Game On!: Wings Down Blues to Usher in “New” NHL

The National Hockey League returned to Hockeytown Wednesday night as the Detroit Red Wings earned a 5-1 victory over the Central Division rival St. Louis Blues.

The Red Wings got on the scoreboard early with a goal by Pavel Datsuyk. Just 1:35 into the game, Pavel Datsyuk took a pass from Henrik Zetterberg that deflected off the skate of a defender and one-timed it between the pads of St. Louis netminder Patrick Lalime.

Mathieu Schneider put Detroit up by two at 7:04 of the first. Schneider got the puck from Datsyuk on the far side of the right circle and one-timed a shot over Lalime’s left shoulder.

St. Louis tried to mount a comeback 4:12 later. On a rush, Eric Brewer took a pass from Petr Cajanek and broke in through the slot alone. After a quick fake, he put the puck over Detroit goalie Manny Legace‘s glove to make the game 2-1.

The Red Wings would control the rest of the game, scoring three times in the second period.

Mikael Samuelsson scored his first goal as a Red Wing 2:40 into the middle frame. Dan Cleary knocked a St. Louis player off the puck and Samuelsson picked it up, whipping it past Lalime from near the top of the right circle.

Brett Lebda, playing in his first career NHL game, scored the first goal of his career to give Detroit a 4-2 lead with 7:54 remaining in the period. Lalime got a piece of his shot from the right circle but not enough to keep it out of the net. It was, however, enough to take Lalime out of the net, as he was replaced by Reinhard Divis.

Cleary, continuing his strong play of the night, tested Divis early, stealing the puck behind the net and coming out front for a wraparound chance. His backhand shot blocked into the air, Cleary knifed the rising puck behind Divis. The shot was wide and wouldn’t have counted as a goal anyway, as it was played with a high stick.

Robert Lang, possibly the Red Wings’ most forgotten star, scored the game’s final goal, putting in his own rebound after a flurry of shots from around the net.

There was no scoring in the third period but the game did start to get chippy.

Keith Tkachuk layed out Datsyuk, a hit with which Brendan Shanahan took exception and the two engaged in a shoving match. Minutes later, Jamal Mayers challenged Shanahan and the two threw down their gloves. Mayers got some early hits in but Shanahan landed punches late and scored the takedown. Shanahan also earned a game misconduct, allegedly for trying to extend the fight as the officials were breaking it up.

At the end of the night, the Red Wings were one-for-seven on the power play and Legace stopped 13 of 14 shots. The Blues were scoreless on their six powerplay chances while Lalime made twenty saves on twenty-four shots and Divis stopped twelve of the thirteen chances he faced.

The two teams will meet again Thursday night in St. Louis.

2005-06 Schedule Announced

The Detroit Red Wings announced their schedule for the upcoming 2005-06 National Hockey League season on Wednesday.

The Red Wings will return to the ice for the first time since falling in six games to the Calgary Flames in the 2004 Western conference Semifinals on October 5 as they host the St. Louis Blues. The two teams will face off again the following night in St. Louis.

The schedule is focused around intra-division matchups, with Detroit facing Central Division foes Chicago, Columbus, Nashville and St. Louis eight times each. The Wings will play at least one “home-and-home” series against the the teams of their division. In the case of Chicago, they will play a “home-and-home-and-home” series starting in late October and leading into November.

Detroit’s opponent for their annual New Years Eve game will be the Columbus Blue Jackets. They face the rival Colorado Avalanche for the first time on November 23 at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings will get a rematch with the Flames in just their third game of the season, as Calgary visits Detroit on October 9.

The league will take a two-week break in February for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy. To make room for the Olympics, no All-Star Game will be played.

The Red Wings final regular season game will be April 18 when they visit the Nashville Predators.

Detroit announced their preseason exhibition schedule Tuesday.

They will play nine games against five opponents starting on September 19.

The complete preseason schedule is as follows, with home games in bold:

September 19, Tampa Bay, 7:30
September 21, Colorado, 7:30
September 22, Columbus, 7:00
September 23, Dallas, 7:30
September 25, Dallas, 5:00
September 27, Colorado, 7:00
September 28, Columbus, 7:30
September 30, Toronto, 7:30
October 1, Toronto, 7:00