Red Wings Rally but Fall in OT to Penguins

The Detroit Red Wings rallied from a 4-0 deficit to force overtime Monday night but couldn’t hold off the Pittsburgh Penguins in the shootout, dropping a 5-4 decision.

Mike Modano scored a power play goal to tie the game on a power play with 9:33 remaining in the third period but James Neal scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Penguins the win.

Pascal Dupuis opened the game’s scoring with 4:46 remaining in the first period when he slid a backhander from the right of Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard past him and into the far side of the net.

Chris Kunitz made it 2-0 4:03 later, beating Howard in close after scooping up the rebound of a Dupuis shot.

Dupuis added a shorthanded goal with 9:09 left in the second, jamming the puck home from the side of the net after his own initial shot bounced off the end boards and came right back to him.

Tyler Kennedy picked up the rebound of a Kunitz shot all alone in front of the net and put it past Howard 2:25 later, ending the Detroit netminder’s night.

Henrik Zetterberg got the Red Wings on the board with 2:19 left in the middle frame, scoring on a backhander similar to the Dupuis goal that started the night off.

Valtteri Filppula made it 4-2 at 1:57 of the third, jamming the puck under Pittsburgh goaltender Brent Johnson from in close.

Danny Cleary tipped a Niklas Kronwall shot from the point past Johnson at 8:06 with the Red Wings on the power play and Modano’s goal 2:21 later tied things up.

The final two goals put the Red Wings at two-for-four on the power play. The Penguins were scoreless on three tries with the extra attacker but did net Dupuis’ shorthanded goal.

Johnson stopped Todd Bertuzzi, Modano, and Cleary in the shootout. Joey MacDonald made stops on Alexei Kovalev and Kris Letang before Neal beat him on the final shot.

MacDonald stopped all ten shots he faced in regulation and overtime but took the loss allowing one goal in the shootout. Howard stopped 11 of 15 shots he faced while Johnson stopped 31 of Detroit’s 41 chances.

Franzen’s Five Goals Carry Red Wings over Senators

Johan Franzen scored five goals Wednesday night, equaling the output of the Ottawa Senators as the Detroit Red Wings earned a 7-5 win.

The five goals were the most by a Red Wing since Sergei Fedorov scored all of the Detroit goals in a 5-4 win over the Washington Capitals on December 26, 1996.

Ottawa’s Alexei Kovalev opened the game’s scoring just 1:15 in, when he lifted a shot over scrambling Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard for a power play goal.

Franzen scored his first at 6:52 of the opening period, banging the puck past Ottawa netminder Robin Lehner from the side of the crease.

Just 48 seconds later, Franzen made it 2-1 when he beat Lehner from the high slot off a feed from Henrik Zetterberg.

The Senators replied one minute later, with Peter Regin deflecting a shot from Kovalev past Howard to tie the game back up.

With 8:48 left in the period, Daniel Alfredsson found a wide open Chris Campoli in the left faceoff circle to snap a shot past Howard, putting Ottawa up 3-2.

Kris Draper put a rebound chance past Lehner with 9:24 left in the second period and Niklas Kronwall blasted a shot into the back of the net 13 seconds later to make it 4-3 Detroit and chase Lehner from the net.

Milan Michalek tied the game back up 29 seconds after Kronwall’s goal, beating Howard on his own rebound chance to make it 4-4.

Franzen’s third of the night came just 30 seconds into the third period. He snapped a shot from the left faceoff dot past Brian Elliot on a rush and a Detroit power play.

Michalek’s second goal of the game tied it back up 29 seconds later. He tipped a Kovalev shot past Howard to make it 5-5.

Franzen scored on a two-man advantage at 7:10 of the third to put the Red Wings back out in front. Brian Rafalski‘s shot went wide of Elliot but the puck bounced off the back boards and came out the other side, where Franzen lifted it into the net.

The Senators appeared to tie the game with about eight minutes left when Chris Neil poked the puck out from under Howard and into the net but the play was blown down.

With 34 seconds left, Franzen completed the scoring, adding an empty net goal.

The Red Wings finished the night with two goals on three power play chances. The Senators scored once on two power play tries.

Howard made 29 saves on 34 Ottawa shots. Lehner stopped 15 of 19 shots faced while Elliot took the loss, stopping 16 of 18 Detroit chances.

The Red Wings are back in action on Friday when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Danny Cleary returned to the Detroit lineup after missing 14 games with a broken ankle… Pavel Datsyuk is expected to return from his broken hand on Friday or Saturday. Tomas Holmstrom could also return from injury this weekend.

Americans Advance as Latvia Loses

Team USA, which completed the Olympic round-robin with only one win, advanced to the Quarterfinals on Tuesday when Kazakhstan defeated Latvia. With their berth in the next round already determined, the Americans then went on to lose to Russia, 5-4.

After dropping twin 2-1 games to Slovakia and Sweden over the weekend, the United States looked to find it’s offence against the Russians. They succeeded, but goalie Robert Esche (Philadelphia Flyers) and the U.S. blue line couldn’t match the team’s performance with Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders) in the net over the weekend, allowing more goals to Russia than they did to the Slovaks and Swedes combined.

Alexei Kovalev (Montreal Canadiens) scored the game-winner late in the game, with other Russian goals coming from Alexander Korolyuk (San Jose Sharks), Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), and Andrei Markov (Canadiens).

The American goals came from Brian Rolston (Minnesota Wild), Brian Gionta (New Jersey Devils), Scott Gomez (Devils), and Erik Cole (Carolina Hurricanes).

Team USA will play top-seeded Finland in the Quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Uninspired Team USA Drops to 0-2

Team USA came out flat in the first period of their 2-1 loss to Team Canada on Tuesday night and never recovered. On Thursday night, they came out flat again and dropped a 3-1 decision to Team Russia in St. Paul.

On Tuesday, the Americans were outshot 19-6 in the first period. The Russians managed 16 shots to the Americans’ four in the first period on Thursday.

U.S. coach Ron Wilson announced that roster changes would be made for the final round-robin game against Slovakia on Friday.

“For some reason we’re emotionally flat, and we’ve got to put in some people who will be really hungry and believe if they get the job done they’ll stay in the lineup,” Wilson said.

Team Russia took the first lead of the game at 12:20 of the second period on a goal by Danius Zubrus, who deflected a shot off the skate of U.S. captain Chris Chelios.

Keith Tkachuk tied the game for the Americans’ just 1:24 later but Alexei Kovalev put the Russians back on top just 5:05 into the third.

Viktor Kozlov added an insurance goal for Russia with 1:58 remaining.

“We’re really embarrassed the way we came out and played this hockey game,” Tkachuk said.

“They came out and just took it to us early. It’s very frustrating to see us play the way we did that whole game. It’s just not our hockey. We’ve got to turn this around.”

On Wednesday, Canada defeated Slovakia, 5-1, while Sweden held off the Czech Republic for a 4-3 win. Thursday’s European matchup saw Finland continue their shutout streak with a 3-0 win over Germany.

Rangers Win Kovalev Sweepstakes

The cash-strapped Pittsburgh Penguins traded All-Star forward Alexei Kovalev to the New York Rangers in an eight-player deal designed to help alleviate the Penguins’ financial woes. Kovalev was sent to the Rangers despite rumors that a deal had been agreed upon between Pittsburgh and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The deal sees the Penguins acquire forwards Mikael Samuelsson and Rico Fata, defensemen Joel Bouchard and Richard Lintner, and $4 million. In return, the Rangers get Kovalev, forward Dan LaCouture, and defensemen Janne Laukkanen and Mike Wilson.

Kovalev will be making his second tour of duty with the Rangers. He was traded to the Penguins from New York during the 1998-99 season. Kovalev has twenty-seven goals and thirty-seven assists in fifty-four games with Pittsburgh this season.

Samuelsson is the only regular sent to Pittsburgh in the deal. He has eight goals and fourteen assists in fifty-eight games for the Rangers this season.

Fata has two goals and four assists in thirty-six games and Bouchard had five goals and seven assists in twenty-seven games. Litner has spent most of the season with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack.

LaCouture has scored two goals and added two assists in forty-four games this season, while Laukannen has just one goal and seven assists in seventeen games played. Wilson has scored once and assisted once in seventeen games.

Kovalev is eligible for salary arbitration after this season and would most-likely have been awarded a salary that the Penguins could not afford.

Fewer Penalties Lead to More Goals for Wings

As dangerous a scoring line as the Red Wings’ penalty kill has been, it isn’t really the way they expect to score. “We don’t go out there thinking we’re going to score a shorthanded goal,” said Kirk Maltby, who has three shorthanded goals already this season. Tonight they didn’t need to. With fewer penalties and more opportunities for offense, the scoring went up. And up. And up, eventually leading to a 7-3 win over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Penguins actually outplayed the Wings in the early going, and came away with the first goal. Alexei Kovalev took a pass from Michal Roszival and skated into the Detroit zone. He skated around Mathieu Dandenault, stealthily getting a grip on Dandenault’s stick so the defenseman couldn’t poke the puck away. Then Kovalev wristed a shot on net. Goaltender Manny Legace was screened by the defensive action in front and couldn’t see the puck until it had passed him.

Luc Robitaille answered for the Wings three minutes later on a power play. Igor Larionov passed the puck across the rink to Nick Lidstrom at the left point, and Robitaille stood at the front of the net to redirect Lidstrom’s shot past Jean-Sebastien Aubin for his first goal of the season.

Once the Red Wings started to score, they never stopped. The Penguins’ defense, on the other hand, seemed to disappear. Robitaille added goal number two less than a minute later. Jason Williams snatched up the rebound from Jiri Fischer‘s shot. He carried the puck behind the net and sent it back out front, where Robitaille was waiting, stick on the ice, to blast it into the net.

Before Robitaille could try for his third goal, Sergei Fedorov evidently decided he wanted a hat trick of his own. Fedorov took a penalty for hooking early in the second period, but he stepped back out onto the ice just in time to get the puck from Fischer at center ice and take off on a two-on-one rush with Darren McCarty. Fedorov passed, McCarty shot, and Aubin left a rebound that headed straight for Fedorov’s stick, which slapped the puck past Aubin and into the net.

Fedorov scored twice more before the period was half-over. His first was in close to the net, after taking a pass from Chris Chelios. Brendan Shanahan had gone to the front of the net and was screening Aubin, and he jumped up just at the right time to let Fedorov’s shot slide under his feet for the goal. Fedorov’s third goal came on a two-on-one rush with Shanahan, sprung free by Brett Hull at center ice. Fedorov dropped a pass back for Shanahan at the blue line. The defenseman and goalie looked towards Shanahan, but all they could do was watch as he sent the pass back so Fedorov could put it into the net.

Kovalev brought the Penguins within three goals seconds before the period was over with a power play goal from Jan Hrdina and Mario Lemieux. When Ville Niemenin brought Pittsburgh to three goals early in the third, it looked as if the Penguins might be able to work their way back into the game.

Fischer deflated that possibility in less than a minute. Dandenault got the puck up to Larionov on a three-on-two rush. Larionov threaded a tight pass across the goal crease to Fischer, who tapped it into the empty side of the net.

Lidstrom, McCarty, and Draper put the game out of reach for good with 7:25 left in the game. Draper made a good play to hold the puck in at the blue line and get it to McCarty, who tried to stuff it into the net. The rebound squirted free to Draper, who carried it behind the net and sent it to Lidstrom, who one-timed it past Aubin.

Shots on net were 44 to 27 in favor of Detroit. The Red Wings’ next game will be Saturday night, when they face the yet-winless Predators in Nashville.

Jason Williams played for Henrik Zetterberg, who is still out with a pulled groin. Williams set up Robitaille’s second goal, for his second point in four games played…. Sean Avery will stay with the Grand Rapids Griffins for a time. “That’s what players want to do, they want to play,” said coach Dave Lewis. “They don’t want to sit. We feel it’s best for Sean to play regularly.”…. Mario Lemieux was impressed by Sergei Fedorov. “He was awesome,” Lemieux said. “The way he skates is dominating, especially in the neutral zone. You can’t defend that. He took over the game.”

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