Wings Beat Sharks in OT, 3-2

Jiri Fischer‘s goal with 51 seconds left in overtime gave the Red Wings a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. It was the first extra session game for both teams in this young season. The win for the Wings was a bit bittersweet as Kris Draper left the game early in the second period after taking a puck to the face.

Manny Legace made his seventh straight start for the Red Wings and had to work a bit hard early on as the Sharks controlled the play early. With a combination of penalties and abbreviated situations, the Wings fought off 4 Shark power plays in the first 6 and a half minutes of the game.

The Sharks eventually struck first at 12:29. Nils Ekman picked up a loose puck at center ice and blew past Nicklas Lidstrom and Mathieu Schneider to create a break away. He then slid the puck under Legace’s glove to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead.

The Wings got the goal back just three minutes later on a Brendan Shanahan power play goal. With time running out in the man advantage Jason Woolley‘s shot from the right point was saved by Sharks’ goalie Evgeni Nabokov, but created a big rebound that Shanahan put in from the slot.

In the final minute of the first period and back on the power play, the Wings took the lead 2-1 as Mikael Samuelsson took a ricochet off the back boards from a shot by Jason Williams off a face off. Nabokov was out to cut off the angle at the top of the crease on the right side giving Samuelsson the left side of the net open to score.

The Wings took control of the play early in the third but the Sharks took advantage of their opportunities. A little over 11 minutes into the second period Marco Sturm deflected a high shot from Kyle McLaren past Legace on the power play to tie the game at 2.

Along with Draper, Tomas Holmstrom was also hit in the face with a puck. Both required stitches, but Draper was taken to the hospital on a precautionary basis.

The Wings out shot the Sharks 34-28. They also held the Sharks to one power play goal on nine chances, while they scored twice on six chances.

The Wings will face the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim next, this Friday at Joe Louis Arena.

Week 3: October 16-22

There will come a time when it will seem like the Red Wings are playing more. Honestly.

Detroit did play four games this past week, but the two days in between St. Louis and Calgary, then two more in between Vancouver and Los Angeles made it seem less. Now, after a game tonight in Phoenix and hosting San Jose on Monday, the Wings will once again get a rest, not playing Anaheim until Friday.

Then, it’s another back-to-back contest, traveling to Columbus on Saturday after battling the Mighty Ducks. Another two days off separates that game and a Chicago meeting, the first of three straight between the Wings and Blackhawks. Can the Wings get used to this schedule, playing two games in two nights, then getting two or three days off? They’ll have to. Detroit will play on back-to-back nights 13 more times this season. They have looked good so far.

This past week was a good one for the Wings, with the only loss coming against a good Vancouver team, who may or may not have been helped with 11 powerplays. Detroit finally had a good third period against the Kings on Thursday en route to a 5-2 win. And the powerplays went the Wings way on Sunday, scoring five with the man advantage in a 6-3 win over Calgary. The week ends tonight in Phoenix, where the Coyotes have not started the season well. With only 12 goals scored, Gretzky’s team is 1-3-1 and in the bottom five of the NHL.

(Phoenix will be without former Red Wing Brett Hull, who retired today at age 41.)

Speaking of scoring, the Wings are used to getting help from just about everyone, and this season looks no different. Twelve players have scored so far in the first five games, and fifteen of 21 who have played a game have at least one point.

The Wings have eight powerplay goals so far, tied with Atlanta for most in the league. Not surprisingly, Kirk Maltby scored the team’s first shorthanded goal on Thursday. The Wings seem to be slowing as games go on; they have allowed just two goals in first periods so far this season, five in second periods and six in third periods. They had a good third against the Kings and look to keep that up.

Congratulations go out to Johan Franzen, Jason Williams and Chris Chelios, who all achieved career milestones against the Kings. Franzen’s first NHL goal was a game winner against Mathieu Garon. Thursday was the 100th career game for Williams, and the 1,400th for Chelios.

This Week’s Matchups:

October 17 vs. San Jose – The Sharks won’t surprise anyone this season if they do well. They were considered on the weak side of the West before winning the Pacific Division in 2003-2004. Obviously not rebuilding, the Sharks are young and will remain tough to beat. Their 0-2 start will quickly be forgotten.

October 21 vs. Anaheim – The Neidermayer brothers finally get to play together in the NHL. Sergei Fedorov and Teemu Selanne should mesh well and they still have Giguere – though maybe a smaller version of him. These are the guys that need to lead this team, and with only nine goals so far as a club, they need to step it up. Detroit has lost six of the past nine meetings (including playoffs), but was 36-7-7 before that.

October 22 at Columbus – What’s worse than nine goals? Seven. They have only allowed twelve, but the Bkue Jackets need to find their game. They traded Geoff Sanderson (who has a point in two games with Phoenix), so it’s up to Rick Nash. Problem is, Nash is out two weeks with an ankle sprain. If Detroit and Nashville continue to play well, Columbus could be in big trouble with the new division-unfriendly schedule.

Wings Blank Coyotes, 2-0

On the night that former Detroit Red Wing Brett Hull announced his retirement from the Phoenix Coyotes, a goal like so many that Hull scored helped the Wings to a 2-0 victory over the Coyotes.

Former Hull linemate Pavel Datsyuk scored with 5:50 remaining in the game on a one-timer reminicent of the goals scored by the future Hall of Famer. Nicklas Lidstrom sent a cross-ice pass from near the point to the left circle, where Datsyuk fired the shot that beat former Red Wing Curtis Joseph and gave Detroit a two-goal lead.

The Red Wings had opened the scoring on a second period power play goal by Henrik Zetterberg. Zetterberg sent the puck from behind the net to Jason Williams, who sent it on to Jason Woolley, who fired it back down to the side of the net where Zetterberg got it. Zetterberg skated out in front of the net and beat Joseph to the far side from the top of the crease.

Detroit finished the game 1-for-6 on the powerplay while Phoenix was unable to score on their three chances.

Manny Legace made 23 saves in the shutout effort and Joseph stopped 18 of 20 shots for Phoenix.

The Red Wings will be back in action when they host the San Jose Sharks on Monday.

Former Wing Hull Announces Retirement

Just hours before his current team – the Phoenix Coyotes – were set to host his previous team – the Detroit Red Wings – future Hall of Fame forward Brett Hull announced his retirement from the sport of hockey. He cited his performance in the first games of the season as his reasoning.

“While we respect the decision Brett has made today, we regret seeing him go,” Phoenix general manager Mike Barnett stated.

Hull had previously stated that this season would not be his “Farewell Tour.”

“Now, in a month or two, you can talk to Gretz, and maybe he’ll tell you that it is my ‘Farewell Tour.'” he told the Arizona Republic in August.

Hull signed a two-year deal with the Coyotes on August 6, 2004, after three seasons with the Red Wings. He also spent three years with the Dallas Stars after the bulk of his career was played with the St. Louis Blues. He broke into the league with the Calgary Flames, who drafted him in the sixth round in 1984.

Just one week earlier, the Coyotes “unretired” the #9 sweater worn by Hull’s father, Bobby, so that the younger Hull could wear it. Bobby Hull played for the organization while it was still in Winnipeg and his number was retired there.

Wings Defeat Kings as Yzerman, Woolley Return

Steve Yzerman and Jason Woolley each played their first game of the season Thursday night as the visiting Detroit Red Wings picked up a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Both players were held without a point on the night.

Johan Franzen‘s first career NHL goal ended up being the game-winner for the Red Wings. With 4:52 remaining in regulation and just 53 seconds after the Kings had tied the game, Franzen took a pass from Mikael Samuelsson that was tipped by Dan Cleary and wristed a shot past the left side of Los Angeles goalie Mathieu Garon, making the score 3-2.

The goal deflated the Kings, who had been buzzing after Jeremy Roenick tied the game at two with 5:45 remaining. Dustin Brown drove the net with the puck and was stopped by Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace. The puck bounced out to Roenick at the top of the crease and deflected off his skate and into the net.

The Red Wings had opened the scoring late in the first period. With 2:15 remaining, Jason Williams broken into the LA zone with Brendan Shanahan and Robert Lang. Williams fired a pass past Lang to Shanahan on the far side of the ice. Shanahan deflected the puck into the top of the net for his first even strength goal of the season.

The Kings tied the game 3:04 into the second, when Tim Gleason sent a long pass to Derek Armstrong at the Detroit blueline. Armstrong gained the zone and passed cross-ice to former Red Wing Sean Avery, who stepped into the slot alone and rifled a shot past Legace.

The Red Wings regained the lead momentarily in the third on a shorthanded goal by Kirk Maltby 5:29 in. Kris Draper chased Joe Corvo from behind the Kings’ net and forced him to make a bad outlet pass at his own blueline. Maltby jumped up from center ice and picked it off, skating in alone on Garon and beating him for his first of the season.

After the Red Wings killed off a late penalty, Henrik Zetterberg added an empty net goal to increase the Detroit lead. Avery started some pushing and shoving that ended with a Los Angeles power play, so the Kings pulled Garon again but Jiri Fischer closed the game’s scoring with a second empty net goal for Detroit.

Legace finished the game with 26 saves on 28 shots, while Garon stopped 16 of the 19 shots he faced. Neither team scored on the power play, Detroit having three chances and Los Angeles having seven.

The Red Wings are back in action on Saturday night from Phoenix, where they will meet former Wings Brett Hull and Boyd Devereaux, longtime Detroit associate coach Barry Smith will be behind the bench, and former Detroit goalie Curtis Joseph could be between the pipes.

Canucks Hand Wings First Loss of the Season

One night after the Detroit Red Wings scored five power play goals in nine chances, they were unable to score with the man-advantage on six chances and lost to the Vancouver Canucks, 4-2.

Mikael Samuelsson scored his fourth goal in as many games to open the scoring just 3:50 into the first period. The puck had bounced onto the back of the net when Samuelsson picked it up and banked it into the net off the skate of Vancouver goalie Alexander Auld, who had moved over to protect the far goalpost.

Matt Cooke tied the game at 7:04 of the second period, stealing the puck from Dan Cleary at the Canucks’ blue line and breaking in all alone on Red Wings netminder Manny Legace. Cooke got close to the net and switched to his backhand to roof the puck over Legace’s left pad and tie the game.

The Canucks took their first lead of the game with 1:56 remaining in the period on a delayed penalty call. Mattias Ohlund got the puck at the right point and sent a cross-ice pass to Henrik Sedin at the left side of the crease. Sedin put the puck high and into the net and the Red Wings were down heading into the third period for the first time this season.

Detroit tied the game again on a goal by Tomas Holmstrom 3:25 into the period. Cleary knocked the puck to the front of the net and Holmstrom forced it between Auld’s pads.

The Canucks retook the lead for good on a goal by Anson Carter. With 8:14 left in the game, Carter was left untouched at the top of the crease to send a Henrik Sedin pass from behind the goal into the net.

Richard Park added an empty-net goal in the final seconds.

Legace ended the game with 25 saves on 28 shots while Auld, making his first start of the season, stopped 28 of 30 shots.

The Red Wings return to action in Los Angeles on Thursday, when captain Steve Yzerman is expected to play his first game of the season.

Wings Power Past Flames

The Red Wings spent the better part of the first period on the power play, scoring three times with the man advantage, which turned out to be the difference in beating the Flames, 6-3. The game was marked by the return of Darren McCarty to Joe Louis Arena after having his contract bought out by the Wings this summer.

The Flames took six penalties in the first period, which included two high sticking double minors.

Mathieu Schneider drew the first high stick leading to Nicklas Lidstrom‘s first goal of the season at 4:31. Less then four minutes later Brendan Shanahan scored the Wings’ second power play goal after some hard work by Henrik Zetterberg to dig the puck out of the corner setting up the play.

Mikael Samuelsson scored the third power play goal tipping in Jiri Fischer‘s shot from the point. This coming from Dion Phaneuf‘s high sticking double minor on Shanahan. All the time on the power play gave the Wings a hugh advantage, outshooting the Flames 22-4 in the first.

Not Looking much like the Stanley Cup finalst from the prior season, the Flames got things started in the second period with some luck. Rhett Warrener’s shot from the point was accidently tipped past Manny Legace by Kris Draper who was trying to block it. It still couldn’t turn around the Flames’ luck, as Zetterberg scored the Wings fourth power play goal six minutes later, his first goal of the season.

The Flames kept fighting back, though still being outplayed by the Wings. Roman Hamrlik brought them within two goals again with a shot from the point with just over 5 minutes left in the period. But the Wings kept motoring along with Robert Lang‘s one-timer from the slot fed by Zetterberg behind the net with half a minute left before the second intermission. It was the only even strength goal of the afternoon for the Wings.

Pavel Datsyuk added another power play goal at the midway point of the third period for the Wings, while the Flames got their third goal from Chuck Kobasew’s first tally of the season.

Lidstrom’s power play goal in the first period moved him to sixth on the Red Wings all-time scoring list with 729 points, lifting him past Ted Lindsay.

The Red Wings will face the Vancouver Canucks tomorrow night at the Joe.