Congratulations, Scotty Bowman!

The Red Wings gave Scotty Bowman a gift before leaving for the Olympic break: their 2-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild was Bowman’s 400th win as Detroit’s head coach.

The first period went quickly- there were few stoppages in play and only one penalty stop for a pair of offsetting roughing calls on Tomas Holmstrom and Jason Marshall. Both teams had quality scoring chances, but goaltenders Dominik Hasek and Dwayne Roloson kept the game scoreless.

Both the Red Wings and the Wild allowed shorthanded scoring chances during the few penalties in the second. The first goal of the game, though, came at even strength, with just over three minutes left in the second period. Luc Robitaille carried the puck low into the Minnesota zone and passed it behind the net to Steve Yzerman. Yzerman angled a pass in front of the net to Kirk Maltby, who slapped the puck past Roloson.

The Wild made very little attempt to outplay the Wings in the third, even though they were down by only one goal. Aside from some Minnesota breakaways notable only because of the great saves Hasek made to keep the puck out of the net, Detroit controlled the play.

The Red Wings put the game away with 2:38 left to play. Yzerman carried the puck from the left corner back towards the blue line, then sent a superb pass across the rink right to the stick of Mathieu Dandenault. Dandenault lifted the puck high and sent it into the net past Roloson.

Rather than risk the Wild pulling their goaltender and possibly sending the game to overtime with the aid of a sixth skater, the Red Wings kept tight control of the puck in center ice and in the Minnesota zone, and got the win to carry them into the Olympic break.

Shots on net were twenty-four to twenty-one in Detroit’s favor. The Red Wings’ will resume the season on February 26, when they go to play the Tampa Bay Lightning.

A total of eleven players from Detroit’s active roster, along with one prospect, will be representing their teams in the Olympics: Chris Chelios and Brett Hull for the USA, Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan for Canada, Igor Larionov, Sergei Fedorov, and Pavel Datsyuk for Russia, Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, and Freddy Olausson, as well as prospect Henrik Zetterberg (currently playing in the Swedish Elite League) for Sweden, and Dominik Hasek for the Czech Republic. This is more Olympians than any other team in the NHL.


Hasek’s fourth shutout of the season is the sixtieth of his career, making him the shutout leader among active goaltenders. Center Brent Gilchrist, placed on waivers to make room in the lineup for rookie Sean Avery, was taken today by the Dallas Stars. Manny Legace did not back up for this game due to a strained hip flexor; the backup goalie position was filled by Jason Elliott.

HOW Many Goals????

Steve Yzerman scored his 650th career goal, Brett Hull scored his 1200th career point, and Manny Legace extended his unbeaten streak to seventeen games, as the Red Wings downed the Minnesota Wild, 8-3.

The game started off slowly enough. Detroit put offensive pressure on Minnesota throughout the first, but were unable to score until Tomas Holmstrom backhanded a rebound of Pavel Datsyuk‘s shot past goalie Dwayne Roloson.

It was in the second period that Detroit began to unleash their true offensive capabilities. Only thirty-six seconds in, Yzerman scored his historic goal. Minnesota’s Sylvain Blouin was in the penalty box for hooking. Brendan Shanahan passed from the left wing side back to Yzerman at the blue line, and he rifled the puck past Roloson.

Nicklas Lidstrom added to Detroit’s total four and a half minutes into the period. He took a pass from Luc Robitaille, and fired the puck from the blue line, off a Wild player’s stick, and over Roloson’s shoulder for the goal.

Yzerman added goal 651 halfway through the second. Kris Draper was in the penalty box for hooking, but Hull was able to hit a Minnesota power play player and knock the puck loose, so that Yzerman was able to pick it up and break away to fake out Roloson and hit the back of the net.

Robitaille made a contribution to the goal collection during a cross-checking penalty to Marian Gaborik. Robitaille took up position near the net, and Yzerman was able to thread a pass right between two Minnesota defensemen who had left Robitaille and the puck uncovered, and just like that, the Red Wings had a five goal lead with which to start the third period.

The Wild did not give up. They took Roloson out for goalie Manny Fernandez, to shake things up for their players, and scored three goals in the first ten minutes of the third period. Richard Park was able to flip the puck over Legace and into the net only 1:18 into the period. Aaron Gavey took a pass from behind the net and stuffed the puck home for the goal 5:55 in.

Then, just as the Red Wings were starting a power play resulting from an interference call on Park, Holmstrom was called for holding the stick. He argued with the referee and was given an additional two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct and a ten minute game misconduct, sending him out for the rest of the game. During the Wild’s resulting power play, Andrew Brunette was able to slide the puck past Legace off a pass from Gaborik.

Just as the Detroit fans were starting to wonder if the Wild might be able to come back from trailing by five, the Red Wings’ offensive juggernaut kicked into gear and set those fears to rest. Robitaille got his second goal of the night by tipping in a Chris Chelios blue line shot with 6:20 left in the game.

The goal-scoring momentum continued, and Shanahan scored only twenty-seven seconds later by positioning himself in the perfect place to grab up the rebound from Freddy Olausson‘s shot and get the puck over the sprawling Fernandez from the side of the net.

Then, as if making sure that the Wild will never forget that Detroit is Hockeytown, Hull and Boyd Devereaux got a two-on-one rush down the ice. Hull passed cross-ice to Devereaux, who flipped the puck in behind Fernandez, who had apparently been expecting Hull to shoot, not pass.

Detroit was able to end the game with a full 3:20 of power play time, two minutes of which were five-on-three. Brad Brown started and continued a fight with Draper, and was given two minutes for instigating, five minutes for fighting, a ten minute misconduct, and a game misconduct. Jim Dowd was sent to the box for elbowing with only 2:20 left to play, but the Red Wings did not score again.

Legace now has a record of 5-0-0 for the season. He stopped 17 of 20 shots. Roloson was only able to stop 19 of 24 in the first two periods, and Fernandez blocked 13 of 16 in the third.

Detroit has two more games at home before heading back out on the road. They will host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.