Datsyuk Leads Red Wings Past Coyotes

Pavel Datsyuk scored with just 4:06 left in regulation Saturday night, leading the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes and giving the team a four-game winning streak.

The Red Wings wrapped up a season-high five game road trip with a 4-1 record, the lone loss coming in St. Louis for the first game of the trip.

Datsyuk’s goal broke a 2-2 tie late in the game. He raced down the right side of the ice on a two-on-one with Valtteri Filppula. Reaching the right faceoff circle in the Phoenix end, Datsyuk quickly stopped, allowing backchecking defenseman Keith Ballard to skate past him and create a screen for a shot over the shoulder of goalie Ilja Bryzgalov.

Kris Draper added an empty net goal to wrap up the game for Detroit.

Mikael Samuelsson had opened the game’s scoring with 4:48 left in the first period. After he missed a chance at an open net, the puck was sent around the boards and picked up by Nicklas Lidstrom. Lidstrom sent it down low to Jiri Hudler who moved it back across to Samuelsson for a chance that he made good on.

Two goals just 25 seconds apart in the second period put the Coyotes in front.

At 9:44, on an odd-man rush into the Detroit zone, Radim Vrbata sent the puck up top to Ed Jovanovski, who blasted a shot past netminder Chris Osgood, who was screened on the play.

Vrbata would score Phoenix’s second goal when awarded a penalty shot after Kris Draper poked him off the puck on a partial breakaway. Vrbata faked out Osgood on the chance, moving from forehand to backhand to score.

The Red Wings pulled even on their first power play of the game with 1:34 left in the second. Skating four-on-three, Lidstrom sent the puck down low to Datsyuk who sent it to the left circle for Brian Rafalski to one-time past Bryzgalov.

The goal was Detroit’s only power play goal on three chances with the extra attacker. Phoenix was held scoreless on four attempts, including a short five-on-three.

Both goalies faced 34 shots on the night, with Osgood stopping 32 chances and Bryzgalov making 31 saves.

The Red Wings now return back to Detroit, where they will face St. Louis on New Years Eve.

Emphatically Denying Jagr Rumors

Reading the Rodent earlier today, I saw an interesting tidbit about Ken Holland calling the Rangers to ask about Jaromir Jagr.

Which brings us to a rumor in early December claiming Detroit’s Ken Holland had approached his original-six counterpart about the availability of Jagr. Credibility of this tale was suspect. After all, why would anyone want to tamper with the chemistry of a club dominating its division? And the Red Wings already boast the league’s most potent offense.

What did catch my attention was the backchannel feedback associated with Glen’s purportedly sounding out the team captain on such a change of venue. Jagr nixed the Red Wings according to this tale, but said he would consider moving to another club as long as it was within the Eastern Conference and was a team with a good situation.

Rodent is looking at it more from the Rangers perspective and I think he does a solid job of showing that this deal is not expected to happen. It’s not a rumor.

George Malik grabbed the same story via Fox Sports and also denies it, so all sorts of bases.

The thing that I think is so interesting about the non-rumor is that, prior to his trade to the Rangers, Jagr was very close to becoming a Red Wing.

In about November of 2003, two months before Jagr was sent to Madison Square Garden, I heard secondhand through a trusted source that Jagr was headed to Detroit. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but it was supposedly very close and it’s something I find interesting with the Wings calling about him yet again.

Red Wings Hold Off Avalanche, Win Fourth-Straight

The Detroit Red Wings lost a two-goal lead in the second period Thursday night but fought off the charge by the Colorado Avalanche to earn a 4-2 win. The victory was their fourth in a row, all coming on the road.

Valtteri Filppula scored twice for the second game in a row, giving the Red Wings a 2-0 lead late in the first period.

With 7:04 left in the period, Filppula raced down the right wing and threw a backhander on net. Goalie Peter Budaj made the stop but the rebound deflected off of defender Brett Clark and back into the net.

Just 4:09 later, a long shot by Niklas Kronwall was knocked aside by Budaj at the top of the crease. Filppula was at the side of the net to control the puck, putting it with Budaj still out of position.

The Avalanche countered with 1:23 left in the period, when Cody MacLeod picked off a Brian Rafalski pass at the Detroit blue line, breaking in alone on Dominik Hasek and putting a quick shot past him.

At 5:56 of the second period, Marek Svatos tied the game up. Svatos went uncovered on a Colorado odd-man rush and after Hasek made the initial stop on a chance by Jaroslav Hlinka, Svatos was free to put in the rebound from the slot.

Jiri Hudler scored the go-ahead goal with 9:00 left in the middle frame. Hudler was outmanned carrying the puck down the right wing and waited for Kris Draper to catch up, passing to him. Draper sent it right back to Hudler, calling for a shot. Hudler, who had been looking to pass, snapped a shot over Budaj’s shoulder and into the net.

A strong push by Colorado in the third period wouldn’t be enough to even the game. With 11 seconds left, Mikael Samuelsson added an empty-net goal to wrap things up.

Neither team scored any of their goals on the power play. Detroit had only one chance with the extra attacker while the Avalanche had four.

Hasek stopped 22 of 24 shots against to get the win. Budaj made 25 saves on 28 shots.

The Red Wings will wrap up their season-long five game road trip on Saturday in Phoenix.

Playing their second game in as many nights, the Red Wings only lineup changes were Derek Meech in for Chris Chelios on defense and Hasek starting in goal in place of Chris Osgood.

Red Wings Blank Blues as Trip Continues

The Detroit Red Wings returned to the road Wednesday night, resuming a five-game road trip that was broken up by the Christmas break and picking up a 5-0 win over the St. Louis Blues.

Goalie Chris Osgood made 20 saves to earn his second shutout of the season. It was the 45th of his career.

Nicklas Lidstrom, fresh off of signing a two-year contract extension, scored the game’s opening goal just 2:26 in. On a bad line change by the Blues Lidstrom got in behind their defense and stepped into the left faceoff circle for a blast over Manny Legace‘s shoulder.

Jiri Hudler put Detroit up by a pair 5:01 later. Mikael Samuelsson carried the puck down the right wing and sent it out front to Hudler. His tip shot was blocked but the Czech knocked in the rebound.

Valtteri Filppula scored two quick second period goals, chasing Legace from the crease.

At 5:31, with the Red Wings on a power play, Pavel Datsyuk carried the puck down the right wing into the Blues’ zone and faked out defender Christian Backman, sending a pass to the far side of the net for Filppula to tap in.

Just 2:06 later, Samuelsson tied up the puck on the left wing boards and Hudler came in to pick it up. Hudler took it down low and then passed it out to the slot for Filppula to put past Legace.

The former Red Wing was replaced by Hannu Toivonen for the remainder of the game.

Brian Rafalski would score the only goal against Toivonen at 9:11 of the third period, with the Red Wings skating 4-on-3. After passing back and forth with Lidstrom at the top of the circles, Rafalski dropped to the left faceoff dot for a one-timer into the top of the net.

Toivonen stopped 10 of the 11 shots he faced while Legace made 12 stops on 16 Detroit shots.

Two of Detroit’s goals came on their three power play chances. St. Louis had five power play opportunities, including one five-on-three.

The Red Wings’ road trip continues in Denver on Thursday when they face the Colorado Avalanche.

Detroit was without forwards Tomas Holmstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, and Kirk Maltby for yet another game.

Wings Extend Lidstrom for Two Years

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Wednesday that they have signed defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom to a two-year contract extention, keeping him with the team through 2010.

Lidstrom confirmed that the deal was worked out with Detroit general manager Ken Holland last week.

“Kenny approached me during training camp to see if I was interested,” Lidstrom said. “I said I was. We’ve been talking, not a whole lot over the fall, but we sat down right before Christmas and we got a deal done.”

“Nick has been the best defenseman in the world for several years,” Ken Holland said in a statement. “He’s a great captain and role model who does everything right both on and off the ice. We’re proud to have him continue as a Red Wing for another two years.”

Shorthanded Red Wings Dominate Wild in Win

Without two-thirds of their top forward line, the Detroit Red Wings still shut down the Minnesota Wild Saturday night, winning 4-1 while outshooting them 51-19.

The 51 shots were a season-high for Detroit.

Minnesota’s Marian Gaborik, who scored five goals on Thursday against the New York Rangers, tallied only one assist and was -2 with two shots.

Gaborik’s point came on a Kim Johnsson power play goal with nine seconds left in the second period. Gaborik sent a cross-ice feed from the right wing to Johnsson for a shot into the top of the net.

The goal made cut Detroit’s lead to 3-1.

Detroit got on the board with a power play goal at 6:57 of the first period. A Valtteri Filppula shot into the top of the net was knocked down by the stick of goalie Niklas Backstrom, sprawled out on the ice. Pavel Datsyuk was on the doorstep, though, and banged in the rebound.

Second-period goals just 45 seconds apart gave the Wings a 3-0 lead.

With 4:46 left in the period, Johan Franzen carried the puck behind the net for a wraparound attempt, coming out wide and using defenseman Sean Hill as a screen. Backstrom came off the near post and Franzen fired a shot into the top corner.

Dan Cleary scored Detroit’s second of the period on a long outlet pass from Nicklas Lidstrom. With the Wild pushing into the Detroit zone, Lidstrom grabbed the loose puck and flung it out to Cleary, behind the Minnesota defense in the neutral zone. Cleary caught up with it at the Wild blue line and broke in on Backstrom alone, snapping a shot past him.

Tomas Kopecky wrapped up the game’s scoring at 9:59 of the third period. Brian Rafalski threw the puck on net and Backstrom couldn’t control the rebound. Kopecky fought off a defender to get to the puck and shovel it into the net.

Backstrom finished the night with 47 saves to Dominik Hasek‘s 18.

Each team scored once on the power play. Detroit had seven chances with the extra attacker and Minnesota had two.

The Red Wings will be back on the ice after the holiday break, meeting the Blues in St. Louis on Wednesday night.

Mark Hartigan, who was planning to travel to Minnesota over the holiday break anyway, was called up from Grand Rapids to fill in for the injured Zetterberg… Kirk Maltby was also still out of the lineup… Cleary and Filppula replaced Tomas Holmstrom and Henrik Zetterberg on Datsyuk’s line.

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