Wings Deal Kuznetsov, Avery for D-man Schneider

The Detroit Red Wings acquired defenseman Mathieu Schneider from the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, just hours before the NHL’s trade deadline.

Schneider, who scored a goal Monday night in the Kings’ loss to Detroit, came at the cost of young defenseman Maxim Kuznetsov, agitator Sean Avery, a first-round draft pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and a second-round pick in 2004.

Kuznetsov has spent much of the season in and out of the Red Wings lineup, fighting for playing time with Jesse Wallin and Patrick Boileau. His only scoring of the season came in the form of three assists. He also has fifty-four penalty minutes in fifty-three games.

Avery had been playing with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins after being sent down to make roster room for Steve Yzerman.

Schneider has fourteen goals and forty-three points in sixty-five games this season.

Wings Deny 3rd Period Rally By Kings

The Los Angeles Kings tried their best to make a comeback, but their best wasn’t good enough to beat Manny Legace. Legace made 14 saves in the third period and 27 saves over all to help the Red Wings hold onto a 3-2 win over the Kings.

The first period started off slowly for both teams. Detroit and Los Angeles both seemed willing to play a more defensive style, protect their goaltenders, and wait for the other team to give up a scoring chance.

Kris Draper put the Red Wings on the scoreboard with his 12th goal of the season late in the period. Darren McCarty tied up the puck in the corner and held off the two Los Angeles players trying to dig it loose until he could slide it out to Kirk Maltby. Maltby set up the pass for Draper, and Draper took a one-time shot which flew into the net over the shoulder of goaltender Jamie Storr.

The Red Wings got a power play chance early in the second period, and it only took 10 seconds for the NHL’s top-ranked power play unit to score a goal. Brendan Shanahan took the blue line pass from Igor Larionov at the left point. Shanahan shot the puck on net. Storr made the save, but Tomas Holmstrom was right in front scrambling for the rebound and distracting the goalie. Meanwhile, Nicklas Lidstrom had come in close to the net, since Shanahan had taken over his normal spot at the left point. The puck slid free to Lidstrom, and he was able to backhand the shot in past Storr.

Henrik Zetterberg increased Detroit’s lead midway through the period. Pavel Datsyuk got the puck out of the corner and banked a centering pass off of a Los Angeles player’s skate. Zetterberg took the pass in front of the crease and lifted a backhand shot which bounced off of Storr’s helmet and into the net.

The Kings’ bench decided to pull Storr out of the game at that point to send in rookie goaltender Cristobal Huet, hoping that it would enliven the team. The Kings did tighten up and play better defense to protect their young goaltender, but the offense didn’t really come alive until 2:50 into the third period. Mathieu Schneider managed to put a hard shot past Legace’s glove, and the Kings suddenly seemed to realize they weren’t out of the game after all.

Legace was forced to make many excellent saves through the third period to hold off the renewed onslaught by Los Angeles. Zigmund Palffy got a breakaway goal past Legace, but Legace denied Palffy the tying goal with an acrobatic leg pad save just a few moments later. The Kings pulled Huet out of the net for the extra attacker in the last minute of play. The Red Wings sent them back to the other end of the rink. The Kings brought the puck back into the Detroit zone in the dying seconds of the game, and Legace made one last save on a hard shot from the right faceoff circle just as the final buzzer sounded.

In the final count, Los Angeles outshot Detroit by a count of 29-18. A full 16 of the Kings’ shots came in the third period. The Red Wings will finish up their road trip with a game against the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday night.

Steve Yzerman was back in the lineup for this game. He led all forwards in ice time, playing 20:32, and spent time on both the penalty killing and power play units…. Dmitri Bykov also returned to the lineup after missing two games because of an eye injury sustained in the March 5 game against Tampa Bay.

Trading Pace Picks Up as Deadline Nears

One day before the NHL’s trade deadline, general managers are becoming busier and busier as teams with playoff hopes attempt to pry impact players away from non-contenders.

Monday’s trading saw the Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils and Dallas Stars grow in talent and depth.

The Flyers made perhaps the biggest move of the day, acquiring right wing Tony Amonte from the Phoenix Coyotes for left wing Guillaume Lefebvre, a third-round draft pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and a second-round pick in 2004.

Amonte has just thirteen goals and thirty-six points this season after signing with the cash-strapped Coyotes over the summer.

The Devils picked up veterans Richard Smehlik and Grant Marshall from the Atlanta Thrashers and Columbus Blue Jackets, respectively.

Smehlik signed with Atlanta this season after starting his career with the now-bankrupt Buffalo Sabres. The defneseman has two goals and eleven points this season. He was acquired for a fourth-round draft pick in the 2003 Draft.

Marshall, a veteran of the Dallas Stars’ Stanley Cup team of 1999, has eight goals and twenty-eight points this season. The Blue Jackets received a conditional draft pick in 2004 for the right winger.

The Dallas Stars increased their depth on the blue line and at center witht he acquisition of Lyle Odelein from the Chicago Blackhawks and Stu Barnes from Buffalo.

Odelein came at the cost of young defenseman Sami Helenius and a conditional draft pick. He has seven goals and eleven assists this season.

Barnes has eleven goals and thirty-two points this season. He was acquired in return for prospect Mike Ryan and a second-round pick.

Penalties End Winning Streak

Darren McCarty summed it up like this: “It disrupts the flow, because some guys don’t get into the game. We had to kill eight penalties, which is nearly a whole period on the PK. But the real story of the game was Giguere. He won the game for them.” Aided by 39 saves from goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks brought the Red Wings’ eight game winning streak to an end with a 4-1 game.

The penalties against Detroit started early in the game and kept right on going through the first period. Ironically, the penalty-killing units did a fine job, and the Ducks never did score a power play goal. Their two goals in the first period were both during the short bits of time at even strength, in-between the five Detroit penalties.

Steve Rucchin opened the scoring 5:23 into the game. He whacked at it twice at the left corner of the net before he was shoved behind the net and out of the way. Unfortunately, the puck went behind with him, and he was able to stuff it in the right side of the net before Curtis Joseph could slide across to stop him.

Stanislav Chistov increased the Ducks’ lead. The rebound from Samuel Pahlsson‘s shot was not knocked out of the way after Joseph made the save. Chistov was trailing the play and he was able to push the puck in past Joseph.

The Red Wings had a number of shorthanded scoring chances, most notably a breakaway by Sergei Fedorov. Brendan Shanahan made the pass that sent Fedorov flying up the ice with t he puck, but Giguere was alert and ready. “I just wanted to be aggressive on that guy,” he explained. “He’s got a good shot, so you don’t want to give him any room to shoot the puck and pick the corners on you. You’ve got to force him to deke, and once he starts making his move, you’ve got to be patient and wait until the last possible second.”

Detroit took their sixth penalty of the game, a phantom slashing call against Boyd Devereaux, early in the second period. (Devereaux had used his stick to lift the stick of Paul Kariya and keep him from picking up a pass.) Again, the Red Wings generated more scoring chances on this penalty than the Ducks did. Unfortunately, Kurt Sauer scored his first NHL goal shortly after the penalty expired to increase the lead to 3-0. Sauer and Pahlsson rushed the puck into the zone. Sauer one-timed a wrist shot from Pahlsson’s pass. The puck deflected off the outstretched stick of Henrik Zetterberg and into the net over Joseph.

The Red Wings got their only two power plays of the game late in the second, but luck was not with them, and the Ducks were able to get a shorthanded goal on their second penalty. Marc Chouinard made a pass through center ice to Pahlsson, who went in all alone against Joseph. Pahlsson faked a shot to the right to lure Joseph over, then backhanded a shot in on the left.

Manny Legace came out to start the third period for Detroit, but by then, Anaheim was content to sit back and play a defensive game. Legace only had to make five saves in his twenty minutes of playing time.

Brett Hull ruined Giguere’s shutout bid midway through the third. Pavel Datsyuk stole the puck from an Anaheim player trying to clear the zone. Datsyuk sent it to Zetterberg, who passed across the goal crease to Hull. Hull put it in high over Giguere.

The goal (and the relative lack of penalty-killing in the third period) seemed to revive the Red Wings, and they began to pressure the Ducks more efficiently than they had been doing, but they simply ran out of time.

The final count of shots on net was 40 to 28 for Detroit. The Red Wings play their next game Monday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

Steve Yzerman was kept out of this game to rest his knee, but he is likely to play tomorrow night in Los Angeles…. Hull’s goal was the 708th of his career, tying him with Mike Gartner for fifth leading scorer of all time.

‘Canes Send Wesley to Maple Leafs

Less than a week after acquiring right wing Owen Nolan from the San Jose Sharks, the Toronto Maple Leafs made another move to strengthen their team for a playoff push, adding defenseman Glen Wesley from the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Maple Leafs sent a second-round pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft to Carolina to complete the deal.

Wesley is a veteran of the Hurricanes’ 2002 Eastern Conference Championship team. His most offensively productive seasons are behind him, but Wesley has still scored one goal and added seven assists in sixty-three games with Carolina this season.

Wesley will likely play alongside Bryan McCabe, Toronto coach and general manager Pat Quinn said. “Right off the top I’d like to see (Wesley) paired with Bryan. Bryan could go back on the right side where I think he’s better.”

Avs Acquire Defenseman Marchment

The deals continue as the NHL’s March 11 trade deadline approaches.

The Colorado Avalanche shored up their defensive corps on Saturday night, acquiring Bryan Marchment from the San Jose Sharks for two draft picks in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft.

Marchment, known for his physical play that borders on illegal, is most likely only being rented for the playoff run. He will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

“I don’t think there was any way we were going to be able to sign him (this summer), so I guess he was the classic rental player at this point,” San Jose general manager Dean Lombardi said.

This is the second major trade the Sharks have made in the last week. Captain Owen Nolan was sent to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

San Jose is also rumored to be shopping forwards Teemu Selanne and Vincent Damphousse.

This is the fourth season in a row that Colorado general manager Pierre Lacroix has dealt for a defenseman at the trade deadline. In 2000 he acquired Ray Bourque from the Boston Bruins, in 2001 it was Rob Blake from the Los Angeles Kings, and last season he brought in Darius Kasparaitis from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Marchment has scored two goals and nine assists for eleven points this season with San Jose. He also has 108 penalty minutes in sixty-seven games.

Fedorov Shines In Return

Sergei Fedorov had sat out for two games with a sore back, and that was quite enough for him. “He knows his body better than anybody else, and he said he was ready to go,” said coach Dave Lewis. Fedorov’s natural hat trick and another phenomenal display of goaltending by Curtis Joseph propelled the Red Wings to a 7-2 win over the St. Louis Blues.

Fedorov opened the scoring just 45 seconds into the game. He was alone at center ice. The St. Louis defenseman who was supposed to be covering him had crept forward to help his teammates try to press the puck into the Red Wings’ zone. Nicklas Lidstrom got hold of the puck instead, and he made an onside pass which sent Fedorov flying up the ice alone. He faked a backhand shot, but then moved to his forehand and put the puck past young goalie Curtis Sanford. “He opened me up, he put it through the hole,” Sanford said wistfully. “A nice goal.”

The next goal came towards the end of the period on another breakaway. This time, it was Steve Yzerman who made the pass that got Fedorov away, and Fedorov took a slapshot which rocketed past Sanford.

Fedorov completed the hat trick on Detroit’s first power play of the game early in the second period. He won the faceoff just inside the Blues’ zone, popping the puck out to Tomas Holmstrom. Fedorov moved to the net, and Holmstrom gave the puck back. Fedorov’s first shot was blocked by Sanford, but he got his own rebound, made a sudden reversal in skating direction, and put the puck in behind the goalie. “Tonight was one of those nights,” Fedorov said. “From the get-go, I got rewarded every time I stepped on the ice.”

That was the end of the game for Sanford. St. Louis coach Joel Quenneville sent in back up netminder Fred Brathwaite to take Sanford’s place.

The St. Louis offense was by no means sitting idle while Fedorov was scoring seemingly at will. Joseph put together a dazzling series of five saves in a row midway through the second period. First he stoned Pavol Demitra. Then he blocked Corey Stillman’s rebound shot. Then another shot by Demitra. Then a hard slapshot by Al MacInnis. Finally, ANOTHER shot by Demitra, this one a wrister from the side of the net. Joseph was on his back after making the save on MacInnis, but somehow he spun around on the ice, got his legs up in the air like a breakdancer, and made the save with his leg pads.

Holmstrom got in on the goal-scoring action by tipping in a Lidstrom shot for a power play goal. Darren McCarty was not to be outdone. He brought the score to 5-0 early in the third period by grabbing up the rebound from another booming shot by Lidstrom and slapping it past Brathwaite.

Henrik Zetterberg added two goals to bring the total to seven, and both goals were set up by the skillful passing of Pavel Datsyuk. The first came as Datsyuk passed the puck from just inside the blue line to Zetterberg moving towards the net. Zetterberg took a wrist shot. Brathwaite was able to slow it down, but not stop it, and it fluttered into the net. The Two Kids needed their Old Goat to help get their second goal. Datsyuk stole the puck along the left boards and centered it between a St. Louis player’s legs to Brett Hull. Hull looked as if to shoot, but passed instead to Zetterberg, and Zetterberg put the puck into Brathwaite’s wide open net.

St. Louis did manage to spoil Joseph’s shutout with goals by Shjon Podein and Demitra late in the period, but the Blues were not at all happy. “It’s embarrassing,” explained Keith Tkachuk. “The biggest game of the season, and we don’t show up for it.” The win gives the Red Wings a four point lead over the Blues in the Central Division standings and lets them get a little bit tighter grip on the third seed in the Conference standings.

The shots on net totaled 31-29, with the slight edge going to the Blues. The Red Wings will head to the West Coast for their next three games. The first will come Sunday evening against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, who are currently in 7th place in the Western Conference.

Chris Chelios also returned to the lineup after a two-game absence to rest a sore knee…. Zetterberg now holds the lead in rookie goals and points…. Hull’s assist was the 600th assist of his career…. This game was the 373rd win of Joseph’s career, moving him past Andy Moog into 10th place on the list of all-time wins by a goalie…. Yzerman, Lidstrom, and Chelios were all sent to the locker room during the third period. The team assured that media that it was just a precautionary measure to let the three get a little extra rest, since the game was well in-hand by that point.

Cujo Keeps The Streak Alive

It could have been a close call, but thanks to magnificent goaltending by Curtis Joseph and a timely late goal by Brendan Shanahan, the Red Wings extended their winning streak with a 3-2 decision over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Red Wings dominated the game in the first period and got out to an early 2-0 lead. Their first goal came on the power play with Alexander Svitov in the box for hooking. Pavel Datsyuk passed the puck neatly into the high slot area. Nicklas Lidstrom had come in unnoticed from the blue line, and he one-timed a wrist shot that beat Tampa Bay goalie John Grahame high on the glove side.

Mathieu Dandenault extended the lead a few minutes later. Igor Larionov slid the puck across to Dandenault at the right point, and Dandenault let fly a slapshot which sailed into the net past Grahame.

The Lightning came into their own in the second period, aided by a number of power play chances. Dan Boyle scored with a slapshot from the blue line less than 30 seconds into the second period, just as an interference penalty to Maxim Kuznetsov was coming to its end. The goal energized the Tampa Bay team, and only a spectacular display of goaltending by Joseph kept them from tying up the game as they continued to pressure throughout the second and third periods.

Tampa Bay had an excellent chance to score again midway through the second when they gained over a minute of five-on-three power play time. Boyd Devereaux was sent to the box for holding the stick, and 54 seconds later, Kuznetsov was sent out for slashing. Steve Yzerman, Kirk Maltby, and Lidstrom were the three skaters to kill off the penalty, and they did an excellent job. Yzerman cleanly won a faceoff deep in the Detroit zone, and Maltby sent the puck down the ice. The Lightning brought it back, but Joseph stopped them in their tracks, ending the penalty without giving up a goal.

Coach Dave Lewis had much praise for his starting goaltender. “We had a tremendous first period, and then I thought Curtis Joseph took over. He was the difference in the game.”

Shanahan gave the Wings a two-goal cushion late in the third period. Pavel Datsyuk stole the puck from a Tampa Bay defender along the boards and made a soft centering pass to Shanahan, who put the puck high over Grahame.

The Lightning pulled Grahame from the net for the final minute and a half, and were aided by another power play. With six skaters out to Detroit’s four, Vincent Lecavalier threaded a pass through to Vaclav Prospal near the corner of the net, and Prospal put the puck in high as Joseph scrambled to get across. Grahame had to go back in net for the faceoff at center ice, and there simply wasn’t enough time left on the clock for the Lightning to mount another attack.

Joseph made 33 saves throughout the course of the game. Grahame made 19 saves. The Red Wings’ next opponent will be the St. Louis Blues, who visit the Joe on Friday night. Expect intensity: the Blues are just two points behind the Wings in the playoff race, and will be seeking to gain the top spot in the Central Division.

Sergei Fedorov (back) and Chris Chelios (knee) both sat out for the second straight game…. Dmitri Bykov had to leave the game early in the third after being sticked in the face. He had to have stitches on the bottom of his left eyelid and the top of his nose, but team doctors didn’t believe there was any damage to the eye itself…. Datsyuk has 4 goals and 15 assists for 19 points in his last 11 games.

Sharks’ Nolan Dealt to Toronto

The San Jose Sharks, likely to miss the playoffs this season after coming within one game of advancing to the Western Conference Finals last spring, have traded captain Owen Nolan to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Sharks, looking to cut loose several high-priced veteran players, acquired center Alyn McCauley, prospect Brad Boyes and a first-round draft pick.

Nolan’s twenty-two goals will be good for third on the Maple Leafs this season, behind Alexander Mogilny (27-43-70) and Mats Sundin (30-26-56). Nolan also has twenty assists, giving him forty-two points in sixty-one games for San Jose. He has amassed 323 goals and 352 assits for 675 total points in his 836 game career.

McCauley has scored six goals and added nine assists in sixty-four games for Toronto this season. In 304 career games with Toronto, he has thirty-three goals and forty-nine assists.

Still Rolling

Superior penalty killing, skillful playmaking by Pavel Datsyuk, and excellent goaltending by Manny Legace led the Red Wings to their sixth straight victory, a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Blue Jackets were given five power plays in the first period alone, including a four minute high-sticking double minor to Maxim Kuznetsov. With the constant penalty-killing necessary, the Red Wings managed only two shots on net the entire period, but one of those shots was the first goal of the game. Datsyuk threaded a pass across the front of the goal crease through a passing lane just wide enough to get a puck through. Brendan Shanahan was skating towards the net, and he had his stick down on the ice to tip the puck past Marc Denis.

Columbus managed thirteen shots in the first period, but only one of those, a wrist shot by Ray Whitney, made it in past Legace. The high number of shots didn’t seem to bother Legace at all, however. “It was good to get shots early,” he explained. “The last game I didn’t get any shots. Getting a lot of shots early gets you into the game and gets you back into a little rhythm.”

Brett Hull, playing through a bad cold, gave the Red Wings the lead again early in the second period. Datsyuk passed the puck to Jason Woolley, who had pinched in deep towards the goal line, and Woolley centered the puck to Hull. Hull then one-timed the shot, and the puck sailed into the net past Denis.

A bad bounce for Detroit let Columbus tie the game back up early in the third period. Whitney’s pass from behind the net bounced off the skate of Rostislav Klesla and into the net before Legace could react.

Midway through the third period, the Red Wings were able to take the lead for good when Jaroslav Spacek was sent to the penalty box for a boarding call against Darren McCarty. Woolley got the puck to Shanahan along the left side. Shanahan used a Columbus defenseman as a screen. His shot went right between the defenseman’s legs and past Denis for the goal.

The Blue Jackets were far from done, and Legace made some key saves as the clock ran down. Geoff Sanderson had a chance to score on a rebound right in front of the crease, but Legace got in the way. Jamie Allison made a hard, well-aimed shot from the left faceoff circle, but Legace blocked that one too, leaving Columbus coach Doug MacLean shaking his head. “We had a great third period,” he said. “Great chances and great saves by Legace. He made five or six great saves at the end.”

Over the course of the game, Columbus outshot Detroit by a total of 31 to 23. The Red Wings will return home for their next game Wednesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Steve Yzerman returned to the lineup for this game. He played 14:49 over the course of the game, an increase over his two previous games…. Sergei Fedorov and Chris Chelios both sat out. Fedorov warmed up before the game, but returned to the dressing room complaining of a sore back from being slammed into the goalpost Sunday night against Phoenix. Chelios had an MRI on the knee he twisted in the last game. The results were fine, but Chelios will sit out the rest of the week as a precautionary measure. Fedorov should return to the lineup against Tampa Bay.