Red Wings Hold off Blackhawks for Season’s First Win

The Detroit Red Wings held off early and late pushes by the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night en route to a 3-2 victory. It was the first win of the three-game old season for the Red Wings.

Chicago carried the play early, outshooting the Wings 12-7 in a scoreless first period and getting the game’s first goal in the second.

The ‘Hawks opened the game’s scoring when Patrick Sharp tipped a pass from Kris Versteeg past Detroit goalie Chris Osgood just 1:23 into the middle frame.

Momentum shifted to the Red Wings several minutes later when Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart led the team in killing a long five-on-three.

Just past the game’s midway point Nicklas Lidstrom put Detroit on the board, bouncing a cross-ice pass off the skate of a Chicago defender and past netminder Cristobal Huet with the Wings on a power play.

Kris Draper converted on a bouncing puck turnover at the Chicago blue line with 3:45 left in the period to put Detroit out in front. Draper coralled the puck on the right wing and ripped a shot into the top of the net.

Just 1:34 later the Red Wings were up by a pair when Johan Franzen tapped home a loose puck behind Huet on a power play. Pavel Datsyuk had fired a shot from the right wing that deflected off of a screening Tomas Holmstrom to slip past Huet.

Versteeg added a power play goal with 9:36 remaining in the third to pull Chicago to back within one but the ‘Hawks couldn’t close the gap, even after outshooting Detroit 15-4 in the final frame and ending the game on a power play and with an empty net.

Chicago outshot Detroit 34-23 on the night. Osgood made 32 saves while Huet stopped 20 shots.

The Red Wings scored on two of their five power play opportunities. The Blackhawks converted once in as many chances with the extra attacker.

Detroit newcomer Brad May – signed to a one-year deal earlier in the day – made his debut with the team. He fought Radek Smolenak midway through the first period.

Blackhawks – Red Wings Pregame Notes

Though they’ve already got a “home” game under their belts, the Red Wings have their home opener tonight hosting the Chicago Blackhawks. Like the Wings, the ‘Hawks opened their season in Europe, going 1-0-1 against the Florida Panthers in Helsinki, Finland.

Tonight’s matchup will be the Detroit debut for Brad May, who signed a one-year deal with the team earlier in the day. His visa paperwork came through meaning Patrick Eaves will have to wait for his first game as a Red Wing.

May will take the place of Justin Abdelkader, who was sent down to Grand Rapids to make room in the lineup when the enforcer was signed.

The Red Wings will be going with one other lineup change, adding Derek Meech to the blueline in place of Brett Lebda.

Chris Osgood will start in goal.

Former Red Wing Tomas Kopecky gave Detroit some bulletin board material, telling the Chicago Sun-Times, “It’ll be fun, and more fun when we beat them.” Kopecky will be playing his first career game against Detroit.

The Blackhawks will be without Marian Hossa, who also left the Wings for Chicago over the summer. He is recovering from shoulder surgery and will be out for two more months.

Game time is 7:30 with television coverage by Fox Sports Detroit.

Red Wings Sign May, Send Abdelkader to Griffins

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Thursday that they have signed forward Brad May to a one-year contract. Financial terms were not announced but TSN of Canada reports the deal is worth $500,000.

With the signing, Justin Abdelkader was assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Abdelkader had played in both of the Wings’ season-opening games in Sweden. He was expected to be sent to Grand Rapids when Darren Helm returned from a shoulder injury.

May failed to latch on with a team over the summer and was extended a pro tryout by the Red Wings late in the exhibition season. He was released from the tryout when the Wings went to Sweden and signed a second tryout with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

At the time, rumors circulated theorizing that Detroit might sign him to a two-way deal that would see him spending most of the season in Grand Rapids. Aaron Downey filled a similar roll between the Red Wings and Griffins last season.

May has split 1,001 career games between the Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, Phoenix Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs. He has 127 goals, 160 assists and 2,182 penalty minutes.

Red Wings Wrap Up North American Exhibitions, Set Lineup for Sweden

The Detroit Red Wings finished off their North American exhibition schedule Sunday night with a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in a game that saw both teams rest many of their star players.

Detroit was without Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Chris Osgood, Dan Cleary, Valtteri Filppula, Brad Stuart, Todd Bertuzzi and Niklas Kronwall. Pittsburgh sat Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar.

Pascal Dupuis scored the lone goal for the Penguins while Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk, Jason Williams and Ville Leino all scored for Detroit. Jimmy Howard stopped 25 shots on the night, including a Jordan Staal penalty shot.

After the game the Red Wings made their final preseason roster cuts. Johan Ryno, Mattias Ritola, Andy Delmore, Francis Pare, Logan Pyett, Jakub Kindl and Evan McGrath were all assigned to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. Brad May was released from his pro tryout but he is expected to join the Griffins. Earlier in the day the Wings had assigned Jeremy Williams, Doug Janik, Thomas McCollum, Kris Newbery and Jan Mursak to the Griffins.

The Red Wings now head to Sweden, where they will open up the regular season with a pair of games against the St. Louis Blues at Stockholm’s Globe Arena.

On Wednesday Detroit will play their final exhibition game of the season in Karlstad against Farjestads BK.

Coyotes Not Wily Enough

The Phoenix Coyotes must have hoped to benefit from the World Series-winning ways of the Arizona Diamondbacks, but the Red Wings showed them that maybe the desert is better suited for baseball than hockey, as the Wings won, 3-1.

Scotty Bowman made a few changes in the lineup, as is to be expected. With Max Kuznetsov and Tomas Holmstrom both injured, Mathieu Dandenault was moved back to defense, and forward Yuri Butsayev was recalled from Cincinnati to help out.

The first period went scoreless, even though Detroit had a four-minute power play opportunity just sixteen seconds into the game. Phoenix’s Brad May got called for cutting Brent Gilchrist‘s chin with a high stick. The Coyotes ran their penalty kill in a tight box formation in front of their net, keeping the Wings to the outside and allowing few shots on goalie Sean Burke.

Detroit had another power play chance late in the first, but this one would be a greater scoring chance for the Coyotes than the Red Wings, when Daymond Langkow was able to get off a breakaway shot on net. Fortunately, Dominek Hasek was alert and able to stop the puck.

Freddy Olausson opened the scoring with only 6:41 left in the second period. The Wings were shorthanded, with Chris Chelios in the box for tripping, but Brendan Shanahan got the puck and headed up the ice on the left wing side, Olausson trailing on the right. When Shanahan passed across to Olausson, Burke seemed to expect the puck to be passed back again, and Olausson was able to flip it into the net.

With just over 3:10 left in the second, May was given another double minor for high sticking, again on Gilchrist. The Wings were unable to score before the buzzer, but carried fifty seconds of power play over into the third.

Just five seconds after the power play had ended, before May was able to catch up to the play, Sergei Fedorov picked up a blue line pass from Nicklas Lidstrom and fired hard into the net from the right point, to bring Detroit ahead by two.

Kirk Maltby scored his first goal of the season less than a minute later. Chelios cleared the puck off the glass, Maltby picked it up, and fired past Burke from the right side.

The Coyotes answered exactly one minute later. Krys Kolanos stole the puck when Jiri Fischer mishandled it, and fired against Hasek, who blocked. May was able to pick up the rebound and slide it underneath Detroit’s goalie for his second goal of the season.

Phoenix pulled Burke for the extra skater with three minutes left, then sent him back in when the faceoff came outside the Detroit zone. They pulled him out again with 1:49 left to play. Just as the buzzer sounded, it looked as if Brett Hull had scored a goal into the empty net, but the goal was ruled down after review.

Hasek made sixteen saves on seventeen shots, while Burke made twenty-eight saves on thirty-one shots. Detroit currently leads the league in games, with a 13-3-0-0 record, and in shorthanded goals, with five. They continue their West Coast road trip in Anaheim Friday night.

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