Wings Can’t Crack Bruins

Boston rookie goalie Andrew Raycroft was most assuredly the star of this game. The Red Wings peppered him with shots and set up numerous scoring chances, but Raycroft always seemed to be right where he needed to be, and the bounces all went the Bruins’ way. Boston won the game 3-0.

Detroit outplayed Boston considerably in the first period, outshooting the Bruins 13 to 3. Raycroft was solid, making big saves on Pavel Datsyuk, Kris Draper, and Ray Whitney. The Bruins, unfortunately, scored on only their second shot of the game. Dan McGillis knocked the puck away from Brendan Shanahan at the blue line, then got it to Sergei Samsonov. Samsonov made a short pass to Joe Thornton, who faked to his left, then pulled the puck back to the right and put it between Curtis Joseph‘s skate and the goalpost.

Boston, having a lead, began to shut down the game at that. They played a skillful trap, and the Red Wings had a tough time breaking through the blue line to generate offensive chances. Meanwhile, Boston scored their second goal of the game on an odd bounce off the back boards. The Bruins won the faceoff in Detroit’s zone, and Jeff Jillson banked the puck behind the net. The puck bounced back off the side of the net and into the goal crease, and Travis Green was able to whack it into the net.

Mike Knuble topped off the scoring for the Bruins by taking a nice pass from Sean O’Donnell and bouncing it off Joseph and into the net.

The Red Wings tried even harder to pressure Raycroft after that, but he was steady, sliding all the way across the net to make a save against Brett Hull and stoning Henrik Zetterberg on a near-breakaway chance.

Raycroft made 35 saves for his second career shutout. Joseph made 23 saves on 26 shots. The Red Wings will soon have the chance to avenge their loss: these two teams will play the second game of their home and home series Saturday afternoon at the Fleet Center in Boston.

Dave Lewis is guaranteed to be either the head coach or assistant coach of the Western Conference All-Star Team in February. The jobs go to the head coaches whose teams have the highest and second-highest points percentage (points earned divided by points possible) after January 8. Whether Lewis goes as the head coach or the assistant depends now on whether Tony Granato and the Colorado Avalanche win or lose tomorrow night against Nashville.

Putting the Preds in Their Place: Wings Stomp Nashville 6-0

It was only a matter of time.

The Red Wings had suffered three rather embarrassing losses at the hands of the Nashville Predators so far this season, and it was time for that to change. Jason Woolley and Kris Draper both had a pair of goals to add to Detroit’s 6-0 rout of Nashville.

The Red Wings knew it would be important to get off to an early lead so as to prevent the Predators from closing down into their defensive trap. Draper obliged with 7:34 gone in the first period, grabbing the rebound of a shot by Steve Yzerman, dragging the puck to the right of goalie Tomas Vokoun, and slamming it into the net.

Woolley increased the lead to 2-0 near the end of the period. Vokoun had been out of the net to tussle with Ray Whitney in the corner, and Whitney flipped the puck out to Woolley before Vokoun could get back and set. Woolley faked a shot, then wristed the puck high into the top corner of the net.

The Predators tried to come on strong for the second period, but tonight they were no match for Curtis Joseph, who acrobatically stopped Rem Murray on a point-blank shot early in the frame. Nashville outshot Detroit 11 to 6 in the second, but Detroit came away with the only goal of the period. When Kimmo Timonen was sent to the penalty box for charging, Nicklas Lidstrom responded by blasting a shot from the right point for the power play goal.

Woolley’s second goal of the night, early in the third period, looked much like his first, only this time Vokoun was screened by Draper and Jason York instead of scurrying back to his goal crease. Chris Mason came off the bench to relieve Vokoun at that point.

Mathieu Dandenault made an excellent play to set up Draper’s second goal of the night. He carried the puck into the zone up the left wing side, danced around a Nashville defender, and made a sharp pass across the goal crease. Draper had the blade of his stick down on the ice, waiting to tap the puck past Mason.
Whitney finished off the game with 3:32 remaining, getting the rebound from a shot by Woolley.

Joseph made 26 saves for his second shutout of the season. Vokoun made 13 saves on 17 shots before being pulled, and Mason stopped 8 of the 10 shots he faced.

The Red Wings next game will be the first of a home and home against the Boston Bruins, Wednesday night at the Joe.

This was Draper’s 700th NHL game…. It was also Woolley’s first two-goal game since April 2, 2001…. Pavel Datsyuk was named the NHL’s offensive player of the month for December.

Wings Down Ducks, Fedorov, 3-1

Sergei Fedorov made his second appearance of the season at Joe Louis Arena with his new team, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and fared no better than he did in his return to Detroit as the Red Wings defeated the Mighty Ducks, 3-1.

Unlike in Detroit’s 7-2 rout of the Ducks in December, where Fedorov scored once, the former Red Wings star was held without a point. Anaheim’s only goal was scored by Andy MacDonald with 5:30 remaining in the second period, knocking the puck by Detroit goalie Manny Legace as Legace attmpted to clear the puck from the side of the net.

MacDonald’s goal tied the game after the Red Wings had taken an early lead. Tomas Holmstrom scored with 6:44 left in the first period, taking a long pass from Brett Hull and skating up the left side of the ice before blasting a shot over Anaheim netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere‘s left shoulder.

Detroit retook the lead with a goal by Brendan Shanahan just 1:54 into the third period. Shanahan took a Ray Whitney pass from behind the net and fired a wrist shot from the left circle, beating Giguere for his 550th career goal.

Kirk Maltby sealed the win for Detroit with 3:21 remaining in the third period. Maltby deflected a shot by Mathieu Schneider past Giguere to give the Red Wings a two-goal lead and the Ducks were unable to respond.

Legace stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced in net for Detroit. Giguere made an amazing 38 saves on the 41 shots he faced between the pipes for Anaheim.

The Red Wings are next in action on Monday when the Nashville Predators visit Joe Louis Arena.

Wings Score Four to Open ’04, Defeat ‘Canes by Three

Kris Draper scored twice and Pavel Datsyuk and Steve Yzerman scored a goal apiece as the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-1, in their first game of the 2004 calendar year.

Datsyuk opened the game’s scoring 9:06 into the game. He skated down the right-side boards and fired a bad-angle shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle through Hurricanes’ goaltender Kevin Weekes, who should have been able to stop the shot. The goal put the Wings up by one and lifted Datsyuk into a tie with Washington Capital Robert Lang for second place in NHL scoring.

Yzerman scored just 1:06 later. Twelve seconds into a power play, Nicklas Lidstrom fired a shot from the blue line that Yzerman deflected past Weekes to give the Red Wings a two-goal lead.

Jamie Storr took over in the Carolina net to start the second period but he couldn’t stop the Wings’ scoring.

Draper picked off a pass at the Detroit blue line with the Hurricanes on the power play. He broke in all alone on Storr and fired a shot over his outstretched blocker 8:08 into the second.

Carolina countered with a shorthanded goal of their own with 50 seconds remaining in the middle frame. Mathieu Schneider lost the puck at the Hurricanes’ blue line and Kevyn Adams streaked down the ice toward Detroit netminder Curtis Joseph. Joseph stayed in his net rather than moving out to challenge and Adams rifled a shot over his stick hand.

Draper sealed the Wings’ victory, scoring with just 3:10 remaining in the game. Above the top of the crease, Draper collided with Storr and Carolina defenseman Sean Hill. Draper fought through a hold by Hill to put in the rebound of a Nicklas Lidstrom shot. The goal set a new personal best for Draper, breaking his previous record of 15 goals in a season.

Strong goaltending by Joseph helped Detroit kill off a 6-on-3 manpower advantage in the final two minutes of the game, as Niklas Kronwall and Ray Whitney were in the penalty box for the Red Wings and Storr was on the Carolina bench in favor of the extra attacker.

Joseph ended the game with 29 saves on 30 shots. Weekes stopped five of the seven shots he faced in the first period while Storr made 13 saves on 15 shots in the second and third periods.

The Red Wings are next in action Saturday night when Sergei Fedorov makes his second appearance in Detroit since signing with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim over the summer. Game time is 7:30 PM.