Wings Close Regular Season with Loss to Preds

The Detroit Red Wings, having already clinched the NHL’s best regular season record, ended their schedule on a low note Tuesday, dropping a 6-3 decision to the Nashville Predators.

Four goals in the second period helped propel the Predators to the victory.

Detroit had opened the scoring when Kris Draper scored off a Mark Mowers rebound with 6:19 remaining in the first period but Nashville scored the next six goals.

Early in the second period, after an apparent power play goal by Paul Kariya was called back, the Predators went on the first of a series of five-on-three power plays that led to two goals.

Kariya scored at 4:29 to put the Predators on the board, rifling a one-timer off of Detroit goalie Chris Osgood‘s glove and into the net.

Just 21 seconds later, Martin Erat deflected a shot by Shea Weber to give Nashville the lead.

At 9:45, Kariya scored his second of the night on a two-on-one rush, getting a pass from David Legwand. With 3:57 remaining in the period, their roles were reversed as Legwand scored the Predators’ fourth goal.

Kariya completed his hat trick on another odd-man rush at 1:40 of the third period and Mike Sillinger added another goal 1:31 later.

With 5:07 remaining in the final period, Mikael Samuelsson deflected a shot by Mathieu Schneider for a Detroit power play goal.

Detroit finished the game’s scoring with 2:10 remaining when a Jason Williams shot deflected off a Nashville defenseman and past goalie Chris Mason for another power play goal.

Both teams finished the night two-for-seven on the power play.

Osgood stopped 24 of the 30 shots he faced in net for Detroit while Mason made 30 saves on 33 shots for Nashville.

The Red Wings will return to the ice on Friday night when they host the Edmonton Oilers in the first game of the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

NHL Playoff Matchups Decided

On the final night of the National Hockey League’s regular season the matchups for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs were finally determined.

With the Carolina Hurricanes’ loss to the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators’ win over the New York Rangers, Ottawa claimed the Eastern Conference’s top spot. They matchup with the Tampa Bay Lighting, who lost to the Washington Capitals to keep from passing the Montreal Canadiens, who will now face Carolina.

The Rangers’ loss to the Senators, combined with wins by the Philadelphia Flyers over the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils over the Canadiens, dropped them from the third spot to number six while the Devils jumped to the third-seed to match up against them.

Philadelphia ended up with the fifth seed and will face Buffalo, who had already locked up the fourth seed.

The Western Conference pairings had been decided a night earlier, when a loss by the Colorado Avalanche to the Edmonton Oilers combined with a win by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim over the Calgary Flames locked Colorado into the seventh seed and Anaheim into the sixth, the final open seeds.

The top-seeded Detroit Red Wings will meet the eighth-place Edmonton Oilers. The number two Dallas Stars will match up with Colorado while third-place Calgary will get a rematch with Anaheim. The fourth-seeded Nashville Predators will face the streaking San Jose Sharks.

Red Wings’ First Round Schedule Set

The schedule for the Detroit Red Wings’ first round playoff series with the Edmonton Oilers has been set.

Surprising team analysts and coaches, Game One will be played at Joe Louis Arena on Friday, April 21, at 7:00 PM.

The team had previously been told that they would only open on Friday if the New York Rangers finsihed in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers dropped to sixth place to get a matchup with the third-seeded New Jersey Devils but the Red Wings didn’t get the Saturday afternoon game they were expecting.

“I don’t like that (having one less day), and if I was in charge it wouldn’t be like that, but I’m not in charge and they didn’t ask me,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “That’s the way it is and we’ve played all year to get ready for the playoffs. We have home-ice advantage and we have to take advantage of what we’ve earned.”

Game Two will be at 1:00 PM on Sunday, April 23, also from Joe Louis Arena.

The series shifts to Edmonton’s Rexall Place for Games Three and Four, set for Tuesday, April 25, at 10:00 PM, and Thursday, April 27, at 9:30 PM.

If required, Game Five will be back in Detroit on Saturday, April 29, at 3:00 PM.

Game Six would be in Edmonton on Monday, May 1. Officially, the time of the game is to be determined but the Detroit Free Press reports that it is set for 10:00 PM.

A deciding Game Seven is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, May 3, at 7:30.

Wings Win with Third-period Comeback

The Detroit Red Wings scored three goals in the third period to come from behind and defeat the Dallas Stars Monday night in the final game at Joe Louis Arena before the start of the playoffs.

Detroit had allowed goals in the late in the first period and early in the third to fall behind, 2-0, but scored three times in the game’s final seven minutes to erase the deficit and pull into the lead.

With 6:59 remaining in regulation, Johan Franzen deflected a shot from the blue line by Niklas Kronwall past Dallas goalie Marty Turco to put the Red Wings on the board.

Just 2:12 later, Andreas Lilja scored on a rush into the Stars’ zone led by Henrik Zetterberg.

Zetterberg carried the puck along the right wing boards and cut into the right circle, sending a crossing pass to Lilja in the left circle to redirect the puck into the net.

With the Red Wings on the power play and 45 seconds remaining in regulation, Tomas Holmstrom tipped a Zetterberg shot past Turco to put Detroit out in front.

Even with Kirk Maltby in the penalty box for the final half-minute of the game, the Red Wings were able to hold off a Dallas comeback.

Jason Arnott had opened the scoring with 4:50 remaining in the first period.

After Detroit netminder Manny Legace kicked aside a long shot by Philippe Boucher, Arnott dove to poke the puck back under Legace and into the net.

An apparent Stars goal was called off shortly after that thanks to a quick whistle but Dallas scored again at 3:22 of the third period, when Jere Lehtinen deflected a centering pass from Arnott past Legace for a power play goal.

Between the Dallas goals, the game’s main excitement came from a fight between Steve Ott and Cory Cross with 8:45 remaining in the second period. It was just Detroit’s sixth fight of the season.

Legace finished the game with 28 saves on 30 shots while Turco stopped 29 of 32 shots against.

Both teams went one-for-five on the power play.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Tuesday night when they visit the Nashville Predators to close out the regular season.

Detroit was without Steve Yzerman, Pavel Datsyuk, and Mathieu Schneider… With Don MacLean sent back to Grand Rapids, Valtteri Filppula was called up to fill in on the Red Wings’ lineup.

Red Wings to Face Oilers in First Round

The Detroit Red Wings will face the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Edmonton had been battling with the Colorado Avalanche for the seventh seed in the Western Conference but the Avalanche earned a point in their overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night, lifting two points ahead of the Oilers.

Edmonton and Colorado face off against each other on Monday but the most the Oilers can do is tie the Avalanche for points; Colorado holds the tiebreaker with more wins than Edmonton.

The Red Wings have never beaten the Oilers in a playoff series. The two teams met in the Campbell Conference Finals in 1987 and 1988 with the Wayne Gretzky-led Oilers picking up 4-1 series victories each time.

Combined with San Jose’s win over Anaheim earlier in the night, it means that two of the conference’s four matchups have been determined. The Sharks locked up the fifth seed, meaning that they will be hosted by the Nashville Predators.

The Avalanche are now one point behind the Mighty Ducks and hold the tiebreaker over them with one game remaining for each team.

Late Goal Lifts Red Wings over Blues

Henrik Zetterberg scored with nine seconds remaining in regulation on Saturday night to give the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues.

Zetterberg’s goal came off a pass from former-Blue Brendan Shanahan. After picking up the puck behind the net, Shanahan sent it out front to Zetterberg, camped to the right of St. Louis goalie Jason Bacashihua. Zetterberg banked a quick shot off Bacashihua’s arm and into the net to give the Wings the win.

Detroit had opened the scoring 7:39 into the game. After a power play expired that saw the Red Wings control the puck for almost the entire two minutes, Tomas Holmstrom sent the puck from behind the net to Nicklas Lidstrom in the high slot. Lidstrom put a quick snap shot back on goal and beat Bacashihua.

Just 3:11 later, Shanahan scored to put Detroit up by two.

As a St. Louis power play came to a close, the Blues lost the puck at the Detroit blue line. Shanahan came out of the box and picked it up, skating in all alone on Bacashihua before faking a couple times and putting a shot under the rookie goalie.

Wit 4:47 remaining in the period, a Dennis Wideman shot deflected off of Lee Stempniak’s shoulder and went over Detroit netminder Chris Osgood‘s glove for a power play goal.

Jamal Mayers tied the game at 6:36 of the second period, getting the puck from Stempniak on a two-on-one and blasting it past Osgood.

While the first period was fairly even, the Blues controlled the second period, taking 21 shots to Detroit’s 12. The Red Wings turned the tables in the third, taking 14 shots while allowing four.

Osgood finished the night with 37 saves on 39 shots. Bacashihua stopped 35 of 38 shots against.

Detroit was held scoreless on the power play while St. Louis scored once. Each team had six chances with the man-advantage.

The Red Wings next take to the ice on Monday when they host the Dallas Stars in the final game of the regular season at Joe Louis Arena. The next night they will visit the Nashville Predators to close out the schedule.

Robert Lang and Mathieu Schneider returned to the Red Wings’ lineup but Kris Draper and Chris Chelios were scratched, leaving Detroit with only 16 skaters for the second consecutive game… With captain Steve Yzerman, Draper and Chelios all out, Henrik Zetterberg wore the third “A” as an alternate captain… The win extended Detroit’s NHL-record road winning streak to 12 games.

Shorthanded Wings Set NHL Record with Eleventh Consecutive Road Win

The Detroit Red Wings, skating with an 18-man roster rather than the usual twenty players due to injuries, set a new NHL record with their eleventh road victory of the season Thursday night, a 7-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

The win also extended Detroit’s record for road wins in a season to thirty.

The Red Wings were without Pavel Datsyuk, Mathieu Schneider, Robert Lang, Steve Yzerman and Jason Williams. After calling up Donald MacLean earlier this week to fill in for Lang, Detroit had reached the league’s salary cap and could not call up reinforcements to replace the other injured players.

The smaller lineup didn’t stop the Wings from jumping to an early lead on goals by Brendan Shanahan and Henrik Zetterberg.

Shanahan scored his first of the night at 3:12 of the opening period. MacLean had the puck at the bottom of the left circle and sent it out front to Mark Mowers. Mowers didn’t have a shot, so he kicked it back to Shanahan who one-timed it home.

Just 21 seconds later, Zetterberg put Detroit up by two when a Nicklas Lidstrom shot from the left circle went wide of the goal. The puck bounced off the boards behind the net and came to Zetterberg at the far side of the crease for a tap-in.

Zetterberg’s second of the night gave the Red Wings a three-goal lead 3:52 later.

With the teams skating four-on-four, Zetterberg carried the puck through the Chicago zone but couldn’t get an angle on goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. Instead, he went behind the net for a wraparound attempt and reached to put a shot off Khabibulin’s skate and into the net from the other side of the goal.

The Blackhawks made a brief comeback with goals by Kyle Calder at 10:31 of the first and Radim Vrbata 46 seconds into the second.

Tomas Holmstrom and Lidstrom countered to give the Red Wings a three-goal lead again and Khabibulin was replaced by Craig Anderson for the third time this season against Detroit.

At 8:59 of the middle frame, Shanahan’s second of the night put the Wings up 6-2 when he skated through the right circle and banked a shot off Anderson’s shoulder and into the net.

In the third period, Patrick Sharp gave Chicago a shorthanded goal off of a giveaway in the Detroit zone but Shanahan finished the hat trick for the game’s last goal, banging in the rebound of a shot by Lidstrom at 7:38 with the Red Wings on the power play.

Detroit finished the night one-for-nine on the man-advantage while Chicago went one-for-six and scored twice on Detroit power plays.

Red Wings’ netminder Manny Legace made 28 saves on 31 shots while Khabibulin stopped 12 of the 17 attempts he faced and Anderson went 21-for-23.

The Red Wings’ short road trip will conclude on Saturday when they visit the St. Louis Blues.

Steve Yzerman is not with the team on this road trip… Robert Lang and Mathieu Schneider are expected to return to the lineup on Saturday… Jason Woolley left the game in the second period.