Slump Continues Against Canucks

Things went from bad to worse for the Red Wings and beleaguered backup goalie Manny Legace on Monday night. The team turned over the puck repeatedly, hung their goalie out to dry, and suffered a 5-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

The game started out slowly for both teams. The Red Wings had two power plays, but the Canucks did a good job of breaking up the passes and sending the puck down to the other end of the rink.

Vancouver’s first goal seemed to originate with a piece of bad luck. A linesman accidentally got in Darren McCarty‘s way, giving Markus Naslund the chance to steal the puck away from McCarty. Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi crossed into the zone on a two-on-one against Chris Chelios. Chelios was unable to take the passing lane away, Naslund sent the puck across, and Bertuzzi put the puck into the net over Legace’s left shoulder at 18:32.

The second period was completely dominated by Vancouver, while Detroit just couldn’t seem to muster a defense or an offense and continued to turn the puck over at very bad times. Brendan Morrison opened the second period goal-fest by putting in the rebound from a Naslund breakaway shot before anyone could get the puck to safety.

Jason King increased the Canuck’s lead when Jason Williams missed a pass from Tomas Holmstrom. King one-timed the errant puck into the net.

Naslund picked up a goal to go with his two assists when Mattias Ohlund picked off another pass at the blue line. Ohlund passed across to Naslund just inside Detroit’s zone. Mathieu Dandenault attempted to block Naslund’s shot with his stick, but instead he wound up deflecting it up over Legace’s shoulder.

King added his second goal on Vancouver’s only full power play of the game, with Steve Yzerman in the box for hooking. Henrik Sedin got the puck up to the corner of the net, and King kept whacking at it until it rolled underneath Legace.

Brett Hull spoiled Dan Cloutier’s shutout with 12:52 left in the game. Kirk Maltby passed from the high slot to Hull at the left side, and Hull wristed a shot into a tiny puck-sized space between Cloutier and his goalpost.
The Red Wings straightened up and did a better job of protecting their goalie in the third period, but it was far too late for it to make a difference in this game.

Williams got some extra playing time in the third period. The coaching staff kept Yzerman on the bench to rest his knee, letting Williams play center for both his normal line with Holmstrom and Boyd Devereaux, and for Yzerman’s line with Ray Whitney and Brendan Shanahan. Yzerman, however, was very much in evidence on the bench, shouting out suggestions and advice to try to keep his team from falling apart altogether.

Vancouver outshot Detroit by a count of 25-23. The Red Wings will finish their road trip tomorrow night when they visit the Calgary Flames.

Team owner Mike Illitch was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame tonight.

Wings’ Slumps Snap in Overtime Win

An assist by Luc Robitaille ended his twelve game scoring drought and helped end the Red Wings’ nine game home winless streak against the Chicago Blackhawks with a 5-4 overtime win. The Red Wings had not beaten the Blackhawks at the Joe since April 2, 1999.

The first period went by scoreless, though it wasn’t due to a lack of effort by either team. Curtis Joseph and rookie goaltender Michael Leighton both came up huge for their respective teams. Leighton managed to stop Kirk Maltby on a point-blank shot just as the period was about to end.

Chicago came out with good pressure to start the second period, and they were able to capitalize on a disjointed, scrambling play. Andre Nikolishin passed the puck from behind the net, and Kyle Calder, just off the bench, was able to get to it and slide it underneath Joseph.

The Red Wings answered quickly, scoring their first of the night less than two minutes later. Sergei Fedorov carried the puck into Chicago’s zone and sent a good feed up to Jason Woolley. Woolley circled the net and scored on the wraparound by putting the puck between Leighton’s glove and the goalpost.

Nicklas Lidstrom gave Detroit its first lead of the game a few minutes later by one-timing a good pass Luc Robitaille sent from the left corner out towards the blue line. Unfortunately a rare faceoff violation penalty against the Wings led Chicago to tie the game up, with Calder scoring again, this time from Phil Housley and Alexei Zhamnov.

Detroit started the third period with two minutes of four-on-four followed by a three minute power play. Just before the buzzer to end the second period, Maltby and Theo Fleury had a battle. Maltby wound up with two minutes for slashing, while Fleury took a five minute spearing major and a game misconduct. Even so, the Wings didn’t regain their lead until a few minutes after the power play had expired.

Maltby stole the puck at Chicago’s blue line and went in alone on Leighton, and this time Leighton wasn’t so lucky. The puck bounced off of him, curved up into the air, and came down inside the net.

The Blackhawks answered with another power play goal. Sergei Berezin and Steve Thomas brought the puck in on a two on one rush. Mathieu Dandenault dropped to block the passing lane, but somehow Berezin made the pass anyway, and Thomas put the puck past Joseph.

Brett Hull got Detroit another one goal lead with unwitting help from two Chicago defenseman. Henrik Zetterberg passed Hull the puck, and Hull brought it out from the corner. He made a tight angle shot, but Mike Eastwood got his stick in the way so that the shot went wide””just wide enough to bounce off Housley’s rear end and into the net.

Housley evidently didn’t want the game’s deciding goal to be one scored off of his rear, because he tied the game back up for the Blackhawks with just over three minutes to play. Calder centered a pass from behind the net and Housley fired off a quick one-time shot to send the game to overtime.

Joseph made an excellent stop against Zhamnov early in the overtime, and Fedorov took the puck over, heading up ice with Lidstrom and Brendan Shanahan.. Fedorov made the pass, Shanahan made the shot, and Lidstrom followed up and flipped the puck in over Leighton.

Chicago outshot Detroit by a count of 38-33. These two teams will skate again Wednesday night in Chicago.

Two more goals for Brett Hull, and he’ll be celebrating the 700th of his career…. Dave Lewis was not necessarily pleased with tonight’s game, though he’ll take the two points gladly. “That was too wild for me,” he said. “As a team, we were too porous and we lost a lot of battles. But we found a way to win.”…. Steve Yzerman will travel with the Wings on their upcoming western road trip so that he can continue to workout with his teammates and begin a regular practice routine.

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