Wings Blank Preds to Clinch Central Division

“At that point in the game, we really wanted to send a message.” -Barrett Jackman of the St. Louis Blues, on Saturday’s classless attempt at sore loser revenge on the Red Wings

Well, Barrett, here’s the response to your “message”: Have fun with the Avalanche or Canucks in Round One. The Red Wings ensured themselves the Central Division banner and at least third seed in the standings with a 3-0 win over the Nashville Predators.

The Predators, out of the playoffs altogether, proved to be a tough opponent to crack. Part of the problem, obviously, was the lack of energy which seems to be inherent when playing a team which cannot make the playoffs. However, the Predators always bring their best game when they have to play the Red Wings, and tonight was just the same.

The first period started at a slow pace. The Red Wings had some penalties to kill off, but they did so skillfully, and Curtis Joseph was sharp and ready to stop any shots which made it through to his net.

When the Red Wings got a power play chance of their own midway through the second period, they showed once again why they have the highest ranked power play in the NHL. Pavel Datsyuk made a pass up to Sergei Fedorov in front of the net. Fedorov rang a hard shot off the goal post, but Steve Yzerman was waiting on the other side of the goal crease to grab up the rebound and stuff it into the net past goaltender Tomas Vokoun.

The Predators had a good chance to tie the game up in the third period. Tomas Holmstrom was sent to the penalty box for a high-sticking double minor penalty, but the Red Wings’ penalty killers did an excellent job of playing “keep-away” with the puck and not letting Nashville get set up. In fact, the best scoring chance on the Nashville power play was for Detroit, when Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby stole the puck and sped up the ice on a two-on-one rush.

Fedorov added his 33rd goal of the season to increase Detroit’s lead to two with 6:49 left to play. The Red Wings were on a power play, with Karlis Skrastins in the penalty box for holding. Holmstrom brought the puck back towards the blue line, then made the pass across to Fedorov. Fedorov rifled a hard shot towards the net. The puck deflected just slightly off the stick of a Nashville player, and lifted up and over Vokoun into the net.

The Predators pulled Vokoun from net for an extra skater with 1:26 left to play, but again, the Red Wings puck control was excellent. Brett Hull made a rinkwide pass to Henrik Zetterberg, skating up the left wing side. Zetterberg carried the puck into the Nashville zone and flipped it into the empty net to put the game away.

Shots on net were 27 to 24 in Nashville’s favor. The Red Wings’ next game will be Thursday night against the New York Islanders.

Assistant coach Joey Kocur was suspended for two games for throwing a folding chair onto the ice during the brawl at the end of Saturday’s game in St. Louis”¦. Zetterberg’s goal was the first empty net goal of his young career”¦. The shutout was the 41st of Joseph’s career and his second in the past week”¦. Fedorov’s goal was the 397th of his career. Hmmm, can we fit in one more milestone before the end of the season?

Black and Blue Wings Return Home to Host Preds

Only four games remain on the Detroit Red Wings schedule; yet their playoff fate is still unknown. Detroit will be assured the number one seed in the West if they can notch 2 points in all four of their remaining games. However, even if Detroit were to come out victorious in the rest of their match-ups, the positioning of the 6th, 7th, and 8th ranked teams are still undefined. Only one point separates the Ducks, Oilers, and Wild in the Western Conference standings. Their first step to nabbing first place in the West will be taken Monday night, when the Red Wings host the Nashville Predators.

Wasn’t Wrestlemania scheduled for Sunday night? That is what the Red Wings must have been thinking as they returned home after their passionate meeting with the St. Louis Blues. With the 6-2 blowout, Detroit added two more points to their total, which now stands at 104. One of Detroit’s biggest concerns, one that is surely present on all playoff contender’s coach’s minds, will be to remain healthy. After the type of game they were forced to play on Saturday, they are probably happy to be taking on the Nashville Predators

The last time Detroit met up with Nashville, they were facing a team that had their sights set on making the playoffs. Those hopes have since vanished, as the Predators were knocked out of playoff contention on March 25th with a 1-1 ties against the Flyers. A team that was only 3 points out of a playoff spot on March 1st must now regroup to go at it again next season. On Saturday night, the Predators were handed another loss at the hands of the Atlanta Thrashers. It shall be interesting to see if the Predators can come crawling into the Joe with any passion.

The Red Wings are 2-1-1-0 against the Pred’s this season.

-Players To Watch-
Nashville- #29 Tomas Vokoun. Heart and soul of the Predator’s. He has participated in 65 games for Nashville this season, and his play has caused many to believe that he is the biggest reason the team had a shot at the playoffs.

Detroit- #17 Brett Hull. Notching another hat trick in the game against St. Louis, the old goat probably wouldn’t mind seeing his goal total exceed 40.

-Out or in Doubt-
Nashville- Andreas Johansson LW (Wrist/Questionable), David Legwan C (Collarbone/Out), Stu Grimson LW (Concussion/Out), Vladmir Orszagh RW (Shoulder/Questionable)

Detroit- Jiri Fischer D (Knee/Out)

-Between da Pipes-
Nashville- #29 Tomas Vokoun (25-27-11, 2.23 GAA, .917 SV%, 3 SO), #34 Wade Flaherty (0-1, 4.71 GAA, .852 SV%)

Detroit- #31 Curtis Joseph (32-18-6, 2.52 GAA, .911 SV%, 4 SO), #34 Manny Legace (14-5-3, 2.06 GAA, .929 SV%, 0 SO)

-Most Points This Season vs. Opposition-
Nashville- Adreas Johansson (3 goals, 3 assists) vs. Detroit

Detroit-#14 Brendan Shanahan (4 goals, 1 assist) vs. Nashville

The game will be televised locally at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time on FOX DETROIT.

Wings Dominate in Important, Emotional Win

If there are many more games like this one in St. Louis, the Savvis Center’s management may want to consider building an expansion for their penalty boxes. The Red Wings came up with a 6-2 win over the Blues, and the Blues were really letting their frustration show by the game’s end. By the final buzzer, there were a total of seventeen players between both teams who hadn’t been tossed out of the game. And the playoffs haven’t even started yet. Bring it on!

Emotions were running high early. The Blues were fired up at the return of Chris Pronger, who has been out of the lineup all season. However, his first impact on his team was to take a high-sticking penalty. The Blues’ penalty killers did a good job of not letting Detroit get set up on that one. Tyson Nash managed to generate a shorthanded scoring chance, but Manny Legace was sharp on the shot and the rebound.

Brett Hull opened the scoring midway through the period. Henrik Zetterberg carried the puck up the right side and passed it back across the crease once he gained the goal line. Hull was following the play, driving to the net with his stick on the ice, and he was in perfect position to lift the puck over Chris Osgood.

Pavel Datsyuk increased the lead a few minutes later. Pronger fanned on a slapshot attempt in the Detroit zone, and Datsyuk stole the puck to carry it up ice. Pronger and Bryce Salvador backed up to defend, but Datsyuk cut right between the two of them and stuffed the puck into the net underneath Osgood.

The Blues got themselves on the board with 3:29 left in the first. Steve Martins won a draw deep in the Red Wings’ end. The puck came back to Pronger, who wound up and took the shot. The puck tipped off a Detroit skater on the way through, and flew just past the end of Legace’s catching glove.

The second period was a story of penalty killing. Chris Chelios had taken a four minute high-sticking double minor penalty just at the end of the first period. Thirty seconds had gone by in that when the referees saw fit to send Kris Draper out for boarding. Kirk Maltby, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Mathieu Schneider played an excellent penalty kill, and Legace came up with a huge save on Pronger to stop the clock and allow Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan to come over the boards to replace Schneider and Maltby. When play started again, Lidstrom cleared the puck, and that did it for the 5-on-3. The remainder of the Blues’ 5-on-4 was negated when Pronger took another penalty, this one for interference, but then the Red Wings’ resulting shortened power play was negated when the team was assessed a bench minor for having too many men on the ice.

The one call which probably should have been made in the second was not made at all. Tyson Nash was sticked in the mouth by Shanahan””Nash was falling at the time, so a stick at that height would ordinarily have hit a skater somewhere in the stomach, but the stick did draw blood, which would ordinarily be an automatic four minute penalty. None of the officials saw it, and the Blues apparently swore revenge.

Vengeance was not coming in the second period, however. Corey Stillman received an elbowing penalty shortly thereafter. Shanahan made the pass from behind the net to the high slot which allowed Lidstrom to pinch in from the blue line and wrist a shot through a screen of players over Osgood’s shoulder.

Nash, having had his lip stitched up neatly, was out on the ice to take a pass from Alexander Khavanov and fire it into the net from point blank range, bringing the Blues back within one goal with 7:38 left in the game. Just as the goal was called, Reed Low and Darren McCarty were handed coincidental minor penalties for diving and cross-checking respectively. Sergei Fedorov added a goal with a wrist shot just under the crossbar during the resulting four-on-four.

As soon as McCarty and Low were out of the box, they dropped the gloves and went at each other. Both were given five minute fighting majors, and McCarty was given a game misconduct for not having his jersey strap tied down””Low pulled it right off as soon as the fight started.

Scott Mellanby took an interference penalty with 5:11 left to play. Nash decided his goal wasn’t good enough revenge and attacked Shanahan directly. While those two fought, Fedorov tangled with Barret Jackman. Once the officials cleared the ice, Hull scored a power play goal. Datsyuk made a pass from behind the net to Schneider. Hull picked up the rebound from Schneider’s shot and put it into the empty corner of the net.

Hull’s third goal of the night barely two minutes later””set up by amazing passing from Zetterberg and Datsyuk, of course””opened the floodgates to chaos. Mellanby, Jackman, Dallas Drake, Ryan Johnson, Maltby, Draper, and Dmitri Bykov were all thrown out of the game. The very next shift, it started up again. Matt Walker tried to pick a fight with Tomas Holmstrom, who was skating away from it, but Luc Robitaille came in to defend his linemate. From the resulting battle, Walker, Salvador, Shjon Podein, Doug Weight, Holmstrom, Robitaille, Schneider, and Mathieu Dandenault were sent out. The Detroit bench took a penalty when assistant coach Joey Kocur threw a chair onto the ice in frustration at the way the Blues had simply decided to run at his players, and he and St. Louis coach Joel Quenneville screamed obscenities at each other until calmer heads prevailed, the linesman dropped the puck, and the few remaining players let the clock run down.

The count of shots on net was 24 to 21 in favor of the Blues. The total number of penalty minutes, for those who count such things, was 114 for Detroit and 129 for St. Louis. The Red Wings’ next game will be Monday night at the Joe against the Nashville Predators.

5th Time a Charm? Not in Detroit’s Eyes…

“We’ve got to find a way to beat this team,”- Blues center Doug Weight.

The St. Louis Blues will be able to close the gap between themselves and Detroit to 3 points if they can knock off the Central Division leaders on Saturday. Key players are returning at the right moments for the Blues, who will welcome back former captain Chris Pronger, and also hope to see Valeri Bure one the ice for the first time in a Blues uniform. Bure was acquired from the Florida Panthers right before the trading deadline.

The Red Wings are continuing a short road swing that has thus far resulted in a disappointing loss to the lowly San Jose Sharks. They were blanked in the loss to the Sharks by rookie goaltender Vesa Toskala. The spanking knocked the Red Wings back down to second place in the West, and also made for the second time Detroit has been shutout in three games. Thursday’s loss to the Sharks marked the first time Detroit has lost with Captain Steve Yzerman in the lineup. The good news for the Wings is that they have a relatively easy schedule to end the year with. They will take on Nashville, the New York Islanders, Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Chicago Blackhawks over a span of seven days.

The Blues will be looking for their first win of the year against Detroit, and it’s not like they haven’t had their chances. In their last effort, the Blues were able to even it up with the Red Wings in the third period, but unable to get the go-ahead goal. They ended up falling 4-2, which made for their fourth loss of the season against Detroit. The Blues are currently on pace to face the Colorado Avalanche in the playoffs. Both Colorado and St. Louis are tied with 97 points.

-Key Match-up-
D Barret Jackman (St. Louis) vs. LW Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit)- The two frontrunners for the rookie of the year award will both be skating in the same rink on Saturday. Henrik Zetterberg has played spectacularly for the Red Wings this season, while Barret Jackman has logged plenty of important minutes in the absence of veteran defensemen Chris Pronger.

-Out or in Doubt-
St. Louis- Jamal Mayers RW (Knee/Out), Keith Tkachuk LW (Wrist/Out), Martin Rucinski LW (Shoulder/Questionable), Rich Pilon D (Wrist/Out)

Detroit- Jiri Fischer D (Knee/Out)

-Between da Pipes-
St. Louis- #30 Chris Osgood (21-15-4, 2.77 GAA, .899 SV%, 4 SO), #35 Brent Johnson (16-12-5, 2.41 GAA, .903 SV%, 2 SO)

Detroit- #31 Curtis Joseph (32-18-6, 2.52 GAA, .911 SV%, 4 SO), #34 Manny Legace (13-5-3, 2.06 GAA, .929 SV%, 0 SO)

-Most Points This Season vs. Opposition-
St. Louis-Two players tied with 4 points. D Barret Jackman (1 goal, 3 assists), LW Cory Stillman (4 assists) vs. Detroit

Detroit- C Sergei Federov with 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) vs. St. Louis

The game will be televised nationally at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time on ABC.

Sharks Enjoy “Spoiler” Role

The Red Wings slipped back to second seed in the Western Conference standings with a 3-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

The game got off to a slow start for Detroit, while the Sharks came out to play with a great deal of energy. The Red Wings had to kill off 1:47 of a five-on-three penalty when both Sergei Fedorov and Nicklas Lidstrom were sent out for high sticking in quick succession. Chris Chelios, Kirk Maltby, and Kris Draper did an excellent job protecting Curtis Joseph. Maltby and Draper aggressively challenged any San Jose skater who had the puck, and Chelios stayed low to help Joseph defend the net.

The Red Wings’ best scoring chance of the first period came just as the five-on-three ended. They used the momentum they had gained through the successful penalty kill to head up ice and challenge young goaltender Vesa Toskala. Toskala made the necessary saves, and the Sharks regained control.

Patrick Marleau put the Sharks on the scoreboard midway through the first period. Kyle MacLaren forced a turnover at center ice, and missed defensive coverages by the Red Wings allowed Marleau to skate in on Joseph on an almost-breakaway. Marleau put the shot in high for the goal.

The Sharks did a good job through the second period of breaking up the Red Wings’ passing plays and keeping them from setting up many good scoring chances against Toskala. San Jose increased the lead to two near the end of the second. The puck was shot deep into the Red Wings’ zone. It bounced off a stanchion and right to the stick of Adam Graves. Graves made a good pass to Mark Smith, who stuffed the puck into the net.

Detroit made a decent attempt to come back in the third period, but Toskala was always in just the perfect position to stop the first shots, and he didn’t allow any rebounds to slip free. The Red Wings’ bench pulled Joseph out of the net with 2:01 left to play. The six skaters attempted to score on Toskala, but the Sharks managed to clear the puck out of the zone, and Lynn Loyns tipped a shot by Alyn McCauley into the empty net.

The final count of shots on net was 25-17 in Detroit’s favor. The Red Wings’ next game will be Saturday afternoon against the St. Louis Blues.

It was announced during the game that earlier today, Brett Hull signed a one-year, $5 million contract extension with Detroit. If he had scored a total of 35 this season (he has 33 now), he would have automatically received a $4.5 million one-year extension, but apparently the Red Wings decided not to wait. And why should they? How can you have a Two Kids and an Old Goat Line without Detroit’s favorite Old Goat?

Detroit in No Need of a Bigger Boat

The Detroit Red Wings are on the road again, this time on a trip to the West Coast to face the San Jose Sharks. With just a few games left to play, the only role left for the San Jose Sharks to fill is to be the spoilers. The Red Wings are in a hot race for the top spot in the West, and cannot spare any more points this season if they wish to remain on top.

It was only last year that the San Jose Sharks were one game away from advancing to the Western Conference finals. Yet you wouldn’t know it if you were to take a look at them today. Dead last in the Pacific Division with only 68 points, the Sharks have been forced to rebuild once again. Just this season, they have said goodbye to head coach Darryl Sutter, franchise player Owen Nolan, and most recently general manager Dean Lombardi.

“This season has been a struggle and clearly has not progressed as any of us expected. We feel this move is a necessary step in returning the San Jose Sharks to the postseason next year.””” President Greg Jamison

Lombardi is credited for the transformation of the Sharks in the 90’s, but it seems like in the NHL, having an ugly year can cause higher-ups to have a sudden loss of memory. In the Sharks last game, the Tampa Bay Lighting got the win 4-1, which was good enough to advance them into the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Tuesday night turned out to be a night of retribution for the surging Red Wings. Two nights after being shut out by the Wild 4-0 in Minnesota, the Red Wings returned the favor as Curtis Joseph turned away 18 shots to earn a 4-0 shutout. With a comfortable lead over the St. Louis Blues in the Central Division, the Red Wings are focused on making a run at having home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. As of right now, Detroit is lined up to face the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton took the season series against Detroit, winning two of the four meetings and also earning a 1-1 tie. After the game against the Sharks, the Red Wings will head to St. Louis to take on the Blues.

Detroit is 3-0 against the San Jose Sharks this season, outscoring them 14-9.

-Player To Watch-
San Jose- #8 Teemu Selanne (25 goals, 35 assists). Leading the team with 60 points, Selanne appears to be one of the only Sharks left with any bite.

Detroit- #40 Henrik Zetterberg (21 goals, 19 assists). Looks to be a lock for the rookie of the year award at the end of the season. Zetterberg has been everything the Red Wings could have hoped for, and then some.

-Out or in Doubt-
San Jose- Brad Stuart D (Concussion/Out), Matt Bradley RW (Broken Wrist/Out), Mike Ricci C (Back/Questionable), Scott Thornton LW (Concussion/Out), Wayne Primeau C (Back/Questionable)

Detroit- Jiri Fischer D (Knee/Out)

-Between da Pipes-
San Jose- #20 Evgeni Nabokov (19-27-6, 2.73 GAA, .907 SV%, 3 SO), #29 Vesa Toskala (3-2-0, 2.38 GAA, .923 SV%, 0 SO)

Detroit- #31 Curtis Joseph (31-17-6, 2.53 GAA, .911 SV%, 4 SO), #34 Manny Legace (13-5-3, 2.06 GAA, .929 SV%, 0 SO)

-Most Points This Season vs. Opposition-
San Jose-Two players tied with 3 points. #18 Mike Ricci (3 assists), #25 Vincent Damphousse (2 goals, 1 assist) vs. Detroit

Detroit- #91 Sergei Federov with 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists) vs. San Jose

The game will be televised at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time on FOX BAY and locally on UPN50.

Sending a Message

Same teams, same score, different day, different ending.

In a reversal of Sunday’s game, the Red Wings closed out their home and home series with potential playoff first round opponents the Minnesota Wild with a 4-0 win.

The Red Wings had more jump to their game from the start. Igor Larionov got Detroit out to an early lead less than two minutes into the game. Mathieu Schneider made a good pass to spring Larionov on a breakaway. Larionov, with two Minnesota defensemen in hot pursuit, took a slapshot from just inside the left circle. The shot rattled past Dwayne Roloson and into the net.

Detroit extended their control of the game””the Wild didn’t have a single shot on goal until more then ten minutes had gone by. Marian Gaborik was then able to get through on a breakaway attempt, but Curtis Joseph turned the shot aside.

Sergei Fedorov increased Detroit’s lead with a power play goal early in the second. The play was concentrated on the right side of the ice, so Fedorov quietly made his way to the left side. Larionov saw his teammate open and sent a pass across the goal crease, and Fedorov wristed a shot into the net before Roloson or any of the other Wild could react.

After that, Roloson had a very strong second period. He turned away seventeen shots by Detroit. His teammates, however, mustered few chances to come back in the game. They took only seven shots on Joseph in the period, and of those seven, only three were high quality chances.

Henrik Zetterberg deflated the Wild further just 27 seconds into the third period. Schneider carried the puck deep into the zone and took a shot on net almost from the goal line. The rebound bounced straight out front for Zetterberg to flip into the net.

Tomas Holmstrom added a goal midway through the period. Larionov made the pass from behind the net to Holmstrom at the left circle, and Holmstrom took a well-placed wrist shot. Roloson had been being screened by both Mathieu Dandenault and Luc Robitaille. He and his defensemen pushed them both out of the way, but Roloson was out of position, and Holmstrom’s shot sailed into the net, giving him his first ever 20 goal season.

The final count of shots on net was 33 to 18 in favor of Detroit. The Red Wings’ next game will be late Thursday night, when they take a quick West Coast swing to face the San Jose Sharks.

The game was Joseph’s 40th career shutout and his 4th of the season…. Larionov’s 10th goal of the season gives the Red Wings a league-leading 12 players with 10 or more goals.

Wings Look to Avoid Another Wild Night

The second half of a home at home series between Minnesota and the Detroit Red Wings is set to pan out Tuesday night at the Joe. The Wild brought the mighty Wings back down to earth Sunday night at the Xcel Energy Center, stuffing four pucks into the net in route to shutting out the Red Wings. Back in Motown, Detroit will be looking for a chance to break down Minnesota’s conservative defensive style.

After the convincing win against Detroit Sunday night, the Wild found themselves locked into a playoff spot for the first time in their three-year history. Backed by the solid play of goaltenders Manny Fernandez and Dwayne Roloson, nobody will be looking past the Wild in this year’s quest for the cup. Minnesota has picked up two-points against the Dallas Stars twice this month, and they were also able to get the better of the New Jersey Devils. If the playoffs were to start today, the Wild would be in position to take on Vancouver.

Detroit would like to rebound from Sunday’s loss against the Wild in a big way. Having their six game winning streak snapped caused them to once again be dead even with the Dallas Stars for first place in the West. Vancouver is also breathing down the Red Wings neck, as they find themselves only one point behind both clubs. Curtis Joseph will likely get the start in net after Manny Legace was only able to deny 17 of a possible 20 shots on Sunday. Steve Yzerman will also be back in the lineup.

-Player To Watch-
Minnesota- #30 Dwayne Roloson. Dwayne’s 33 save performance against Detroit Sunday night was no fluke, just look at the numbers he has put up this season. If he gets the start, look for him to attempt to shut it down once again.

Detroit- #19 Steve Yzerman. After getting that first goal out of the way, will the floodgates open?

-Out or in Doubt-
Minnesota- Bill Muckalt RW (Shoulder/Out), Brad Bombardir D (Back Spasms/Out), Cliff Ronning C (Flu/Questionable), Rickard Wallin C (Hand/Out)

Detroit- Jiri Fischer D (Knee/Out), Thomas Holmstrom LW (Flu/Questionable)

-Between da Pipes-
Minnesota-#35 Manny Fernandez (18-11-2, 2.37 GAA, .920 SV%, 1 SO), #30 Dwayne Roloson (21-14-8, 1.89 GAA, .931 SV%, 4 SO)

Detroit- #31 Curtis Joseph (30-17-6, 2.58 GAA, .910 SV%, 3 SO), #34 Manny Legace (13-5-3, 2.06 GAA, .929 SV%, 0 SO)

-Most Points This Season vs. Opposition-
Minnesota- C Wes Walz with 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) vs. Detroit

Detroit- Six players tied with 2 points vs. Minnesota

The game will be televised at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time locally on UPN50.

Wings Fall to Wild, 4-0

In spite of the fact that the Red Wings outshot the Minnesota Wild by a large margin thoughout the game, the Wild were able to capitalize on a few defensive errors and their excellent goaltending from Dwayne Roloson to shut out the Wings, 4-0.

The first goal came on the first shift of the game. The puck bounced off the skate of Darren McCarty and right to the stick of Matt Johnson, coming up the high slot from the blue line. Johnson’s shot rose high over Manny Legace and into the net.

The Red Wings had their chances through the first period and the start of the second, but Roloson was ready for them. He was able to see most of the shots that got through to him, and many of the shots that would have been the best scoring chances were either blocked or went just wide of the net.

Sergei Zholtok increased the Wild’s lead to two midway through the second. Marion Gaborik centered a pass from the right boards. Sergei Zholtok was out in front of the net all by himself to receive the pass. He faked a backhand shot, causing Legace to drop to take away the low part of the net, but then lifted a forehand shot high into the net.

The Red Wings made a good attempt to come back in the third period. Unfortunately, Roloson continued to play well, and the Red Wings’ efforts were hampered by having to kill off a 5-on-3 power play near the end of the game. First Sergei Fedorov was sent out for high-sticking with 5:14 left to go. Then with 4:01 remaining, Legace was assessed a delay of game penalty for shooting the puck up into the protective netting, even though video review showed that the puck had hit the boards before bouncing up to the netting, and thus no penalty should have been assessed.

Mathieu Dandenault went into the box to serve the penalty. Legace, Chris Chelios, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Kirk Maltby did an excellent job of killing off Minnesota’s two man advantage, but it used up valuable time which could have been used in trying to even the score.

The Red Wings pulled Legace from net to send in an extra skater with two minutes remaining, but Antti Laaksonen was able to pick up a bouncing puck and put it into the empty net.

Brendan Shanahan‘s frustrations came to a boil, and he complained vociferously to the referees about the earlier unwarranted delay of game call on Legace. All he got for his trouble was a two minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a ten minute misconduct penalty. Shanahan was sent to the locker room, and Jason Williams went into the penalty box to serve the two minute minor with 1:41 remaining. Adding insult to injury, Jim Dowd tipped a shot by Filip Kuba into Legace’s net with just 19 seconds left in the game to make the score 4-0.

The final count of shots on net was 33-21 in favor of Detroit. The Red Wings will look to regroup and finish up this home-and-home series with Minnesota on Tuesday night back at the Joe.

Steve Yzerman stayed out of the lineup to avoid playing in back-to-back games, and Tomas Holmstrom was out due to tonsilitis. Jason Williams was recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins to fill the hole in the forward lines…. Minnesota’s win tonight clinches their first playoff berth in the franchise’s three year history. The only other expansion team to make it to the playoffs in only three years was the Florida Panthers in 1996.

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