No Signs of Stopping: Wings Down Panthers 4-1

Curtis Joseph‘s phenomenal night in net and Pavel Datsyuk‘s goal and assist combined to help lead the Red Wings over the Florida Panthers, 4-1.

Datsyuk opened the scoring at 6:34 of the first period. Brett Hull made a centering pass, which Datsyuk picked up, then spun around to shake off the Florida defender who was shadowing him. He took a backhand shot at the net without seeming to look where he was shooting, but the puck angled up perfectly into the top corner of the net, over the outstretched glove of goaltender Roberto Luongo. “I’ve never seen a goal like that,” marveled head coach Dave Lewis.

The Panthers were unhappy about giving up the first goal, and they battled back hard. Joseph was solid, coming up with huge saves against Valeri Bure and Viktor Kozlov to keep the lead for Detroit. Florida’s only goal of the game came on a power play, but it was almost a fluke. Lukas Krajicek took a shot from the blue line which redirected off the skate of Jiri Fischer and slid past Joseph, who was partially screened by Juraj Kolnik.

Florida had a prime opportunity to move into the lead early in the second period. The Red Wings were nearing the end of a power play when Brendan Shanahan pushed a broken stick off to the side of the ice. The center ice referee ruled this an interference penalty before realizing that the stick was broken. He did realize his error after the fact, but the NHL does not permit referees to take back calls once they have been made.

Shanahan’s penalty was halfway over when the Red Wings were called for having too many men on the ice, giving the Panthers a full minute of five-on-three power play time. Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper, and Nicklas Lidstrom did a very good job of getting in the way of Florida’s passes, and Joseph held firm against every shot the Panthers could muster.

Shanahan’s penalty expired without incident, sending the Red Wings back to four against five, and Maltby took revenge for the interference call which should never have been made. He was forechecking deep in the Panthers’ zone after a clearing pass, and poked the puck off the stick of Krajicek just as the young defenseman rounded the corner of his own net. Luongo was not expecting any such move, and the puck rolled into the net. “Those things happen,” Luongo said in his teammate’s defense after the game. “He’s a young guy. Hopefully, he learned his lesson. He’s got to keep his head up and learn from it. That’s all he can do.”

Mark Mowers increased Detroit’s lead early in the third by tipping in a shot by Shanahan, and Mathieu Schneider denied Florida any chance of a comeback win by handling a pass from Datsyuk and sending the puck into the empty net with just under a minute left in the game.

Luongo stopped 36 of the 40 shots he faced. Joseph stopped 21 of 22 shots from the Panthers, but 14 of those shots were quality scoring chances, which makes Joseph’s game quite remarkable. “You need that kind of goaltending,” said Schneider. “He made the big saves for us.”

Detroit’s next opponent will be the San Jose Sharks, Wednesday evening at the Joe.

Datsyuk, who was named the NHL’s Offensive Player of the Week, now holds the NHL’s scoring lead…. Hull is on an eleven-game point streak…. Ryan Barnes was called up from Grand Rapids and slipped into tonight’s lineup in place of Mathieu Dandenault, who is out with the flu…. Manny Legace played backup to Joseph.

Datsyuk Leads Wings Over Caps

Pavel Datsyuk scored twice and added two assists, leading the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-1 win over the Washington Capitals. Datsyuk now has an NHL-leading 37 points on the season, with his 17 goals third-best in the league.

The Capitals started the game’s scoring when Jaromir Jagr powered his way around Datsyuk in the left faceoff circle and cut to his backhand near the top of the crease to roof a shot over the shoulder of Detroit netminder Curtis Joseph with 6:23 remaining in the first period.

Just 18 seconds later, Datsyuk fed Kris Draper, who blasted a shot from the half-boards past Washington goalie Olaf Kolzig to tie the game back up.

Datsyuk’s second assist came 20 seconds past the game’s midway point. As a Detroit power play ended, Brett Hull fed Datsyuk with a pass as he streaked in on goal. At the edge of the crease, Datsyuk drew Kolzig over and then dished the puck off to Brendan Shanahan at the side of the net, who put the puck into the open goal.

The first goal of the game for Datsyuk came on a Detroit power play with 6:28 remaining in the second. He sent a pass through the crease and a Washington defenseman knocked the puck into the net as he tried to clear it away from the goalmouth.

Just over a minute and a half later, Brett Hull was hauled down on a breakaway and was given a penalty shot. Hull stickhandled as he broke in on Kolzig, who came far out of the crease, and lost the puck, failing to convert on the attempt.

Jason Williams scored his second goal of the season 710 into the third period. Cutting through the slot, Williams took a pass from Boyd Devereaux on his backhand and held the puck long enough to settle it down and bank it off of Kolzig’s shoulder.

The last goal of the night was Datsyuk’s second. He picked up the puck at the Washington blue line and carried it into the high slot, wristing a shot past Kolzig to move into first place in the NHL points race.

Detroit went one-for-four on the power play while Washington was unsuccessful in all of their six attempts with the extra skater. Joseph stopped 18 of 19 shots against in net for the Red Wings. Kolzig stopped 21 of 26 Red Wing shots for Washington.

The Red Wings are next in action on Monday when they host the Florida Panthers.

Wings Fall to ‘Hawks in OT

Chicago’s Mark Bell slid a slow shot past Detroit goaltender Curtis Joseph just 15 seconds into overtime Thursday night to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 win over the Red Wings.

Bell broke in on Joseph, fighting off a check from Jason Woolley. As Joseph moved to poke check the puck away, Bell slid it past the Detroit netminder and into the net. Bell had picked up the puck at the Detroit blue line on a pass from Scott Nichol, who had carried the puck to center ice after Steve Poapst stuck his leg out and tripped up Pavel Datsyuk in the Chicago zone to steal the puck.

Chicago took an early lead in the game on almost identical goals by Tyler Arnason and Igor Radulov. At the 3:47 mark of the first period, Arnason deflected a Brett McLean pass over Joseph’s shoulder from just outside the crease. With four minutes remaining in the period, Radulov did the same with a pass from Igor Korolev.

Detroit pulled to within one on a goal from Kris Draper in the second period. With 4:03 left in the second, Draper wrapped around the Chicago net and threw a shot into the crease. The shot hit Blackhawks’ netminder Michael Leighton and deflected into the net.

At 4:51 of the third period, Detroit tied the game at two. Pavel Datsyuk fought off Poapst to put a shot on Leighton. He then picked up his own rebound a slid a shot to the side of the Chicago goalie for his 15th goal of the season.

Chicago regained the lead when Tuomo Ruutu sent a screened wrist shot through Joseph’s five-hole with only 6:31 remaining in regulation.

With the Red Wings’ net empty, Brendan Shanahan sent a one-timer past Leighton’s stick to tie the game with 1:08 remaining and force overtime.

Detroit was held scoreless on three powerplay opportunities and did not allow a goal any of the five times Chicago had an extra skater. Joseph ended the game with 22 saves on 26 shots in net for the Red Wings while Leighton stopped 30 of 33 shots between the pipes for the Blackhawks.

Detroit will next be in action on Saturday night when they visit the Washington Capitals.

Sabres Fall to Griffins— er, Wings

It wasn’t quite the game anyone expected. Sure, under normal circumstances, it should be easy enough for the Red Wings to gain a win over the Buffalo Sabres. But it shouldn’t have been quite so easy when a full third of the lineup (six of eighteen skaters) is straight from the Grand Rapids Griffins. And it certainly shouldn’t have been a triumphant 7-2 blowout, but there it was.

The Sabres managed to open the scoring a few minutes into the third period. J.P. Dumont made a pass to Daniel Briere just behind the net. Briere noticed Curtis Joseph just slightly out of position, so he banked the puck in off the goalie’s back. Joseph, also just recalled from the Griffins, looked a little shaky early on, but redeemed himself with a huge save against Taylor Pyatt on a breakaway a few minutes after Briere’s goal.

Pavel Datsyuk split through two Buffalo defensemen to make a give-and-go passing play with Kris Draper near the end of the period. Datsyuk pushed to the net, and when he got the puck back from Draper, he was able to flip it in behind goalie Ryan Miller. Kirk Maltby moved Detroit into a 2-1 lead just over two minutes later when some hard work in the corner by Mathieu Dandenault and a nice pass by Datsyuk left Maltby all alone in front of the net long enough to get the shot away.

Detroit carried their one goal lead all the way through the third period, holding off three Buffalo power plays.

The third period was a different story. An ordinary team might have shut down and played defensive hockey for the final twenty minutes, but these are the Red Wings (even if a lot of them were Griffins just yesterday), and they best defend their leads by adding to them. Datsyuk started the onslaught with his second goal of the night at 8:01. Jason Woolley threaded a pass through several pairs of legs to leave Datsyuk all alone in the high slot. He deked, then put the puck high over Miller.

Draper added a wraparound goal off a patient pass by Brendan Shanahan at 9:44, and Jiri Hudler scored the first goal of his NHL career by one-timing the puck from the high slot, after one of Woolley’s excellent passes found the way straight to him. It was a power play goal, with Eric Boulton in the penalty box for cross checking.

Jochen Hecht got the puck past Joseph to get the Sabres up to two, but Mathieu Schneider answered by putting a hard shot from the blue line right between Miller’s leg pads. Boyd Devereaux completed the Red Wings’ scoring by snapping a well placed wrist shot over Miller’s shoulder with 1:37 left to play.

The Sabres outshot Detroit by a margin of 25 to 23. Detroit was one for four on the power play. The Red Wings’ next opponent will be the Blackhawks, Thursday night in Chicago.

The Griffins playing as Wings tonight were Darryl Bootland, Jiri Hudler, Niklas Kronwall, Kevin Miller, Mark Mowers, Jamie Rivers, and goalie Joey MacDonald, who played backup to Joseph with Hasek and Legace both out for a few days…. It was Kronwall’s NHL debut. He logged 13:26 of ice time, took two shots on goal, served two penalty minutes, and finished with a plus-one rating…. Kevin Miller is the cousin of Sabres goalie Ryan Miller.

Hasek, Legace Out, Joseph Recalled

The Detroit Red Wings have recalled goaltender Curtis Joseph from the Grand Rapids Griffins to replace the injured Dominik Hasek. Joseph was assigned to Grand Rapids on Friday after clearing waivers in a move to make room for Hasek on Detroit’s practice ice.

Goalie Joey MacDonald was also called up to Detroit, just hours after having been assigned by the Griffins to the ECHL’s Toledo Storm. MacDonald replaces Manny Legace as Detroit’s backup netminder.

Hasek suffered his third groin injury of the season in Detroit’s 3-2 overtime win against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday. During warmups before that game, Legace suffered a sprained knee.

Hasek and Legace join many of their Red Wings teammates on the injured list. Steve Yzerman, Henrik Zetterberg, Ray Whitney, Darren McCarty, Tomas Holmstrom, Steve Thomas, Derian Hatcher and Chris Chelios are all on injured reserve.

Chelios Out 3-4 Weeks with Sprained Knee

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios has been placed on injured reserve with a sprained right knee. He is expected to miss three to four weeks.

Chelios injured the knee when he was checked by Los Angeles King Mike Cammalleri during the first period of the Wings’ 3-2 overtime win over the Kings on Monday. He returned for one shift in the early second period but left the ice early and headed straight to the locker room.

Detroit forward Ray Whitney is also injured again. He played on Monday for the first time after missing ten games with a sore groin. Whitney aggrevated the injury in the second period and left the game.

In addition to Chelios and Whitney, forward Steve Thomas will be unavailable to the Wings. Thomas is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Wednesday and will miss five to six weeks.

Goaltender Manny Legace suffered a sprained knee during warmups before Monday’s game but may not miss any playing time.

Chelios, Whitney and Thomas join a long list of Red Wings nursing injuries. Defenseman Derian Hatcher has missed all but the first three games of the season with a torn ACL and isn’t scheduled to return until April. Forward Henrik Zetterberg has begun skating after missing a month with a broken leg and is expected to return next week. Forwards Darren McCarty and Tomas Holmstrom have been out with back spasms and a separated right shoulder, respectively, with no return date set for either.

Captain Steve Yzerman has also been out, missing Monday’s game with a groin injury. Yzerman could return Wednesday when the Red Wings visit the Buffalo Sabres.

To help cover for the injured players, Detroit called up forwards Kevin Miller and Jiri Hudler and defenseman Niklas Kronwall from the Grand Rapids Griffins. Forward Nathan Robinson was returned to Grand Rapids while the Griffins signed forward Jeff Nelson from the United Hockey League’s Muskegon Fury and demoted goaltender Joey MacDonald to the Toledo Storm of the ECHL.

The seven transactions involving Grand Rapids is the busiest single day of player movement in the franchise’s eight-year history… Red Wings goalie Dominik Hasek is also rumored to have reinjured his groin, which caused him to miss most of the month of November.

Hull’s 3rd Place Goal Lifts Wings over Kings

It was another milestone night for Brett Hull, and this time, the goal counted towards a win. Hull scored his 732nd career goal 1:51 into the overtime period to lift the Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings and move into sole possession of third place on the all-time goals scored list, behind only Wayne Gretzky (894) and Gordie Howe (801). The Red Wings started the scoring early in the first period. In fact, they scored on their first two shots of the game. Brendan Shanahan got the crowd in the right mindset to see milestone goals by scoring his 544th career goal 2:27 into the first period. Mark Mowers made a sharp pass from behind the net, and Shanahan snapped off a shot which bounced off the left leg pad of goalie Roman Cechmanek and into the net. The goal tied Shanahan for 19th place overall with Maurice “Rocket” Richard.

Pavel Datsyuk didn’t break any records with his goal, but the Los Angeles defensemen may have broken something else afterwards, by kicking themselves for leaving Datsyuk unwatched. The goal came on the power play, with Kings’ captain Mattias Norstrom in the penalty box for hooking. Datsyuk left a drop pass for Hull on the left wing side, then circled around behind the net. The Kings all seemed to be keeping an eye on Steve Thomas in the high slot, so no one was ready for Hull to thread the puck through the goal crease to Datsyuk on the far side. Datsyuk banged the puck past Cechmanek to put the Wings up 2-0.

The Kings were hardly ready to give up being down by two goals. They refused to sit back, forcing Dominik Hasek to make some strong saves. Hasek held firm until he lost his temper late in the third. Los Angeles was in the middle of a shift of sustained pressure in Detroit’s zone. In all fairness, there could have been a goaltender interference penalty against Luc Robitaille, but none was forthcoming. Hasek appeared visibly upset, and thus was not set to stop Michael Cammalleri’s one-timer off Robitaille’s pass.

The goal gave the Kings new life, but they weren’t able to tie up the game until they got a lucky break. Steve Thomas was unable to handle Jiri Fischer‘s pass along the boards in the Red Wings’ zone. Martin Straka, recently acquired from the Penguins, grabbed the puck away and took a hard shot which beat Hasek high.

The Red Wings controlled the overtime period from its beginning, however. Hull’s historic goal was set up by Jason Woolley holding the puck in at the Los Angeles blue line, stick handling around two skaters, and sending the puck up to Mathieu Schneider. Schneider made the pass across the rink to Hull, who was ready and waiting with his classic one-timer. The puck sailed up and bounced over Cechmanek for the win.

Los Angeles outshot Detroit by a count of 28-20. The Red Wings’ next game will be on the road, Wednesday night against the Buffalo Sabres.

Ray Whitney started this game, but didn’t finish. He left sometime during the second period. Prior to tonight, Whitney had missed ten straight games with a strained groin…. Chris Chelios left the game with an injured right knee after colliding with Cammalleri late in the first period. Chelios tried to play a shift early in the second, but had to leave the ice.

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