Red Wings Beat Stars to Open ’08

The Detroit Red Wings opened the 2008 calendar year with their 30th win of the season, a 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars. Playing their 41st game of the season, it was the fastest run to 30 wins in Red Wings history.

Henrik Zetterberg returned to the team after missing five games with back spasms, notching two assists.

Zetterberg’s first point of the night came as the secondary assist on the opening goal, scored by Dan Cleary.

With 7:59 left in the first, Valtteri Filppula carried into the Dallas zone and lost the puck. Cleary stepped across the blue line and blasted a shot that was blocked by a defender, but Cleary stepped around him to pick the puck back up and snap it by goalie Marty Turco.

Detroit took a two-goal lead at 7:28 of the second, when a long outlet pass by Aaron Downey sprung Johan Franzen in all alone. Franzen faked and got Turco to sprawl out before skating it into the open side of the net.

Dallas Drake scored his first goal of his second stint with the Red Wings at 4:32 of the third period. The Wings regained control of the puck after Johan Franzen missed an open net and eventually Zetterberg got it in the high slot. Spinning into the left circle, he sent a pass down to Drake near the bottom of the right circle to punch between Turco’s legs.

Pavel Datsyuk scored Detroit’s final goal with 6:47 left in regulation, deflecting a Nicklas Lidstrom blast past Turco.

Loui Eriksson scored Dallas’ lone goal 46 seconds later. A broken play left Detroit netminder Chris Osgood out of position and Eriksson put a wraparound chance into the open net.

Neither team converted on any of their power play chances. Each team had three attempts with the extra attacker, one lasting only a matter of seconds.

Osgood made 23 saves on 24 shots to earn the win. Turco stopped 22 of 26 shots against.

The two teams will face each other again on Saturday afternoon in Dallas.

Lidstrom’s assist on Datsyuk’s goal was his 700th career assist… Downey’s assist on Franzen’s goal was his first point as a Red Wing.

Red Wings Wrap Homestand with Win over Kings

The Detroit Red Wings closed out a stretch that saw them play nine of eleven games at home Wednesday night, finishing the run with a 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

The Red Wings earned 21 of a possible 22 points in that time. They will now play five games in a row on the road.

Detroit took control of the game early but the Kings made a several-minute run at the end of the first period and early in the second, tying the game before the Red Wings regained control.

Henrik Zetterberg got the Red Wings on the board just 59 seconds into the game with a power play goal. Nicklas Lidstrom held the puck in at the Kings’ blue line and worked it to Zetterberg near the slot for a quick wrister past goalie Jason Labarbara.

At 7:37 of the period, Jiri Hudler stretched the Wings’ lead to two, putting in the rebound of a blast from the blue line by Niklas Kronwall.

Dustin Brown‘s power play goal with 1:28 left in the first got the Kings on the board and Patrick O’Sullivan scored on a rush just 15 seconds into the second period to even things up.

Tomas Holmstrom put the Wings back in the lead 3:20 later, poking the puck from under Labarbara and into the net after a shot by Zetterberg.

Dan Cleary restored Detroit’s two-goal lead on the power play with 8:15 remaining in the middle frame, tipping a Kronwall shot from the blue line.

Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula closed out the game’s scoring in the third period.

Frazen scored just 49 seconds in, knocking home the rebound of an Andreas Lilja shot. Filppula’s goal came at 8:57 when his shot on goal was tipped past Labarbara by defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky.

Labarbara finished the night with 29 saves on 35 shots. Dominik Hasek made 18 saves on 20 shots in Detroit’s net.

Detroit went two-for-five with the extra attacker while the Kings were one-for-four.

The Red Wings are back in action on Thursday when they visit the St. Louis Blues in the second of three games in four nights.

Kris Draper returned to the Detroit lineup after missing nine games with a knee injury. Aaron Downey was a healthy scratch to make room for Draper… Kronwall’s four assists were a career-high.

Red Wings Beat Canadiens in Original Six Matchup

On a night when their Original Six rivalry was honored with a pre-game ceremony, the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 4-1.

Former Canadiens Jean Beliveau, Dickie Moore, Jean-Guy Talbot, Stephane Richer, and Claude Lemieux and former Red Wings Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Alex Delvecchio, Marcel Pronovost, and Marcel Dionne were all on hand for the ceremony. Current Red Wing and former Canadien Chris Chelios also participated.

The game began with scoring chances by each team but neither would get on the board until there was only 3:20 left in the first period.

After a giveaway in the Montreal zone, Pavel Datsyuk grabbed the puck and outwaited a Canadien defenseman, freezing him and putting a shot between his legs, slipping it between the pads of goalie Carey Price to give the Red Wings a 1-0 lead.

Christopher Higgins evened the game up at 4:15 of the second on a broken play. Saku Koivu‘s shot from the left circle defected to Higgins off the skate of Aaron Downey. From the bottom of the circle, Higgins lifted a shot over goalie Dominik Hasek.

Datsyuk put the Wings out in front again with 8:58 remaining in the middle period, scoring on a wrister from the top of the right circle.

Niklas Kronwall extended the Detroit lead just 2:37 later, scoring on a fluttering shot from the blue line that may have been deflected on its way to the net.

Henrik Zetterberg wrapped up the game’s scoring on the power play with 6:10 remaining in the game, beating Price with a quick wrister from the high slot.

Price made 30 saves on 34 shots against and Hasek stopped 14 of 15.

Zetterberg’s goal was the lone power play goal for either team. The Red Wings had three chances with the extra attacker and Montreal had five.

Red Wings Sink Sharks

The Detroit Red Wings scored early and never gave up the lead Friday night, en route to a 5-1 win over the San Jose Sharks.

Valtteri Filppula‘s first goal of the season put Detroit on the board just 1:23 into the game.

Filppula passed the puck off to Mikael Samuelsson in the Detroit zone and Samuelsson carried through neutral ice before breaking across the blue line and pushing it back over to Filppula. Filppula cut in on San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov and lifted a backhanded over his glove into the top of the net.

With 4:29 remaining in the period, Filppula would get on the scoresheet again, assisting on a tally by Andreas Lilja.

Filppula gained the San Jose zone and cut over to the right circle before spinning to drop the puck to Lilja, who rifled a shot from the high slot over Nabokov’s glove.

The Sharks would try to get back into the game in the second period, with Rob Davison providing energy in the form of a fight with Aaron Downey. San Jose just couldn’t get anything going and it would be the Red Wings who scored next.

Only 39 seconds into the third period, a Nicklas Lidstrom blast was knocked down at the top of the crease, deflecting straight to Tomas Holmstrom. Holmstrom banged the puck at the open net, deflecting it off of Henrik Zetterberg and in.

Zetterberg would notch another one at 8:12 of the period. Pavel Datsyuk drew three San Jose defenders and Nabokov to him cutting through the left circle. As the skaters converged, the puck squirted out to Zetterberg for another wide-open net.

Backup Dmitri Patzold replaced Nabokov in net but he would allow a goal on just the second shot he faced, with Kirk Maltby lifting the rebound of a shot by Kris Draper into the net just 22 seconds after Zetterberg’s goal.

An apparent sixth Detroit goal was called back after a goaltender interference call on Tomas Holmstrom. The Sharks scored their lone goal of the game on the ensuing power play.

San Jose’s power play goal came on one of their two chances with the extra attacker. The Red Wings were without a goal on their six power plays.

Chris Osgood stopped 10 of the 11 shots he faced in net for the Red Wings. Nabokov made 26 saves on 30 shots against while Patzold went eight-for-nine.

The Red Wings begin a three-game Western Canada road trip on Sunday when they visit the Vancouver Canucks.

The lost Detroit goal was the fourth goal of the season called back due to a Holmstrom goaltender interference call… Henrik Zetterberg has a point in every game this season… After the game, Russian forward Igor Grigorenko refused his reassignment to Grand Rapids and left the team.

Same Old, Same… Oh, Nevermind

After the first period, I fully expected this game to be another like Detroit’s matchup with Anaheim earlier this week. Thankfully, the second and third periods were a bit better to the Red Wings.

San Jose made their mark – both on the scoresheet and on the Detroit lineup – early. Mike Grier scored a power play goal and Kyle McLaren got away with interference on Dallas Drake, driving Drake into the end boards and out of the game. The Red Wings would say nothing more than that Drake got “his bell rung.” McLaren would get what was coming to him later when Aaron Downey went toe-to-toe with him.

Detroit got on the board in the second period with goals by Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg. Both were on hard shots from the high slot, something the Wings haven’t been doing well. Those shots haven’t been getting through but tonight they did.

Another thing that had been going against the Wings but went for them tonight: Quick whistles. Detroit lost out on a goal in Chicago earlier this season on a quick whistle but tonight they were saved when the officials lost sight of the puck in Chris Osgood‘s crease.

Matt Ellis‘ third-period goal – the first of his NHL career – ended up as the game-winner. Pavel Datsyuk added an insurance marker on a five-on-three made possible by a slash to the stick of Kris Draper by Mike Grier – another play that has gone in reverse against Detroit earlier this season.

Red Wings Open Road Trip with Win over Kings

The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Sunday night, opening their first western road trip of the season with a win.

After a scoreless first period, Pavel Datsyuk got the Red Wings on the board just forty seconds into the second frame just as a power play expired.

Henrik Zettrberg fired a shot on Kings rookie goalie Jonathan Bernier and Datsyuk got to the rebound, poking it under Bernier and just across the goal line.

Kris Draper added a shorthanded goal 2:26 later, breaking in on goal before faking around Bernier and putting the puck in behind him.

Mike Cammalleri pulled the Kings to within a goal 1:44 into the third period with Los Angeles on a five-on-three, rifling a one-timer from the right circle over Detroit goalie Chris Osgood‘s glove.

The Wings responded 3:55 later, with tic-tac-toe passing on a three-on-two getting the puck from Datsyuk to Zetterberg and across to Tomas Holmstrom to bang past Bernier.

Zetterberg made it 4-1 at 7:21 of the final period, wrapping around the net and coming out into the slot to lift a shot into the far corner of the net.

The Red Wings were without a goal on two power play attempts. Los Angles scored their only goal on one of their six chances with the extra attacker.

Osgood stopped 27 of 28 shots against. Bernier made 26 saves on 30 Detroit shots.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Monday when they visit the Anaheim Ducks.

Detroit was without Mikael Samuelsson, who suffered a minor groin injury in Friday’s loss to Chicago. Aaron Downey made his Red Wings debut in Samuelsson’s roster spot.

Franzen Out 3-4 Weeks

Turns out that Johan Franzen‘s injury is more serious than he thought. Bruce MacLeod blogged today that Franzen will be out 3-4 weeks with an MCL sprain.

Aaron Downey or Matt Ellis will fill Franzen’s spot in the lineup but will likely join the third or fourth line. Kris Draper, Dan Cleary or Valtteri Filppula will be bumped up to Franzen’s spot.

My guess is that Babcock will want to give Filppula the ice time but since he’s not quite as gritty as Franzen, Cleary might fit the role better.

Downey Waived

Dave over at Gorilla Crouch makes mention of a thread about the Red Wings waiving Aaron Downey. I feel dumber just for having read that thread, so thankfully the Detroit News confirms.

The Wings put forward Aaron Downey on waivers Friday, but general manager Ken Holland said the Wings will keep Downey on the roster if he isn’t claimed by another team by Saturday afternoon. He’ll likely be sent to Grand Rapids later in the month when forward Igor Grigorenko is brought up.

Seems like odd timing, no need to do it now but also no reason not to. Maybe the thinking is to try to have him clear waivers now when fewer teams have injuries. If a team was short a man three weeks from now they’d be more likely to claim him but right now just about everyone is healthy. That’s just my guess.

Wings’ Roster Set

Bruce MacLeod blogs that the Red Wings’ final roster has been announced.

As expected, Derek Meech claims a spot as the 7th defenseman. The injured Kyle Quincey will work out in Grand Rapids and join the Griffins when healthy.

Matt Ellis will remain in Detroit. Free agent try-out Aaron Downey has been offered a contract and will play in Detroit if he accepts, which he’s expected to do.

Igor Grigorenko will head down to Grand Rapids. This is likely only to last through the end of the month as he’ll have the ability to return to Russia. At that point, Ellis or Downey would have to be sent down.

Mark Hartigan has been placed on waivers and will go to Grand Rapids if he clears.

Red Wings Win Exhibition Opener

Not that many people in the Detroit area saw it, with the game not televised locally and NHL Center Ice Online not working for everyone, but the Red Wings opened their exhibition schedule with a 6-1 win over the Minnesota Wild.

Both teams iced almost-NHL-quality lineups. The Wild used five of their regular defenseman and both of their usual goalies while the Red Wings brought a lineup split beween NHLers and AHLers.

Unfortunately, not only was Center Ice Online not working but in general is wrong. The league’s “official scoresheet” credits injured goalie Logan Koopmans not only with 24 minutes of playing time but also with a goal.

George Malik blogs that the win came dispite a stretch in the second period that saw the Wings outshot 14-1.

Jimmy Howard allowed the goal in roughly 30 minutes of play before being replaced by Chris Osgood. The Red Wings got goals from Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk, Tomas Holmstrom, Aaron Downey, Chris Chelios and Brent Sopel.