Red Wings Blank Blues as Trip Continues

The Detroit Red Wings returned to the road Wednesday night, resuming a five-game road trip that was broken up by the Christmas break and picking up a 5-0 win over the St. Louis Blues.

Goalie Chris Osgood made 20 saves to earn his second shutout of the season. It was the 45th of his career.

Nicklas Lidstrom, fresh off of signing a two-year contract extension, scored the game’s opening goal just 2:26 in. On a bad line change by the Blues Lidstrom got in behind their defense and stepped into the left faceoff circle for a blast over Manny Legace‘s shoulder.

Jiri Hudler put Detroit up by a pair 5:01 later. Mikael Samuelsson carried the puck down the right wing and sent it out front to Hudler. His tip shot was blocked but the Czech knocked in the rebound.

Valtteri Filppula scored two quick second period goals, chasing Legace from the crease.

At 5:31, with the Red Wings on a power play, Pavel Datsyuk carried the puck down the right wing into the Blues’ zone and faked out defender Christian Backman, sending a pass to the far side of the net for Filppula to tap in.

Just 2:06 later, Samuelsson tied up the puck on the left wing boards and Hudler came in to pick it up. Hudler took it down low and then passed it out to the slot for Filppula to put past Legace.

The former Red Wing was replaced by Hannu Toivonen for the remainder of the game.

Brian Rafalski would score the only goal against Toivonen at 9:11 of the third period, with the Red Wings skating 4-on-3. After passing back and forth with Lidstrom at the top of the circles, Rafalski dropped to the left faceoff dot for a one-timer into the top of the net.

Toivonen stopped 10 of the 11 shots he faced while Legace made 12 stops on 16 Detroit shots.

Two of Detroit’s goals came on their three power play chances. St. Louis had five power play opportunities, including one five-on-three.

The Red Wings’ road trip continues in Denver on Thursday when they face the Colorado Avalanche.

Detroit was without forwards Tomas Holmstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, and Kirk Maltby for yet another game.

Red Wings’ Streak Reaches Three with Win over Blues

The Detroit Red Wings extended their winning streak to three games on Saturday night, defeating former Detroit goalie Manny Legace and the St. Louis Blues, 3-2.

The Red Wings got to Legace early, scoring on each of their first two shots of the game.

Tomas Holmstrom beat Legace at 4:22 of the first period, rifiling a shot from the slot into the top half of the net.

Just 1:59 later, Valtteri Filppula‘s first career NHL goal put Detroit up by two as he skated around two St. Louis defenders and into the left faceoff circle before cutting back in front of Legace to lift a shot over him.

Bill Guerin pulled the Blues to within one with 6:25 remaining in the second, deflecting a Christian Backman shot from the point past Detroit netminder Chris Osgood.

The teams traded goals in the third, with Holmstrom picking up a rebound goal at 6:34 and Radek Dvorak scoring on a shorthanded breakaway off a turnover at 16:34.

Detroit continued their recent trend of improvement on the penalty-kill, holding St. Louis scoreless on five chances. The Blues were also perfect while shorthanded, stopping all five Detroit attempts.

Osgood finished the night with 28 saves on 30 shots while Legace stopped 22 of 25 shots.

The win allowed team owner Mike Ilitch to avoid a St. Louis sweep of his teams after Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers failed to win a game in three tries in the Gateway City this week… Both starting goalies played for their opponent at one time in their respective careers. Legace was with Detroit from 1999-2006 while Osgood was with St. Louis from 2003-2004.

Four Red Wings Named to Swedish Olympic Team

The Swedish Olympic men’s ice hockey team will feature four current Detroit Red Wings when they take to the ice in February. Defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Niklas Kronwall as well as forwards Mikael Samuelsson and Henrik Zetterberg were named to their native country’s roster.

Additionally, Red Wings prospect Stefan Liv was announced as the team’s third goaltender.

Lidstrom has twice before represented Sweden in the Olympics. Zetterberg was a member of the team in 2002, before his first season in the NHL with Detroit. Samuelsson and Liv will be making their first Olympic appearances.

Team Sweden’s complete roster is as follows:

Goaltenders (3)
Stefan Liv
Henrik Lundqvist
Mikael Tellqvist

Defensemen (7)
Christian Backman
Kim Johnsson
Kenny Jonsson
Nicklas Lidstrom
Niklas Kronwall
Mattias Norstrom
Mattias Ohlund

Forwards (13)
Daniel Alfredsson
Per-Johan Axelsson
Peter Forsberg
Mika Hannula
Jorgen Jonsson
Fredrik Modin
Markus Naslund
Samuel Pahlsson
Mikael Samuelsson
Daniel Sedin
Henrik Sedin
Mats Sundin
Henrik Zetterberg

Tight Game, Tight Win: Wings Down Blues, 2-1

The St. Louis Blues had been unbeaten in the month of December, but they won’t be able to carry that streak into the new year. The Red Wings snapped the Blues’ streak and tightened their own grasp on the lead in the Central Division with a 2-1 win at Joe Louis Arena.

The Blues came out with plenty of pressure to start the game. The Red Wings, meanwhile, seemed inclined to wait for good scoring chances before joining the rush rather than open up the play and leave Curtis Joseph undefended. St. Louis outshot Detroit 10 to 4 in the first, but Joseph and Chris Osgood were both solid.

The Red Wings ran into a little penalty trouble in the second period, thanks to St. Louis disturber Mike Danton. Apparently he did something to get Mathieu Schneider‘s temper flared, because Schneider knocked him down and was sent to the penalty box for interference. Joseph made a save against Doug Weight, but Eric Nickulas got the rebound and banked the puck off the end boards. Joseph was still down low from the first save, and Dallas Drake was able to wrist the puck in high under the crossbar.

The Blues thought they’d be able to increase their lead when Jamie Rivers was sent out for cross-checking (Rivers also knocked down Danton), but Pavel Datsyuk had other ideas. Scott Mellanby was unable to keep the puck in the Red Wings’ zone, and it squirted free to Datsyuk flying up center ice on a shorthanded breakaway. Christian Backman kept up enough to hook Datsyuk up pretty well, but Datsyuk still got a backhand shot away right in front of the goal crease. The puck hit Osgood’s leg pads, then bounced up, over his head, came down off his back, and fell into the net.

The game was even tighter after that””the Wings and Blues didn’t fall back into playing a defensive game, but the offensive chances were so even and the goaltending was so solid that the tied score wasn’t broken until only 5:15 was left in the game. Datsyuk worked hard along the boards in the St. Louis zone to dig the puck free from two defensemen. Brett Hull got the pass in the left corner and circled behind the net before making a quick pass across the crease to Ray Whitney. Whitney had a mostly open net, and he flipped the puck in to take the lead.

St. Louis pulled Osgood for an extra skater in the last minute of play. Joseph and his defenders were kept busy holding off a desperate Blues attack, but hold it off they did, winding up with 23 shots to the Blues’ 25. The Red Wings come away with two valuable points against the team they will most likely need points against when playoff time comes around. The Central Division race looks like it will be a close one all the way into April, which makes any win against St. Louis that much more important.

The Red Wings will have a few days off for the NHL’s Christmas break before resuming the season on Friday against the Minnesota Wild.

The Blues were without regulars Keith Tkachuk and Petr Cajanek…. Hull has scored at least a point in every game he has ever played against Osgood…. With tonight’s win, the Wings lead the Blues 48 to 44 in the Conference standings. The Blues have played six games fewer than the Wings, but it does work out that all of those six are road games.

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