Red Wings Bounce Back for OT Win over Islanders

The Detroit Red Wings scored four-straight goals Tuesday night after allowing three in a row to open the game, coming from behind to defeat the New York Islanders in overtime.

Henrik Zetterberg gave Detroit the win with 2:03 remaining in the extra period, one-timing a pass from Nicklas Lidstrom past goalie Rick DiPietro. Lidstrom had gloved the puck out of the air and onto his stick while rushing into the zone to make the pass to Zetterberg.

Detroit’s comeback started with a power play goal by Niklas Kronwall at 3:24 of the third, scored on a wrister from the top of the right circle.

Dan Cleary pulled the Red Wings to within one just 1:33 later, poking the puck into the open side of the net on a hard shot/pass from Lidstrom along the left wing boards.

With 9:48 remaining in regulation, Tomas Holmstrom tied things up, tipping a blast from the top of the left circle by Lidstrom wide of DiPietro with the Red Wings on a power play.

The Red Wings had waited until the third period to get on the board but the Islanders started early, with Mike Sillinger putting his own rebound past Detroit netminder Dominik Hasek just 22 seconds into the game.

Shawn Bates would extend the lead with a shorthanded goal at 7:44 of the second, scored on a two-on-one when Kronwall was caught out of position trying to keep the puck in the New York zone.

Jason Blake notched the Islanders’ final goal of the night 3:53 later with a blast from the high slot that trickled through Hasek’s pads and across the goal line.

The Red Wings benefitted from seven power plays on the night, scoring on two of them. The Islanders were held without a goal on two power play attempts.

Hasek stopped 16 of the 19 shots he faced while DiPietro made 31 saves on 35 shots against.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Friday night when they host the St. Louis Blues before returning to New York to visit the Rangers on Monday.

Red Wings’ Skid Ends with Win over Avalanche

The Detroit Red Wings ended a losing streak with a win over the Colorado Avalanche for the second time this month on Sunday, picking up a 3-1 win after three losses in a row.

With a 4-3 shootout win in Denver on January 9, Detroit ended an earlier three-game slide.

While the chippy play that has defined the twelve-year Detroit-Colorado rivalry was absent, the game was not without controversy. After a lengthy review, the eventual game-winning goal was allowed to stand when replay seemed to show that it should be called back.

Tomas Holmstrom scored Detroit’s second goal, knocking the rebound of a Nicklas Lidstrom shot out of the air and past Colorado netminder Jose Theodore with 5:58 remaining in regulation. Theodore immediately skated to the officials, signaling that it was deflected above the crossbar. After review, the replay footage was deemed inconclusive and the goal was allowed to stand.

Only eight seconds later, Holmstrom was called for interference and the Avalanche pulled back within one on the ensuing power play.

Rookie Wojtek Wolski carried the puck through the slot and to the right of goalie Dominik Hasek before sending a pass across the top of the crease to Peter Stastny to tip the puck in from the far side of the net 27 seconds into the power play.

The Red Wings wrapped up their win with 1:06 remainging when Kirk Maltby deflected a shot from the point by Chris Chelios to Theodore’s right and just inside the post.

Detroit had opened the game’s scoring at 9:44 of the first period. Henrik Zetterberg wrapped around the back of the net with the puck before sending a pass into the slot for Pavel Datsyuk, who drifted to his left and outwaited Theodore before putting a shot under him.

The Red Wings allowed only 12 shots on the night, with Hasek making 11 saves. Theodore stopped 38 of the 41 shots he faced.

Colorado’s goal was the only goal scored with the extra attacker. Each team had three power play tries.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Tuesday when they make a rare trip into Eastern Conference territory, visiting the New York Islanders.

Kris Draper, Robert Lang and Dominik Hasek were all back in the lineup after missing Friday’s game with the flu. With their returns, Matt Ellis and Matt Hussey were sent back to Grand Rapids.

Red Wings Fall to Blues in Overtime

The Detroit Red Wings earned a point Friday night but their winless streak continued as they fell in overtime to the St. Louis Blues. It was Detroit’s third loss in as many games.

Bill Guerin scored the game-winner for St. Louis just 1:09 into the extra period, banging in a rebound from an acute angle with the Blues on a rush.

Ryan Johnson scored a similar goal to open the game’s scoring as the late man on a 3-on-2 at 8:03 of the second period, putting a rebound chance past Detroit netminder Chris Osgood.

Detroit’s lone goal came 1:56 later on a nifty move by Johan Franzen. Franzen carried into the St. Louis zone and moved to his right through the slot to get around defender Dennis Wideman. Wideman stood his ground and Franzen lost the puck but he cut around the far side of Wideman as former Red Wing Jamie Rivers‘ clearing attempt went right onto Rivers stick and over goalie Manny Legace.

Osgood finished the game with 18 saves on 20 shots while Legace stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced.

Neither team scored on the power play, with Detroit getting two chances and St. Louis having five tries.

The game saw the Red Wings debut of Matt Hussey as one of three players called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins. He was joined by Matt Ellis and Josh Langfeld. Hussey and Ellis took the spots opened when Kris Draper and Robert Lang fell ill with the flu while Langfeld was called up to replace Mikael Samuelsson, out with a broken foot.

The Red Wings will look to end their skid on Sunday when they host the Colorado Avalanche.

Western Conference Triumphant in All-Star Game

In the National Hockey League’s first All-Star Game since 2004, the Western Conference’s veteran team outscored an Eastern Conference squad led by young stars, picking up a 12-9 win.

It was the first win by the Western Conference since 2003 and only their second in the six games that have been played in the East vs. West format.

Daniel Briere of the Buffalo Sabres was the game’s MVP, scoring a goal and adding four assists in the losing effort.

Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets scored the eventual game-winning goal, one of his two goals on the night. He also assisted twice.

Other were Yanic Perrault (Phoenix Coyotes), Teemu Selanne (Anaheim Ducks), Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay Lighting), Eric Staal (Carolina Hurricanes), Libomir Vishnovsky (Los Angeles Kings), Patrick Marleau (San Jose Sharks), Justin Williams (Carolina), Zdeno Chara (Boston Bruins), Martin Havlat (Chicago Blackhawks), Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), Brian Rolston (Minnesota Wild), Dany Heatley (Ottawa Senators), Sheldon Souray (Montreal Canadiens) and Dion Phaneuf (Calgary Flames).

Marty Turco of the hometown Dallas Stars got the win in goal while Cristobal Huet of Montreal took the loss, despite having the best save percentage of any of the Eastern Conference goalies.

Earlier in the day, the NHL announced that the Montreal Canadiens will host the 2009 All-Star Game as part of the celebration of the Canadiens’ 100th season. The Atlanta Thrashers will host in 2008, after originally having been selected to host the cancelled 2005 game.

Thinking Realignment

With the NHL having shot down schedule changes and realignment for next season, the Wings will be stuck once again playing 8 games against “rivals” such as Columbus, Nashville and St. Louis. They will not meet any team from the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division. The Northeast Division will not visit Joe Louis Arena.

Being a fan who wants to see the Red Wings play teams that actually have a rivalry with rather than teams that the league wants to manufacture a rivaly with, this was disappointing to see. As I’m not the only disappointed one, proposals for how to realign the league, change up the schedule, or both, have been springing up all over the place. I thought I’d share mine…

Five divisions of six teams used strictly for regular season scheduling. Two conferences fo fifteen teams used strictly for playoff seeding. Teams belong to a division and a conference, the division does not belong to the conference.

So you’ve got an alignment something like the following:


In the regular season, each team plays two games against inter-division teams, six against intra-division teams, and two against two pre-specified rivals for a total of 82.

At the end of the season, the teams are seeded by conference. Conferences would be the same as they are now. No top seeds to division winners (but I’m willing to let that go).

Since the schedule is already unbalanced, it doesn’t make a difference if Nashville beats up on the former Southeast Division teams all season and then goes on to play Western Conference teams in the playoffs, since that’s no difference from them beating up on St. Louis and Columbus and Chicago before going on to face Calgary in the playoffs.

It’s hardly a perfect solution but it allows teams to face everyone at home and on the road and still have games left to play their rivals. The realignment allows more of those rivals to be in the same division.

Red Wings Enter All-Star Break with Loss to Avalanche

In their last game before the All-Star break and their second in as many nights, the Detroit Red Wings couldn’t hold off the Colorado Avalanche, allowing a late go-ahead goal and falling 3-1.

The teams were tied at a goal apiece when Andrew Brunette gave the Avalanche their second lead of the night at 9:52 of the third period, just seconds after the expiration of a penalty to Andreas Lilja. With Detroit attempting to clear the puck from their crease, Brunette crashed in and knocked it into the net.

The Red Wings were never able to even things back up, and Joe Sakic added an empty net goal with 42 seconds remaining.

Ian Laperriere had given the Avalanche their first lead of the night at 9:45 of the first period, putting a backhander past goaltender Joey MacDonald off the rebound from a tremendous save.

Detroit evened things up 5:40 later when Valtteri Filppula slipped a shot from the left circle past Colorado goalie Peter Budaj.

Neither team scored a power play goal, with Detroit having three chances with the extra attacker and Colorado having five, including the final three of the game.

Budaj stopped 27 of 28 shots against in the win, while MacDonald – starting in place of the sick Chris Osgood – made 28 saves on 30 shots.

After the All-Star Game, the Red Wings will be back in action next Friday when they visit the St. Louis Blues.

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