all the way to overtime and part of the way into it. The puck took a bad bounce for Detroit, though, sending Brewer and Jason Chimera up on a two-on-one rush. Mathieu Dandenault took the passing lane away, and Zetterberg tried to get back to help, but Joseph had come out of the net too far, and Brewer got the puck around him and into the net.

The final count of shots on net was 39-22 in Detroit’s favor. The Red Wings will continue their road trip with a Friday night stop in Vancouver to play the Canucks.

Brett Hull’s 20th goal of the season moves him into the lead in team goal scoring…. Kris Draper’s goal was the Red Wings’ 10th shorthanded goal of the year, which moved the team back into the lead for shorthanded goals. The Columbus Blue Jackets are in second with nine.

Robitaille Should be Dealt

Luc Robitaille was mad about his highly-publicized benching in Colorado last week. As a future Hall-of-Famer, he should be mad. Not at Red Wings head coach Dave Lewis for making the call to scratch him in favor of agitator Sean Avery but at himself for his complete inability to put the puck in the net.

Robitaille is a scorer, plain and simple. He’s too slow to backcheck and he doesn’t play defense in any zone. To be a valuable asset he must score goals.

But he isn’t.

Robitaille has four goals in forty-five games this season. Only Igor Larionov (3), Pavel Datsyuk, Jason Williams (3) and Boyd Devereaux (2) have fewer goals among Red Wings forwards.

It’s not that he isn’t getting the chances. Robitaille is fifth in team shooting with 97 shots on goal and his average ice time (14:06) is eighth on a team loaded with talent.

Robitaille has played on lines with some of the game’s best playmakers. He’s been centered by both Sergei Fedorov and Igor Larionov and has played on both wings at times.

Luc has had his chances, but his scoring percentage of 4.1% is worst among Red Wings forwards.

His plight was exemplified with about 6:30 left in Sunday’s match with the Vancouver Canucks. Robitaille was fed a pass as he skated down the left side but he fired the puck high and wide of the gaping net. His only appearance on the score sheet was in the form of a dumb slashing penalty midway through the third period.

Robitaille is not an agitator or a grinder. He is a scorer who’s not scoring.

He is in the final season of a $4 million per year contract with the Red Wings and has said that he wants to finish his career in Detroit.

Kirk Maltby is only being payed $1.25 million and he has as many goals shorthanded as Robitaille has overall.

The Red Wings have veteran leaders already and young players ready to take on more ice time. Barring any injuries, the Red Wings will have at least one forward as a healthy scratch until the return of captain Steve Yzerman, at which point there will be two forwards in the press box.

The Red Wings would be smart to cut loose the dead weight that Robitaille has become and clear up roster room for Devereaux, Williams and Sean Avery. They do not need Robitaille this season and they will not re-sign him this summer.

Because Robitaille is not providing anything for the Red Wings now, he sould provide something for them in the future in the form of draft picks or prospects acquired via trade.

Last year the Philadelphia Flyers highly overpayed for former Red Wing Adam Oates at the trade deadline. As the playoff push comes up this season, the Red Wings might be able to swing a similar deal with an Eastern Conference team.

Philadelphia, Washington, Montreal and the New York Islanders are all rumored to be looking for a scoring winger, perhaps any of them could be sold on the idea that Robitaille just needs a change of scenery.

At the very least, Robitaille should be benched. If at all possible, he should not finish this season as a Red Wing.

Frustration Boils Against Canucks

Dan Cloutier has cause to thank his goalposts – five times over.

That’s how many times the Red Wings had Vancouver’s goalie beaten but rang shots off the posts or crossbar, and that would have given them more than enough goals for a win. Instead, thanks to Cloutier’s luck and a strong game by Vancouver, the Canucks took a 4-1 win.

The Red Wings looked very strong to start the first period. Tomas Holmstrom scored early to take a 1-0 lead. Nicklas Lidstrom sent the lead pass up across the blue line, and Holmstrom fired straight on net. The shot got past Cloutier on his short side.

The Red Wings got a power play shortly thereafter when Marek Malik was sent out for obstruction tripping, and the Canucks basically stood there and watched them pass the puck around. Cloutier had to come up with some good saves to keep the puck out.

The skillful power play was basically the last thing to go well for Detroit. Trent Klatt got the Canucks even with 6:39 left in the period. He brought the puck out from behind the net, with a teammate rushing to join him on the other side for a sort of reverse 2-on-1. Maxim Kuznetsov took away the passing play, but Klatt was in close to the net, and his shot deflected off the stick of Curtis Joseph and in for the goal.

The goal seemed to energize the Canucks, and they took the lead before the period was over. Joseph had stopped the first shot by Markus Naslund, but he was down and the rebound slipped away from him. Bryan Allen was able to sneak in from the left point to the low slot and put the puck high into the net.

Joseph did a fine job in the second period to keep the Red Wings within one. He shone in stopping a breakaway by Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi. Luc Robitaille, back in the lineup after having been a healthy scratch against Colorado, had multiple scoring chances, but the shots would go just wide or bounce off the posts, contributing to the growing frustration of the team.

Chris Chelios and Bertuzzi continued their feud from last year’s playoffs, and their teammates joined them in the fray. Chelios wound up with a double minor for roughing and high-sticking (one was served by Sean Avery), and Kirk Maltby, Naslund, and Bertuzzi each had two minutes for roughing, resulting in a Vancouver power play with just over seven remaining in the second. Sami Salo was able to score by one-timing a pass from Mattias Ohlund. The shot appeared to brush Joseph’s elbow on its way into the net.

A horrible defensive breakdown midway through the third led to the Canucks’ fourth goal. Malik carried the puck right past two Detroit players with Matt Cooke keeping up on his right side, and the last man back, Mathieu Dandenault, lost a skate edge and fell. Malik looked as if he would shoot, but passed across to Cooke, which fooled Joseph and allowed Cooke to put the puck in for the goal.

The Red Wings made an attempt to come back. Holmstrom was hooked down on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot late in the game. He deked well enough to fool Cloutier, but- story of the game- the puck hit the goalpost.

The final count of shots on net was 34-31 in favor of Vancouver. The Red Wings will head out west for a few games after tonight. Their next matchup will be with the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night.

Boyd Devereaux was a healthy scratch to make room for Luc Robitaille in the lineup…. This was Nicklas Lidstrom’s 900th career game…. The Red Wings’ television color commentator, Mickey Redmond, was back in the broadcast booth after undergoing a successful lung operation to remove a malignant tumor. According to doctors, the cancer was completely removed.

Not Playoff-Level Yet, But Fine Hockey Anyway

In spite of what you may have heard, this highly anticipated matchup between the Red Wings and the Colorado Avalanche did not have playoff intensity. (Sorry.) Fans remember the playoffs better than the average hockey analyst does. Even the least of the playoff games has an intensity that even the best of the regular season games cannot possibly match. This game was a treat to see, but it is nothing compared to what we will get in the spring, if all goes well.

That being said, this was a most excellent regular season game. It didn’t matter that the Avs are fighting to make the playoffs at all, while the Wings are playing to stay atop their division and gain points towards the conference lead. The old rivalry was not quite in full swing, but it was definitely there, and will almost certainly escalate as we head down the stretch towards the playoffs. The play was intense by both teams, but the Red Wings stuck to their game plan, avoided most of the defensive lapses that have plagued them lately, and came out with a 4-2 victory over the Avalanche.

Maybe Colorado was a little bit nervous to meet the Wings again, after taking the 7-0 Game Seven loss back in May. Maybe they weren’t. They couldn’t have been pleased when the Wings opened the game the same way they started Game Seven: by scoring a goal on their first shot. The Avalanche failed to clear the puck from their zone, and Darren McCarty picked it up. Adam Foote dropped down to block the shot, but McCarty got the pass away to Kris Draper streaking up the left side. Patrick Roy had been watching McCarty the whole time, and turned his head just in time to see Draper put the puck into the wide open side of the net.

The Avalanche made some scoring attempts at the other end of the rink, but Detroit’s defensive coverage was very good through the whole period. All attackers were covered, many shots were blocked, and Curtis Joseph was given a clear view of most of the shots that did manage to get through.

Mathieu Dandenault opened Detroit’s lead early in the second. He had been given a tripping penalty at the end of the first which carried over. As he stepped back onto the ice, Kirk Maltby sent a strong pass his way, and Dandenault was off on a two-on-one rush. This time Foote did take the passing lane away, but Dandenault simply took the shot, and it sailed past Roy.

The Avalanche came on much harder in the second period, outshooting the Wings by 16-4 (Detroit had a lot of shots blocked or sent wide), forcing Joseph to work hard and show some of the skill he will need if he is to be a playoff goalie in the Western Conference. After a particularly spectacular series of saves by Joseph, Peter Forsberg made what looked like a harmless play, but it wound up in the net. He got the puck from Greg DeVries in the corner, then brought it right up to the side of the net and stuffed it into the tiny space left by Joseph moving his stick just slightly out in front of him.

Dan Hinote evened the game for Colorado early in the third. Dean McAmmond sped across the blue line at center and passed left to Serge Aubin, who centered the puck. Hinote was speeding towards the net, and the puck bounced off his stick and in past Joseph.

A bad line change by the Avalanche led to their undoing. Joe Sakic passed the puck back across the blue line to Foote, but Foote’s replacement had already stepped off the bench, so Foote didn’t play the puck because he didn’t want the team to take a penalty for having too many men on the ice. In the confusion, Brendan Shanahan was able to sneak in and steal the puck. He used a pair of Colorado defensemen as a screen and wristed a hard shot between them and past Roy.

Joseph made a wonderful glove save against Sakic to keep the lead for Detroit with only 2:23 remaining. The Avalanche pulled Roy from the net, but the extra skater did not help them regain control against the Wings. Brett Hull made a strong pass across the width of the rink to Shanahan, and Shanahan put the puck into the empty net to seal the win.

Roy made 19 saves on 22 shots over the night, while Joseph made 36 saves on 38 shots. The Red Wings continue down the road towards the playoffs with a Sunday night game at home against the Northwest Division leaders, the Vancouver Canucks.

Luc Robitaille was a healthy scratch for this game, giving Sean Avery a chance to scrap with the Avalanche…. This was Patrick Roy’s 999th career game. It could have been his 1000th, but he chose not to play in Colorado’s last game. Hmm, could it have something to do with not wanting the possibility of having Brett Hull score goal #700 in that milestone game?

Hawks Avenge 2 OT Losses, Even Season Series

In spite of strong first and third periods by Detroit, the Chicago Blackhawks were determined not to lose their third meeting in eleven nights. They played a solid game, capitalized on some lucky bounces and breaks, and took a 4-1 victory.

The Red Wings had fairly solid control of the first period. Sergei Fedorov escaped on a breakaway attempt shorthanded, but was thwarted by goalie Jocelyn Thibault. Maxim Kuznetsov and Mathieu Dandenault played solid defense, blocking shots and keeping Chicago players’ sticks so tangled up that they couldn’t even get shots on net.

Henrik Zetterberg opened the scoring for Detroit with a power play goal midway through the first. Fedorov made the pass as Zetterberg was crossing the blue line. Zetterberg jumped over a Chicago defenseman who had dropped to block the shot, kept the puck long enough to fool Thibault into going low, then put the puck into the high corner of the net.

The Blackhawks tried to rush back after that, but their scrambling play led them to take a few penalties late in the first and early in the second. They did manage to calm down as the second period got underway, and they capitalized on a failed clearing attempt to tie the game. Chris Chelios made a pass which didn’t cross the blue line, and Kyle Calder picked it up. He passed backwards to Alexei Zhamnov coming up center, and Zhamnov’s shot flew across the goal line before Manny Legace could get his glove on it.

Dandenault took a double minor penalty for holding the stick and unsportsmanlike conduct with 6:40 gone in the period, and the Blackhawks took the lead with a power play goal. Andre Nikolishin brought the puck out from the right boards. His pass took a strange bounce off of Chris Simon and into the net.

Less than a minute later Eric Daze added a goal for his team. He somehow managed to get around the net and stand by the corner uncovered. When the puck trickled through the crease from Mike Eastwood’s deflected shot, Daze was able to flip it in to a wide open corner.

The Red Wings tried to settle the game down and regain control in the third period. They had a number of chances to score, but Thibault was ready for them. The Wings had a good opportunity when Steve Poapst took a penalty for holding with just over five minutes remaining. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks were able to get the puck out at the blue line. Eastwood sent the bouncing puck down the ice to Mark Bell, and Bell got in alone to knock the puck out of the air and into the net to put the game away.

Chicago had 30 shots on net to Detroit’s 27. The Red Wings play their next game tomorrow night, when they travel to Denver for their first meeting of the season with the Colorado Avalanche.

Sean Avery played tonight in place of Igor Larionov, who was scratched so that he could be well-rested for tomorrow night’s game against the Avs.

Wings’ Slumps Snap in Overtime Win

An assist by Luc Robitaille ended his twelve game scoring drought and helped end the Red Wings’ nine game home winless streak against the Chicago Blackhawks with a 5-4 overtime win. The Red Wings had not beaten the Blackhawks at the Joe since April 2, 1999.

The first period went by scoreless, though it wasn’t due to a lack of effort by either team. Curtis Joseph and rookie goaltender Michael Leighton both came up huge for their respective teams. Leighton managed to stop Kirk Maltby on a point-blank shot just as the period was about to end.

Chicago came out with good pressure to start the second period, and they were able to capitalize on a disjointed, scrambling play. Andre Nikolishin passed the puck from behind the net, and Kyle Calder, just off the bench, was able to get to it and slide it underneath Joseph.

The Red Wings answered quickly, scoring their first of the night less than two minutes later. Sergei Fedorov carried the puck into Chicago’s zone and sent a good feed up to Jason Woolley. Woolley circled the net and scored on the wraparound by putting the puck between Leighton’s glove and the goalpost.

Nicklas Lidstrom gave Detroit its first lead of the game a few minutes later by one-timing a good pass Luc Robitaille sent from the left corner out towards the blue line. Unfortunately a rare faceoff violation penalty against the Wings led Chicago to tie the game up, with Calder scoring again, this time from Phil Housley and Alexei Zhamnov.

Detroit started the third period with two minutes of four-on-four followed by a three minute power play. Just before the buzzer to end the second period, Maltby and Theo Fleury had a battle. Maltby wound up with two minutes for slashing, while Fleury took a five minute spearing major and a game misconduct. Even so, the Wings didn’t regain their lead until a few minutes after the power play had expired.

Maltby stole the puck at Chicago’s blue line and went in alone on Leighton, and this time Leighton wasn’t so lucky. The puck bounced off of him, curved up into the air, and came down inside the net.

The Blackhawks answered with another power play goal. Sergei Berezin and Steve Thomas brought the puck in on a two on one rush. Mathieu Dandenault dropped to block the passing lane, but somehow Berezin made the pass anyway, and Thomas put the puck past Joseph.

Brett Hull got Detroit another one goal lead with unwitting help from two Chicago defenseman. Henrik Zetterberg passed Hull the puck, and Hull brought it out from the corner. He made a tight angle shot, but Mike Eastwood got his stick in the way so that the shot went wide””just wide enough to bounce off Housley’s rear end and into the net.

Housley evidently didn’t want the game’s deciding goal to be one scored off of his rear, because he tied the game back up for the Blackhawks with just over three minutes to play. Calder centered a pass from behind the net and Housley fired off a quick one-time shot to send the game to overtime.

Joseph made an excellent stop against Zhamnov early in the overtime, and Fedorov took the puck over, heading up ice with Lidstrom and Brendan Shanahan.. Fedorov made the pass, Shanahan made the shot, and Lidstrom followed up and flipped the puck in over Leighton.

Chicago outshot Detroit by a count of 38-33. These two teams will skate again Wednesday night in Chicago.

Two more goals for Brett Hull, and he’ll be celebrating the 700th of his career…. Dave Lewis was not necessarily pleased with tonight’s game, though he’ll take the two points gladly. “That was too wild for me,” he said. “As a team, we were too porous and we lost a lot of battles. But we found a way to win.”…. Steve Yzerman will travel with the Wings on their upcoming western road trip so that he can continue to workout with his teammates and begin a regular practice routine.

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