Cleary’s Hat Trick Carries Red Wings over Blue Jackets

Dan Cleary‘s first career hat trick helped lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 7-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night in a see-saw matchup between the Central Division foes.

The third meeting in the last eleven days between the two teams saw the Red Wings score the first three goals before Columbus countered with four of their own. Detroit then answered with four more to retake the lead as the game closed.

Cleary’s third of the game was the game-winner for Detroit, came with the Red Wings on the power play and 5:19 remaining in the game. Robert Lang, who assisted on all of Cleary’s goals, rifled a shot from the left circle that was deflectd by a Columbus defender before being knocked out of the air and past goalie Fredrik Norrena by Cleary.

Detroit had tied the game 3:17 earlier on a strong individual effort by Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk held the puck in the Columbus zone at the right point on an attempted clear by the Blue Jackets, then carried along the blue line and down through the left circle – weaving around defenders the whole way – before lifting a shot into the top of the net.

In the final two minutes of play, Datsuk added a second goal and Danny Markov scored into the empty net to close out the scoring.

Cleary had opened the game’s scoring 4:21 into the opening period, setting what was then a new career high with his 15th goal of the season. He would add to that total with 4:00 remaining in the first to give the Red Wings a 2-0 lead.

Henrik Zetterberg stretched Detroit’s lead to three goals at 8:45 of the second before the Blue Jackets took over.

Ron Hainsey scored a near-side goal from the left circle to get Columbus on the board with 7:28 left in the middle period and David Vyborny added another 1:28 later, stealing the puck from Nicklas Lidstrom before moving in alone on goalie Chris Osgood and outwaiting him.

A pair of early third-period power plays put the Blue Jackets out in front, with Dan Fritsche picking off a clearing attempt by Niklas Kronwall and firing it past Osgood at 3:15 and Adam Foote scoring on a blast from the blue line 2:02 later.

Osgood finished the night with stops 21 on 25 shots against, while Norrena made 29 saves on 35 shots.

Detroit had three chances on the power play, scoring only once. Columbus had four tries and picked up two goals.

The Red Wings’ next game is Sunday night when they host the Los Angeles Kings in Detroit’s annual New Year’s Eve game.

Overstepping Their Bounds

I ran across a Newsday article that Rodent posted on his message board earlier today that really scares me.

During last night’s Islanders-Senators matchup, Alexei Yashin and Richard Park were called for simultaneous minors late in the third. Isles coach Ted Nolan complained to referee Eric Furlatt, saying “It’s a — call.”

Nolan recounted to Newsday, “He asked me what I said. I said, ‘It’s a — call.’ He asked me again, and I told him again. He asked me a third time, and I told him a third time. He asked for it, and I just told him what I said.”

Furlatt then tacked on a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct.

We’ll probably never know how much of Nolan’s story is true. Unless someone at ice level was mic’d, everything anyone else says happened is hearsay.

If it’s true, it’s terrifying to me that a ref can get away with that. Baiting a coach is not an official’s job. If he heard the initial comment and wanted to call the bench minor, he could have, but he chose to have Nolan repeat himself several times.

Furlatt had the chance to make the call right off the bat and the chance to walk away. He did neither, instead instigating a conflict with a coach and abusing his power and influence over the game.

Yzerman Night Preparations

It’s been awhile since I blogged, with nothing fantastic or fantastically bad to scream about, so I figured I’d add the following information and rumors as a public service announcement.

For those lucky enough to have tickets to the January 2 game against the Anaheim Ducks – a group which I am extremely thankful to be a part of – the Red Wings are finally putting out information about the pre-game events surrounding Steve Yzerman‘s number retirement.

The game is scheduled for 7:30 PM but the pre-game ceremony will begin at 6:30. Joe Louis Arena doors will open at 5:00.

There will be giveaways for fans in attendance but I don’t know exactly what those will be. The same giveaways will be available at the Hockeytown Cafe.

There are rumors that the JLA camera policy will be relaxed for the night but, considering that the arena raised their minimum lens size this season already, that might not be true.

I do not know if pre-game warmups will take place before or after the ceremony. In previous ceremonies by other teams, warmups were followed by the sweater retirement and then the game began. However, those ceremonies usually were conducted at the scheduled game time, this one is an hour early.

I will provide more information as it becomes available and I encourage readers who know more to post in the DH.N forums.

Red Wings Hold Off Wild

The Detroit Red Wings scored all of their goals in the first 30 minutes Wednesday against Minnesota, holding off the Wild for the last 30 minutes of play to pick up a 3-1 win.

After Detroit finished scoring, Minnesota outshot the Red Wings but couldn’t get the puck in the net enough to even things up.

Kirk Maltby got Detroit on the board just 16 seconds into the game. Johan Franzen threw the puck on net from the right circle and Maltby tipped it into the pads of goaltender Niklas Backstrom. The rebound deflected off the leg of defender Keith Carney and back past Backstrom to put Detroit up, 1-0.

Henrik Zetterberg extended the lead at 4:03 of the second, getting a pass from behind the net and kicking it from his skate to his stick before wristing a shot over Backstrom’s blocker.

Franzen added a goal of his own 2:44 later, putting the puck past Backstrom from an acute angle in the left circle.

After that, the Red Wings were content to sit back and hold on to their lead.

Pavol Demitra scored Minnesota’s lone goal with 2:46 remaining, putting in the second rebound off a series of Wild chances that left Detroit netminder Dominik Hasek lying on the ice.

Despite outshooting Detroit 10-5 in the final frame, Minnesota couldn’t get another goal.

Hasek finished the night with 32 saves on 33 shots, while Backstrom stopped 29 of the 32 shots he faced.

Neither team scored on the power play. Detroit had six chances with the extra skater and Minnesota had three.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Thursday night when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets. As it will be the second game in as many nights, Chris Osgood will be expected to start in goal for Detroit.

Danny Markov made his return from injury, playing 18:05. To make room for Markov, Andreas Lilja was a healthy scratch… Robert Lang played only 6:05 before leaving the game with the flu during the first intermission… Mikael Samuelsson did not return from a groin injury as had been previously expected, Josh Langfeld was called up from Grand Rapids to take his place in the lineup.

Overtime Goal Lifts Wild over Red Wings

A rare turnover by Pavel Datsyuk led to a breakaway by Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who scored on the chance 45 seconds into overtime, giving the Minnesota Wild a 3-2 win over the visiting Detroit Red Wings.

Datsyuk made a series of moves to gain the Minnesota zone but lost the puck on an attempted pass. Bouchard broke in all alone on goaltender Chris Osgood, faking to his left before putting a shot over the abandoned Detroit goalie.

All of the game’s previous goals had been scored in a third period that saw both teams lead.

Mikko Koivu put the Wild on the board 3:25 into the period, scoring a shorthanded goal off a 2-on-1 with Pascal Dupuis.

Just 16 seconds after the period’s midway point, Tomas Holmstrom scored his first goal in twenty games to tie it for the Red Wings, tipping the puck past Minnesota netminder Manny Fernandez from the top of the crease.

Kris Draper put Detroit out in front with 3:43 remaining in regulation, banging home a rebound.

Mark Parrish tied things back up just 16 seconds later, deflecting a high shot by Keith Carney over Osgood’s shoulder.

Osgood, making his first start since breaking his hand during a November 3 practice, made 32 saves on 35 shots against. Fernandez stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced.

The two teams will meet again next Wednesday when they complete their home-and-home-and-home series in Detroit.

Shorthanded Goal Lifts Red Wings over Wild

A turnover by Minnesota goaltender Manny Fernandez led to a shorthanded goal by Dan Cleary midway through the second period Friday night, giving the Detroit Red Wings all they needed to down the Wild, 3-1, in the first game of a rare home-and-home-and-home series.

Cleary’s goal at 9:10 of the middle period put the Red Wings up, 2-1.

With the Wild on a power play, Detroit cleared their zone and dumped the puck into the Minnesota end. Johan Franzen pressured Fernandez to play the puck behind the net, where Franzen picked it up and came around the other side. He sent a pass out to Cleary, who had moved into the right circle, and Cleary put a one-timer past Fernandez.

Nicklas Lidstrom added an insurance goal with 1:47 left in the period, blasting a shot from the high slot past Fernandez after being left all alone on the left side of the ice.

Henrik Zetterberg had opened the game’s scoring just 4:00 into the game, banking a wraparound shot off of Fernandez.

Stephane Veilleux scored Minnesota’s lone goal with 5:10 remaining in the first, putting a shot on net that deflected off the skate of defenseman Chris Chelios and bounced past goalie Dominik Hasek.

Hasek made 34 saves on 35 shots while Fernandez stopped 22 of 25 shots against.

Neither team scored on the power play. Detroit had three chances and Minnesota had four.

The teams will meet in the second game of their three-game series Saturday night in St. Paul. Chris Osgood is scheduled to start in goal for the Red Wings.

Game Thread: Wild at Red Wings – 12/22, Red Wings at Wild – 12/23, Wild at Red Wings – 12/27

Open Game Thread

Minnesota Wild at Detroit Red Wings
December 22, 2006 – 7:30 PM

Detroit Red Wings at Minnesota Wild
December 23, 2006 – 8:00 PM

Minnesota Wild at Detroit Red Wings
December 27, 2006 – 7:30 PM

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