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.

Captain’s Debut a 5-4 Win

He looked a little awkward at times, and his timing was definitely off. But yes, it really was Steve Yzerman out there on the ice at Joe Louis Arena, winning nine of the fifteen faceoffs he took (important) and (more important) inspiring his team on to a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

The Red Wings were perhaps buoyed by the fans’excitement at the Captain’s return, because they definitely dominated the first period of play. Los Angeles goaltender Jamie Storr was sharp in the net, but Brett Hull finally put one past him as the period was winding down. Nicklas Lidstrom shot the puck deep into the right corner, and it bounced off the boards and out just past the goal line. Hull took his shot from a very tight angle. It didn’t look like a particularly good scoring chance, but the puck slid between Storr’s legs and in for the goal.

Igor Larionov increased the Red Wings’ lead early in the second. Brendan Shanahan passed from behind the net to Sergei Fedorov, and Fedorov sent the puck across the goal crease to Larionov. Larionov put the puck in high from right in front of the net.

The Kings got to go on the power play shortly after that, when Maxim Kuznetsov was sent to the box for holding the stick, and Mathieu Schneider was able to put his team on the board. He shot the puck from the blue line after taking a pass from Zigmund Palffy. Manny Legace was screened by both Lidstrom and Bryan Smolinski, and wasn’t able to see the puck on its way through.

Kirk Maltby and Tomas Holmstrom put the Wings back out front before the period was over. Maltby’s goal resulted from a tangle of players in front of the Los Angeles net. Storr didn’t cover up the puck, and it squirted free to Maltby, who put it over all the bodies for the goal. Holmstrom’s power play goal came less than two minutes later. Hull’s shot bounced off Storr’s chest. Holmstrom came around from the back of the net hoping to pick up the rebound, but as he skated, the puck bounced off his skate blade and into the net. The goal was reviewed by the officials, who determined that Holmstrom had not kicked the puck in.

The Kings didn’t give up, and the Red Wings’ defense started to break down a little. Ian Laperriere was allowed to get right up in front of the net with no one to cover him. When Aaron Miller sent the pass through, Legace was able to stop the first shot by Laperriere, but the second one went high and out of Legace’s reach.

The late period goal energized the Kings, and they came on strong in the third period. Legace made some very strong saves, but the onslaught finally broke through with just 6:52 left to play. Laperriere and Eric Belanger got through on a 2-on-1 break. Kuznetsov dropped down to take away the passing lane, but Belanger’s shot deflected off the big defenseman and up into the net.

Fedorov put the Red Wings ahead for good just as a slashing penalty to Yzerman had expired. Fedorov got the puck through center and up to Shanahan, who left the drop pass just inside the Los Angeles blue line. Fedorov picked up the puck, tipped it past a Kings’ defenseman, regained it, and backhanded it past Storr.

Derek Armstrong added one more goal for the Kings with 2:06 left in the game. They pulled their goalie to send in an extra skater in the last minute, but the Red Wings tightened up and came out with the win.

The final count of shots on net was 31-30 in Detroit’s favor. The Red Wings play next on Thursday evening, when their Original Six rivals the Toronto Maple Leafs pay a visit to the Joe.


Holmstrom’s goal was his 17th of the season, setting a new personal best record…. League Standings at the three-quarter mark of the season: In the East, the #1 Senators would play the #8 Lightning, the #2 Devils would play the #7 Bruins, the #3 Capitals would play the #6 Islanders, and the #4 Maple Leafs would plat the #5 Flyers. In the West, the #1 Stars would play the #8 Oilers, the #2 Canucks would play the #7 Wild, the #3 Red Wings would play the #6 Mighty Ducks, and the #4 Blues would play the #5 Avalanche.