Red Wings Clinch Central Division with Win over Wild

The Detroit Red Wings locked up their ninth Central Division title in the past ten seasons with a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild Sunday afternoon.

The division championship was clinched one day after Detroit made the playoffs for the twentieth consecutive season, the active record in North American pro sports.

Darren Helm opened the scoring for the Red Wings just 2:46 into the game. Helm took a pass from Patrick Eaves in the slot and drifted towards the right faceoff circle before snapping a shot past Minnesota netminder Jose Theodore.

Nicklas Lidstrom made it 2-0 with 20 seconds left in the first and the teams skating four-on-four with a blast from the blue line that went through a screen set by Pavel Datsyuk, playing in his first game since March 17.

The Wild pulled back to within a goal at 4:32 of the second period, when Brad Staubitz knocked the puck out from under Jimmy Howard and into the Detroit net.

Detroit regained the two-goal lead with 7:22 left in the period. With the Red Wings on the power play, Tomas Holmstrom got the puck in the high slot and skated around a diving Brent Burns before snapping a shot past Theodore.

Johan Franzen banged the puck past Theodore from in close at 6:11 of the third to put the Red Wings up by three.

Detroit thought they had a 5-1 lead later in the period when a Brad Stuart shot beat Theodore but the goal was waived off because Justin Abdelkader had been knocked into the net.

The Wild finished off the game’s scoring with 3:06 remaining when Carson MacMillan beat Howard on a rebound try for his first career goal.

Howard finished the night with 27 saves on 29 shots while Theodore maade 30 saves on 34 chances.

The Red Wings went one-for-three on the power play. Minnesota was scoreless on five power play tries.

Detroit is now off until Wednesday when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes before a season-ending weekend series with the Chicago Blackhawks.


With Datsyuk’s return to the lineup, the Red Wings rested forward Mike ModanoNiklas Kronwall remained out of the lineup on the blue line and Kris Draper was a healthy scratch.

Red Wings Rally for 4-3 Overtime Win in Nashville

The Detroit Red Wings scored four consecutive goals Saturday afternoon, turning a 3-0 deficit to the Nashville Predators into a 4-3 overtime win.

Danny Cleary deflected a Brian Rafalski shot from the point past Pekka Rinne at 2:58 of the overtime period, giving the Red Wings the win.

Jakub Kindl started Detroit’s rally at 3:28 of the second period when his shot from the left point found its way through traffic and past Rinne to get the Red Wings on the board.

Justin Abdelkader made it 3-2 just 1:21 later, deflecting a Brad Stuart shot over Rinne’s shoulder from in the slot.

Abdelkader scored again at 3:59 of the third period. Todd Bertuzzi threw the puck to the front of the net and Abdelkader broke free to poke it past Rinne, tying the game up.

The Red Wings thought they had opened the game’s scoring with 3:44 left in the first but Nicklas Lidstrom‘s power play goal was called back when Tomas Holmstrom elbowed Rinne in the mask as the puck went past them.

Ryan Suter put a shot from the high slot past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard with one minute left in the first period and the Predators on a five-on-three to give Nashville a 1-0 lead.

Just 1:42 into the second, Martin Erat added another power play goal to make it 2-0. Erat tipped a Shea Weber shot past Howard for the goal.

Sergei Kostitsyn blasted a shot past Howard to make it 3-0 just 55 seconds later. Mike Fisher‘s shot wide of the net deflected off the back boards to Kostitsyn, who put it in before Howard could get in position.

Howard stopped 31 of the 34 shots he faced, including making a post-to-post save on Joel Ward midway through the third period to preserve the 3-3 tie. Rinne stopped 37 of 41 Detroit chances.

The Red Wings finished the afternoon scoreless on three power play opportunities while Nashville went two-for-eight, including one-for-three on five-on-threes.

Detroit is next in action on Sunday hosting the Minnesota Wild.


The Red Wings clinched their twentieth consecutive playoff berth with the win.

Red Wings – Predators Postgame Notes

Back from watching the Plymouth Whalers drop a 2-0 decision to the Kitchener Rangers in Game Six of their playoff series, I’ll finally post my thoughts on the Red Wings’ 4-3 OT win today in Nashville…

Holmstrom’s Goalie Interference
Replay showed that Tomas Holmstrom did appear to elbow Pekka Rinne in the head, so this was the right call. Call me cynical, but it still doesn’t sit right with me.

First off, it took a slow-mo replay from above the crease to show what happened on TV. Did the eagle-eyed ref actually see it happen or did he call a phantom penalty and luck out that one was actually there. If he did see it, did he miss Rinne’s punch to the back of Holmstrom’s head a second earlier?

Right call but frustrating.

Abdelkader in General
What an afternoon for Justin Abdelkader. I admit to a bit of a hometown bias towards him but that doesn’t have to apply this time. Five hits, two goals… He was all over the place. And his hit on Martin Erat was *not* boarding. Erat got away with worse against Abdelkader two weeks ago – not that what Erat did was legal then, just allowed. Hooray for consistency.

Bertuzzi vs. O’Brien
Where did Todd Bertuzzi come from? Something set him off today, I’m not sure I want to see that every game but today it was nice. Bertuzzi smacked Shane O’Brien around once and O’Brien went for the ill-timed rematch and got beat down again. That second fight was a major turning point. I can’t believe O’Brien did that when a win for him would mean nothing but a win for Bertuzzi would fire the Red Wings up.

Overall
Great physical effort from the Wings. Great mental resilience after going down 3-0. It was a playoff-style win and they need some of those down the stretch here.

Bonus Hockey
The Whalers had a chance to finish off the Rangers tonight and failed pretty miserably. Like I have the tendency to complain about with the Wings, the Whalers were just not getting any second chances around the Kitchener net. It was a pretty physical game, with the Rangers seeming to win most of those battles. Whalers need to get it together to avoid losing a series they were up 3-1 in.