Late Goal Lifts Wings over Blues

Boyd Devereaux scored his third goal of the season with just 2:23 remaining in the third period to lift the Detroit Red Wings to a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. The win puts Detroit two points ahead of St. Louis in the league standings and into sole possession of the Central Division lead.

The third period was dominated by each team’s top two lines, neither the Blues nor the Wings willing to roll four lines with the game on the line. Devereaux came out with Kirk Maltby and Mark Mowers as Detroit’s third line late in the game and made good on what little ice time was available. Defenseman Mathieu Dandenault pinched in to force a turnover near the bottom of the right circle anf got the puck to Devereaux, who deflected the puck between Blues goaltender and former Red Wing Chris Osgood‘s pads, giving Detroit the lead for the first time in the game.

St. Louis had opened the scoring just past the midway point of the first period. With the puck bouncing off a faceoff, Petr Cajanek had a clear lane to the net and blasted a shot past Detroit netminder Manny Legace.

The Wings escaped the period down only one after allowing 12 Blues shots and only taking five.

Former St. Louis captain Brett Hull tied the game with 4:48 remaining in the second period. Chris Chelios picked up the puck in the high slot and sent it to Hull who drifted to the top of the left circle. Osgood couldn’t see around a screen and didn’t know Hull had the puck, leaving a wide open net for him to blast a shot into.

After being outshot by seven in the first period, Detroit ended up with 28 shots to St. Louis’ 22.

The win is Detroit’s third in a row. They will next be in action on Wednesday, when Sergei Fedorov makes his first appearance at Joe Louis Arena since signing with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. The following night they will be back in St. Louis for their third matchup of the season with the Blues.

Detroit and St. Louis have split the first two of the six games the teams will play against each other this season. Both teams won on the road… Boyd Devereaux’s goal was his tenth career game-winner in just 35 career goals.

Wings Make it Two in a Row

Manny Legace made 30 saves for his first shutout of the season, Steve Thomas had two goals and an assist, and Kris Draper scored his 10th goal of the season to help the Red Wings gain a 6-0 win over the New York Islanders.

Pavel Datsyuk set up Thomas’s first goal of the evening. Jiri Fischer dumped the puck into the Islander’s zone. Datsyuk picked it up as it bounced off the end boards and centered it to Thomas. Islanders goalie Garth Snow was completely focused on Datsyuk, and Thomas was able to flip the puck into a nearly empty net.

Thomas scored his second late in the period by taking advantage of a turnover by the Islanders. He intercepted a clearing pass by Oleg Kvasha and zinged a quick shot past Snow.

Brendan Shanahan scored a power play goal early in the second period with Janne Niinimaa in the box for high-sticking. Steve Yzerman got the puck out from the left boards to Kris Draper, and Draper made a careful pass across the goal crease to Shanahan, who flipped it into the net.

Datsyuk added a goal a few minutes later. Thomas took a shot which Snow stopped. Chris Chelios kicked at it in the goal crease, and Datsyuk scooped up the puck and put it high into the net.

The Islanders tried applying sporadic offensive pressure early in the third, getting their best two scoring chances of the game. Legace had to be sharp to stop Jason Blake‘s shot from right in front of the net and Marius Czerkawski’s attempt from the left side a few minutes later.

Draper’s goal came midway through the third, when he took a pass from Kirk Maltby, got into the New York zone all alone and slid the puck beneath Snow. Brett Hull finished off the game by scoring from Datsyuk with just 2:11 left to play.

New York outshot Detroit by a count of 30 to 27. The Red Wings’ next game will be tomorrow night when they face the Blues in St. Louis.

This was Thomas’s 1200th career game… Shanahan’s goal was the 541st of his career, tying him with Stan Mikita for 20th on the all-time goal scorers list… Tomas Holmstrom could be out for up to a month with a separated shoulder. Nathan Robinson came up from the Grand Rapids Griffins to fill the hole in the lineup.

Wings Trounce Oilers in Yzerman’s 1400th Game

It’s been a year of extremes for the Red Wings thus far. Either everything goes right, or everything goes wrong. This was one of the nights when they could do no wrong. Steve Yzerman celebrated his 1400th regular season game by scoring a power play goal, one of the four power play goals that helped lift the Red Wings to a lopsided 7-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers.

Detroit knew it was important to start the game strongly. They did so, and then followed it up by taking advantage of power play opportunities, keeping the Oilers from setting up scoring plays, and continuously pressuring Edmonton goalie Ty Conklin.

Yzerman’s goal came ten seconds into the Wings’ first power play of the game. Brendan Shanahan shot the puck from the left circle. Yzerman was being knocked down repeatedly in front of the net, but he batted Shanahan’s shot down to the ice, then backhanded it past Conklin.

Darryl Bootland scored his first NHL goal late in the first. The puck was lying loose in front of Edmonton’s net. None of the Oilers seemed to know who was supposed to get it, so Bootland beat them to it and flipped it in.

Yzerman returned the favor to Shanahan early in the second, by making a pass which Shanahan converted into a power play goal of his own, but the Oilers got on the board with a strange goal just over a minute later. Radek Dvorak took a shot on net from the left corner. The puck glanced off Jiri Fischer‘s stick, which caused it to flutter, and Manny Legace hit it with his wrist instead of his catching glove. The miscalculation caused the puck to bounce into the net, making the score 3-1.

Detroit continued to press, and caused the Oilers to take another penalty. This time, Brett Hull scored the power play goal. Mathieu Schneider‘s shot hit Pavel Datsyuk in front of the net, and Hull grabbed that rebound to scoop past Conklin.

After Hull’s goal, the Red Wings never looked back. Kris Draper chased Conklin from the net by scoring off a nice pass from Boyd Devereaux, but Conklin’s replacement, Steven Valiquette, fared no better against the streaking Grind Line member. Draper scored his ninth goal of the season during a five-on-three power play.

Steve Thomas capped off the night with a late goal. Datsyuk wheeled around Mike York as he carried the puck into the Oilers zone. He fell, but still managed to center the puck. Thomas was in all alone, and carried the puck right to the goal crease to backhand a shot over Valiquette.

In the end, Detroit outshot Edmonton by a count of 43 to 16. The Red Wings’ next opponents will be the New York Islanders, Friday night at the Joe.

Tomas Holmstrom left the game with an injured shoulder late in the first period. More details will be provided as they become available… Draper is second only to Yzerman and Hull in goal scoring at this point in the season. Who knew?

Frustration, Inconsistency Show Up Again in Loss to Caps

The Washington Capitals came into tonight’s game with the worst record in the NHL, but you never would have known it by the game’s end. The Red Wings fell behind early and wound up losing to the Capitals, 4-1.

“The first period was the whole hockey game,” sighed Steve Yzerman. “They just played the basic trap and we kept turning the puck over.”

The Capitals’ first goal came just 6:57 into the game. Robert Lang took a shot on net, which Curtis Joseph stopped easily enough. Sergei Gonchar got the rebound over to Jaromir Jagr. Jagr was completely uncovered deep in the Red Wings’ zone, and he was able to skate right into the crease and beat Joseph from point-blank range.

Washington followed up with a goal from Peter Bondra. Dainius Zubrus carried the puck across the blue line on the right side. He spun deftly away from Mathieu Schneider, then backhanded a shot on net. Joseph made the save, but Bondra had been allowed to rush the net up the left side, and he was right on hand to tap the puck in.

The Red Wings made a decent attempt on the power play when Gonchar was snet out for hooking shortly after Bondra’s goal. Brendan Shanahan had two good shots against rookie goalie Rastislav Stana, who was making his very first NHL start, but Stana could see the shots with no one blocking his view and was able to handle them without much trouble.

The power play ended in misfortune when Jagr poked the puck away from Brett Hull just as Gonchar was stepping out of the box. Gonchar got the puck, and he, Jagr, and Land headed up ice on a three on one rush. Gonchar passed across to Lang, and Lang’s high shot went past Joseph and into the net.

That was the end of the night for Joseph. Even though the three goals were caused by defensive meltdowns and there wasn’t much he could have done to stop any of them, Manny Legace came in to replace him. It often happens that a goalie switch will shake a team up a little and let them regain control. It didn’t happen in this case.

The Red Wings did begin to increase the number of shots they were taking against Stana, but they did nothing to increase the quality of those shots. They shot from far out, without anyone in front of the crease, and Stana could see the puck the whole way. To compound matters, Washington was consistently able to beat Detroit to any rebounds left by Stana and clear them away to safety.

The Capitals increased their lead even more with a power play goal early in the second. Lang passed from the left boards to Zubrus in the high slot, and Zubrus wristed a one-timer over Legace’s right shoulder.

Detroit continued to send shots against Stana, but didn’t break onto the scoreboard until the third period was nearly half-gone. Mark Mowers took a shot on net from near the right boards. Kris Draper tipped the puck on its way through, then took a second whack at it so that it slid between Stana’s leg pads. The Red Wings began to press harder after that, finally starting to put some screening in front of the young goaltender, but it was too late to save this game.

Detroit outshot the Capitals 39 to 19. Nineteen of the Wings’ shots came in the third period alone. The Red Wings play next on Wednesday night when they host the Edmonton Oilers.

Wings End Short Trip With Win Over Minnesota

Curtis Joseph made 27 saves in his first game since November 8, and Brett Hull added a goal and two assists to help lift the Red Wings over the Minnesota Wild, 5-2.

Detroit opened the scoring just two minutes into the game. Steve Thomas handed the puck off to Mark Mowers just inside the Minnesota zone. Mowers made a good pass through the slot to Hull on the left side of the net, and Hull flipped the puck in over goalie Dwayne Roloson.

The Wild answered with a power play goal late in the period. Jiri Fischer was in the box for cross checking when Richard Park brought the puck into the zone and took a wrist shot from just inside the blue line. Joseph seemed to be expecting Park to pass, so he was sliding the wrong way and couldn’t get back across in time to block the shot.

Minnesota took the lead early in the second period. Brent Burns and Alexandre Daigle were up on a two-on-one. Fischer dropped to take the pass away, but he was too far back and Burns got the pass across. Daigle was able to put the puck into the net over Joseph.

The Red Wings answered just 23 seconds later. Steve Yzerman got the puck out from the left corner to Boyd Devereaux coming up through the offensive zone. Devereaux one-timed a shot from the left circle, and the puck deflected off Brad Brown before beating Roloson through the five-hole.

Detroit dominated the second period after squelching Minnesota’s goal-inspired momentum. Pavel Datsyuk turned a clearing pass by Hull into a scoring play, carrying the puck into the Wild’s zone and around the net before making a sharp pass to Nicklas Lidstrom in the low slot. Lidstrom had time to settle the puck before putting it in just under the crossbar.

Kris Draper added a goal late in the second, taking a quick step in front of the net to throw Roloson off before converting Kirk Maltby‘s centering pass into a high shot and a goal.

The third period was a time of concern, since the Red Wings have had trouble protecting their leads through the ends of games this season. There were some defensive lapses on Detroit’s part, but Joseph was able to stop every scoring chance the Wild could come up with. His best save was probably against Daigle from right in front of the crease midway through the period, but Andrew Brunette and Marian Gaborik also had good chances which Joseph stopped. Datsyuk put the cap on the game with only two seconds remaining. Hull made a pass which sprang Datsyuk on a breakaway, and Datsyuk backhanded a shot which bounced off Roloson’s blocker and into the net.

Shots on net totaled 33 to 28 in Detroit’s favor. The Red Wings’ next game will be at home against the struggling Washington Capitals on Monday night.

Dominik Hasek and Ray Whitney both sat out again with groin injuries…. Jamie Rivers came into the lineup for Jason Williams, who sat out with (what else?) a groin injury. Rivers played on the fourth line with his companions from the Grand Rapids Griffins, Mark Mowers and Darryl Bootland. The Griffins Line played about nine minutes together, and did a very respectable job as defensive forwards, coming out with a +1 rating thanks to Mowers’ assist on Hull’s goal.

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