Red Wings Streak Stays Alive with Shootout Win over Sharks

The Detroit Red Wings winning ways continued Thursday night as they picked up a shootout victory over the San Jose Sharks, giving them three wins in a row and points in five consecutive games.

Henrik Zetterberg scored in regulation and in the shootout to lead the Red Wings to the win. Goaltender Chris Osgood made 33 saves on 34 San Jose shots before stopping both Sharks shootout chances.

After a scoreless first period the Sharks got on the board with 5:19 left in the second. Joe Callahan carried the puck into the Detroit zone on a three-on-two.

Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson fell down, leaving Brett Lebda split between Callahan and Logan Couture. Callahan moved the puck to Couture who fired a shot from the right faceoff circle between Osgood’s pads.

Zetterberg evened things up at 5:38 of the third period, poking home the rebound of a shot by Nicklas Lidstrom. San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov attempted to cover the puck but Zetterberg streaked in off a line change to get to the crease and knock it from under Nabokov’s pad and into the net.

A frantic final minutes couldn’t break the tie before the shootout was required.

Pavel Datsyuk and Zetterberg both beat Nabokov with fancy fake-outs. Nabokov stopped Jason Williams on Detroit’s second shot while Osgood stopped both Dan Boyle and Ryane Clowe.

Nabokov made 35 saves on 36 Detroit chances before the tiebreaker.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night. San Jose had three tries with the extra attacker while Detroit had two.

The Red Wings return to action on Saturday when they begin a short road trip in Toronto. The game is the annual Hall of Fame Game, at which longtime Detroit captain Steve Yzerman will be honored along with Brian Leetch and former Red Wings Brett Hull and Luc Robitallie.

Yzerman Named to Hall of Fame

Long-time Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman headlines the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2009, it was announced Tuesday.

Jim Gregory, co-chairman of the board for the Hockey Hall of Fame, made the announcement on a conference call.

Yzerman will be joined by two former teammates, Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille, as well as former New York Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch.

“It is a tremendous honour to receive this news,” Yzerman said. “I want to thank the Selection Committee for recognizing my contributions – I truly had chills down my spine when I got the news.”

Yzerman was drafted fourth overall in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft by Detroit and spent his entire 22-season career with the Red Wings. He was named team captain as a 21-year-old, at the time the youngest captain in NHL history and the longest-serving captain by the time of his retirement.

Hull joined the Red Wings in during the summer of 2001 and was with the team for their 2002 Stanley Cup Championship, his second time claiming the trophy. He broke into the league with the Calgary Flames before making a name for himself with the St. Louis Blues. He moved on to the Dallas Stars, winning the Cup there before coming to Detroit and ending his career with a short stint for the Phoenix Coyotes.

Robitaille also joined the Red Wings in their eventful summer of 2001, part of a trifecta of future Hall-of-Famers to come to Detroit that also included Dominik Hasek. Robitaille won his only career Stanley Cup that year in a career that included three stints with the Los Angeles Kings, a season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and two years with the Rangers.

Leetch spent nearly his entire career with the Rangers, claiming the Stanley Cup in 1994 with them and remaining with the team until he was moved to Toronto at the 2004 trade deadline. He played one season with the Boston Bruins to close out his career.

This year’s induction ceremony will be November 9.

Red Wings Down Blues on Brett Hull Night

On the night that the St. Louis Blues retired the number of former captain Brett Hull, the Detroit Red Wings spoiled the show, jumping out to an early lead and picking up a 5-1 victory in the first game of a home-and-home series.

After a long ceremony to honor the former Blue and Red Wing, the teams took to the ice with Detroit clearly dominating.

Just 2:34 in, Henrik Zetterberg scored a power play goal to put the Red Wings on the board. Taking a cross-crease pass from Pavel Datsyuk, he lifted a shot into the far side of the net before goaltender Manny Legace could get to it.

Less than two minutes later, Datsyuk got a goal of his own, putting a wrist shot from the left circle off of defenseman Bryce Salvador and into the St. Louis net at 4:22.

With 6:18 remaining in the period, the Red Wings added another when Dan Cleary threaded a shot between Legace and the post. The goal chased Legace from the crease and brought Jason Bacashihua into the game.

The Blues never recovered from Detroit’s quick start and the Red Wings continued rolling, adding a goal by Valtteri Filppula in the second period and one by Robert Lang in the third.

Eric Brewer scored with 3:24 remaining in the third to break Detroit netminder Dominik Hasek‘s shutout.

Hasek stopped 24 of 25 shots against while Legace made only nine saves on 12 shots and Bacashihua went 18-for-20.

The Red Wings’ first goal was the game’s lone power play goal. Detroit had four chances with the extra attacker and St. Louis had eight.

The two teams will meet again on Thursday night when the Red Wings host the second game of the home-and-home series.

Late Goals Lift Sharks over Red Wings

The San Jose Sharks scored twice in the final 3:31 Saturday night to earn a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The game-winning goal came with just 5.9 seconds remaining.

After a turnover by Dan Cleary at the Red Wings’ blue line, Milan Michalek sent a pass to Joe Pavelski, who cut in from the left side, and beat Detroit goalie Joey MacDonald.

Mark Bell had tied the game with 3:31 remaining, knocking in the rebound of his own shot after MacDonald bobbled the puck.

San Jose had opened the game’s scoring just 3:14, with a power play goal by Patrick Marleau.

Detroit appeared to tie things up with 3:13 remaining in the first but the goal by Mathieu Schneider was waved off as the officials determined that Tomas Holmstrom was in the crease. Replays later showed Holmstrom to be outside of the blue paint.

Mikael Samuelsson eventually got the Red Wings on the board with a wrist shot from the right circle at 11:27 of the second.

Only 1:22 later, Schneider added one that counted, sending a blast from the high slot through Sharks’ goalie Vesa Toskala and trickling across the goal line for a power play goal.

Toskala made 17 saves on 19 shots while MacDonald stopped 32 of the 35 shots he faced.

Each team scored once on the power play. Detroit had three chances on the night while San Jose benefitted from five.

The Red Wings will next take to the ice on Tuesday night when they visit the St. Louis Blues. Before the game, the Blues will retire future Hall-of-Famer Brett Hull‘s jersey.

Week 3: October 16-22

There will come a time when it will seem like the Red Wings are playing more. Honestly.

Detroit did play four games this past week, but the two days in between St. Louis and Calgary, then two more in between Vancouver and Los Angeles made it seem less. Now, after a game tonight in Phoenix and hosting San Jose on Monday, the Wings will once again get a rest, not playing Anaheim until Friday.

Then, it’s another back-to-back contest, traveling to Columbus on Saturday after battling the Mighty Ducks. Another two days off separates that game and a Chicago meeting, the first of three straight between the Wings and Blackhawks. Can the Wings get used to this schedule, playing two games in two nights, then getting two or three days off? They’ll have to. Detroit will play on back-to-back nights 13 more times this season. They have looked good so far.

This past week was a good one for the Wings, with the only loss coming against a good Vancouver team, who may or may not have been helped with 11 powerplays. Detroit finally had a good third period against the Kings on Thursday en route to a 5-2 win. And the powerplays went the Wings way on Sunday, scoring five with the man advantage in a 6-3 win over Calgary. The week ends tonight in Phoenix, where the Coyotes have not started the season well. With only 12 goals scored, Gretzky’s team is 1-3-1 and in the bottom five of the NHL.

(Phoenix will be without former Red Wing Brett Hull, who retired today at age 41.)

Speaking of scoring, the Wings are used to getting help from just about everyone, and this season looks no different. Twelve players have scored so far in the first five games, and fifteen of 21 who have played a game have at least one point.

The Wings have eight powerplay goals so far, tied with Atlanta for most in the league. Not surprisingly, Kirk Maltby scored the team’s first shorthanded goal on Thursday. The Wings seem to be slowing as games go on; they have allowed just two goals in first periods so far this season, five in second periods and six in third periods. They had a good third against the Kings and look to keep that up.

Congratulations go out to Johan Franzen, Jason Williams and Chris Chelios, who all achieved career milestones against the Kings. Franzen’s first NHL goal was a game winner against Mathieu Garon. Thursday was the 100th career game for Williams, and the 1,400th for Chelios.

This Week’s Matchups:

October 17 vs. San Jose – The Sharks won’t surprise anyone this season if they do well. They were considered on the weak side of the West before winning the Pacific Division in 2003-2004. Obviously not rebuilding, the Sharks are young and will remain tough to beat. Their 0-2 start will quickly be forgotten.

October 21 vs. Anaheim – The Neidermayer brothers finally get to play together in the NHL. Sergei Fedorov and Teemu Selanne should mesh well and they still have Giguere – though maybe a smaller version of him. These are the guys that need to lead this team, and with only nine goals so far as a club, they need to step it up. Detroit has lost six of the past nine meetings (including playoffs), but was 36-7-7 before that.

October 22 at Columbus – What’s worse than nine goals? Seven. They have only allowed twelve, but the Bkue Jackets need to find their game. They traded Geoff Sanderson (who has a point in two games with Phoenix), so it’s up to Rick Nash. Problem is, Nash is out two weeks with an ankle sprain. If Detroit and Nashville continue to play well, Columbus could be in big trouble with the new division-unfriendly schedule.

Wings Blank Coyotes, 2-0

On the night that former Detroit Red Wing Brett Hull announced his retirement from the Phoenix Coyotes, a goal like so many that Hull scored helped the Wings to a 2-0 victory over the Coyotes.

Former Hull linemate Pavel Datsyuk scored with 5:50 remaining in the game on a one-timer reminicent of the goals scored by the future Hall of Famer. Nicklas Lidstrom sent a cross-ice pass from near the point to the left circle, where Datsyuk fired the shot that beat former Red Wing Curtis Joseph and gave Detroit a two-goal lead.

The Red Wings had opened the scoring on a second period power play goal by Henrik Zetterberg. Zetterberg sent the puck from behind the net to Jason Williams, who sent it on to Jason Woolley, who fired it back down to the side of the net where Zetterberg got it. Zetterberg skated out in front of the net and beat Joseph to the far side from the top of the crease.

Detroit finished the game 1-for-6 on the powerplay while Phoenix was unable to score on their three chances.

Manny Legace made 23 saves in the shutout effort and Joseph stopped 18 of 20 shots for Phoenix.

The Red Wings will be back in action when they host the San Jose Sharks on Monday.

Former Wing Hull Announces Retirement

Just hours before his current team – the Phoenix Coyotes – were set to host his previous team – the Detroit Red Wings – future Hall of Fame forward Brett Hull announced his retirement from the sport of hockey. He cited his performance in the first games of the season as his reasoning.

“While we respect the decision Brett has made today, we regret seeing him go,” Phoenix general manager Mike Barnett stated.

Hull had previously stated that this season would not be his “Farewell Tour.”

“Now, in a month or two, you can talk to Gretz, and maybe he’ll tell you that it is my ‘Farewell Tour.'” he told the Arizona Republic in August.

Hull signed a two-year deal with the Coyotes on August 6, 2004, after three seasons with the Red Wings. He also spent three years with the Dallas Stars after the bulk of his career was played with the St. Louis Blues. He broke into the league with the Calgary Flames, who drafted him in the sixth round in 1984.

Just one week earlier, the Coyotes “unretired” the #9 sweater worn by Hull’s father, Bobby, so that the younger Hull could wear it. Bobby Hull played for the organization while it was still in Winnipeg and his number was retired there.

Wings Defeat Kings as Yzerman, Woolley Return

Steve Yzerman and Jason Woolley each played their first game of the season Thursday night as the visiting Detroit Red Wings picked up a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Both players were held without a point on the night.

Johan Franzen‘s first career NHL goal ended up being the game-winner for the Red Wings. With 4:52 remaining in regulation and just 53 seconds after the Kings had tied the game, Franzen took a pass from Mikael Samuelsson that was tipped by Dan Cleary and wristed a shot past the left side of Los Angeles goalie Mathieu Garon, making the score 3-2.

The goal deflated the Kings, who had been buzzing after Jeremy Roenick tied the game at two with 5:45 remaining. Dustin Brown drove the net with the puck and was stopped by Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace. The puck bounced out to Roenick at the top of the crease and deflected off his skate and into the net.

The Red Wings had opened the scoring late in the first period. With 2:15 remaining, Jason Williams broken into the LA zone with Brendan Shanahan and Robert Lang. Williams fired a pass past Lang to Shanahan on the far side of the ice. Shanahan deflected the puck into the top of the net for his first even strength goal of the season.

The Kings tied the game 3:04 into the second, when Tim Gleason sent a long pass to Derek Armstrong at the Detroit blueline. Armstrong gained the zone and passed cross-ice to former Red Wing Sean Avery, who stepped into the slot alone and rifled a shot past Legace.

The Red Wings regained the lead momentarily in the third on a shorthanded goal by Kirk Maltby 5:29 in. Kris Draper chased Joe Corvo from behind the Kings’ net and forced him to make a bad outlet pass at his own blueline. Maltby jumped up from center ice and picked it off, skating in alone on Garon and beating him for his first of the season.

After the Red Wings killed off a late penalty, Henrik Zetterberg added an empty net goal to increase the Detroit lead. Avery started some pushing and shoving that ended with a Los Angeles power play, so the Kings pulled Garon again but Jiri Fischer closed the game’s scoring with a second empty net goal for Detroit.

Legace finished the game with 26 saves on 28 shots, while Garon stopped 16 of the 19 shots he faced. Neither team scored on the power play, Detroit having three chances and Los Angeles having seven.

The Red Wings are back in action on Saturday night from Phoenix, where they will meet former Wings Brett Hull and Boyd Devereaux, longtime Detroit associate coach Barry Smith will be behind the bench, and former Detroit goalie Curtis Joseph could be between the pipes.

Week 2: October 9-15

Sure, the Red Wings can beat a St. Louis team which added a new goalie and lost two all-star defensemen, but what does that mean?

Detroit had a light first week this season with only two back-to-back games, the same way they started out the 2003-2004 season. That year, they quickly beat the Los Angeles Kings and the Ottawa Senators for a 2-0-0-0 start. They have won the season opener for six straight seasons, and have finished the regular season in the top five of the Western Conference for a long time. There isn’t much you can take from the first two games, but here are a few notes:

The new guys are contributing already. Mikael Samuelsson and Brett Lebda have more points than Kris Draper and Nicklas Lidstrom. Jason Williams isn’t new, but he’ll get more ice time this year and had three assists on Thursday.

There should not be a goalie controversy. Manny Legace has proven himself as a great goalie no matter how often he plays, and you can bet on Chris Osgood to win 30 games every year if healthy. Jim Howard might get in a game or two this month, but he looked good in preseason and is well liked so far by the other goalies.

Draper and Kirk Maltby will have to go above and beyond what they’ve normally done as defensive forwards. The Wings were shorthanded 11 times in Thursday’s game at St. Louis, and these two are the best penalty killers on the team.

With the signing of Jason Woolley, the Wings can make the decision to either rest the veterans Chris Chelios and Lidstrom a bit or take time away from youngsters Lebda and Jiri Fischer. These players are all going to have to adjust with the penalties being called, and a deep defensive core will help.

This Week’s Matchups:

October 9 vs. Calgary – Steve Yzerman may not play, but you can be sure Darren McCarty will. He won’t take it easy on his former team, but claims his heart is still wearing red. Many are picking Calgary to once again win the Western Conference, so this should be a good game. (Update: Detroit wins 6-3)

October 10 vs. Vancouver – Finally knocking Colorado off the top of the Northwest Division, Vancouver remains dangerous. Like Detroit, they’ve had good regular seasons and that doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy. They usually give the Wings a hard-fought game; the teams split four games last season.

October 13 at Los Angeles – The Kings may have lost the biggest offensive output of any team in the off-season, parting ways with Zigmund Palffy, Jozef Stumpel, Jason Allison and Martin Straka. To counter, they did sign Pavol Demitra and Jeremy Roenick. If the Kings want any chance of making the playoffs, goalies Mathieu Garon and Jason Labarbera have to immediately make an impact. Lababera won his first game, stopping 27 of 29 shots against Phoenix.

October 15 at Phoenix – Call it the sequel to the Wings’ Red vs. White game in training camp. Lots of familiar faces are in Phoenix now: Brett Hull, Curtis Joseph, Boyd Devereaux and assistant coach Barry Smith. Speaking of coaches, Wayne Gretzky is still in the spotlight – not for what he has done, but what he can do. There have been reports of the players being intimidated by the presense of The Great One, which may explain their 0-2 start. The Coyotes are re-tooling quickly, acquiring Geoff Sanderson from the Blue Jackets in a five-player deal.

Changes: A New NHL, but Wings Remain Similar

With all the opinions on how this NHL season will go, someone has to be right.

You know the words “a new NHL” actually mean something when people are talking about how far the Pittsburgh Penguins will advance in the playoffs, or how the Nashville Predators are the real threat to take the Central Division.

Things are bound to change, but every season brings a few surprises. While the same teams were looked at as Cup contenders each year, there were others that shocked the world once, but not again. No one gave Carolina a shot before 2002, and they don’t get much respect now, despite making the Cup Final that year. Each team is going to see some changes in this new NHL. So, what stays the same in Detroit and what changes?

The roster looks a lot like it has in the past. Detroit may be the measuring stick for any team in the future trying to keep a core together. At the center is Steve Yzerman, as he has been for two decades. Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Tomas Holmstrom and Brendan Shanahan remain from the 1997 championship team at forward, with six-time Norris nominated (and three-time winner) Nicklas Lidstrom on defense.

Chris Osgood remembers that 1997 team, and he’s back in Detroit after spending a few years in New York and St. Louis. Including Ozzie, Detroit has ten players that have been with the team since before 2000. Manny Legace saw Osgood leave and return, and the two will have a healthy fight to become the number one guy. Relative newcomers Robert Lang, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk are the guys who will be looked at to score goals this season. Gone from the long-time roster are Darren McCarty and Mathieu Dandenault, along with a few salary eaters (Dominik Hasek, Curtis Joseph, Brett Hull).

Players that will have to produce when they get their chances include Jason Williams, Johan Franzen, Mark Mowers and Dan Cleary.

If the officials call the game by the book, the defense needs to be ready. While Lidstrom is nearly perfect at his position, Jiri Fischer is still learning and may rack up the penalty minutes. This means the Red Wings are relying on a few older veterans to hold down the fort.

The play of Mathieu Schneider, Chris Chelios and possibly Jamie Rivers and Andreas Lilja will be the true test of this Wings squad. Niklas Kronwall again will miss most of the season, meaning the Wings may even look at some inexperienced defenders, as tight cap space may limit them from testing the free agent market or making a big trade.

A new trio now leads the Wings behind the bench: Coach Mike Babcock and his assistants Paul MacLean and Todd McLellan are all fairly familiar faces. Babcock coached the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim that knocked out the Wings in 2003, and MacLean played for the Red Wings. Interestingly enough, McLellan coached the Houston Aeros past the Grand Rapids Griffins in the 2003 Calder Cup playoffs. These three should lay down the law, making sure the Wings never get too comfortable trying to play their old style.

This Week’s Matchups

October 5 vs St. Louis – Chris Osgood won’t get a chance to open the season against his former team, so it looks like Manny Legace will get the start. The Blues now have Patrick Lalime in front of the net, but not Al MacInnis or Chris Pronger. If the Wings can come out hard and fast, they might be able to exploit the Blues’ young defense which is now led by Eric Brewer.

October 6 at St. Louis – The Blues and Wings get two of their eight meetings over with in a hurry. The Blues home opener may see Reinhard Divis and Jim Howard in the nets. St. Louis is the younger team, and they’ll be excited to open the Savvis Center. A split series with both teams winning their home opener is not out of the question.

Games this week: 2
vs. Western Conference: 2
vs. Central Division: 2
Home: 1
Road: 1