Wings Win Fights, But Lose Game

Probably the most symbolic way to sum up Thursday night’s strange game against the Nashville Predators would be to point out two simple statistics. First, the Red Wings’ current goal-scoring leader is Steve Yzerman, with six goals. Second, the team’s current leader in penalty minutes is ALSO Steve Yzerman, and he got all 37 of those minutes in this emotional 5-3 loss to Nashville.

The first fight was underway almost before the game started. Darren McCarty got into a scrap with Jeremy Stevenson at center ice, 23 seconds in. Curtis Joseph got off to a strong start in his season debut, making a huge save on a two on one rush just as Jiri Fischer was being called for a high sticking penalty. Kimmo Timonen was sent out for hooking just seconds later, resulting in four on four play.

Henrik Zetterberg took advantage of the open ice to get the Red Wings on the scoreboard. Ray Whitney carried the puck into Nashville’s zone, then sent it across to Mathieu Schneider. Schneider sent the puck over to Zetterberg, whose shot rose high and went into the net over the shoulder of goalie Tomas Vokoun.

Scott Hartnell wanted to fight Fischer then, and Fischer, well aware that Hartnell was the one who knocked him down to cause his knee injury last season, was happy to oblige. Three good punches, and Hartnell was down.

Nicklas Lidstrom was given a weak penalty for holding with 1:00 left in the first. When Yzerman protested, he was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a ten-minute misconduct to go with it, leaving the Wings down two men for a full two minutes. Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper, and Chris Chelios did an excellent job of killing off the five on three at the end of the first and start of the second periods, and Joseph was always in perfect position to stop any shots the Predators got to the net.

The Predators got on the board after their power play was done. Jordin Tootoo hit Fischer in the corner, knocking the puck loose so Greg Johnson could shoot the puck just past Joseph’s far side.

Johnson tipped in a shot by Marek Zidlicky to give Nashville the lead with 9:27 left in the second, then Hartnell redirected a shot by Timonen to increase the lead with a power play goal. Tootoo and Mathieu Dandenault got into a fight after Hartnell’s goal, but that one was an even match and had to be broken up by the officials.

Yzerman gave the Wings a power play goal early in the third. He got the rebound from Lidstrom’s point shot and put it into the open net with such force that the puck was stuck in the goal netting. The goal gave the Red Wings a lot of momentum, until they were forced to deal with another five on three penalty. This time, Draper was sent out for holding. Yzerman had a few choice words for the referees, and he was given another two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, another ten minute major, and a game misconduct to go along with it.

Chelios, Lidstrom, Maltby, and Joseph did the best they could on the five on three, but finally David Legwand managed to squeeze a rebound shot past Joseph. Adam Hall wanted to fight Chelios then, and Scott Walker went after Maltby. More fighting majors were handed out, along with game misconducts to Maltby and Walker.

Brett Hull added a power play goal to bring Detroit back within one with 5:25 left to play. The Wings pulled Joseph for a sixth skater with 1:33 remaining, but the Predators got the puck out of their zone and Rem Murray put it into the empty net.

The scoring was done, but the battles were not. Brendan Shanahan went after Hall with a fierce attack. Stevenson went after Dandenault. McCarty and Jamie Allison fought. Finally, just as the final buzzer sounded, Hartnell wanted a rematch against Fischer, but their teammates broke them up. The game had gone on long enough for everyone.

Detroit outshot Nashville by a final count of 27-24. The Red Wings will next face the Oilers in Edmonton on Saturday night. Their next game against the Predators will be the first home game after the road trip, on November 8. With such a short amount of time between games, it will be interesting to see how much resentment carries over from this game to that one.

Detroit and Nashville totaled 210 penalty minutes…. Dominik Hasek reportedly has a minor groin injury.

The Refs Were Wrong, But Does the League Care?

In tonight’s matchup between the Red Wings and the Predators, the referees officiating the game, Mike Leggo and Tim Peel, completely blew two major calls. I can almost promise that nothing will be done about it.

I typically don’t use this space to rant but I feel I have to now because it’s time for as many people as possible to speak out and let the NHL know something is wrong. The league’s refs are not held publicly accountable and it’s time for them to be.

Players and coaches can’t publicly question the officials without being slapped with a fine. When officials are punished, it’s done behind closed doors where the public can’t see what action, if any, the NHL is taking to ensure the integrity of its referees.

The league acts as though there is nothing wrong with any of their officials. The league is wrong.

Since the fourth game of this young season, Detroit has been involved in only a small handful of well-officiated games. That game in Pittsburgh was officiated so poorly it was almost funny. The game two days later in Montreal was only marginally better. At Madison Square Garden later that week the officials missed easy calls on both teams.

Tonight, they blew it completely.

With just under one minute remaining in the first period and with the Red Wings carrying a 1-0 lead, Nicklas Lidstrom pinched Nashville’s Scott Walker into the boards. Lidstrom put his shoulder into Walker and fought for the puck with his stick. At no point did he wrap his arms around Walker. He was called for holding.

It was clearly a bad call and Detroit captain Steve Yzerman argued the fact. He was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for disagreeing with the officials. As Yzerman headed to the dressing room at the end of the period, he continued his argument and was given a ten-minute misconduct for his efforts.

Later in the game, with Detroit attempting to tie the game, Kris Draper grabbed Predator Martin Erat as the two came to the front of the Detroit goal. Erat dropped to his knees in a clear dive. The dive went uncalled, and Draper was sent to the penalty box.

For the second time in the game, Yzerman argued a bad call and was thrown in the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct. On the ensuing 5-on-3, the Predators scored and put the Red Wings away.

On his way out of the penalty box, Yzerman continued to argue the calls and was ejected from the game. As a parting shot, Yzerman seemed to say “You [expletive]ed up.”

On the ice, Yzerman spoke up about the bad calls and was penalized for it. He will be unable to speak about the calls off the ice without being fined. The refs made the wrong calls and only the NHL, policing itself without letting the public know if it is actually doing so, can do anything about it.

Judging by the officiating I’ve seen this year, I’ve come to two possible conclusions.

One is that there is a league-wide conspiracy against the Red Wings. While I’d like to think it is this easy, it simply can’t be true. It would be too noticeable if the league was picking on one of the teams.

The second option is that the league just doesn’t care that its officials are making the wrong calls. This prospect seems much more likely to me, and it frightens me.

The league needs to publicly discipline its officials when they make mistakes so that the fans of the game know that something is being done to correct the problem. Until that happens, we can only watch games like this and wonder if the league even cares.

Hasek Under Investigation Again

Red Wings goaltender Dominik Hasek will be investigated again for an incident that occurred in during an inline hockey game in the Czech Republic last spring.

In May, Hasek, then playing as a defender for Bonfire Strida, was accused of checking SK Pardubice’s Martin Sila to the ground. Reportedly, Hasek then sat on Sila and hit him on the neck with his stick. Sila was hospitalized for three days following the incident.

A lengthy investigation led police to recommend that Hasek be charged with inflicting bodily harm.

Prosecutor Lenka Strnadova determined in her own investigation that there was no evidence that Hasek caused bodily harm to Sila during the May 18 match in Hasek’s hometown of Pardubice.

“Criminal charges will not be pressed,” Strnadova told The Associated Press.

Strnadova did not reveal what evidence, or lack thereof, led her to make this decision.

A new investigation has now been started by the Czech Attorney General, who cancelled Strnadova’s ruling.

“The reason for that is that not all facts and circumstances were properly investigated,” spokesman Pavel Macur said.

“I think it’s nonsense. … If Hasek was not involved it would have been over a long time ago,” Hasek’s angry attorney, Pavel Jelinek, told the CTK news agency.

Hasek was suspended from the Czech inline league for one year after the incident. Shortly after that, he announced his return to the NHL, ending his one-year retirement.

The news comes just one day after Hasek played his worst game of the NHL season, allowing four goals on thirteen shots to the St. Louis Blues and being pulled from the net before the game’s midway point.

Curtis Joseph, who Hasek replaced as starting netminder for the Red Wings upon his return, will make his first start of the season tonight in Nashville.

Injured Blues Win High-Scoring Game

The law of averages finally caught up with the Red Wings. They dominated the St. Louis Blues last season, winning all five of their regular season matches, so it was obvious that the Blues would do whatever they could to break that streak, in spite of injuries to key defensemen Al MacInnis and Barret Jackman. The defense had some holes in it, but former Wing Chris Osgood played a very good game, stopping 45 of 50 shots, to give the Blues a 6-5 win over Detroit.

St. Louis came out ready to play a tough, physical game, forechecking hard and driving players into the end boards. The Wings showed they could match that physical intensity when Jiri Fischer knocked Scott Mellanby down in front of Dominik Hasek‘s net. It was a clean hit, but Mellanby, just returned from a rib injury, left the game and did not return. Shortly thereafter, Fischer stepped in on tough guy Mike Danton, who had been harassing Chris Chelios. Most of the Blues’ checking was clean after that.

Keith Tkachuk opened the scoring for St. Louis just six seconds into the Blues’ first power play of the game by jamming in a rebound from Chris Pronger‘s shot from the blue line. Pavel Datsyuk tied the game up for Detroit with eight minutes left in the first period, but Doug Weight regained the lead for the Blues just 22 seconds later. A rebound from Mark Rycroft’s shot bounced off the side of Weight’s skate and past Hasek.

Weight added his second goal of the night with 32 seconds left in the first. His shot from the right side of the ice looked fairly harmless, but the puck beat Hasek on the stick side.

Steve Yzerman scored a goal from a tidy backhand pass by Ray Whitney early in the second period, but Peter Sejna increased the Blues’ lead again with a shot that beat Hasek through the five-hole. Manny Legace came in to take Hasek’s place after that.

The goalie switch got Detroit’s offense going, as coach Dave Lewis no doubt intended. Boyd Devereaux scored his first goal of the year on a wraparound try, and Kirk Maltby took a shot which deflected off of Kris Draper for a shorthanded goal to tie the game at four goals apiece.
The Blues moved into the lead for good, however, before that power play was over. Legace made three saves in quick succession, leaving him prone on the ice, but the clearing pass bounced off of Nicklas Lidstrom instead of sailing safely into the corner. Sejna picked it up and flipped it over Legace’s skates before the goaltender could get back up.

Weight scored his hat trick goal early in the third period on a rebound from a shot by Dallas Drake. The Red Wings turned up the offensive pressure after that, taking 25 shots against Osgood in the third period alone, but they weren’t able to score again until the game was almost over. Danton was in the penalty box for holding, and Legace left the net so the Wings could have six skaters against four. Lidstrom made a nice pass along the blue line for Brett Hull, and Hull one-timed the shot into the net in classic style with 1:10 left to play.

The pressure was on in the last minute, but Osgood stood his ground, gaining his first win against his old team.

Shots totaled 50 to 34 in favor of Detroit. The Red Wings play next tomorrow night, facing the Nashville Predators in the first game of a four game road trip.

Weight’s hat trick was the second of his career…. Jiri Hudler got his first NHL point by assisting on Devereaux’s goal…. Hull’s goal was the 718th of his career, moving him past Phil Esposito into sole possession of fourth place on the NHL all-time goal scorers list.

Rangers Fight History, Beat Detroit First Time in 8 Tries

After coming off such a decisive win (4-0) against Dallas on Friday night, the Red Wings can’t be too pleased with their play in Saturday night’s 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers. Passes were bumbled. The Rangers were more often than not the first to scoop up loose pucks. The Red Wings didn’t have much trouble getting the puck through New York’s trap, but they did have trouble keeping the puck in the Rangers’ zone long enough to set up a scoring chance. Most of the play was at center ice or in Detroit’s zone, and that, in the end, is what cost the game.

The Rangers started out seeming a little shaky and unsure of themselves, but they gained in confidence when Petr Nedved opened the scoring late in the third period. Dominik Hasek attempted to shove the puck towards Nicklas Lidstrom, but Lidstrom couldn’t quite get to it. Nedved got to it first and shot it into the net over Hasek’s outstretched leg.

Mark Messier had a chance to increase New York’s lead early in the second when he got out on a breakaway. Hasek came all the way out to the left circle to challenge him, then the two got tangled up in each other’s skates. Messier attempted a shot from his prone position on the ice, but the puck went wide of the net.

It was left to Bobby Holik to score the eventual game winner for New York. He and Chris Simon carried the puck into Detroit’s zone on a give-and-go play. Holik took a shot from the right circle which slid between Hasek’s leg pads.

Mathieu Schneider‘s power play goal brought Detroit back into the game with 7:27 left in the second period. Tomas Holmstrom carried the puck back into the zone after it had been cleared and left it for Schneider. Schneider took a booming shot from the top of the left circle, which went right through Mike Dunham‘s five-hole.

The Red Wings gained some momentum from the power play goal, but by the third period, the Rangers were slowly regaining control. Hasek had another chance to shine when Messier and Simon led a rush against him. Messier made a back pass to Simon, who broke through and made the shot, but Hasek made the save with his left shoulder then flopped onto his back to cover the puck in his traditional “snow angel” style.

The Red Wings pulled Hasek from the net for an extra attacker in the final minute of play, but Messier sealed the game by firing the puck into the empty Detroit net. Shots on net totaled 32 to 24 in favor of New York. The Red Wings will return home for a few days off before facing the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night.

Jamie Rivers made his first appearance in the lineup, in place of Steve Yzerman, who will most likely not be played in back-to-back games this season. Rivers, who normally plays defense, played right wing on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Ray Whitney…. The Rangers are 0 for 26 on the power play this season. They are the only team which has yet to capitalize with the man-advantage…. This was the first time the Rangers have beaten the Red Wings at Madison Square Garden since March 1997.

Still Undefeated at the Joe: Wings Beat Stars for 5th Home Win

Strong, responsible defense, a shutout by Dominik Hasek, and two goals from Steve Yzerman all combined to help lead the Red Wings over the Dallas Stars by a score of 4-0.

The Red Wings and Stars appeared very evenly matched in the first period. Both teams generated scoring chances, but neither Hasek nor Dallas goalie Marty Turco had much work to do. Hasek got a lucky break with about three minutes left in the period. The puck slid right through the goal crease after he made a save. Players were scrambling for it everywhere, but it squirted out the other side and the Wings were able to clear it away.

Detroit began to assert its dominance in the second period. They started by capitalizing on a bad turnover by the Stars. Mike Modano attempted to make a pass in the Stars’ own zone along the boards to Steve Ott. Instead, the pass misfired into the high slot, where Jason Woolley was able to one-time a shot past Turco for his first goal of the year.

Yzerman increased the lead less than two minutes later. Henrik Zetterberg deked past a Dallas defenseman to bring the puck into the Stars’ zone. He left a drop pass for Yzerman. Yzerman’s hard shot blew right past Turco.

The Stars had perhaps their best scoring chance of the game on a delayed holding penalty to Jiri Fischer. Turco had left the net for an extra skater. The Stars were pressuring deep in the Red Wings’ zone. Bill Sweeney took a shot which beat Hasek, but the puck rang off the goalpost and Hasek snatched it away. The Stars went to the power play, but Hasek held them off until Fischer’s two minutes were up. The Wings wound down the second period playing solid defense and keeping the puck away from the Stars.

The Stars tried to forecheck more efficiently in the third period, trying to create some turnovers and generate some scoring chances, but the Red Wings kept control.
Another mistake by Dallas led to Yzerman’s second goal of the night. Ray Whitney stripped the puck away from Modano as Modano attempted to carry out of the zone. Whitney passed up to Zetterberg, who drove towards the net. Turco turned towards Zetterberg and stayed tight to his right goalpost, but Zetterberg had no intention of shooting. Instead he made a quick pass across the goal crease, where Yzerman was waiting to flip the puck into the wide open net.
When Woolley was sent to the penalty box with 2:35 remaining, the Stars thought they would at least have a chance to ruin Hasek’s shutout bid. Instead, they gave up a shorthanded goal. The Red Wings cleared the puck deep into the Dallas zone. Niko Kapanen picked up the puck and passed it up the middle to send the team back on the offensive, but Kris Draper was right there to pick off the pass. He took a hard shot which sailed into the net just above Turco’s blocker hand.

Shots on net were 23 to 22 in favor of Detroit. The Red Wings play next tomorrow night when they face the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

This is the first time in five games the Wings and Stars have had a clear winner. All four of their games last season ended in ties…. Yzerman’s last two-goal game was December 26, 2001 against the Minnesota Wild…. Draper’s goal was Detroit’s fourth shorthanded goal of the season….. Meanwhile, in Grand Rapids, Curtis Joseph made 20 saves on 21 shots to help the Griffins beat the Utah Grizzlies 4-1. Jiri Hudler, in Grand Rapids for a conditioning stint, had two goals and an assist.

Solid Game, Big Goals Give Detroit 4-1 Win Over Columbus

The milestones just keep coming for Brett Hull. The veteran right winger opened Detroit’s scoring with his 717th career goal tonight, tying him with Phil Esposito for fourth place on the NHL’s career goal list and propelling the Red Wings to a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Red Wings started the first period skating confidently. The Blue Jackets settled into their usual defensive style of play, but Detroit still managed to fire ten shots against goaltender Marc Denis. Columbus, on the other hand, managed only five shots against Manny Legace, making his first start of the season.

Hull’s opening goal came 5:32 into the second period. Pavel Datsyuk carried the puck towards the right side of the net, luring Denis over, then made a quick pass across the crease to Hull. Hull easily flipped the puck into the open net.

The same offensive line added another goal just 23 seconds later. Brendan Shanahan made a pass from the left boards to Datsyuk in the high slot. Datsyuk was all alone in front of Denis, and he fooled the goaltender by flipping from his backhand to his forehand before putting the puck in just under the crossbar.

The Blue Jackets cut Detroit’s lead to one goal near the end of the period, during four-on-four play resulting from coincidental penalties to Jiri Hudler and Andrej Nedorost. Todd Marchant and Rick Nash were up on a two on one rush. Marchant was pulled down by Jiri Fischer, but he still managed to get the puck across to Nash, who put the puck just past Legace’s outstretched glove.

Columbus gained some momentum from their goal, and Legace was called upon to make some important saves through the end of the second and the beginning of the third periods.

Detroit regained control of the game with a power play goal 6:53 into the third, with Darryl Sydor in the box for holding. Steve Yzerman passed to Shanahan at the right point. Shanahan made a hard shot which shattered the blade of his stick, but that didn’t matter. The puck brushed Tomas Holmstrom on its way through and fooled Denis to increase the lead to 3-1.

The Red Wings capped off the game with a shorthanded goal a few minutes later. Shanahan was in the box for holding, but the Columbus power play unit didn’t have an easy time of it. Henrik Zetterberg intercepted Jaroslav Spacek’s pass near Detroit’s blue line. He and Ray Whitney, a former Blue Jacket, took off down the ice on a two-on-one rush. The defending Columbus player was unable to take the pass away, Zetterberg flipped the puck to Whitney, and Whitney put the puck past Denis.

Legace made 18 of 19 saves to start his season with a save percentage of .947. Denis stopped 24 of 28 shots for a save percentage of .857. The Red Wings’ next opponent will be the Dallas Stars, Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Habs Hold Off Late Surge To Win 2-1 Over Wings

The Red Wings did their best to overcome a slow start on Monday night, but the Montreal Canadiens held on to keep the 2-1 lead.

Dominik Hasek had plenty of work to keep him busy in the first period. The Canadiens started the game with plenty of offensive fire, and the Red Wings struggled to keep up. Hasek, on the other hand, was superb, keeping his team in the game until they could find their skating legs and take a little bit of control back from Montreal.

The opening twenty minutes was fast paced for both teams, but no one got on the scoreboard until the second period. Detroit made an error on a line change, which let Jason Ward and Steve Begin get into the zone all alone against Hasek. Jason Williams did his best to catch up and try to get in between the two skaters, but Ward got the pass through to Begin, and Begin slid the puck past Hasek’s left side.

Another defensive error by the Red Wings allowed the Canadiens to increase their lead to two. Stephane Quintal poke checked the puck away from Brendan Shanahan at the Montreal blue line. The Red Wings had four players on the offensive rush, so only Jason Woolley was back to play defense. Mike Ribeiro and Richard Zednik brought the puck into Detroit’s zone. Woolley tried to take the pass away so that Hasek would only have to worry about stopping Ribeiro, but the puck jumped over Woolley’s stick and Zednik was able to knock it into the net.

Things seemed to go from bad to worse for the Red Wings when Chris Chelios was given a roughing penalty just one minute after Zednik scored. Detroit managed to shift the momentum in their favor, however, with a shorthanded goal. Jiri Fischer intercepted the puck in his own zone. He carried it up ice with Henrik Zetterberg on his right and Mathieu Dandenault trailing. Two Canadiens were in front of them. Fischer passed to Zetterberg as they entered the Montreal zone. Zetterberg carried into the right corner, then centered the puck for Dandenault. Goalie Mathieu Garon was screened by his own defender and couldn’t see Dandenault’s shot until the puck was in the net.

The shorthanded goal turned the game’s momentum in favor of the Red Wings. Detroit controlled the play through the end of the second and into the third period, but Garon had a strong night. The young netminder stopped a number of quality scoring chances, including a pair of shots by Brett Hull and a hard point shot by Shanahan.

The Red Wings pulled Hasek from the net in the final minute to send in their extra attacker, but the Canadiens were able to clear the puck and keep the Wings from scoring.
The final count of shots on net was 19 to 15 in favor of Detroit. The Red Wings’ next game will be at home Wednesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Curtis Joseph will play a conditioning game with the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday night so that the Wings can get a better idea of how his surgically repaired ankle is rehabilitating. If all goes well, Joseph should make his season debut with the Red Wings within the next week or so.

Penguins Hand Wings First Loss of Season

The Pittsburgh Penguins certainly are not the most talented team in the league, but they could be the most opportunistic. The Penguins capitalized on mistakes by Detroit in a choppy game to get their first win of the season, 4-3.

During the first period, the Penguins didn’t look as if they would be able to capitalize on much of anything. The Red Wings killed off five of six Pittsburgh power plays and managed to hold the Penguins to only six shots during the first twenty minutes.

The Penguins were first on the scoreboard, during a roughing penalty to Chris Chelios. Ramsey Abid was waiting at the side of the net in just the right spot to tip a point shot by Drake Berehowsky past Dominik Hasek at 5:34.

The penalties continued, so the Red Wings scored a goal the only way they could: shorthanded. Ray Whitney made a clearing pass which sent Henrik Zetterberg speeding down the ice on a one-on-one against Martin Straka. He faked to his right, then spun around Straka, moved the puck from his backhand to his forehand, and snapped the puck past rookie goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Red Wings finally got a full power play chance of their own near the end of the period when Rico Fata was sent to the box for hooking. Brendan Shanahan took a shot on net which bounced off of Fleury, but Tomas Holmstrom, facing away from the net and being shoved around as usual, whacked at the puck until it went in and gave Detroit the lead.

The number of penalties subsided in the second period, and the Wings increased their lead with the first even-strength goal of the game. Kirk Maltby carried the puck behind the net. Two Pittsburgh defensemen went after him, leaving Darren McCarty all alone in front of the net. Maltby sent a pass out front to his linemate, and McCarty had his stick down on the ice ready to direct the puck to Fleury’s left.

Another shorthanded goal brought Pittsburgh back within one point before the end of the period. Brian Holzinger had been sent out for a high-sticking double minor penalty. The Red Wings were trying to set up their power play when Whitney mishandled a pass and Ryan Malone was able to steal it and head up the rink. Whitney followed and cut Malone off so that he wasn’t able to get much of a shot against Hasek, but Rico Fata was trailing the play and got to the rebound to flip the puck into the net.

Straka tied the game just eleven seconds into the third period after a two-on-one rush. Konstantin Koltsov carried the puck up the left side. Straka kept up on the right. Jiri Fischer used his stick to try to take the passing lane away, but the puck got through to Straka and he put it in the net just under the crossbar.

The Red Wings thought they had regained the lead a few moments later. Shanahan took a shot which deflected into the net off of Mathieu Schneider‘s skate blade. The video goal judge, however, ruled that Schneider had kicked the puck into the net, so the goal was waved off.

Fata put the game away for the Penguins with 8:29 left to play. Malone’s pass sprung Fata on a clear breakaway up the right side of the rink, and he beat Hasek with a high wrist shot.

The Red Wings controlled the rest of the game, doing what they could to tie the game back up and force overtime. Even though they pulled Hasek for an extra attacker in the last minutes, they were unable to put the puck past Fleury again.

Detroit outshot Pittsburgh by a count of 34 to 17. The Red Wings’ next game will be Monday night when they visit the Montreal Canadiens.

Hatcher Out 4-6 Months With Torn ACL

Tough defenseman Derian Hatcher tore his right ACL in Thursday night’s game against the Canucks and is expected to be sidelined for 4 to 6 months, according to team personnel.

Hatcher left the game early in the first period after being tangled up with Vancouver’s Bryan Allen and Markus Naslund. The injury was originally called a sprained knee, but an MRI done Friday morning revealed the tear in Hatcher’s ACL.

The ACL, or anterior crucial ligament, is a ligament which connects the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shinbone) underneath the patella (kneecap). ACL injuries are most commonly caused by hyperextending, twisting, or bending the knee joint sideways. This is the same type of injury which kept Jiri Fischer sidelined for most of last season.

Hatcher, a native of Sterling Heights, Michigan, had missed only four games in his previous three seasons combined. The former Dallas Star’s last serious injury was a lacerated calf muscle which kept him out 24 games during the 1999-2000 season.

The Wings will attempt to fill the new hole at the blue line. Jason Woolley, acquired after Fischer’s injury last year, will make his way back into the lineup, and talented rookie Niklas Kronvall will be on hand to provide depth.

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