Bertuzzi to Debut Against Blue Jackets

Detroit Red Wings’ trade deadline acquisition Todd Bertuzzi will make his first appearance in the lineup Thursday night as the Red Wings host the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Bertuzzi, who played only seven games with the Florida Panthers before back surgery knocked him out of the lineup in November, confirmed after Thursday’s morning skate that his back is fully healed and that he feels that he is in game shape.

“It’s fun to be part of a team again,” said Bertuzzi. “The mental part is pretty much done, it’s (the back) 100 percent healed. I’m going to treat it that way and try to get some hits early and get involved in the game.”

Dan Cleary will also return to the lineup, having recovered from a right knee sprain.

“We’re very excited to have them back and get some depth back,” head coach Mike Babcock said.

Bertuzzi will play on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom, a spot previously filled by the injured Henrik Zetterberg and taken as of late by rookie Valtteri Filppula.

Power Plays Lead Flames over Red Wings

The Calgary Flames rode two power play goals to a win over the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night, denying Detroit a chance to pass the Nashville Predators for the top spot in the National Hockey League.

Daymond Langkow scored on Calgary’s first power play of the game to get the Flames out in front early. Just 1:47 into the first period he jumped on the rebound of a Dion Phaneuf shot all alone at the top of the crease, flipping it past Detroit netminder Dominik Hasek.

Kristian Huselius added another power play goal with 2:26 remaining in the second period. A long shot by Phaneuf bounced off the back boards as Hasek went down to try to draw an interference call on Calgary’s Jarome Iginla. The puck came over to Alex Tanguay in the left circle, who sent it across for Huselius to lift over the sprawling Hasek.

Pavel Datsyuk scored Detroit’s lone goal between the Calgary tallies, carrying the puck from the Red Wings’ blue line into the Flames’ zone and faking around Craig Conroy before wristing a quick shot past Miikka Kiprusoff.

Calgary’s two goals came on five power play chances. Detroit was held off the board on their lone chance with the Flames in the penalty box.

Hasek finished the night with 21 saves on 23 shots against. Kiprusoff stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Thursday when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets in what could be Todd Bertuzzi‘s first game in the Detroit lineup.

Johan Franzen returned to the Red Wings lineup after missing four games with an upper body injury. Darryl Bootland was a healthy scratch before being returned to the Grand Rapids Griffins after the game… Chris Chelios was given the night off.

Kopecky Signs Extension with Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Monday that they have signed rookie forward Tomas Kopecky to a two-year contract extension.

Kopecky, Detroit’s second-round pick in the 2000 NHL entry draft, has not played since December 14 when suffered a broken collarbone in a game at Chicago. He had played in 26 games this season before the injury.

“Tomas is a good young player who improved throughout his time in Grand Rapids and was becoming a solid NHL player,” Red wings’ general manager Ken Holland said. “He suffered a setback with the injury this year but we’re confident he will return and continue to improve.”

In 36 career games with the Red Wings, Kopecky has scored one goal for his only NHL point.

Red Wings Drop to Second with Loss to Canucks

The Detroit Red Wings fell to second place in the Central Division Saturday night with a 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Earlier in the night, the Nashville Predators had defeated the Dallas Stars to leapfrog over the Red Wings.

Detroit got the first goal but the scoring was all Vancouver after that.

Pavel Datsyuk extended his point streak to 10 games with a goal 6:05 into the first. With the Red Wings on a two-man advantage, Mathieu Schneider sent a pass from up high down to Datsyuk in the right circle to lift a shot over the shoulder of goalie Roberto Luongo.

Bryan Smolinski replied for the Canucks with 8:19 remaining in the period on a backhanded wraparound attempt just after the expiration of a Detroit penalty.

Lukas Krajicek put Vancouver out in front when Detroit netminder Dominik Hasek was caught wandering out of his crease with 9:02 remaining in the second. Daniel Sedin attempted a wraparound that Hasek got back to stop just in time but the puck came out to Krajicek to put into the emtpy top half of the net.

After a giveaway on a Detroit power play 6:12 later, Brendan Morrison scored on a two-on-one with Matt Cooke to put the Canucks up by a pair.

Tervor Linden added an empty net goal when the Red Wings failed to gain control of the puck in the Vancouver zone with Hasek on the bench.

Hasek stopped 35 of 38 shots against in the loss while Luongo made 32 saves on 33 shots.

Datsyuk’s goal was the lone power play marker of the game. Detroit finished the night with eight chances with the extra attacker and Vancouver had nine tries.

The Red Wings will complete their abbreviated Western Canadian road trip on Monday when they visit the Calgary Flames.

Out in Front: Red Wings move into first place with win over Predators

The Detroit Red Wings leapfrogged into first place in the National Hockey League Wednesday night with a 4-2 win over the Central Division rival Nashville Predators. The Red Wings now lead Nashville by one point in the standings while retaining a game in hand.

Detroit needed a comeback to earn the win and rookie Jiri Hudler delivered, scoring twice to even the game and then put his team out in front.

With the Red Wings down 2-1 and 3:37 remaining in the second period, Robert Lang threw the puck out in front from behind the net and Kyle Calder got a whack at it. The rebound came out to Hudler, who whipped it past Nashville goalie Chris Mason to even the game.

At 5:41 of the third, Hudler would score the eventual game-winner, sneaking in behind the defense and taking a pass from Lang before roofing a shot over Mason.

Kirk Maltby added an empty-net goal to seal the win.

Alexander Radulov opened the scoring for the Predators with 1:54 remaining in the first period. Radulov stole the puck in the neutral zone and got around defender Andreas Lilja, who couldn’t get back to stop him from putting a shot past netminder Dominik Hasek‘s glove.

Nicklas Lidstrom tied the game just 1:16 into the second, blasting a shot from the top of the left circle past Mason.

Jason Arnott put Nashville back out front 8:56 later, knocking a fluttering puck past Hasek with the shaft of his stick.

Hasek finished the night with 27 saves on 29 shots against. Mason stopped 31 of the 34 shots he faced.

Neither team scored on the power play. The Predators had five chances with the extra attacker while the Red Wings had one.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Saturday night in Vancouver in the first game of a brief two-game Western Canada road trip that will wrap up on Tuesday in Calgary.

The Red Wings lost rookie Valtteri Filppula to an unspecified lower body injury at the end of the second period.

Red Wings Open Home-and-Home with Win over Predators

In the first game of a home-and-home series, the Detroit Red Wings held off third-period pressure by the Nashville Predators to pick up a 5-2 win.

The win lifts the Red Wings to within one point of the Predators in the Central Division standings with one game in hand.

Nashville had four power play opportunities in the third period and converted on one of them.

Martin Erat scored for the Predators on a two-man advantage at 5:07 of the period. A Shea Weber blast from the blue line was stopped by Detroit goalie Chris Osgood but Erat got the rebound at the side of the net and put it in, pulling the Predators to within a goal.

Nashville wasn’t able to even things up and Detroit scored twice at the end of the period to seal the game.

Attempting to throw a pass across the top of the crease with 2:02 remaining, Kyle Calder scored when the puck deflected off the skate of Marek Zidlicky and over Nashville goaltender Tomas Vokoun‘s shoulder.

Valtteri Filppula put the game away 41 seconds later after stealing the puck at the Detroit blue line with Vokoun on the way to the bench. Filppula raced in on the goal as Vokoun got back but the netminder never got settled and Filppula whipped a shot past him to make the final score 5-2.

The Red Wings opened the game’s scoring just 1:39 into the game when Robert Lang banged the puck through a crowd in front of the Nashville net and past Vokoun.

Rookie Alexander Radulov tied the game at 7:02, ripping a shot from the high slot past Osgood with Nashville on a power play.

Early in the second period, Kirk Maltby put Detroit back out in front. Filppula moved the puck into the Nashville zone and got it deep to Kris Draper, who moved behind the net and sent it out front to Maltby. Maltby lifted a shot over Vokoun at 4:30 to make it a 2-1 game.

Jiri Hudler extended the Detroit lead at 1:24 of the third, scoring on a one-timer off Vokoun’s glove from a pass by Calder.

Both of Nashville’s goals came on the power play, which they had eight chances with, including the two-on-one that led to Erat’s tally. Detroit was held scoreless on three chances with the extra attacker.

Osgood made 29 saves on 31 shots against, including key stops with the Predators threatening to pull even in the third. Vokoun stopped 25 of the 30 Detroit chances he faced.

The two teams will meet again tomorrow in Detroit.

The Predators lost Erat in the third period after a collision with teammate Jason Arnott.