Holmstrom’s Late Goal Lifts Red Wings over Flames

Tomas Holmstrom tipped a Johan Franzen shot past Calgary goalie Mikka Kiprusoff with 1:19 left in regulation Monday night, giving the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 win over the Flames.

With the win, the Red Wings extend their lead over the Flames in the standings to three points. Detroit sits in eighth place with 80 points while Calgary is in ninth with 77.

After Brad Stuart held the puck in the Calgary zone, Franzen gained control and spun at the left point before blasting a shot that was heading wide of the net. Holmstrom reached out at the edge of the crease and tipped it into the top of the net.

Calgary had opened the scoring just 1:47 into the first period, when Craig Conroy shoveled the rebound of a Nigel Dawes chance past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, after the Red Wings failed to clear their own zone.

The Flames had the chance to make it 2-0 with 1:30 remaining in the second. On a Detroit power play, Curtis Glencross broke down the ice and was hooked by Jason Williams, leading to a penalty shot.

Streaking in on Howard, Glencross snapped a shot from the high slot that Howard knocked aside.

Only 40 seconds later, Pavel Datsyuk got the Red Wings on the board, skating from the top of the right faceoff circle to the edge of the slot to lift a shot past Kiprusoff through a Holmstrom screen.

Howard finished the game with 22 saves on 23 shots. Kiprusoff stopped 26 of 28 Detroit chances.

The Wings scored on their only power play chance of the night. The Flames were scoreless on four chances with the extra attacker, including a third-period four-minute power play.

The Red Wings are now off until Friday when they visit the Edmonton Oilers.

Shifted Lines Help Red Wings Rally Against Flames

The Detroit Red Wings started Wednesday night’s matchup with the same lines they had used all season but a change midway through the game sparked a comeback to earn a 4-3 overtime win over the Calgary Flames.

Coach Mike Babcock had the team practice with different sets of lines all week so that he could see what worked after trying to switch things up on Saturday against Chicago and being unhappy with the results.

Marian Hossa – usually on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom – skated with Henrik Zetterberg and Dan Cleary. Johan Franzen left Zetterberg’s line to join Datsyuk’s. The updated lines generated two third period goals as the Red Wings forced overtime.

Down 3-1 midway through the third period, Zetterberg put the rebound of a Cleary chance past Calgary netminder Curtis McElhinney to pull the Wings to within a goal.

Brian Rafalski rifled home a shot from the right point with 6:17 remaining in regulation to tie the game.

Nicklas Lidstrom scored the game-winner in a similar fashion, blasting a long shot past McElhinney with Datsyuk screening.

The Flames had taken a 2-0 lead into the first intermission on goals by Craig Conroy and Daymond Langkow. Valtteri Filppula tipped a Kris Draper shot past McElhinney to make it 2-1 after two periods. A power play goal by David Moss made it 3-1 at 8:51 of the third.

Ty Conklin stopped 29 of 32 shots in the Detroit net. McElhinney made 35 saves on 39 chances for Calgary.

Flames Extinguished: Red Wings Claim Series Win on 2OT Goal

The Detroit Red Wings eliminated the Calgary Flames from the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Sunday, scoring at 4:23 of the second overtime period to wrap up the two teams’ Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup.

Detroit snapped a trend with the win. Prior to game six, the home team had won every game of the series. Calgary was unable to hold off a relentless Red Wings’ attack and finally fell on home ice.

Either the Dallas Stars or the San Jose Sharks will be Detroit’s next opponent. If Dallas wins their game seven matchup with the Vancouver Canucks on Monday, they will advance to face the Wings. Should the Canucks win, they will play the Anaheim Ducks, leaving the Sharks to travel to Detroit.

Johan Franzen gave the Red Wings the win. Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom sent an outlet pass from the Red Wings’ blue line across the ice and off the boards for Franzen to pick up and carry into the Calgary zone. Franzen cut across the top of the right faceoff circle before blasting a shot from the slot over the shoulder of Flames’ netminder Miikka Kiprusoff.

It was Franzen’s second goal of the playoffs, coming on Detroit’s 55th shot of the night.

Calgary got on the board first at 3:09 of the second period. Daymond Langkow threw a pass from behind the net out to Jarome Iginla, who reached to grab it with his stick at the top of the left circle and whip a shot past Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek.

Robert Lang tied things back up with 3:07 remaining in the middle frame. Chris Chelios sent an outlet pass to Todd Bertuzzi along the right wing boards. Bertuzzi poked it along to Lang, who jumped into the Calgary zone and wristed a shot from the right faceoff dot between Kiprusoff’s pads.

Even with four minutes of power play time for each team in the first overtime, no one could put the puck home. Thoughtout the game both goalies made several key stops.

Hasek finished the night with 20 saves on 21 shots against. Kiprusoff made and incredible 53 saves on Detroit’s 55 shots.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night. Detroit had five attempts to do so while Calgary had four.

The Red Wings were without defenseman Brett Lebda for the game, out with a mild concussion and an ankle injury. Kyle Quincey was called up from Grand Rapids to take his place on the blueline… Tomas Holmstrom left the game in the first overtime period after taking a stick to the head from Craig Conroy, suffering a cut above the eye.

Power Plays Help Flames Even Series with Red Wings

The Calgary Flames capitalized on two long five-on-threes Thursday night, scoring twice on the power play en route to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings to even their Western Conference Quarterfinal series at two games apiece.

Daymond Langkow put the Flames on the board with his first goal of the night at 8:29 of the first period. With the Flames skating with a two-man advantage, Alex Tanguay threw the puck out from behind the net to Langkow, who banged it past Detroit netminder Dominik Hasek as the first penalty expired.

Todd Bertuzzi scored his first playoff goal as a Red Wing just 2:38 later. New linemate Robert Lang put the puck out front from behind the net and Bertuzzi took it on his backhand, shifted to the forehand, then roofed a shot over goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.

A blast from the top of the left circle by Craig Conroy deflected off defenseman Brett Lebda and past Hasek with 6:27 remaining in the period to put the Flames up by a goal but the Red Wings would even things up.

Bertuzzi carried into the Calgary zone and sent it across to Johan Franzen for a wrister from the left side of the slot past Kiprusoff with 4:23 remaining.

With the game tied at two after 20 minutes, Langkow’s second of the night would put the Flames out front for good.

In a play almost identical to his first goal, Tanguay sent the puck from behind the net out front to Langkow for a one-timer past Hasek. Scored at 8:19, the goal came with two Red Wings in the penalty box.

Detroit was unable to even things back up and the Flames held on to get the victory.

The Calgary goals came on two of their six power play attempts, which included two long five-on-three chances. Detroit also had six power plays but no two-man advantages.

Kiprusoff stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced on the night. Hasek stopped 18 of 21.

The Calgary win forces a game six in the series, to be played in Calgary on Sunday night. Game five will be in Detroit on Saturday afternoon.

Power Plays Lead Flames over Red Wings

The Calgary Flames rode two power play goals to a win over the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night, denying Detroit a chance to pass the Nashville Predators for the top spot in the National Hockey League.

Daymond Langkow scored on Calgary’s first power play of the game to get the Flames out in front early. Just 1:47 into the first period he jumped on the rebound of a Dion Phaneuf shot all alone at the top of the crease, flipping it past Detroit netminder Dominik Hasek.

Kristian Huselius added another power play goal with 2:26 remaining in the second period. A long shot by Phaneuf bounced off the back boards as Hasek went down to try to draw an interference call on Calgary’s Jarome Iginla. The puck came over to Alex Tanguay in the left circle, who sent it across for Huselius to lift over the sprawling Hasek.

Pavel Datsyuk scored Detroit’s lone goal between the Calgary tallies, carrying the puck from the Red Wings’ blue line into the Flames’ zone and faking around Craig Conroy before wristing a quick shot past Miikka Kiprusoff.

Calgary’s two goals came on five power play chances. Detroit was held off the board on their lone chance with the Flames in the penalty box.

Hasek finished the night with 21 saves on 23 shots against. Kiprusoff stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Thursday when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets in what could be Todd Bertuzzi‘s first game in the Detroit lineup.

Johan Franzen returned to the Red Wings lineup after missing four games with an upper body injury. Darryl Bootland was a healthy scratch before being returned to the Grand Rapids Griffins after the game… Chris Chelios was given the night off.

Two Red Wings Named U.S. Olympians

Detroit Red Wings defensemen Chris Chelios and Mathieu Schneider were two of the 23 players named to the United States’ mens ice hockey rosrer for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. The roster for the team was announced on Monday.

Chelios, along with Keith Tkachuk of the St. Louis Blues, will be making his fourth trip to the Olympics. He was previously named to Team USA in 1984, 1998 and 2002, as well as for the World Cup of Hockey in 1996 and 2004.

“There’s no doubt the intangibles Chris Chelios brings to any team have to be discussed,” said Wings general manager Ken Holland. “We brought him back for his ability to play, but also because of his leadership and competitiveness. When he’s on your team, he believes your team is going to win, and he has an impact on the players around him.”

“I feel very lucky at my age and am looking forward to the challenge,” said Chelios, who will turn 44 in January.

Schneider, seemingly a lock for the team after his strong play in the 2003-04 season and early this year, will be making his second Olympic appearance for the United States. He was named to Team USA for the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, but did not make the team in 2002. He also played for Team USA at the World Cup in 1996 and 2004.

“With his ability to skate and handle the puck… the way he played two years ago and this year, it became pretty obvious that he had to be on the team,” Holland said.

“We think our depth on defense is as good as it’s ever been,” Team USA general manager Don Waddell said.

Almost half of the team has ties to Michigan, either having come from the state, played for the Red Wings, or played for one of the area’s college teams.

The full roster is as follows:

Goaltenders (3)
Rick DiPietro
Robert Esche
John Grahame

Defensemen (7)
Chris Chelios
Derian Hatcher
Jordan Leopold
John-Michael Liles
Aaron Miller
Brian Rafalski
Mathieu Schneider

Forwards (13)
Jason Blake
Erik Cole
Craig Conroy
Chris Drury
Brian Gionta
Scott Gomez
Bill Guerin
Mike Knuble
Mike Modano
Mark Parrish
Brian Rolston
Keith Tkachuk
Doug Weight

Lang Scores Overtime Winner to Beat Kings

Manny Legace‘s return from a knee injury turned out to be an exciting game, with the Wings letting a two goal lead slip away late in the third period. But thanks to Robert Lang‘s overtime winner, Legace’s stellar performance was not lost.

Lang’s goal came 1:39 into the extra session after Andreas Lilja found Nicklas Lidstrom‘s shot from the point along the boards behind the net. Lilja brought it back around and passed it into the slot where Lang put it past Los Angeles Kings’ goalie Jason Labarbera.

The Kings started the scoring 3:31 into the game while on the power play for a Mathieu Schneider hooking call. Michael Cammalleri took a shot from the left circle while Legace was screened.

Legace then came up big only moments later on a Sean Avery shot. Taking advantage of not going down 2-0, the Wings tied the game with a goal from Steve Yzerman at 8:18. The goal was set up by Daniel Cleary passing the puck around the left boards to the circle where Schneider fed Yzerman who had come in just left of the crease.

Legace and Labarbera traded great saves halfway through the second period to keep the game tied until Johan Franzen scored short handed at 12:34. Franzen was breaking for the slot and took a pass from Cleary.

Sixteen seconds into the third period Tomas Holmstrom scored when he pounced on a loose puck in front of the Kings’ net after Labarbera and Tim Gleason both mishandled the puck.

The Kings score four minutes later as Jeremy Roenick fired a shot from the left point to bring them within one goal again.

Tomas Holmstrom put the Wings up by two again with his second goal of the night from the slot after a nice give-and-go with Pavel Datsyuk on his left at 13:19.

Only 25 seconds later the Kings were within one goal again after Craig Conroy hopped on a rebound in the slot off a Pavol Demitra shot from the right circle. Then at 16:12 the Kings tied the game after Alexander Frolov tipped a Jiri Fischer pass just inside the Wings blue line. As Frolov was getting a handle on the puck, Legace came out to poke check, but Frolov moved around and slid the puck into the open net.

Both goalies faced a high number of shots, with Labarbera turning aside 34 of the Wings’ 39 shots, while Legace stopped 37 of the Kings’ 41 shots.

The Kings’ went one for six on the power play, while the Red Wings who were ranked first in the NHL going into the game, came up empty handed on their four chances with the man advantage.

The Wings next face the Minnesota Wild at home on Friday night.

Lightning Strike in Game Seven: Tampa Bay Claims Stanley Cup

Monday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning completed their comeback from a 3-2 series deficit to the Calgary Flames after five games of their Stanley Cup Finals matchup, claiming Game Seven by the score of 2-1 after forcing the deciding game with a 3-2 double-overtime win in Game Six. It was the only time in the series that a team won two games in a row.

Ruslan Fedotenko, injured earlier in the series but back on the ice, scored both goals for the Lightning, giving Tampa Bay an early lead and putting pressure on the Flames to make risky plays.

Fedotenko opened the game’s scoring on the power play 13:31 into the game. Fredrik Modin fought for the puck along the boards and sent it out to Brad Richards – the eventually Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP – at the right point. Richards fired a shot that was stopped by Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff but Fedotenko picked up the rebound and put it into the net for his 11th goal of the playoffs.

Tampa Bay went up by two with 5:22 remaining in the second when Fedotenko took a beautiful pass from Vincent Lecavalier and fired a shot over Kiprusoff’s glove.

Calgary cut the lead in half on a power play at 9:21 of the third. With Nolan Pratt in the penalty box on a strange interference call, Craig Conroy sent a shot through a screen and past the glove of Lightning netminder Nikolai Khabibulin.

Both teams had their chances as the Flames turned up the pressure in the game’s final minutes.

Tampa essentially clinched the game when Andrew Ference high-sticked Martin St. Louis and was called for charging at 18:59 of the period. Tampa Bay captain Dave Andreychuk went to the box for tripping with 23 seconds left in the NHL’s season but Calgary’s momentum was already gone and the Flames failed to force overtime.

Richards, who led the NHL in the postseason with 26 points and set a new NHL postseason record with seven game-winning goals, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy following the game.

Wings Go Home Empty-Handed After OT Thriller

It wasn’t for a lack of trying, but Miikka Kiprusoff was too hard a nut for the Red Wings to crack. Martin Gelinas scored with 43 seconds left in the first overtime period to give the Calgary Flames the victory in the Western Conference Semi-Finals, four games to two.

The Red Wings were, of course, playing without Steve Yzerman, after the Captain underwent surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone damaged in Saturday’s Game Five. “I’m travelling with the team,” Yzerman said as soon as he came out from under the anesthetic. “No, you aren’t,” said the doctors. The pressure changes of air travel would easily damage the delicate orbital bone. The Captain spent hours on the phone encouraging his teammates late Sunday and early Monday. Before the game, the coaching staff carried a Number 19 jersey into the locker room. “How many of you,” they asked, “are going to play like this guy would play?”

It’s generally expected in Detroit that the Red Wings fall apart without their Captain. This game, they did no such thing. Brendan Shanahan and Kris Draper stepped up and showed the way, leading volley after volley of attacks towards Kiprusoff’s net. Nicklas Lidstrom and Mathieu Schneider barely left the ice, sitting on the bench only long enough to give Derian Hatcher or Jamie Rivers a chance to lay a hard check on one Flame or another and give Mathieu Dandenault or Jason Woolley a chance to get out and skate down loose pucks before the speedy Flames could get to them.

Curtis Joseph excelled under the pressure, making saves at least as phenomenal the saves Kiprusoff made at the other end of the ice. All night long, he stopped backhanders from Jarome Iginla and screened shots from Andrew Ference and Chris Clark. He stopped a high shot by Matthew Lombardi with his helmet.

In the end, Gelinas was only able to score due to a missed defensive coverage. Somehow, he managed to sneak into the Red Wings’ zone and wait by the corner of the net. Craig Conroy was tied up in the corner, but managed to bank a centering pass off the skate of Derian Hatcher. Joseph was facing his right to guard against Conroy and Iginla, which meant that Gelinas was able to fire the puck into an open net.

Now What?

Last year in this situation, writing my last game summary of the season, I strung together a list of predictions for how the Red Wings would pull themselves back together in the off-season.

This year, I don’t feel I can do that. The uncertainty of the collective bargaining agreement and the state of the NHL, not to mention the number of free agents the Red Wings will have come July 1, make it nearly impossible for me to think of what might happen.

The only prediction I have for next season is this one: if there is a season, Stevie Yzerman will play again.

Wishful thinking? Maybe. But the NHL is a changing place. The days of the defensive trap are passing, as young, speedy teams like the Flames, Sharks, and Lightning come to the forefront of the league. The Red Wings’ management is intelligent enough to see this and retool to meet the changing demands of professional hockey. The Captain, old-school player he may be, will wish to be there to help his team on its transition into the future. And the team would be foolish not to keep him and his wisdom.

Flames Regain Series Lead With Shutout

A slow start and defensive errors took their toll on the Red Wings, allowing the Flames to take a 1-0 win in Game Five, giving them a 3-2 series lead.

The Red Wings did not manage to dominate the Flames in the first period as they have often done this series; in fact, Calgary outshot Detroit by a count of 8 to 7. Again, both goaltenders were spectacular. Curtis Joseph held the Red Wings in with a poke check against Martin Gelinas after a giveaway along the boards.

Miikka Kiprusoff didn’t have much to do early in the period, but Detroit started to pressure offensively when they got a power play near the end of the first. Kiprusoff was called upon to make big saves against Steve Yzerman from the side of the net and Brett Hull from the high slot.

The second period started off much as the first had done: the Flames came out with more energy and the Red Wings had to scramble to catch up. Joseph did his part to keep the team in the game with a huge glove save against Jarome Iginla just over a minute into the period.

The Red Wings looked to be finding their skating legs and managing to create some scoring chances against Kiprusoff when the disaster of the game struck. The puck deflected off of a skate in front of the Detroit net and hit Yzerman hard in the face. He fell to the ice and had to be helped off by the team trainer as he clutched a towel to his left eye. Yzerman did not return for the remainder of the game.

The Flames were able to score their only goal a few minutes later. Jiri Fischer hit Iginla along the boards, but Iginla was still able to center a pass to Craig Conroy, who lifted the puck high over Joseph.
The Red Wings seemed to regain some composure for the third period. They did generate more shots against Kiprusoff, but most of the shots were of the non-screened, relatively easy to stop variety. Hull had an excellent chance to shoot into an open net during a power play, but the puck bounced just over his stick.

With the Red Wings’ third period onslaught of shots, Kiprusoff wound up making a total of 31 saves for the shutout. Joseph made a total of 20 saves on 21 shots.

Game Six of the semi-final series will be played Monday night in Calgary.

With Ville Nieminen suspended for running at Joseph in Game Four, the Flames brought Dave Lowry into the lineup. Rhett Warrener also made his way back into the lineup after missing two games with a scratched cornea?. Chris Chelios was again scratched for Detroit due to an upper body injury.

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