Red Wings Hold Off Early Push by Canucks, Win 3-1

Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard allowed only one goal for the second consecutive night on Thursday, giving the Red Wings the defensive support needed to earn a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Howard stopped all fifteen shots he faced in a first period that saw the Red Wings outshot by ten and made 31 saves on 32 shots overall.

Dispite the margin in scoring chances, it was Detroit with the lone goal of the first period, scored when Tomas Holmstrom put a shot just under the crossbar from in close on a power play with 2:29 remaining.

The Canucks tied the game on a power play of their own at 6:38 of the second period. Kevin Bieksa fired a shot from the blue line that was headed wide until it hit the skate of Mason Raymond and deflected into the net.

Henrik Zetterberg put Detroit back out in front at the eight-minute mark of the third period. Zetterberg took a long pass from Brad Stuart and broke into the Vancouver zone down the right wing. He roofed a backhander over Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo‘s shoulder to break the tie.

Niklas Kronwall added an empty net goal to secure the victory.

Luongo finished the night with 26 saves on 28 shots against.

Holmstrom’s goal was Detroit’s only power play goal on two chances with the extra attacker. Vancouver’s lone goal put them at one-for-five on the power play, including a short five-on-three.

Howard got the start because scheduled starter Chris Osgood was ill. Daniel Larsson was called up from Grand Rapids to serve as Howard’s backup… Drew Miller made his first appearance as a Red Wing, taking one shot in 11:33 of ice time.

Red Wings – Canucks Pregame Notes

Kicking off today’s gameday thread a bit early ’cause I’ve got meetings all afternoon and then I’m heading straight to the game.

Steve Yzerman will drop the puck for tonight’s game as the Red Wings honor him on his Hall of Fame inductment. Any reason to celebrate Stevie is good enough for me so I’m psyched about that.

Not so cool is the fact that Chris Osgood and Kirk Maltby will miss the game with the flu. This puts Drew Miller in the lineup in Maltby’s spot while Daniel Larsson has been called up to back up Jimmy Howard in goal.

I thought Miller would get into this game anyway, likely replacing Brad May. The circumstances changed but the result is the same.

Roberto Luongo will make his first start since being injured against Detroit on October 27. He played in relief of Andrew Raycroft on Tuesday after Raycroft allowed four goals to the St. Louis Blues.

Red Wings – Blue Jackets Postgame Thoughts

After a win like this, in a season like the Red Wings are having right now, you kind of just want to sit back and smile a bit and bask in the warm, fuzzy feeling it gives you. It’s easy to do that, the good heavily outweighs the bad in a game like this.

However, just like in the ridiculous 8-2 losses the Wings suffered on back-to-back Saturdays last season, the score of the game doesn’t always mean the most. Last winter those losses to Nashville and Columbus were written off as outliers, anomolies, games you just forget about and move on. As such, you have to look at a game like this in the same way.

A 9-1 win is fun but it shouldn’t be forgotten that the Wings are just back to even in the standings. Just as when the score goes the other way, there is bad to see along with the good and good to see along with the bad.

Some of the bad…

The Blue Jackets looked a lot like the Wings have looked in some games this season. If we discount the Wings’ losses when they just don’t show up to play then the wins against teams that don’t show up can’t mean as much either.

Though the score shows domination, Detroit let up for about the first half of the second period. With the Blue Jackets still not entirely out of the game the Wings started to play sloppy, making bad passes and giving up the puck. Rick Nash got Columbus on the board and even with a three-goal lead the Wings seemed on their heels. Detroit snapped out of it but it was not something you want to see.

Some of the good…

Todd Bertuzzi finally scored. He’s played an extremely solid game this season and has been robbed of goals in just about every way possible. That also happened tonight, with a chance to jam the puck home that Mason somehow stopped. The look of relief on his face after scoring says it all. The same goes for Ville Leino.

Balanced scoring. With all of the injuries, Detroit needs goals from people who aren’t expected to score. The Eurotwins did not carry the scoring tonight. Pavel Datsyuk had one goal, the rest all came from people who need to step up. Bertuzzi and Leino and Kris Draper and Dan Cleary and a pair each from Niklas Kronwall and Justin Abdelkader. By my count that’s two goals for the first line, two for the second, one for the third, two for the fourth and two more from the defense. Not bad.

Jimmy Howard looked good. His reliance on rebound control scares the hell out of me but he was on tonight. The puck was hitting him and dropping dead, falling to places where it could be cleared by his defense. If the Blue Jackets crashed the net at all it could be a problem but the Wings’ defenders were on top of things tonight, taking care of those loose pucks.

In all, it was a good night, as any win is. I just don’t think we should get caught up in the score.

Red Wings Claim Former Spartan off Waivers

The Detroit News reports that the Red Wings have claimed former MSU Spartan Drew Miller off of waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Miller has played in 67 NHL games split between the Lightning and the Anaheim Ducks, who selected him in the sixth round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He has six career goals and nine career assists to go along with 25 penalty minutes.

The younger brother of Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, Drew Miller played alongside current Red Wing Justin Abdelkader at Michigan State during the 2005-06 season.

Red Wings Lose Game, Lose Williams

I’m not recapping tonight’s game. Not that any of you are surprised by that, I’m sure.

The only shot the Wings scored on was a damned-near perfect play. A great pass from Brian Rafalski and an incredible shot by Dan Cleary is what it took to get Detroit on the board.

The funny thing is I didn’t think Toronto goalie Jonas Gustavsson looked particularly fantastic in stopping 35 shots. Looking at the scoresheet, I’m amazed that the Wings even got that many chances through to him.

Apparently the Maple Leafs blocked 18 shots to Detroit’s 17 but it felt like Toronto was getting in front of many more of the Wings’ chances.

Early in the third period there was a moment that I felt summed up the game. The Leafs had been knocking down Detroit shots all night but now there was some open ice with the Wings on a five-on-three. A Wings defender – Brian Rafalski, I think – fires a shot from up high… Only for it to find a Maple Leaf and get knocked aside.

Toronto only had three skaters out there and still the Wings managed to hit one of them with a shot.

And I’m not a doctor but I know a fractured fibula isn’t good. This isn’t a “put some ice on it” kind of injury. Jason Williams is going to miss some time, and considering the combination he could be with Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen it means the Wings are now missing their entire second line.

Mickey Redmond said partway through tonight’s game that the third and fourth lines had played well. Those lines are effectively the second and third lines now.

As a sign of what that means, go take a look at the third-period power plays. Detroit’s second unit included Justin Abdelkader.

I like Abdelkader. I think he’s got a future in the league and I think he deserves to be here now. I also think he’d be better suited to be with the Griffins for one more season, as Ken Holland wanted to do before Franzen got hurt. With all of these injuries, he’s gone from Grand Rapids to centering the Wings’ second power play unit. That is some serious loss of talent Detroit is dealing with.

I’ll also throw out there that this is one of those five-goal-against games where you shouldn’t blame the goalie. We’re all Wings fans so it’ll fall on deaf ears but I’ll put it out there anyway.

Interesting note: The Wings have now lost five “event” games in a row and six of the last seven. In reverse order, they’ve lost the Hall of Fame Game, the two NHL Premiere games, and Games Six and Seven of last year’s Finals. They won the Winter Classic but lost last year’s home opener, where they raised the 2008 Stanley Cup banner.

Hall of Fame Class of 2009 to be Honored in Pregame Ceremony

The Red Wings head to Toronto with a three-game winning streak on the line but with the Maple Leafs having only two wins on the season it’s hard not to look at the pregame ceremony as the more important event tonight.

As part of the annual Hall of Fame Game, the Class of 2009 will be honored prior to tonight’s matchup. Three former Red Wings are included in the class, headlined by longtime captain Steve Yzerman.

Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille round out the Detroit contingent while former New York Ranger Brian Leetch and New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello will also be honored.

The ceremony will be televised by both FSD and the CBC and is expected to push the game’s start time back to 7:28.

The Wings will honor Yzerman at their first home game after Monday’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, next Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks.

In actual game news, Detroit will be without Patrick Eaves, who is nursing a sore foot. He suffered the injury while blocking a shot in Thursday’s win over San Jose.

Brad May will return to the lineup to replace Eaves. May will play on the fourth line with Justin Abdelkader and Kirk Maltby while Ville Leino moves up to the third line to take Eaves’ spot alongside Kris Draper and Darren Helm.

No other lineup changes are expected. Chris Osgood will start in goal.

Red Wings Streak Stays Alive with Shootout Win over Sharks

The Detroit Red Wings winning ways continued Thursday night as they picked up a shootout victory over the San Jose Sharks, giving them three wins in a row and points in five consecutive games.

Henrik Zetterberg scored in regulation and in the shootout to lead the Red Wings to the win. Goaltender Chris Osgood made 33 saves on 34 San Jose shots before stopping both Sharks shootout chances.

After a scoreless first period the Sharks got on the board with 5:19 left in the second. Joe Callahan carried the puck into the Detroit zone on a three-on-two.

Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson fell down, leaving Brett Lebda split between Callahan and Logan Couture. Callahan moved the puck to Couture who fired a shot from the right faceoff circle between Osgood’s pads.

Zetterberg evened things up at 5:38 of the third period, poking home the rebound of a shot by Nicklas Lidstrom. San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov attempted to cover the puck but Zetterberg streaked in off a line change to get to the crease and knock it from under Nabokov’s pad and into the net.

A frantic final minutes couldn’t break the tie before the shootout was required.

Pavel Datsyuk and Zetterberg both beat Nabokov with fancy fake-outs. Nabokov stopped Jason Williams on Detroit’s second shot while Osgood stopped both Dan Boyle and Ryane Clowe.

Nabokov made 35 saves on 36 Detroit chances before the tiebreaker.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night. San Jose had three tries with the extra attacker while Detroit had two.

The Red Wings return to action on Saturday when they begin a short road trip in Toronto. The game is the annual Hall of Fame Game, at which longtime Detroit captain Steve Yzerman will be honored along with Brian Leetch and former Red Wings Brett Hull and Luc Robitallie.

Shorthanded Red Wings Blank Bruins

Missing two of their top five defensemen and returning from season-long five-game road trip, the Detroit Red Wings shutout the Boston Bruins Tuesday night with a strong performance by goalie Chris Osgood.

Osgood stopped 29 shots to earn the fiftieth shutout of his career. He is currently in second place among active goaltenders in career shutouts.

Brian Rafalski and Jonathan Ericsson missed the game with the flu. Doug Janik was called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins to join Derek Meetch filling in on the blueline.

All of the game’s scoring came in the first period.

Henrik Zetterberg got Detroit on the board with 5:39 left in the period, just two seconds into a power play. Pavel Datsyuk lost the faceoff but Zetterberg jumped up to snap the loose puck past Boston netminder Tim Thomas from the left faceoff circle.

Tomas Holmstrom put the Red Wings up by a pair 3:22 later. Todd Bertuzzi sent a breakout pass to Datsyuk, who cruised into the Bruins’ zone before sending a blind backhand pass to Holmstrom in the slot. Holmstrom shoveled the puck away from the Boston defense and past Thomas to make it 2-0.

Thomas finished the night with 24 saves on 26 Detroit chances.

The Bruins finished the night without a power play goal on three chances. Detroit went one-for-four with the extra attacker.

The Red Wings are back in action on Thursday when they host the San Jose Sharks.

Detroit was without Brad May, who suffered an eye injury during Saturday’s win in Calgary. Ville Leino returned to the lineup to take his place.