Lang’s First as a Red Wing Lifts Detroit over Columbus

Robert Lang‘s first goal as a Red Wing lifted Detroit to a win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Wednesday night. The Red Wings claimed the regular season Western Conference Championship with the win.

Lang’s goal came with the game tied 9:03 into the third period. Tomas Holmstrom carried the puck into Columbus zone and cut through the crease before dropping a pass back to Brendan Shanahan. Shanahan skated past the puck, letting it sit in the slot where Lang got to it and slipped a shot under Columbus goalie Marc Denis.

The Red Wings had scored 4:22 into the period to tie the game at two. After half a minute of pressure from Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom, defenseman Jiri Fischer threw a shot on net from inside the blue line. Denis stopped the shot but the puck was left sitting on the goal line. From the side of the net, Holmstrom poked the puck across the goal line, tying the game.

Detroit had opened the scoring in the second period. Just 1:45 in to the middle frame, Darren McCarty and Kirk Maltby streaked in on the Columbus net. McCarty fired a shot that Maltby deflected with the shaft of his stick into the net.

Columbus’ goals came six minutes apart in the first half of the second period. At 2:48, Trevor Letowski scored and at 8:28, Donald MacLean beat Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace.

Legace made 30 saves on 32 shots while Denis stopped 27 of 30 shots. The Red Wings were unsuccessful in their lone power-play attempts, with the Blue Jackets held scoreless in each of their seven chances with the advantage.

After the game, the Blue Jackets were less worried about the loss than about a third-period hit Maltby put on Columbus defenseman Rostislav Klesla with 4:52 remaining.

Maltby lined up Klesla coming across the center red line and hit him into the boards in front of the Detroit bench – with one of the bench doors open. Klesla caught the corner of the boards and dropped to the ice. No penalty was called on the play.

Maltby claimed he didn’t see that the door was open.

“I’m really not going to get into an argument about it,” he said. “I’m backchecking. I can’t see who’s coming on, who’s coming off, if the door’s closed or not. I’m not trying to hurt the guy. It was a foot race.”

“You can’t say he didn’t see the door open because it was open for four seconds – we watched it on video,” Columbus interim coach Gerard Gallant said. “He just drove him into the door. Not smart at all by him.”

The Red Wings and the Blue Jackets close out the season in Detroit on Saturday night.

Wings Show Wild Some Variety in Win

If it’s true that a team needs offense from all possible sources in order to succeed in the playoffs, then the Red Wings look to be in pretty decent shape headng into next week. Five different players scored goals to overcome the normally stifling defense of the Minnesota Wild in a 5-3 win.

Darren McCarty opened the scoring early in the first. Kirk Maltby carried the puck into Minnesota’s zone and dropped a pass back to McCarty, who took a wrist shot from the top of the left circle. Wild goalie Manny Fernandez was sliding to his right, and the puck sailed over his catching glove.

Andrei Zyuzin tied the game up with a power play goal midway through the period. Zyuzin was able to drive to the net with no one covering him, then slam Pierre-Marc Bouchard’s centering pass past Manny Legace.

Jiri Fischer regained the lead for Detroit late in the first with a similar goal””he pushed his way to the net and banged in a centering pass from Brendan Shanahan.

Shanahan and Boyd Devereaux scored in quick succession to open the second period. Shanahan scored off a hard wrist shot set up by Ray Whitney‘s hard work shaking off a Minnesota defenseman in the right corner. Devereaux’s goal came after Jason Williams‘ shot bounced off the back of Willie Mitchell, who was tussling with Tomas Holmstrom in front of the goal crease. Devereaux was able to scoop up the loose puck and put it into an empty corner of the net while Fernandez was screened by Holmstrom and Mitchell.

Alexandre Daigle brought the Wild back within a pair a few minutes later. Wes Walz cleanly won a faceoff in Detroit’s zone, and Daigle one-timed the shot before Legace was quite ready for it. The puck barely squeezed through between the goalie’s pads.
Daigle outskated Derian Hatcher and put his own rebound into the net at a very tight angle to bring the Wild within one goal with 8:32 left in the game, but Pavel Datsyuk put the game out of reach with his 30th goal of the season. Datsyuk picked up the rebound from Brett Hull‘s shot, danced around three Minnesota skaters in the slot, then whipped the puck past Fernandez.

Detroit outshot Minnesota by a count of 38 to 24. The Red Wings will head out for their last road trip of the regular season after tonight. They’ll play the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday and the St. Louis Blues on Thursday before returning home to close the season against Columbus on Saturday.


Detroit only needs one more point in the standings to clinch the Western Conference title”¦. Kris Draper and Robert Lang should be back in the lineup for Wednesday’s game. Mathieu Dandenault could return for Saturday’s game”¦. The Detroit chapter of the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association has nominated Steve Thomas as the Red Wings’ candidate for the Bill Masterton Trophy, which is awarded to the player who most exemplifies perseverance and dedication to hockey.

Lookin’ Good: Wings Shutout Avs

Just as on Thursday night, Manny Legace gave the Colorado Avalanche’s shooters fits of frustration. This time, Legace finally got his shutout, as strong play on both offense and defense lifted Detroit to a 2-0 win over Colorado.

Colorado got the game off to a quick start, peppering Legace with shots in the early stages, but the Red Wings patiently took control of the play and did their own testing of goalie Tommy Salo.

The Avalanche had their big chance of the game midway through the second, when Derian Hatcher received double penalties for roughing and high-sticking. Detroit’s penalty kill did such a good job of breaking up passes and blocking shots that Legace only had to make three saves during the whole four minute power play. The best of the three was a pad save on a fluttering backhand shot by Rob Blake.

Between the excellent goaltending and defensive play on both sides, no one was able to light up the scoreboard until Mathieu Schneider scored a power play goal with just ten seconds left in the second period. Pavel Datsyuk won a draw against Joe Sakic deep in Colorado’s zone. The puck fell back to Schneider, who knocked it left to Nicklas Lidstrom.
Lidstrom passed to Brett Hull, then got it back and sent it across to Schneider at the right point. Schneider took a high shot which hit the underside of the crossbar and angled down into the net.

Datsyuk cemented Detroit’s lead 4:06 into the third period, during four-on-four play with coincidental penalties to Brendan Shanahan and Adam Foote. Chris Chelios passed to Datsyuk as the young Russian crossed Colorado’s blue line. Datsyuk centered the puck for Hull, but Hull’s shot was blocked by Bob Boughner. Datsyuk was able to get to the loose puck, skate around Boughner and Salo, then put the puck high over Salo’s blocker.

Colorado pulled Salo from net with 1:36 left to play, but the six skaters were simply unable to put the puck past Legace, who had to make one last good kick save in the final second to preserve his shutout.

Shots were even, with 27 per team. The Red Wings’ next opponent will be the Minnesota Wild, Monday night at the Joe.


The Red Wings have a 26-5-6-1 record in games in which Datsyuk has at least a point”¦. Curtis Joseph had an MRI on his injured ankle, which revealed that a piece of cartilage has pulled away from the bone. He is receiving cortisone injections, in the hope that the swelling will go down enough to allow him to play before the regular season ends on April 4″¦. The team also hopes to bring Kris Draper, Mathieu Dandenault, and Robert Lang back into the lineup before the playoffs begin.

Legace Leads Wings to Win over Avs

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace turned in one of his best performances of the season, stopping 34 of the 35 shots he faced and earning the win as the Red Wings defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 3-1.

Legace faced 12 more shots than his counterpart in the Colorado nets, David Aebischer, but allowed one less goal and held the Avalanche scoreless while Detroit led by one late in the third period. He made a key save on Riku Hahl with three minutes remaining in the game and the Red Wings leading, 1-0. Thirty seconds later, Pavel Datsyuk scored the eventual game-winner.

The Red Wings were outshot, 12-5, in the first period but came away with the game’s first goal.

With Colorado’s Jim Cummins in the penalty box for high-sticking Kirk Maltby, Tomas Holmstrom got the puck below the right faceoff circle in the Avalanche zone. In a seemingly innocent play, Holmstrom skated to the faceoff circle and fired a quick shot over Aebischer’s far shoulder and into the net. At the 9:52 mark of the first period, the Red Wings were up a goal.

The score would not change until Datsyuk’s goal with 2:32 remaining in the game.

After Legace’s stop on Foote, the Red Wings sent the puck into the Colorado zone. Aebischer tried to cover the at the side of the goal but it bounced loose. While the Avs thought the puck was covered, it came free and Datsyuk put a shot into the vacated net to give the Red Wings a two-goal lead.

Henrik Zetterberg added an empty-net goal one minute later.

Colorado’s only goal of the game came just in time to spoil Legace’s shutout.

With 31 seconds remaining in the game, Steve Konowalchuk beat Legace but it wasn’t enough as the final score was 3-1.

After three starts in which he allowed 13 total goals, Legace was back in form with Curtis Joseph reinjured. Joseph did not dress for the game and Marc Lamothe was called up to backup Legace.

The Red Wings and Avalanche play again Saturday afternoon, closing their home-and-home series in Detroit.


With the win, the Red Wings earned their fifth-straight 100-point season… The Red Wings remain tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the top spot in the NHL standings with 101 points… Joseph will have an MRI exam on Friday to see the extent of the injury to his right ankle. Reportedly, Joseph stated that if the playoffs started now, he could play through the injury.

Joseph Out, Lamothe Called Up

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Curtis Joseph will not dress for tonight’s game in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche. Marc Lamothe has been called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins to backup Manny Legace.

Joseph tweaked his previously-injured right ankle during pre-game warmups in San Jose Tuesday night. Legace replaced him as the starter as the Red Wings lost to the Sharks, 5-2. Joseph will have an MRI exam when the Red Wings return to Detroit on Friday.

When asked about his status, Joseph described himself as day-to-day. He did not sound confident about being ready for the playoff opener.

“Usually, when I feel it, it’s just like a 30-second thing and then it goes away,” he said. “This didn’t go away for a little bit. But eventually it did.”

More Problems on the Road: Cujo hurt in 5-2 loss to Sharks

The injury bug just doesn’t seem to want to go away. Oh sure, Derian Hatcher made it back into the lineup after recovering from a bruised shoulder, but now the Wings have lost Curtis Joseph again. Joseph tweaked his sore right ankle during the pre-game warmup, and nothing went quite right for Detroit after that. Jonathan Cheechoo scored two goals to help lift San Jose to a 5-2 win.

Detroit outshot San Jose through the first period, but the Sharks got out to an early 2-0 lead, thanks to sloppy defensive play by the Red Wings. Scott Hannan opened the scoring by skating to the slot alone and swatting a loose puck, which had just ricocheted off Hatcher’s skate, into the net.

Cheechoo increased the lead 9:40 into the game. Manny Legace made the first save against a hard shot from Mike Ricci, but Cheechoo was able to pick up the rebound, circle the net, and whack at the puck until he finally stuffed it in on the left side.

Pavel Datsyuk got the Red Wings on the board with 1:18 left in the period. Brett Hull intercepted a pass deep in the Sharks’ zone, then passed to Datsyuk at the right circle. Datsyuk moved to the net, faked out goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, then slipped the puck over the goal line.

The Sharks regained their two-goal lead early in the second. Chris Chelios tried to clear the puck, but it hit a partition in the glass and stayed in the zone. Cheechoo got hold of the puck and blasted a shot from the left circle. Legace wasn’t quite able to get his glove up high enough and the puck sailed into the net.

Jiri Fischer brought the Wings back within one goal with a point shot midway through the period, but the Sharks responded with two goals in the third. Alyn McCauley beat everyone to a loose puck while Legace was tangled up with Anders Myrvold and Niklas Ekman. McCauley threw the puck into the crease, and Alexander Korolyuk outraced Henrik Zetterberg to get to the puck and direct it into the net with his skate.

Vincent Damphousse capped off the scoring by poking in a rebound from a shot by Patrick Marleau with just over four minutes left to play.

Detroit outshot San Jose by a count of 39 to 20. The Red Wings will finish up their West Coast trip with a stop in Denver Thursday night to visit the Colorado Avalanche.


Damphousse’s goal was his 1200th career point… Datsyuk now has 27 goals this season, four more than he had in his two previous seasons combined… The Wings are currently tied for first with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL standings, with 99 points each. The Sharks and Avalanche, currently the second and third seeds in the Western Conference, have 94 points each.

Ducks Win 8-6: Wings & Ducks Defy NHL’s Current Low-Scoring Reputation

The Red Wings had plenty of jump and generated plenty of scoring chances on Sunday, but their defense just wasn’t quite as strong. With key players Mathieu Schneider and Kirk Maltby now out of the lineup, and Kris Draper and Derian Hatcher already missing, the Wings’ penalty killing suffered accordingly, allowing the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to score 2 power play goals in 6 tries en route to an 8-6 win.

Detroit made a point of starting the game strong. Pavel Datsyuk, Brett Hull, and Steve Yzerman got the Red Wings out to an early 3-0 lead, each putting a wrist shot past Jean-Sebastien Giguere before six minutes had passed in the game. Unfortunately, the Wings’ defensive play was not nearly so well-executed as their offensive play.

The Ducks got their first power play of the game when Boyd Devereaux was called for hooking, and Sergei Fedorov set up a good play for Joffrey Lupul to score. Fedorov circled the net and centered a pass across the goal crease, and Lupul was right at the side of the net to whack the puck past Manny Legace.

Steve Rucchin took advantage of Detroit’s inability to clear the puck. Vaclav Prospal shot on net from the left point. Vitaly Vishnevski took a whack at the rebound, and Rucchin pulled the second rebound away before Legace could cover it up, then slipped it around the side of the goalie and into the net.

Jason Williams took a double minor penalty for high sticking as the first period was ending. Detroit thought they caught a break when Niclas Havelid was given a hooking penalty with a minute and a half gone in the penalty to Williams, but the Ducks scored twice during the resulting four-on-four. Sammy Pahlsson‘s goal off a partly screened wrist shot tied the game at 2:10, and Fedorov moved Anaheim into the lead by slipping a rebound of Rob Niedermeyer’s shot past Legace’s right skate at 2:36.

Curtis Joseph came in for Legace at that point, but that didn’t give the Red Wings quite the shake-up they were hoping for. Jamie Rivers took a boarding call, giving Anaheim 15 seconds of 5-on-3 play with Williams still in the box. Prospal was able to make a hard pass across the goal crease, and Petr Sykora smacked the puck into the net.

Nicklas Lidstrom converted on a good centering pass from Henrik Zetterberg to get the Wings back within one just two minutes later, and Rivers jumped into the play from the blue line to tie the game with a high shot over Giguere with 3:07 left in the third. Joseph did his part by coming up with a big save against Lupul with only 1:25 left in the period.

Ray Whitney moved Detroit back into the lead early in the third. He got the rebound from Yzerman’s shot. Giguere had slid far to his left while making the first save, but defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh was flopped in the crease trying to cover as much of the net as he could. Whitney whacked at the puck until he finally put it past Ozolinsh.

Vishnevski negated the momentum swing by tying the game back up just 26 seconds later. Detroit made an uncoordinated line change, and Vishnevski was able to drive to the net uncovered to put the rebound of Pahlsson’s shot past Joseph.

Fedorov flipped a deflection by Niedermeyer into the net at 7:01 to give the Ducks the lead for good. Rucchin capped off the scoring with an empty net goal with 14 seconds left.

Detroit outshot the Ducks by a count of 57 to 30. The Red Wings will have tomorrow off to try to regroup before facing the Pacific Division-leading Sharks in San Jose on Tuesday night.


Yzerman’s assist on Whitney’s goal was the 1041st of his career, moving him past Marcel Dionne into 8th on the all time assists list”¦. Schneider is listed as day-to-day with a groin injury. Hatcher wasn’t quite ready to play, so the Wings had to play with only five defensemen”¦. Maltby left the team after Saturday’s game to return to Detroit in preparation for the birth of his first child.

Wings Hold off Kings, Clinch Central

The Detroit Red Wings held off a late surge by the Los Angeles Kings to pick up a 4-2 victory Saturday night, moving them into sole position of the top spot in the NHL standings. The Red Wings also clinched the Central Division Championship, becoming the first Western Conference team to officially make the playoffs.

Jason Williams scored twice for the second time in six games to lead the Red Wings offense. Williams also added an assist and captain Steve Yzerman had three assists in the game.

Three shots off the Los Angeles goalposts helped keep the Red Wings off the scoreboard in the first period and the Kings got the first goal of the game from Alexander Frolov on the power play at 4:25 of the opening frame. Frolov stuffed a backhander through Detroit goalie Curtis Joseph‘s pads to put the Kings up by one.

Williams scored twice early in the second to put the Red Wings in the lead. Just 1:30 into the middle period, Williams bounced a wraparound attempt off the pad of Los Angeles netminder Cristobal Huet and into the net to even the game at a goal apiece.

At 5:24, Williams fired a shot from the right faceoff circle that deflected off a LA defender to give the Wings the lead.

Williams’ line with Yzerman and Ray Whitney put Detroit up by two goals with 2:54 remaining in the second. A tic-tac-toe passing play from Williams to Yzerman to Whitney left Whitney with the puck at the top of the crease. After his first shot was stopped, Whitney put the rebound past Huet to make the score 3-1.

Los Angeles pulled out all the stops late in the game. With 4:30 remaining in regulation and two Red Wings in the penalty box, Huet went to the Kings’ bench for the extra attacker. Detroit killed off the six-on-three but before the second penalty was over, former Red Wing Luc Robitaille put a shot from the side of the crease over the sprawled Joseph to put the Kings within a goal.

Even with the extra attacker for most of the rest of the game, the Kings were unable to score the tying goal and with 12 seconds remaining Nicklas Lidstrom scored into the empty net to seal the Detroit victory.

Detroit was held scoreless in their three power play attempts while the Kings scored twice on six chances.

Joseph stopped 23 of the 25 shots he faced in net for the Red Wings, while Huet made 20 saves on 23 shots against.

The Red Wings are next in action Sunday night. They face former Red Wing Sergei Fedorov and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the third game of their five-game road trip.


Robitaille’s goal put him into a tie for first place in all-time scoring for left wings.