Helm Scores Twice as Red Wings Close 2014 with Win over Devils

Detroit forward Darren Helm scored two goals on Wednesday night, leading the Red Wings to a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.

It was Detroit’s 28th win since they began hosting games on New Year’s Eve in 1957.

After a scoreless first period, New Jersey rookie Joe Whitney opened the game’s scoring with 4:23 left in the second. Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith turned the puck over to Tim Sestito, who moved it to Whitney in the left faceoff circle for a snap past Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard.

Helm got the Red Wings on the board 2:19 later, tucking the puck past New Jersey goalie Cory Schneider on a falling wraparound attempt.

With 5:01 left in the third period, Henrik Zetterberg deflected a Niklas Kronwall shot past Schneider to give the Red Wings a 2-1 lead.

Helm rounded out the scoring just 36 seconds later, speeding around Eric Gelinas for a partial breakaway and putting a backhander past Schneider while being hooked.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night, with Detroit getting four chances to New Jersey’s three.

Howard stopped 12 of the 13 shots he faced. Schneider made 25 saves on 28 shots.

The Red Wings begin a six-game road trip on Saturday in Vancouver.

Detroit defenseman Xavier Ouellet replaced the injured Jakub Kindl in the lineup… Daniel Cleary, Joakim Andersson, and Brian Lashoff were healthy scratches for the Red Wings.

Red Wings Rally For Shootout Win over Devils

The Detroit Red Wings rebounded from down 4-1 for a 5-4 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

Mike Cammalleri scored from the bottom of the left faceoff circle just 28 seconds into the second period to give the Devils their three-goal lead. It was his second goal of the night and New Jersey’s second on the power play.

Only 1:27 later the Red Wings pulled back to within a pair, as Xavier Ouellet scored his first NHL goal. Ouellet pinched up into the slot to take a pass from Darren Helm in the right circle and bang the puck past Devils’ netminder Cory Schneider.

With 7:08 left in the period, Justin Abdelkader scored from nearly the same spot, beating Schneider off a feed from Henrik Zetterberg at the side of the net.

Drew Miller tied things up at 10:07 of the third period, putting the rebound of a Niklas Kronwall shot past a sprawling Schneider.

Gustav Nyquist would score the only goal of the shootout in the third round, beating Schneider glove side. Schneider stopped Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Tatar while Detroit netminder Petr Mrazek stopped Jacob Josefson, Cammalleri, and Michael Ryder.

Jaromir Jagr had opened the scoring at 2:18 of the first period, putting the puck into the open net as Mrazek recovered from blocking an Andy Greene shot with his mask.

Riley Sheahan tied things up 1:32 later, deflecting a Kronwall shot from up high past Schneider from in the slot.

Cammalleri’s first of the night put the Devils back in front. With 6:08 left in the first, Cammalleri’s shot from the top of the right faceoff circle sailed through a screen by Adam Henrique and past Mrazek to make it 2-1 on the power play.

Peter Harrold snapped a shot from the right wing past Mrazek 1:26 later to make it 3-1.

Mrazek finished the night with 21 saves on 25 shots while Schneider stopped 28 of 32 chances.

Both teams scored twice on four power play opportunities.

Defense Carries Red Wings Past Devils

Three of Detroit’s four goals on Friday came from their defense as the blue line led the Red Wings to a 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils.

Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith and Niklas Kronwall all scored for the Red Wings. Johan Franzen had the lone forward goal for the team.

Kindl got Detroit on the board with 1:05 left in the first period. His shot from the blue line deflected off New Jersey defenseman Adam Larsson and past goalie Cory Schneider for a power play goal.

Just 33 seconds later, Smith took a drop from Joakim Andersson and stepped in near the slot to snap a shot past Schneider.

With 8:19 left in the second period and the Red Wings on another power play, Franzen cut through the left faceoff circle, stepped around defender Bryce Salvador, and put a shot in behind Schneider.

Kronwall rounded out the team’s scoring with 2:21 left in the period when his shot wide of the net bounced off the back boards, then off Schneider and into the goal.

Former Red Wing Jordin Tootoo made it 4-2, scoring for the Devils at 2:26 of the final frame, putting the rebound of a Marek Zidlicky shot past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

Steve Bernier had opened the game’s scoring for New Jersey at 3:18 of the first period. Perched at the top of the crease, Bernier picked up the rebound of a Salvador shot and tucked it around Howard.

Howard finished the night with 15 saves on 17 shots against. Schneider stopped 20 of 24 Detroit chances in the first two periods before giving way to Kevin Kincaid in the third period. Kincaid stopped all seven shots he faced.

The Red Wings went two-for-four on the power play. New Jersey was scoreless in three tries with the man-advantage.

Center Pavel Datsyuk was a late scratch for the Red Wings, with Joakim Andersson taking his spot in the lineup… Tomas Jurco was a healthy scratch… Kyle Quincey was also out injured.

Red Wings Fall in Shootout to Canucks

The Detroit Red Wings entered the final week of the NHL’s regular season with a 2-1 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.

Maxim Lapierre scored the only goal of the tiebreaker in the third round, skating in slowly on Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard before making a series of quick moves to snap a shot past him. Ryan Kesler and Derek Roy failed to score for Vancouver while Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Damien Brunner were unable to beat the Canucks’ Cory Schneider.

Alexander Edler opened the game’s scoring with 7:45 remaining in the first period, blasting a one-timer from the top of the left faceoff circle past Howard on a Vancouver power play.

Cory Emmerton evened things up with 21 seconds left in the period. Damien Brunner threw the puck to the front of the net from the right wing boards and Emmerton was there to tip it between his legs and past Schneider to make it 1-1.

There would be no further scoring until the shootout.

The Edler goal was the only power play goal of the night. Vancouver had four tries with the extra attacker to Detroit’s three.

Howard made 13 saves on 14 shots. Schneider stopped 33 of 34 chances.

With the point for the shootout loss, the Red Wings move into ninth in the Western Conference standings, one point back of the Columbus Blue Jackets with one game in hand and one point up on the Dallas Stars, against whom Detroit ends the season.

Forward Drew Miller left the game in the first period and did not return. After the game it was revealed that he will be out for four to eight weeks with a broken hand.

TGTW Week Four: Wings Almost Sweep Western Canadian Trip

The Games That Weren’t is one of many projects simulating the games lost by the NHL lockout. In the absence of actual games to write about, I’ll be checking in periodically on the fictional Red Wings’ season.

The Detroit Red Wings opened up their first four-game Western Canadian road trip with a win in Winnipeg last week and continued their streak into Vancouver and Calgary before dropping the final game of the swing in Edmonton.

Former Canuck Mikael Samuelsson was the hero in his return to Vancouver on Tuesday, scoring a hat trick that included the game-winning goal in the game’s final minute.  Vancouver’s Mason Raymond had opened the game’s scoring at 8:33 of the first before Samuelsson responded at 11:40.  Niklas Kronwall made it 2-1 for the Wings at 9:15 of the second.  Keith Ballard tied things back up 39 seconds into the third, then Samuelsson put the Wings ahead again at 4:47.  David Booth knotted it at three at 9:50.  Samuelsson potted the game-winner on a power play with 46 seconds left in regulation.

Jimmy Howard made 20 saves on 23 shots to get the win while Canucks’ starter Cory Schneider made 25 saves on 29 shots.

Samuelsson notched another game-winner on Thursday in Calgary, when his second-period goal put the Wings ahead in an eventual 4-2 win.  Roman Horak opened the game’s scoring for the Flames at 2:50 of the first period and Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk responded just 53 seconds later.  Henrik Zetterberg put the Wings out front 1:09 later before Mike Cammalleri tied it back up at 5:19.  Samuelsson scored at 4:04 of the second to put Detroit back out in front and Danny Cleary added an insurance marker on the power play at 3:27 of the third.

Again, Howard faced 23 shots, stopping 21.  Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff made 30 saves on 34 shots.

On Saturday in Edmonton, the Oilers got out to a strong start and the Red Wings couldn’t recover.  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins opened the game’s scoring at 7:00 of the first and Ryan Whitney added another goal at 10:07.  Ben Eager made it 3-0 in Edmonton’s favor just 53 seconds into the second period, with Samuelsson finally getting Detroit on the board with 1:25 left in the middle frame.  Zetterberg pulled the Wings to within a goal with 9:04 left in the third but they’d be unable to pull even.  Howard stopped 27 of 30 shots on the night and Edmonton’s Devan Dubnyk made 24 saves on 26 chances.

After four weeks, the Red Wings sit atop the Central Division and team-leading scorer Valtteri Filppula (seventeen points) is atop the league in assists with twelve.  Howard has a 1.92 goals against average and a .914 save percentage, having made every start (though he was pulled in favor of Jonas Gustavsson at the end of the first game of the season).

The fifth week of the schedule will see rematches with the Oilers and Flames and a visit from the Minnesota Wild.

TGTW: Red Wings Atop Central After Week Three

The Games That Weren’t is one of many projects simulating the games lost by the NHL lockout. In the absence of actual games to write about, I’ll be checking in periodically on the fictional Red Wings’ season.

The Detroit Red Wings rode a three-game winning streak into the third week of the NHL schedule and extended it on Monday with a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Livonia-native Ryan Kesler opened the game’s scoring at 3:42 of the first period but a pair of goals just 1:38 apart were enough for the Red Wings to get the win.  Pavel Datsyuk‘s first of the season came with 6:45 left in the opening period and Johan Franzen‘s first of the year came with 5:07 remaining.

Jimmy Howard made 26 saves on 27 shots in the effort, while Vancouver’s Cory Schneider stopped 25 of 27 chances.

The Red Wings’ winning streak came to an end the next night in Columbus.  The Blue Jackets’ win briefly pulled them into first place in the Central Division.

Jack Johnson opened the scoring with 11 seconds left in the first period and Justin Abdelkader replied at 3:11 of the second.  Nick Foligno‘s shorthanded marker and 6:27 of the third put the Jackets back out in front and Derrick Brassard added another at 9:46.  Steve Mason shut the door on the Wings, stopping 23 of 24 shots while Howard made 22 saves on 25 Columbus chances.

Howard rebounded on Friday with a 22-save shutout of the San Jose Sharks as the Red Wings picked up a 2-0 win.  Mikael Samuelsson scored the game’s opening goal at 4:38 of the second period, with former Red Wing Brad Stuart in the penalty box.  Pavel Datsyuk added an insurance marker at 1:02 of the third.

To close out the week on Saturday, the Red Wings picked up a 4-2 win in their first visit back to Winnipeg since the Atlanta Thrashers relocated there.

Abdelkader opened the scoring at 3:48 of the first period, Kyle Quincey had a pair of goals, and team leading scorer Valtteri Filppula also scored.  Evander Kane and Alexei Ponikarovski scored for the Jets.  Howard stopped 23 of 25 while Ondrej Pavelec made 14 saves on 18 shots against.

After three weeks, Detroit sits atop the Central Division, three points up on the Blue Jackets, who have two games in hand.  Howard’s 1.64 goals-against average is second in the league, just 0.02 back of Buffalo’s Ryan Miller.  His two shutouts are tied for the league lead.

Red Wings’ Howard Blanks Canucks

Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped all 25 shots he faced Thursday night, leading the Red Wings to a 2-0 win over the visiting Vancouver Canucks.

The Red Wings have now kept their opponents scoreless in eight of the nine periods they’ve played. Howard allowed three goals in the third period on opening night against the Ottawa Senators, Ty Conklin blanked the Colorado Avalanche then next night, then Howard added his shutout of the Canucks.

Detroit’s offense came in a dominant second period that saw them outshoot Vancouver 24-8. There was not a single faceoff in the Red Wings’ zone that period, a sign of their control of the puck.

Justin Abdelkader opened the game’s scoring at 8:37 of the middle frame. Abdelkader took a cross-ice feed from Todd Bertuzzi on a rush as Pavel Datsyuk drove to the net, drawing the defense to him. Left open in the left faceoff circle, Abdelkader snapped a shot past Cory Schneider.

Valtteri Filppula made it 2-0 just 2:18 later, dishing the puck off to Johan Franzen and then getting it right back in the right circle to put a fluttering shot past Schneider’s glove.

Cody Hodgson appeared to get the Canucks on the board in the closing seconds of the middle frame. Hodgson fired a shot that Howard got only a piece of as it fluttered into the net. Replay showed that time had expired before the puck crossed the goal line, however.

Though the Red Wings picked up the win, they remained scoreless on the season on the power play. They had seven chances with the extra attacker while Vancouver had four.

Schneider finished the night with 35 saves on 37 shots.

Detroit will be back in action on Saturday when they visit the Minnesota Wild.

Abdelkader briefly fought Maxim Lapierre in the first period… Abdelkader had previously scored on Schneider in the 2007 Frozen Four, when his goal in the final minute gave Michigan State the NCAA Championship over Schneider’s Boston College… The Red Wings have scored ten goals on the season, each by a different player.

Lerg, Abdelkader Lead Spartans to National Championship

Detroit Red Wings prospect Justin Abdelkader scored with just 18.9 seconds remaining and goaltender Jeff Lerg made several key saves as the Michigan State Spartans claimed the university’s third National Championship with a 3-1 win over the Boston College Eagles.

“Jeff Lerg has been our MVP all season and he showed why tonight,” Abdelkader said.

The victory for MSU ended a 13-game Boston College winning streak.

Abdelkader’s goal gave the Spartans their first lead of the game and snapped a personal eight-game scoring slump.

After Abdelkader rang a shot off the crossbar, MSU held the puck deep in the Eagles’ zone. Tim Kennedy got the puck behind the net and threw it out front to Abdelkader, who banged it past BC netminder Cory Schneider from the slot.

Chris Mueller added an empty-net goal with 1.2 seconds remaining, wrapping up the win for the underdog Spartans.

“What a gritty group of kids,” said MSU head coach Rick Comley.

Boston College had opened the scoring when a Brock Bradford shot from the right circle deflected off the leg od Brian Boyle before hitting Lerg’s glove and going into the top of the net at 6:50 of the second period.

The Spartans tied things up at 9:53 of the first period, when Abdelkader tied his man up on a faceoff in the neutral zone and Tim Kennedy jumped in to pick up the puck. He raced into the Eagles’ zone and wristed a shot from the left side of the slot past Schneider.

Abdelkader was voted the MVP of the finals after the game.

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