Wings and ‘Yotes Play to Thrilling Tie

In a game which is all too often becoming noted for its defensive trapping than its offensive excitement, it’s rare to see a game in which both teams open up (even open up slightly) and try to generate as many scoring chances as they can. Yet, such was the case between the Red Wings and the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday night. The fast skating, crisp passing, hard shooting, and excellent netminding, not to mention Steve Yzerman‘s 1700th career point, brought the teams to a not entirely satisfying 3-3 tie.

The teams started out cautiously enough, and the first period showed no hint of the way the game would open up later. Phoenix is one of those rare teams which can play the trap or play a multi-player forecheck equally well, and they devoted the first twenty minutes to defense. They held off three Detroit power plays through the first period before an unfortunate turnover by Jason Woolley allowed the Coyotes to open the scoring. Brian Savage stole the puck away and set off on a three-on-one rush. Shane Doan took a drop pass from Savage and shot towards the net. Curtis Joseph made the save, but Savage grabbed the rebound and slipped it in between Joseph’s left skate and the goalpost with only 28 seconds left in the period.

The lead was shortlived, however: Kris Draper put the Red Wings on the board just 30 seconds into the second period. Yzerman made a pass along the blue line to Nicklas Lidstrom. Draper tipped Lidstrom’s shot on its way to the net, and the puck redirected past goalie Brian Boucher.

Chris Chelios moved Detroit into the lead soon after. Boyd Devereaux passed the puck out from behind the net. Chelios stepped in from the blue line to take the pass and make the shot. The puck deflected off a skate and past Boucher.

The two teams really started to open the game up after that, skating end to end and coming up with at least a halfway decent scoring chance every time they would enter their opponents’ zones. The skaters worked hard and pushed through to try to score, but the goalies were solid.

Daymond Langkow tied the game back up midway through the period by redirecting a shot by Cale Hulse up and over Joseph.

Phoenix moved back into the lead with 8:45 left in the third period. Mathieu Dandenault mishandled the puck just enough so that Fredrik Sjostrom was able to steal it away, skate to the net, and backhand a shot over Joseph.

It looked like it would be a tough trick for the Red Wings to tie the game back up when Woolley was given a tripping penalty with just 4:18 remaining, but the Two Kids and the Old Goat came through. Brett Hull centered the puck to Pavel Datsyuk in the low slot. Mike Sillinger fell on the puck so Datsyuk couldn’t shoot it, but he was able to chip it away to Henrik Zetterberg at the side of the crease. Zetterberg’s backhand shot beat Boucher to tie the game with 1:44 remaining.

Joseph was called upon to hold off a furious onslaught of Phoenix shots in the last minute of regulation, and he did so gracefully. The Red Wings’ skaters controlled the overtime play, but Boucher kept himself always square to the shooters, and the buzzer finally sounded to signal the tie.

Detroit outshot Phoenix by a final count of 34 to 30. These two teams will meet again next Saturday night in Phoenix, near the end of the Red Wings’ upcoming road trip. The Wings will start off their trip with a flight to San Jose to face the Pacific Division leading Sharks.

Yzerman is only the 7th player to reach 1700 points. He is two points away from passing Mario Lemieux on the all-time points list…. Draper is just two goals behind Datsyuk for the team lead in goal scoring

Wings Win to Close Season Series with ‘Hawks

The Detroit Red Wings got three goals from defensemen as they defeated the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-2, in the final game of the season between the two teams. Detroit went 4-1-0-1 against Chicago this season.

Defenseman Jason Woolley opened the scoring with 6:27 remaining in the first period. Woolley took a cross-ice pass from Brett Hull at the top of the right circle and one-timed a shot past Chicago netminder Steve Passmore’s glove, putting the Wings up by a goal.

Ray Whitney got the only Red Wings goal by a forward 5:02 later. With the Red Wings on a power play, Whitney skated through the left circle and took a Henrik Zetterberg pass from behind the net. Whitney then fired a shot through a small gap under Passmore’s glove and gave Detroit a two-goal lead.

Chicago cut the Red Wings’ lead in half with just three seconds remaining in the first period. Kyle Calder deflected a Deron Quint shot in front of Detroit goalie Manny Legace to give the ‘Hawks their first goal of the game.

Niklas Kronwall‘s first career goal put the Red Wings back up by two with 5:35 left in the second period. As Mathieu Dandenault held the puck along the left-side boards, Kronwall pinched into the slot and called for a pass. Dandenault got the puck to Kronwall, who fired a one-timer by Passmore.

Nicklas Lidstrom scored the Wings’ final goal of the game 7:30 into the final period. As Kris Draper held up Alexei Zhamnov on a faceoff, Steve Yzerman came in to knock the puck back to Lidstrom. Lidstrom drifted back to the blue line and fired a shot that deflected off Passmore’s glove and into the net.

Tyler Arnason closed the game’s scoring, beating Legace on a rebound from right in front of the net as Legace scrambled back into position after coming out of the net.

Legace stopped 22 of the 24 shots he faced in Detroit’s net. Passmore made 30 saves on 34 shots between the pipes for Chicago.

The Red Wings are back in action on Friday night when the Phoenix Coyotes make their first visit of the season to Joe Louis Arena. The Wings will then embark on a five-game, ten-night road trip.

Wings Schneider Suspended for High-Stick

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mathieu Schneider was suspended for two games for high-sticking the Boston Bruins’s Glen Murray during Detroit’s 2-1 overtime loss in Boston on Saturday.

The incident occured at 7:46 of the third period while Boston was on a five-minute power play. Schneider struck Murray across the back of the neck. No penalty was called on the play.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Schneider will forfeit $38,888.88 to the Players Emergency Assistance Fund.

Schneider will miss Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks and Friday’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Bruins Take Season Series in OT

It was a much closer score in the Red Wings’ second game this week against the Boston Bruins, but once again a timely goal by Bruins captain Joe Thornton decided the game. Boston took a 2-1 decision in overtime.

The Red Wings held a 1-0 lead for most of the game, thanks to a nice goal by Kirk Maltby 8:00 into the game. Steve Yzerman intercepted the puck in the Boston zone and sent a pass up to Ray Whitney. Maltby picked up the rebound from Whitney’s shot and fired it past goalie Andrew Raycroft.

Just as it was in the Wednesday matchup between these two teams, the goaltending was very good on both sides. Raycroft was continuously in just the right position to block oncoming shots, while Curtis Joseph was in fine acrobatic form, sprawling and twisting to block the shots the Bruins were sending in from strange angles.

In spite of the quality of the Bruins’ scoring chances, Boston wasn’t able to get on the board until they were handed a five-minute power play. Pavel Datsyuk was given a boarding major and a game misconduct for an ordinary-looking check against Michal Grosek.

The penalty-killers did a good job for the most part, but they did give up the lead when Marty Lapointe put the rebound of a bad angle shot by Mike Knuble past Joseph on the glove side.

Detroit controlled the play for the last several minutes of the third period, but Raycroft’s solid play sent the game to overtime. Halfway through the extra session, Dan McGillis carried the puck up the right side of Detroit’s zone, luring everyone towards him, then made a back pass to Thornton coming through the slot with no one to cover him. Thornton easily put the puck into the mostly empty net.

Raycroft made 27 saves on the 28 shots he faced, while Joseph stopped 33 of 35.
The Red Wings have a few days off before their next game. They’ll be back in action Wednesday night when they face the Chicago Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena.

Joseph Likely to Stay in Detroit

With Red Wings goaltender Dominik Hasek‘s injured groin not responding to treatment as expected, the future Hall-of-Famer has been told to rest for at least two weeks. This opens the door for Curtis Joseph to remain with Detroit for the remainder of the season.

The Red Wings have been trying to trade Joseph since Hasek returned from his one-year retirement last summer. Unable to move him, the Wings placed him on waivers in December and he was sent to Detroit’s American Hockey League affiliate in Grand Rapids. Hasek was injured just days later and Joseph returned to the Red Wings.

Detroit general manager Ken Holland met with Joseph on Wednesday and told him there was a “very real possibility” that the club would carry three goalies through the end of the season. Holland did state that “nothing is written in stone.”

Hasek will be re-evaluated on January 21. at that time it will be determined if he can resume rehabilitation. No timetable is set for his possible return.

“I feel terribly that I cannot play hockey, at least at this time,” Hasek said. “It’s very sad, and we’ll see… I still believe I can be back and I can be back on the highest level, but don’t ask me when, because I don’t have this answer.”

Lidstrom, Lewis Named All-Stars

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and head coach Dave Lewis will be a part of the NHL’s Western Conference All-Star team again this season. Lidstrom was named a starting defenseman and Lewis was named the team’s head coach when starting lineups were announced Thursday night.

It is the sixth-straight season that Lidstrom has been named a starting defenseman in the All-Star Game. From 1998 to 2002 he was named to the World All-Star team. Last season he was a member of the Western Conference All-Stars.

Starters for the two teams are determined by fan voting conducted at NHL arenas and online through Lidstrom finished third in Western Conference voting with 90,995 votes. He was behind only Vancouver Canucks winger Todd Bertuzzi and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Rob Blake.

Lewis was named to the Western Conference coaching staff for the second year in a row. Last year he served as the team’s assistant coach. The head coaches of the two teams that had the highest percentage of possible points through Thursday night’s games are named All-Star coaches. Colorado’s loss Thursday night moved Lewis (.648) ahead of Tony Granato (.638).

The final All-Star rosters will be announced on January 22. The All-Star Game will take place on February 8 from St. Paul, Minnesota.