24 Hours Can Make A Big Difference

Whatever it was that Columbus Blue Jackets coach Doug McLean said to his team after last night’s 5-1 blowout loss to Detroit, it worked. The Blue Jackets rallied to take a 3-0 win over the Red Wings and split the home and home series with one win apiece.

It was evident from the first drop of the puck that tonight’s game was going to have more of a defensive focus than last night’s shooting match. Both teams seemed wary of each other. The Red Wings had a few good scoring chances against Marc Denis in the first period, but an odd bounce let Columbus open the scoring.

Rostislav Klesla took a shot from the right point. Trevor Letowski tipped the shot on its way through so that Manny Legace wasn’t able to stop it cleanly, and Rick Nash flipped the puck into an open corner of the net.

The Blue Jackets got an even bigger boost to their momentum when they managed to kill off a double minor penalty which overlapped the end of the first and beginning of the second periods. The Red Wings failed to capitalize on Jody Shelley‘s trip to the box for high sticking and unsportsmanlike conduct, which gave the Blue Jackets the energy they needed to score their second goal of the game.

Andrew Cassels carried the puck behind the net, then out to the side. His tight angle shot just squeezed into the net between Legace and his short side goalpost at 4:23 of the second.

Darryl Bootland made an effort to liven up the Red Wings by starting a a fight against David Ling. Bootland got the better of the fight, but he also got a two minute minor for instigating and a ten minute misconduct to go along with his five minute fighting major.

Legace kept Detroit in the game by stopping Nash on a breakaway attempt, but the Red Wings just couldn’t manage to set up a strong scoring chance against Denis. Dan Fritsche’s goal from the left faceoff circle early in the third period put the game away for good for Columbus.

Detroit outshot Columbus by a narrow count of 25-24. The Red Wings will play next on Saturday night when they face the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul.

Big Saves, Big Goals Extend Unbeaten Streak to Five

An excellent game by Manny Legace and two goals by Brett Hull helped the Red Wings gain a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first game of a home and home series.

The Blue Jackets started the game strongly, outshooting Detroit by the considerable margin of 18 to 11 in the first period. Legace was solid and kept the Red Wings in the game with some big saves, which gave Detroit the chance to open the scoring.

Kirk Maltby took a shot against Columbus goaltender Marc Denis from the right circle. The shot changed direction off the stick of Rastislav Klesla, so Denis wasn’t able to stop it cleanly. The rebound came out to Kris Draper, who flipped it into the net.

Hull scored his first of the game just two minutes later. Pavel Datsyuk centered the puck from the right boards, and Hull one-timed it past Denis on the short side.
Columbus continued to press, but Legace held them off with big saves against Rick Nash and Geoff Sanderson with only a few seconds left in the period.

The Red Wings came to their goalie’s aid and took control of the game in the second period, not letting the Blue Jackets get a chance to set up any good scoring chances. Tomas Holmstrom increased the lead with a power play goal five minutes in. Denis stopped the first shot by Nicklas Lidstrom, and the rebound shot by Steve Yzerman, but Holmstrom was able to whack the second rebound into the net.
Hull’s second goal of the night came a few minutes later. David Vyborny turned the puck over at his own blue line, and Hull scooped it up to take a quick shot which went right through Denis.

The Blue Jackets finally got on the board during a penalty to Jiri Fischer early in the third. Sanderson’s shot from in front of the crease bounced off the goal post and off Legace’s shin pad before trickling across the goal line.
Columbus gained a lot of momentum from that goal, and they pressed hard offensively after that. Legace was challenged to make some vital saves until the Red Wings could regain control of the game’s flow.

Steve Thomas took advantage of another Columbus turnover to put the game out of reach for good. Jaroslav Spacek’s clearing attempt bounced off Thomas and back into the zone, and Thomas was away with it, putting a high shot over Denis from just in front of the net.

Detroit outshot Columbus by a final count of 42-38. The Red Wings and Blue Jackets will finish up their home and home series tomorrow night in Columbus.

Darren McCarty was officially placed on the injured reserve list today due to his back spasms, and forward Mark Mowers was called up from the Griffins…. Dominik Hasek and Ray Whitney both sat out this game with groin injuries…. Datsyuk’s assist on Hull’s first goal was his 100th career point.

Tie With Wild Spoils Wings’ Road Trip Record

The Minnesota Wild have a very efficient defensive system under the tutelage of their head coach Jacques Lemaire. It becomes even more efficient once the Wild gain a lead. Even so, some timely saves by Dominik Hasek and a late goal by Steve Yzerman let the Red Wings salvage a 1-1 tie with the Wild Saturday night at the Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild came out with a lot of pressure to start off the first period. Hasek held them off early, and the Red Wings were eventually able to gain control of the play. At the other end of the ice, goalie Dwayne Roloson was solid, stopping all eight of the shots his defensemen let through””including a point shot by Nicklas Lidstrom which hit Roloson’s helmet so hard that it broke one of the straps.

Minnesota managed to open the scoring when Kris Draper was sent to the penalty box for slashing midway through the second period. Jim Dowd won a deep zone faceoff back to Marian Gaborik. Gaborik shot the puck towards the net, and Andrew Brunette banged at it until it slid beneath Hasek’s outstretched right arm for the goal.

Hasek kept Detroit in the game later that period when he and Chris Chelios were able to stop rookie Brent Burns on a breakaway.

Pavel Datsyuk had an excellent opportunity to tie the game early in the third period when he was awarded a penalty shot after Filip Kuba dragged him down to the ice on a breakaway attempt. He made the shot attempt without his usual speed, and Roloson was able to make the save.

Yzerman tied the game up with 7:42 left in regulation play. Chelios made a high pass from the right corner. The puck hit Yzerman in his midsection, but he was able to catch the puck and glove it down to the ice, then get his stick on it to put a rising shot past Roloson.

The Red Wings started well in the overtime period. They handled the puck well and created a few offensive chances. The Wild managed to creep in and take back control of the play, however, and Hasek had to be sharp to keep the 1-1 tie.

Detroit outshot Minnesota 28-26. The Red Wings’ next game will be at home Wednesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

This was Brett Hull‘s 1200th career game…. Yzerman made the decision to play in back-to-back games. His knee seems to be holding up just fine…. The Red Wings gained five of six possible points on this road trip.

Wings Hold Off ‘Hawks Again

Kirk Maltby seemed to be making up for lost time.

The left-winger, who woke up this morning with no goals yet this season, scored two tonight. Maltby’s two goals were instrumental in helping the Red Wings hold off a third period rally by the injury-depleted Chicago Blackhawks and gain a 4-3 overtime win.

The Blackhawks, many of them rookies filling in due to injuries to key players, definitely earned the one point for their overtime loss. They came out playing hard, and were rewarded with an early goal. The goal came with Brendan Shanahan in the penalty box for high-sticking. Bryan Berard shot the puck from the right point. Igor Radulov deflected it, then it deflected again off Chris Chelios before getting past Dominik Hasek for the goal at 3:34.

Brett Hull answered with a goal as soon as Detroit got a power play chance of their own. Ray Whitney scooped the puck out from behind the net to Pavel Datsyuk waiting near the bottom of the right circle. Datsyuk passed the puck backwards without looking right to where Hull was ready with his classic one-timer. Rookie goalie Craig Anderson never had a chance.

Anderson kept his team in the game with a great save against Whitney on another Detroit power play early in the second period. Nick Lidstrom made a quick pass, and Whitney took a very quick shot, but Anderson was able to slide across the crease in time.

Maltby gave the Red Wings the lead with a shorthanded goal with 4:15 left in the second. Darryl Bootland had been sent to the box for high-sticking. Detroit stole the puck and Kris Draper brought it deep into the Chicago zone. He delayed long enough for Maltby to gain position in front of the net, then sent the puck across the crease. Maltby was easily able to flip the puck over Anderson.

Maltby increased the lead early in the third period. He carried the puck into the zone, then took a harmless-looking shot towards the net from just inside the blue line. The puck went off of Anderson’s left elbow and up under the crossbar.

Just as the game was starting to seem over, the Blackhawks scored two quick goals to force the overtime period. First Travis Moen scored by driving to the net and banging home the rebound from Nathan Dempsey’s shot at 11:59. Then Radulov got his second of the night by fishing the puck out of the corner and taking a tight angle shot which beat Hasek at 13:05.

The Blackhawks made their critical error with just 9.5 seconds left in regulation time. Brett McLean tripped up Steve Yzerman and was caught by the referees, giving the Red Wings a 4-on-3 power play with which to start overtime.

Detroit took their time with the power play, moving the puck carefully and not giving Chicago any chance to send the puck down the ice. Finally, Shanahan one-timed a pass from Lidstrom from near the top of the left circle. Anderson was screened by Yzerman, and the puck sailed into the net. Chicago led the shot count, 31-26. The Red Wings will finish up their road trip Saturday evening against the Minnesota Wild.

Wings Continue to Roll, Down Stars 6-2

The Detroit Red Wings continued their winning ways Wednesday night, defeating the Dallas Stars 6-2 for their third victory in four games. Detroit had gone winless in five games before the resurgence.

Steve Thomas, playing in his first game as a Red Wing after signing with the team as an unrestricted free agent last week, scored the eventual game winning goal and Steve Yzerman and Pavel Datsyuk each contributed two goals in the rout of the slumping Stars. Dallas has lost four straight games and has been outscored 17-4 across the span.

Detroit opened the scoring early in the game, with Yzerman using his right knee to deflect a hard Jiri Fischer shot past Dallas goaltender Marty Turco just 1:07 into the first period. Yzerman would then score in the closing minutes of the period, rifling a shot from the left circle past a screened Turco while on the powerplay.

Dallas cut the Wings’ lead back to one on a powerplay goal of their own by Bill Guerin only 56 seconds into the second period, but Detroit regained the two-goal advantage eight minutes later when Thomas put a one-timed backhand shot a past Turco from the top of the crease.

Brendan Morrow pulled the Stars back within one again, putting a rebound past sprawling Wings netminder Dominik Hasek with 8:18 remaining in the second period.

Mathieu Schneider, who had earlier in the game left the ice after blocking a shot with the side of his face, scored shorthanded at the 59 second mark of the third period. Yzerman drew four Stars into the right corner and Brendan Shanahan fed the trailing Schneider who sent the puck past Turco.

Pavel Datsyuk added another Wings goal five minutes later and then closed out the scoring with a highlight reel goal in the game’s final minute. Breaking in all alone on Turco, Datsyuk put the puck onto his backhand as Turco slid across the crease. He then pulled it back onto his forehand and roofed it into the vacated Dallas net.

Detroit’s special teams were key in the game, with the powerplay going two-for-three and the penalty kill adding a shorthanded goal.

Hasek stopped 16 of the 18 shots he faced in net for Detroit, while Turco stopped 21 of 27 shots for Dallas.

The Wings are next in action on Friday when they visit Chicago. Detroit defeated the Blackhawks 3-0 on Monday this week.

Detroit forward Darryl Bootland was involved in his second NHL fight in only three NHL games. On Monday he fought Chicago’s Scott Nichol and tonight he went toe-to-toe with Dallas’ Steve Ott.

Staying the Course

This time, the lead held up. This time, the defensive plays worked all game. This time, the Red Wings played a full game and made it all the way to the happy ending””- a 3-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Dominik Hasek played a solid game in his first start after recovering from a groin injury. He made an excellent save against Scott Nichol on a shorthanded breakaway early in the game to keep the Blackhawks from jumping out to an early lead.

With the exception of that one breakaway, the Red Wings played a very careful, steady style through the first period. They did set up some good scoring opportunities against goalie Michael Leighton, but they were careful not to get out of their defensive position.

Pavel Datsyuk opened the scoring with a power play goal early in the second period. Steve McCarthy had been called for cross checking just as the first period ended. The Chicago penalty killers cleared the puck, but Brett Hull brought it back to center. He sent it over to Mathieu Schneider, who got it to Datsyuk. The speedy young center got into the Chicago zone ahead of all the defending players, fooled Leighton, and put the puck high into the net.

The Red Wings killed off three straight penalties after Datsyuk’s goal before Ray Whitney increased the lead with 1:50 left in the period. Kris Draper forced a turnover at center ice, and he and Whitney headed into the offensive zone on a two-on-one rush against Steve Poapst. Poapst was unable to take away the passing lane, so Draper got the puck across the crease for Whitney to flip it into the net.

Brendan Shanahan capped off the scoring with just eleven seconds left in the second period. Boyd Devereaux made a good play to cause the Blackhawks to give up the puck in their own zone. Devereaux sent the puck to Chris Chelios at the right point. Chelios shot on net, and Shanahan put the rebound past Leighton from about two feet in front of the goal line on the left side.

The Red Wings protected their lead in the third period. They still applied some offensive pressure against Chicago, but they didn’t take any risks in doing so. Mostly, they kept the puck away from the Blackhawks so Chicago couldn’t set up any attempts at a comeback, or even a shutout spoiler.

Detroit outshot Chicago by a count of 31 to 21. The Red Wings will head out of town for another road trip after this, beginning against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night.

New acquisition Steve Thomas received his work visa and will join the team for the road trip…. Darren McCarty will be staying at home. He is still unable to play because of the back spasms caused by a crash into the boards in Saturday’s Nashville game…. This was Hasek’s 62nd career shutout…. This was also the first time the Blackhawks have lost in regulation play at the Joe since April of 1999.

Saturday Stunner: Preds Rally to Win

The world of hockey is full of cliche trite phrases such as, “If we want to win, we have to play hard,” and, “The players all have to be accountable.” The phrases may be overused, but they are usually true, especially the one about, “If we want to win, we have to play a full sixty minutes.” The Red Wings relearned that one tonight, allowing a four goal rally late in the third period to lose 4-3 to the Nashville Predators.

Detroit got off to a good start, opening the scoring just 13 seconds into the game. Nashville goalie Tomas Vokoun held the puck on a long shot in, leading to a faceoff deep in his zone. Pavel Datsyuk won the draw back to Nicklas Lidstrom, who sent the puck across to Ray Whitney at the left point. Whitney shot on net, and Tomas Holmstrom deflected it on its way through for his first even-strength goal of the season.

Martin Erat almost evened the score when he got a breakaway shortly thereafter, but Curtis Joseph made the big save without any trouble.

Kris Draper increased the lead at 7:24. Brendan Shanahan blocked a Nashville clearing attempt at the left point. He passed the puck up to Steve Yzerman, who sent it across to Draper. Draper fanned on his first shot attempt, but he had time for a second one. Vokoun had flopped down to block an expected low shot, so Draper had plenty of room to score.

Shanahan added a power play goal late in the second period. Jason Woolley passed the puck along the blue line, and Shanahan shot it hard. Vokoun was already sliding the wrong way and couldn’t get back in time to block the shot.

Through the first and second periods, the Red Wings had done a very good job of stifling the Predators. They controlled the puck well, beat Nashville to loose pucks, and refrained from turning the puck over in bad situations. They continued the technique into the beginning of the third period. Nashville had come out with more intensity, but Joseph had covered up for his team’s small lapses.

That all changed once Vladimir Orszagh got the Predators on the scoreboard at 6:47. The goal was not a pretty one””Orzsagh beat Jiri Fischer to a loose puck in front of the net to bank it in””but it brought the Predators back to life.

Erat narrowed the gap five minutes later. The Predators had been pressuring in Detroit’s zone. Erat carried the puck towards the blue line, then wheeled and fired. Joseph was screened and had no chance to make the save.

Scott Hartnell tied the game with 3:34 left by crashing the net and whacking at the puck until it went in, then Scott Walker did the unthinkable.

Draper had been sent to the penalty box at 2:33 for goaltender interference, leaving Detroit shorthanded. Dan Hamhuis took a shot towards the net, where Joseph was screened yet again. Walker tipped the shot on its way through to move the Predators into the lead with just 57 seconds left to play.
The Red Wings pulled Joseph from the net for a sixth skater in the dying seconds of the game. Yzerman and Brett Hull both had scoring chances, but Vokoun held them off to keep the win.

The shots on net were tied at 31 apiece. Twenty of Nashville’s shots came in the third period. The Red Wings’ next game will be at home Monday night against the Chicago Blackhawks.

With Mathieu Dandenault and Jason Williams both tending to minor groin injuries, defenseman Jamie Rivers and forward Darryl Bootland made their way into the lineup…. Darren McCarty left the game with back spasms after sliding feet-first into the boards early in the first period. He is scheduled to have x-rays taken on Sunday.

Wings Sign Thomas to One-Year Deal

The Detroit Red Wings moved quickly to fill the hole in their lineup created by Henrik Zetterberg‘s broken leg, signing unrestricted free agent Steve Thomas to a one year deal reportedly worth $1 million.

Thomas split last season between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, helping the Ducks advance to the Stanley Cup Finals after a trade-deadline deal from Chicago. He scored 14 goals and 30 points between the two clubs.

Entering his 20th NHL season, Thomas has scored 411 career goals and added 500 assists. He has also notched 1281 penalty minutes in 1191 games.

Pulling It Back Together

Is the slump over? Can we all breathe cautious sighs of relief? It would seem so, as the Red Wings looked very much like their usual selves in Tuesday night’s 3-0 win over the Calgary Flames.

The game got off to a very slow start. Neither team appeared willing to challenge the other very much in the first period. Goaltenders Curtis Joseph and Jamie McLennan didn’t have much to do, but they both looked solid on the few shots they faced. Detroit seemed content to sit back, protect their goalie, and wait for Calgary to make a mistake.

The Red Wings’ chance came on the power play early in the second period, with Chuck Kobasew in the box for interference on a carryover penalty from the end of the first. Mathieu Schneider faked a shot from the blue line, but passed the puck to Brendan Shanahan at the left faceoff circle. Shanahan one-timed the shot. McLennan was being screened by Tomas Holmstrom and Robyn Regehr, who was trying to push Holmstrom out of the way, and the puck sailed into the net.

Kris Draper forced a turnover at center ice to set up Detroit’s second goal. He poked the puck away from Jarome Iginla, and Darren McCarty carried it into the Flames’ zone. McCarty faked to his left, fooling McLennan, then pulled the puck back and put it into the net from the right side.

Calgary replaced McLennan with backup goalie Dany Sabourin to start the third period, hoping to cause a shift in momentum. In spite of that effort, Detroit dominated the third period. They controlled the play, kept the puck in Calgary’s zone most of the time, and forced the Flames into taking some unnecessary penalties.

Shanahan put the game away with his second goal of the night with 7:08 left to play. Steve Yzerman picked off an errant Calgary pass just inside the Flames’ blue line. He left the puck for Nicklas Lidstrom, who passed it to Shanahan at the left side. Just like before, Shanahan lifted a well-placed shot past the goalie and into the net.

Detroit outshot Calgary by a count of 25 to 21. The Red Wings will return home from their road trip and take a few much-needed days off before facing the Nashville Predators Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Jason Williams, Boyd Devereaux, and Jiri Hudler all saw increased ice time in Henrik Zetterberg‘s absence…. Mathieu Dandenault left the ice early in the first period and did not return. No word yet on his reason for leaving…. Draper’s assist on McCarty’s goal was his 200th career point.

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