Pregame: Red Wings @ Ducks – Game 1 – 4/30

The Red Wings open their Western Conference Quarterfinal series with the Ducks tonight in Anaheim.

The teams have met four times previously in the playoffs, with each team taking two series. Both teams have gone on to win the Stanley Cup once after a Detroit-Anaheim matchup.

Stupid stat of the day: Detroit is 3-1 in the first game of a series in Anaheim and 3-1 in a Game One against Anaheim. This is the first time the teams have opened a series in Anaheim, so that first set of games would all be Game Three.

The Red Wings will be going with the same lineup as won the last four games of the season to get them into the playoffs. This means that Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson will be healthy scratches up front while Ian White, Carlo Colaiacovo and Brian Lashoff are out on the blue line. Jimmy Howard gets the start in the Detroit net.

Game time is 10:30 PM on FSD.

Red Wings’ First-Round Schedule Set

The National Hockey League announced the schedule for the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Sunday.

Seventh-seeded Detroit will face second-seeded Anaheim in a Western Conference Quarterfinal set to begin at the Honda Center on April 30.

The full schedule is as follows. All games will be televised in Detroit on Fox Sports Detroit.

The Red Wings’ 2013 Western Conference Quarterfinals Schedule
Date Opponent Location Time / TV
April 30, 2013 Anaheim Ducks Away 10:30 PM; FSD
May 2, 2013 Anaheim Ducks Away 10:00 PM; FSD
May 4, 2013 Anaheim Ducks Home 7:30 PM; FSD
May 6, 2013 Anaheim Ducks Home 8:00 PM; FSD
May 8, 2013* Anaheim Ducks Away 10:00 PM; FSD
May 10, 2013* Anaheim Ducks Home TBD; FSD
May 12, 2013* Anaheim Ducks Away TBD; FSD

Games four, five and six will only be played if necessary.

Detroit Makes It 22 On Quest To Make It 12

April in the D is almost over; but hopefully that does not mean Johan Franzen is done playing.

April is when the Mule finally decides to wake up and play some hockey and he did not disappoint in that fashion yet again.

Captain Henrik Zetterberg was not about to allow the Red Wings to miss their 22nd straight trip the NHL post season on his watch. The Red Wings captain scored two of the three goals in the final regular season game.

After 21 years of successful playoff bidding, it was a change for Hockeytown for it to come down to the wire to clinch a playoff spot. It was fun, it was exciting, it was great in those aspects but how about going back to the knowing for two weeks so that half of the fan base isn’t staring a heart attack in the face?

Wings are in. 22 straight. What a ride in the post Lidstrom Era.

We have roughly 36 more hours of celebrating left in Hockeytown before puck drops in Anaheim and the quest for the Cup begins.

Here are my predictions for the first round:

Starting with the East Coast Bias:

Penguins in six.

Canadiens in five.

Capitals in seven.

Bruins in five.

Late night forgotten on TV Western Conference:

Hawks in four.

Wings in six.

Sharks in five.

Kings in seven.

Zetterberg Leads Red Wings Win Over Stars, Playoff Berth

Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg figured in all three goals on Saturday in Dallas, carrying the Red Wings to a 3-0 over the Stars to clinch the team’s 22nd consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Red Wings netminder Jimmy Howard stopped all 17 shots he faced in shutting out the Stars as the two points the Red Wings earned clinched the Western Conference’s seventh seed and a first-round matchup with the second-seeded Anaheim Ducks.

Zetterberg opened the game’s scoring with 1:43 remaining in the first period. From the right wing corner, Zetterberg threw an attempted pass to Justin Abdelkader at the top of the crease but it deflected off defenseman Alex Goligoski’s skate and past Dallas netminder Richard Bachman.

At 1:57 of the third period, Zetterberg made it 2-0 with a shorthanded goal. Pavel Datsyuk caught up to a loose puck on the left wing in the Detroit zone and sprung Zetterberg on a breakaway with a pass at the blue line. Zetterberg backhanded a shot past Bachman for his second goal of the night.

With a wrister from the high slot, Jonathan Ericsson rounded out the scoring at 6:30 of the third after Zetterberg and Datsyuk won a puck battle along the left wing boards.

Bachman finished the night with 34 saves on 37 shots.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night. Detroit had four tries with the extra attacker to Dallas’ three.

The Red Wings’ 22-season playoff streak is the longest active run in the NHL. Seventh place in the conference is the team’s lowest finish in that stretch.

Pregame: Red Wings @ Stars – 4/27

With the playoffs on the line, the Red Wings visit the Dallas Stars tonight.

With a win, Detroit claims the 7th playoff seed in the Western Conference. A point clinches a playoff spot. A regulation loss and they’ll need help in the form of a loss from the Columbus Blue Jackets or Minnesota Wild.

Should the Wings win tonight, it will mark only the fifth time in history that the team finished a regular season on a four-game winning streak.

Game time is 7:00 PM on FSD locally and NBCSN nationally.

Red Wings Down Predators for Crucial Standings Points

The Detroit Red Wings kept control of their own playoff fate on Thursday night, riding a strong second period to a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators.

The win put Detroit into seventh place in the Western Conference, one point up on the inactive Minnesota Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets for the eighth spot in Western Conference standings.

The Predators took a 2-1 lead into the middle frame but couldn’t hold off a rally by Detroit.

Johan Franzen pulled the Wings into a 2-2 tie just 1:01 into the second, collecting the rebound of a Henrik Zetterberg shot at the side of the crease and lifting a shot over the shoulder of Nashville netminder Chris Mason into the top of the net.

Patrick Eaves gave Detroit its first lead of the game 2:40 later. Jordin Tootoo, playing against his former club, carried the puck from the right wing corner out through the faceoff circle and into the high slot before backhanding a pass down lot to Eaves for a snap past Mason to make it 3-2.

With 47 seconds left in the second, Pavel Datsyuk‘s wrister from inside the blue line on a rush beat a screened Mason to give the Red Wings a two-goal lead.

Justin Abdelkader rounded out the game’s scoring with 3:59 remaining in the third period, banging the rebound of a Henrik Zetterberg chance past Mason on an odd-man rush.

Mike Fisher had opened the game’s scoring just 1:46 in, snapping a chance past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard off a pass from Ryan Clune on a two-on-one where Kyle Quincey couldn’t take away the pass.

Valtteri Filppula tied things back up at 6:53 taking a feed in the slot from Franzen at the side of the net for a wrister past Mason.

Nashville regained their lead with 7:30 left in the first, with Craig SMith getting to a rebound in a goal-mouth scramble and putting a shot in behind Howard while on the power play.

Howard finished the night with 20 saves on 22 shots. Mason stopped 33 of 38 chances against.

Each team had one power play goal on the night, with Nashville having five chances with the man-advantage to Detroit’s four.

The Red Wings will close out their season on Saturday with a visit to the Dallas Stars. They can clinch a playoff spot with a point in that game, a Columbus loss to Nashville on the same day, or the Wild failing to earn a point in either of their two remaining games.

Pregame: Predators @ Red Wings – 4/25

The Red Wings have a chance to clinch a playoff spot tonight with a win over the Nashville Predators and some help from the Dallas Stars.

Two points for the Wings in their second game in as many nights combined with the Blue Jackets losing to Dallas would put Detroit out of Columbus’ reach in the standings. A Stars’ win combined with a Detroit loss would set up a de facto one-game playoff on Saturday when the Wings visit Dallas.

Detroit is expected to ice the same lineup they used last night to earn a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Johan Franzen said he’ll be able to play but will be a game-time decision after suffering an injury late against LA. If Franzen can’t go, Todd Bertuzzi will return to the Wings’ lineup.

Jimmy Howard will get the start yet again. Pekka Rinne will not get the nod for the Predators, with Chris Mason set to go instead.

Game time is 7:30 PM on FSD.

Red Wings Move Into Eighth with 3-1 Win Over Kings

Fighting for their playoff lives, the Detroit Red Wings earned a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings and moved into eighth place in the Western Conference standings, one point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Jordin Tootoo‘s mid-air deflection early in the third period held up as the game-winner for the Red Wings. With Detroit’s fourth line pressuring the Kings, Patrick Eaves fired a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle and Tootoo batted it down in the slot, bouncing it off the ice and past Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick at 5:42.

Johan Franzen added a power-play goal with 6:26 remaining in regulation, taking a backhand feed from Henrik Zetterberg at the top of the crease for a tip past Quick.

Kyle Clifford had opened the game’s scoring 5:28 into the middle frame, collecting the loose puck at the top of the crease after a goalmouth scramble and shoveling it in behind a sprawling Jimmy Howard.

Pavel Datsyuk tied things up with 9:28 remaining in the period, backhanding a chance under Quick from the inside edge of the right faceoff circle.

Howard finished the night with 23 saves on 24 shots against. Quick made 33 saves on 36 Detroit chances.

Franzen’s insurance tally was the only power play goal of the night. Detroit had four tries with the man-advantage (including a long five-on-three) to three for the Kings.

The Red Wings will continue their quest for the playoffs on Thursday night when they host the Nashville Predators in the regular season home finale.

Detroit will clinch a playoff spot with three points in their final two games regardless of what any other team does. If Columbus loses to the Dallas Stars on Thursday in regulation, the Red Wings will need only one point in the final two games.

Pregame: Kings @ Red Wings – 4/24

Two nights after a 4-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes, the Red Wings face another virtual must-win in their quest for a playoff spot as they host the Los Angeles Kings.

To control their own fate, Detroit must earn five points in their remaining six games. Anything less than that and they’ll need help from the teams that play the Columbus Blue Jackets, who the Wings are one point behind right now. To make matters more difficult, the Red Wings and Blue Jackets both play the Dallas Stars, who sit two points behind Detroit in the standings. They also both play the Nashville Predators, who are out of the playoffs.

The Wings will roll with the same lineup they used to blank Phoenix against Los Angeles. Todd Bertuzzi was expected to make his return from injury but will sit for one more game and be in the lineup tomorrow against Nashville. Mikael Samuelsson was cleared to play but will be kept out.

Los Angeles will be without captain Dustin Brown, who was suspended for two games after an elbow to the head of Minnesota’s Jason Pominville last night.

Game time is 7:30 PM on NBCSN.

Red Wings Score Three Power Play Goals as Howard Blanks Coyotes

Jimmy Howard stopped every shot he faced Monday night and the Red Wings scored three times on the power play en route to a 4-0 Detroit win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Howard made 34 saves in earning the win, just Detroit’s fourth in the last twelve games. Phoenix netminder Mike Smith made 19 saves on 22 shots against.

Johan Franzen opened the game’s scoring with his first of two goals on the night and the first of Detroit’s trio of goals with the extra man. Just 2:37 in, Franzen tipped a long shot by Damien Brunner past Smith from the slot.

With 36 seconds left in the period, Brunner scored a goal of his own on the power play. Henrik Zetterberg fed Brunner a cross-ice pass for a quick wrister from the inside edge of the left faceoff circle – Detroit’s second power play goal of the night.

Zetterberg notched his third assists on Valtteri Filppula‘s power play goal with 3:51 remaining in the second period. Zetterberg worked a give-and-go with Filppula to gain the Coyotes’ zone and carried the puck into the left circle before sending it back to Filppula at the bottom of the circle. Filppula’s low-angle shot slipped through Smith to make it 3-0.

Franzen rounded out the scoring with an empty-net goal with 1:22 remaining.

Detroit finished the night three-for-five on the power play while the Coyotes could not score with four tries on the man-advantage.

With the win, Howard tied Tim Cheveldae in career wins as a Red Wings netminder with 128.

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