Sending a Message

Same teams, same score, different day, different ending.

In a reversal of Sunday’s game, the Red Wings closed out their home and home series with potential playoff first round opponents the Minnesota Wild with a 4-0 win.

The Red Wings had more jump to their game from the start. Igor Larionov got Detroit out to an early lead less than two minutes into the game. Mathieu Schneider made a good pass to spring Larionov on a breakaway. Larionov, with two Minnesota defensemen in hot pursuit, took a slapshot from just inside the left circle. The shot rattled past Dwayne Roloson and into the net.

Detroit extended their control of the game””the Wild didn’t have a single shot on goal until more then ten minutes had gone by. Marian Gaborik was then able to get through on a breakaway attempt, but Curtis Joseph turned the shot aside.

Sergei Fedorov increased Detroit’s lead with a power play goal early in the second. The play was concentrated on the right side of the ice, so Fedorov quietly made his way to the left side. Larionov saw his teammate open and sent a pass across the goal crease, and Fedorov wristed a shot into the net before Roloson or any of the other Wild could react.

After that, Roloson had a very strong second period. He turned away seventeen shots by Detroit. His teammates, however, mustered few chances to come back in the game. They took only seven shots on Joseph in the period, and of those seven, only three were high quality chances.

Henrik Zetterberg deflated the Wild further just 27 seconds into the third period. Schneider carried the puck deep into the zone and took a shot on net almost from the goal line. The rebound bounced straight out front for Zetterberg to flip into the net.

Tomas Holmstrom added a goal midway through the period. Larionov made the pass from behind the net to Holmstrom at the left circle, and Holmstrom took a well-placed wrist shot. Roloson had been being screened by both Mathieu Dandenault and Luc Robitaille. He and his defensemen pushed them both out of the way, but Roloson was out of position, and Holmstrom’s shot sailed into the net, giving him his first ever 20 goal season.

The final count of shots on net was 33 to 18 in favor of Detroit. The Red Wings’ next game will be late Thursday night, when they take a quick West Coast swing to face the San Jose Sharks.

The game was Joseph’s 40th career shutout and his 4th of the season…. Larionov’s 10th goal of the season gives the Red Wings a league-leading 12 players with 10 or more goals.

Wings Look to Avoid Another Wild Night

The second half of a home at home series between Minnesota and the Detroit Red Wings is set to pan out Tuesday night at the Joe. The Wild brought the mighty Wings back down to earth Sunday night at the Xcel Energy Center, stuffing four pucks into the net in route to shutting out the Red Wings. Back in Motown, Detroit will be looking for a chance to break down Minnesota’s conservative defensive style.

After the convincing win against Detroit Sunday night, the Wild found themselves locked into a playoff spot for the first time in their three-year history. Backed by the solid play of goaltenders Manny Fernandez and Dwayne Roloson, nobody will be looking past the Wild in this year’s quest for the cup. Minnesota has picked up two-points against the Dallas Stars twice this month, and they were also able to get the better of the New Jersey Devils. If the playoffs were to start today, the Wild would be in position to take on Vancouver.

Detroit would like to rebound from Sunday’s loss against the Wild in a big way. Having their six game winning streak snapped caused them to once again be dead even with the Dallas Stars for first place in the West. Vancouver is also breathing down the Red Wings neck, as they find themselves only one point behind both clubs. Curtis Joseph will likely get the start in net after Manny Legace was only able to deny 17 of a possible 20 shots on Sunday. Steve Yzerman will also be back in the lineup.

-Player To Watch-
Minnesota- #30 Dwayne Roloson. Dwayne’s 33 save performance against Detroit Sunday night was no fluke, just look at the numbers he has put up this season. If he gets the start, look for him to attempt to shut it down once again.

Detroit- #19 Steve Yzerman. After getting that first goal out of the way, will the floodgates open?

-Out or in Doubt-
Minnesota- Bill Muckalt RW (Shoulder/Out), Brad Bombardir D (Back Spasms/Out), Cliff Ronning C (Flu/Questionable), Rickard Wallin C (Hand/Out)

Detroit- Jiri Fischer D (Knee/Out), Thomas Holmstrom LW (Flu/Questionable)

-Between da Pipes-
Minnesota-#35 Manny Fernandez (18-11-2, 2.37 GAA, .920 SV%, 1 SO), #30 Dwayne Roloson (21-14-8, 1.89 GAA, .931 SV%, 4 SO)

Detroit- #31 Curtis Joseph (30-17-6, 2.58 GAA, .910 SV%, 3 SO), #34 Manny Legace (13-5-3, 2.06 GAA, .929 SV%, 0 SO)

-Most Points This Season vs. Opposition-
Minnesota- C Wes Walz with 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) vs. Detroit

Detroit- Six players tied with 2 points vs. Minnesota

The game will be televised at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time locally on UPN50.

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