Wings Make it Two in a Row

Manny Legace made 30 saves for his first shutout of the season, Steve Thomas had two goals and an assist, and Kris Draper scored his 10th goal of the season to help the Red Wings gain a 6-0 win over the New York Islanders.

Pavel Datsyuk set up Thomas’s first goal of the evening. Jiri Fischer dumped the puck into the Islander’s zone. Datsyuk picked it up as it bounced off the end boards and centered it to Thomas. Islanders goalie Garth Snow was completely focused on Datsyuk, and Thomas was able to flip the puck into a nearly empty net.

Thomas scored his second late in the period by taking advantage of a turnover by the Islanders. He intercepted a clearing pass by Oleg Kvasha and zinged a quick shot past Snow.

Brendan Shanahan scored a power play goal early in the second period with Janne Niinimaa in the box for high-sticking. Steve Yzerman got the puck out from the left boards to Kris Draper, and Draper made a careful pass across the goal crease to Shanahan, who flipped it into the net.

Datsyuk added a goal a few minutes later. Thomas took a shot which Snow stopped. Chris Chelios kicked at it in the goal crease, and Datsyuk scooped up the puck and put it high into the net.

The Islanders tried applying sporadic offensive pressure early in the third, getting their best two scoring chances of the game. Legace had to be sharp to stop Jason Blake‘s shot from right in front of the net and Marius Czerkawski’s attempt from the left side a few minutes later.

Draper’s goal came midway through the third, when he took a pass from Kirk Maltby, got into the New York zone all alone and slid the puck beneath Snow. Brett Hull finished off the game by scoring from Datsyuk with just 2:11 left to play.

New York outshot Detroit by a count of 30 to 27. The Red Wings’ next game will be tomorrow night when they face the Blues in St. Louis.

This was Thomas’s 1200th career game… Shanahan’s goal was the 541st of his career, tying him with Stan Mikita for 20th on the all-time goal scorers list… Tomas Holmstrom could be out for up to a month with a separated shoulder. Nathan Robinson came up from the Grand Rapids Griffins to fill the hole in the lineup.

Never Satisfied: Wings on Quest to Earn President’s Trophy

After coming out of New York with a huge point against the Rangers, the New York Islanders hope to take steps in securing their playoff spot Thursday night in Detroit. The Islanders need to amass only three points in their final three games to knock the Rangers out for good. They take on a Red Wings team that is also hungry for points as the season winds down. Already conquering the Central Division, Detroit needs only to win their remaining three games to win the West. Doing so would also put them into contention for their second straight President’s Trophy.

On Monday night, Curtis Joseph posted his 5th shutout of the season as the Red Wings beat up on a shaky Predators team, winning 3-0. The victory was Detroit’s 20th in the past 24 games. The Red Wings have locked up first place in the Central Division, but surprisingly are still unsatisfied with their positioning heading into the playoffs.

”We’ve been climbing the ladder the last month or so. We wanted to finish first overall. That’s still our goal.”- Detroit Goaltender Curtis Joseph.

The Red Wings learned of some great news recently, as coach Dave Lewis announced that we should see Defenseman Jiri Fischer slip back into the line-up very soon. Lewis sighted Saturday’s game against Columbus or Sunday’s game against Chicago as the probable return dates. Lewis also went on to say that Fischer would not be playing in Thursday’s contest against the Islanders. Fischer went down with a knee injury early in the season in a game against the Bruins

The Islanders blew a two-goal lead in the third period against the Rangers, yet were still able to salvage an important tie. With three games left on their schedule, the Isles won’t be looking to pass up any more opportunities to solidify their spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Thursday’s game against the Red Wings will provide the opportunity for the Islanders to get two more points out of the way. If they are able to accomplish just that, they will only need a tie or an overtime loss against either the Thrashers or the Hurricanes to remain in the 8th and final slot.

-Players to Watch-
New York (I): #44 Janne Niinimaa (5 goals, 27 assists)- Solid defenseman who will be looked upon to contain some of the top offensive talent in the league in Detroit.

Detroit: #20 Luc Robitaille (9 goals, 20 assists)- Scored a big goal against the Islanders this season. Maybe “Lucky” Luc will have something up his sleeve during Thursday night’s game as well.

-Out or in Doubt-
New York (I): Kevin Haller D (Groin/Out)

Detroit: Jiri Fischer D (Knee/Out)

-Season Series-
Game 1:December 17, 2002- Tie 2-2

-Between da Pipes-
New York (I): #30 Garth Snow (15-16-5, 2.33 GAA, .917 GAA, 1 SO), #39 Rick DiPietro (2-4-2, 2.74 GAA, .902 SV%, 0 SO)

Detroit: #31 Curtis Joseph (33-18-6, 2.47 GAA, .913 SV%, 5 SO), #34 Manny Legace (14-5-3, 2.06 GAA, .929 SV%, 0 SO)

-Most Points This Season vs. Opposition-
New York (I): Six players tied with 1 point vs. Detroit

Detroit: Six players tied with 1 point vs. New York (I)

The game will be televised nationally at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN.

Former Wing Osgood Traded to St. Louis

Former Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood was traded by the New York Islanders to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. The trade marks Osgood return to the Central Division, where he began his career with Detroit.

Osgood was traded to the Blues in return for defenseman Justin Papineau and a draft pick.

In thirty-eight games this season with the Islanders, Osgood has compiled a 17-14-4 record and a 2.92 goals-against average. He split playing time with Garth Snow and Rick DiPietro and spent some time out of the lineup with an injured ankle.

Osgood won the Stanley Cup in 1997 and 1998 with the Red Wings. After backing up Mike Vernon through the 1997 playoffs, he battled through several bad goals to help Detroit to the Cup in 1998.

St. Louis has used six different goaltenders this season. Osgood will be their seventh netminder, likely taking the starting role away from Brent Johnson.

Osgood Taken by Islanders in Waiver Draft

The New York Islanders used their first overall pick in the NHL’s Waiver Draft to select Red Wings netminder Chris Osgood.

Osgood, made expendable by Detroit’s aquisition of Dominik Hasek, will join an Islanders team burdened by poor preseason performances from goalies Rick DiPietro and Garth Snow.

Should DiPierto or Snow have a turnaround, the Islanders are rumored to have already worked out a deal to send Osgood to the Red Wings Central Divison rival St. Louis Blues. The Blues currently have the young goaltending tandem of Brent Johnson and Fred Brathwaite.

The Red Wings had also left defensemen Steve Duchesne and Uwe Krupp available, but escaped without losing either.

Waiver Draft Today

Chris Osgood‘s fate will likely be decided later today when the NHL conducts it’s annual Waiver Draft via conference call.

The Red Wings were unable to trade Osgood afer he became expendable with the aquisiton of Dominik Hasek, the best goalie in the league. The Red Wings opted to protect Manny Legace as a cheaper backup to Hasek, leaving Osgood available to be picked up by any of the other NHL teams.

The New York Islanders pick first in the draft and are interested in Osgood after poor preseason performances by Rick DiPietro and Garth Snow. Central Division rival St. Louis is also interested as the Blues lack a playoff-proven goaltender.

Even if no one picks him in the Waiver Draft, the Red Wings would likely keep trying to trade Osgood because he would count against the twenty-three man roster limit.

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