Maltby Scores Twice in Detroit Win

The fourth line of the Detroit Red Wings was not expected to contribute offensively in the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs, instead being used in a defensive role. Kirk Maltby showed on Friday night that maybe they can do both, as he scored the game-tying goal in the third period and the game-winning goal in the second overtime while the Red Wings defeated the Edmonton Oilers in Game One of their first round matchup.

The game-winner came just 2:39 into that second overtime period, when a seemingly-soft shot from the right circle slipped between the pads of Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson.

“Our coaches have harped on us all year: Get it to the net, just get it to the net,” Maltby later said. “As soon as I got it, that’s all I was thinking. Just had that little voice in my ear, just get it on net, especially when it’s in overtime. It just found a way in.”

Maltby’s first goal of the game evened things up with 6:17 remaining in the third period. Maltby redirected the rebound of a Johan Franzen shot past Roloson with the shaft of his stick.

It was one of the few times that Roloson offered a solid rebound chance. He held or played the puck on most of the 57 shots he faced.

The Red Wings had opened the game’s scoring at 4:05 of the first period with a power play goal by Robert Lang.

In a play that worked many times throughout the regular season for Detroit, Brendan Shanahan sent the puck from behind the net to Steve Yzerman at the side of the goal, who moved it across to Lang to bang it home.

Edmonton countered on a power play of their own with 8:16 later, when former Detroit Viper Sergei Samsonov scored.

On another power play at 8:43 of the second, Chris Pronger gave Edmonton their first lead of the series.

Detroit netminder Manny Legace, making only his fifth career playoff start, finished the night with 23 saves on 25 shots.

Edmonton went two-for-six on the power play while Detroit scored once on as many chances with the man-advantage.

Game Two of the series will be on Sunday from Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

The Red Wings were without center Pavel Datsyuk, who continues to nurse a leg injury… Detroit has now won their last six games that ended in the second overtime.

NHL Playoff Matchups Decided

On the final night of the National Hockey League’s regular season the matchups for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs were finally determined.

With the Carolina Hurricanes’ loss to the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators’ win over the New York Rangers, Ottawa claimed the Eastern Conference’s top spot. They matchup with the Tampa Bay Lighting, who lost to the Washington Capitals to keep from passing the Montreal Canadiens, who will now face Carolina.

The Rangers’ loss to the Senators, combined with wins by the Philadelphia Flyers over the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils over the Canadiens, dropped them from the third spot to number six while the Devils jumped to the third-seed to match up against them.

Philadelphia ended up with the fifth seed and will face Buffalo, who had already locked up the fourth seed.

The Western Conference pairings had been decided a night earlier, when a loss by the Colorado Avalanche to the Edmonton Oilers combined with a win by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim over the Calgary Flames locked Colorado into the seventh seed and Anaheim into the sixth, the final open seeds.

The top-seeded Detroit Red Wings will meet the eighth-place Edmonton Oilers. The number two Dallas Stars will match up with Colorado while third-place Calgary will get a rematch with Anaheim. The fourth-seeded Nashville Predators will face the streaking San Jose Sharks.

Red Wings’ First Round Schedule Set

The schedule for the Detroit Red Wings’ first round playoff series with the Edmonton Oilers has been set.

Surprising team analysts and coaches, Game One will be played at Joe Louis Arena on Friday, April 21, at 7:00 PM.

The team had previously been told that they would only open on Friday if the New York Rangers finsihed in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers dropped to sixth place to get a matchup with the third-seeded New Jersey Devils but the Red Wings didn’t get the Saturday afternoon game they were expecting.

“I don’t like that (having one less day), and if I was in charge it wouldn’t be like that, but I’m not in charge and they didn’t ask me,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “That’s the way it is and we’ve played all year to get ready for the playoffs. We have home-ice advantage and we have to take advantage of what we’ve earned.”

Game Two will be at 1:00 PM on Sunday, April 23, also from Joe Louis Arena.

The series shifts to Edmonton’s Rexall Place for Games Three and Four, set for Tuesday, April 25, at 10:00 PM, and Thursday, April 27, at 9:30 PM.

If required, Game Five will be back in Detroit on Saturday, April 29, at 3:00 PM.

Game Six would be in Edmonton on Monday, May 1. Officially, the time of the game is to be determined but the Detroit Free Press reports that it is set for 10:00 PM.

A deciding Game Seven is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, May 3, at 7:30.

Red Wings to Face Oilers in First Round

The Detroit Red Wings will face the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Edmonton had been battling with the Colorado Avalanche for the seventh seed in the Western Conference but the Avalanche earned a point in their overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night, lifting two points ahead of the Oilers.

Edmonton and Colorado face off against each other on Monday but the most the Oilers can do is tie the Avalanche for points; Colorado holds the tiebreaker with more wins than Edmonton.

The Red Wings have never beaten the Oilers in a playoff series. The two teams met in the Campbell Conference Finals in 1987 and 1988 with the Wayne Gretzky-led Oilers picking up 4-1 series victories each time.

Combined with San Jose’s win over Anaheim earlier in the night, it means that two of the conference’s four matchups have been determined. The Sharks locked up the fifth seed, meaning that they will be hosted by the Nashville Predators.

The Avalanche are now one point behind the Mighty Ducks and hold the tiebreaker over them with one game remaining for each team.

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