Red Wings – Ducks Game Thoughts

Let me just say that the middle of a West Coast road trip, with its late games on back-to-back nights, is not the time to get sick.

The more I think about last night’s game between the Red Wings and the Ducks the less I think anything substantitive can be taken away from it.

Yeah, it’s always good to beat Anaheim. It’s always good when the Wings can wear down Chris Pronger. That said, Detroit’s win came thanks to a lot of luck.

The bounce that led to Jiri Hudler‘s goal? That’s the kind of bounce I always complain that the Wings never seem to get. Without it, that’s not a goal, even if Hudler’s shot was dead-on.

Johan Franzen‘s goal? I mentioned at the time that I’d be shocked if it was allowed. I think the replay was inconclusive and the Red Wings have a history of having goals called back (Franzen’s game-tying goal in Minnesota nothwithstanding). Another break caught there.

The Wings definitely played better than they did on Monday in Dallas. Oddly, Chris Osgood didn’t have as good of a game even with allowing fewer goals but I would definitely say he’s playing better than he was at the start of the season. One bad goal (Anaheim’s third) does not mean he’s reverted to early-season status, especially factoring in the big late-game save on Corey Perry.

In the end, the success of this road trip will not be gauged by last night’s win but by what happens in San Jose on Saturday.

Red Wings – Ducks Pregame Notes

As previously mentioned, Kirk Maltby will be a healthy scratch for tonight’s Red Wings – Ducks tilt. Derek Meech takes his place in the lineup, interesting in that it seems coach Mike Babcock would rather go with a defenseman playing forward than the veteran grinder.

Chris Osgood makes his second straight start. It marks the first time he’s done that since returning from injury earlier this month. I assume that means Ty Conklin will go tomorrow night against the LA Kings.

I’ll be up for this one unless something crazy happens but I’ll probably spend the entire night bitching about how late it is.

Mastodonic Writers’ Block?

How to describe the Red Wings’ overtime loss to the Dallas Stars last night?

I dunno, I’ve got nothing. I keep coming back to this, trying to write about it, and all I can think of is the crazy vocabulary of the Versus announcers. I have no idea who they were (I don’t listen to national announcers all that much, I like Ken and Mickey too much) but I have the feeling I never want to hear them again.

There is a part of me that wants to work “mastodonic” into my every day vocabulary but then I realize anyone using it just comes across as a supreme douchebag. Yes, it’s an accurate description of the Chris Osgood save to which it was applied but its use smacks of superfluousness (there’s an SAT word for you).

Then we’ve got Pavel Datsyuk as the “Valedictorian of Awesome School.” “Awesome School?” Seriously? Chris Creamer calls it ESPN2 circa 1996 and I’ve gotta agree.

Malik might have a complaint but I’m going to Latin that one up. Awesomus Prime. First in awesomeness.

Study up, there’ll be a test on this. Mastodonic. Superfluousness. Vox populi. Awesomus Prime.

As for the game… Osgood faced fifty damned shots. I think that explans things pretty well. When you can allow five goals and still come out of it with a .900 save percentage you did your job. I’m just leaving it at that.

Red Wings – Stars Pregame Notes

With the back-half of the typically-insane four-hour premiere of 24 kicking off at the same time as the start of the Red Wings’ road game in Dallas, I have this feeling that I should put new batteries in my TV remote tonight.

The Wings start their six-game road trip (with the All-Star break coming before the sixth) with Chris Osgood in net. Mike Babcock continues his goalie rotation but says that’ll end soon (if not after tonight’s game). I’ll believe it when I see it.

Niklas Kronwall is back in the lineup after the mystery scratch on Saturday. This puts Derek Meech and Chris Chelios in the press box.

Late Goals Lift Red Wings Past Sabres

Ryan Miller was a wall in net for the Buffalo Sabres, with the Detroit Red Wings only able to solve him once in the first 57 minutes of play Saturday night.

Unfortunately for Buffalo, the Wings’ plan of wearing down Miller eventually worked as Mikael Samuelsson and Marian Hossa scored in the game’s final three minutes to give the Red Wings a 3-1 win over the Sabres.

“We were hoping to wear (Miller) down. We thought if we stayed at their net, we’d get our opportunities,” Red Wings’ coach Mike Babcock said. “He made some great saves early, but we stayed patient and were able to get the win.”

Samuelsson scored with 2:34 remaining in the third period to break the tie, flipping a backhander past Miller while cutting across the front of the net after taking a feed from Jiri Hudler.

Hossa scored with 1:35 left in the game, powering a shot off the underside of Miller’s arm, just sneaking through the netminder’s equipment and into the net.

Derek Roy had opened the scoring for Buffalo 5:03 into the first period, lifting a rebound chance over Detroit goalie Ty Conklin‘s pad.

Hudler tied the game with three minutes remaining in the second period on a one-timer off a pass from Brett Lebda.

The Red Wings now have a six-game winning streak and have won seven games in a row at home. They’ll begin a six-game road trip on Monday in Dallas.

The Red Wings were without defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who was a late scratch… Roy’s goal broke Conklin’s home shutout streak at 143 minutes and 49 seconds.

Red Wings – Stars Pregame Notes

Chris Osgood and Andreas Lilja will take to the ice for the Red Wings tonight as Detroit hosts the Dallas Stars. Lilja returns to the lineup after a night off on Tuesday and Osgood is making his scheduled start in the team’s goalie rotation.

To make room for Lilja, Chris Chelios is once again a healthy scratch.

After missing Wednesday’s practice with a sore hip, Valtteri Filppula will play tonight. Filppula suffered the injury during the Red Wings’ 3-0 win over the Blue Jackets.

The Stars are an injured team, currently without Sergei Zubov, Brendan Morrow, Fabian Brunnstrom and Joel Lundqvist.

Marty Turco will get the start in net for Dallas.

Lidstrom, Datsyuk Named to All-Star Team

The NHL announced the reserves for the 2009 Western Conference All-Star team and the Red Wings will be represented by two players.

Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk will be on the ice at Montreal’s Bell Centre on January 25. It will be Lidstrom’s tenth consecutive All-Star appearance and Datsyuk’s third trip.

Datsyuk has previously played in Minnesota in 2004 and Atlanta last season. In addition to those, Lidstrom played in Boston in 1996, Vancouver in 1998, Tampa Bay in 1999, Toronto in 2000, Colorado in 2001, Los Angeles in 2002, Florida in 2003, and Dallas in 2007.

Conklin, Datsyuk Lead Red Wings Past Blue Jackets

Ty Conklin stopped all 23 shots he faced and Pavel Datsyuk played a part in all three Detroit goals Tuesday night as the pair carried the Red Wings to a 3-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The shutout was Conklin’s fourth of the season and second in a row at home. All four have come at Joe Louis Arena.

Conklin’s biggest stop of the night came about nine minutes into the game, when he stretched across the crease to knock down a Michael Peca shot that looked like it was going into the open side of the net.

“That was basically a goal into an empty net and he made an unbelievable save,” Detroit sniper Marian Hossa said. “The game could have gone either way… He saved a huge goal and then we started playing well a little after that.”

Datsyuk scored the game’s first goal on a Red Wings’ power play 3:45 into the third period. The puck squirted free after a scramble at the crease and Datsyuk jumped up to put it back on net and in.

Just 2:14 later Hossa snapped a shot past Columbus netminder Steve Mason on another power play, giving Datsyuk his second point of the night.

Henrik Zetterberg added an empty-net goal with 30 seconds remaining in the game. Datsyuk stole the puck at the Detroit blue line but lost his stick in the process, then kicked the puck up to Zetterberg, earning him his second assist and third point.

Detroit’s Chris Chelios played in his 880th career win, breaking a tie with Scott Stevens for most all-time.