Red Wings Open Preseason with Win over Flyers

The Detroit Red Wings opened their preseason with a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers less than 24 hours after closing training camp.

The Wings’ possible fourth line of Kris Draper, Justin Abdelkader and Patrick Eaves came through Wednesday night, factoring in on two of the three goals as Detroit rallied after trailing 1-0.

Following a slow first period, James Van Riemsdyk put the Flyers on the board at 3:26 of the second, breaking in all alone to beat Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard after a Tomas Holmstrom turnover.

Draper evened things up 6:10 later, banging the rebound of a Brian Rafalski chance past Philadelphia goalie Ray Emery.

Abdelkader set up the Wings’ second goal with 1:52 left in the second period. Abdelkader grabbed a loose puck behind the Flyers net and sent it out to Jamie Tardif for a one-timer past Emery.

Jeremy Williams finished off the game’s scoring at 3:35 of the third period, scoring on Philadelphia’s Brian Boucher.

Aside from the slow start, the other disappointing stat for the Wings was a power play that went 0-7 on the night, including two four minute man advantages.

Howard stopped six of the seven shots he faced in just over 30 minutes of play. Daniel Larsson made fourteen saves over the remainder of the game.

In addition to scoring the Wings’ second goal, Tardif also fought Ian Laperriere early in the third period.

Franzen Scores Three as Red Wings Win Game Two

Johan Franzen scored his first playoff hat trick on Saturday, continuing his hot streak that started in March and leading the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game Two of their Western Conference Semifinal matchup.

Franzen scored the game’s first goals – both on the power play – to get the Red Wings rolling.

At 4:22 of the first period, Franzen tipped a hard shot by Mikael Samuelsson past Avalanche goalie Jose Theodore.

Just 4:04 into the second period, he added another one, coming out from behind the net with the puck to roof a backhander over Theodore.

Valtteri Filppula made it a three-goal lead only 1:38 later slipping a backhander past Theodore after a Dallas Drake shot bounced off the back boards.

With 9:49 left in the period, Henrik Zetterberg rifled a shot into the net while on a two-on-one with Tomas Holmstrom, leading to Theodore’s early exit for the second game in a row.

Cody McCormick tried to give the Avalanche life, challenging Darren McCarty to a fight and earning the takedown, but Colorado couldn’t bounce back and couldn’t stay calm, taking five undisciplined penalties throughout the second half of the period.

Ian Laperriere got the Avalanche on the board at 2:38 of the third but it would be their only goal.

Franzen completed his hat trick at 8:47 of the closing frame, scoring on a two-on-one with Zetterberg while the Red Wings were shorthanded.

Zetterberg carried the puck into the Colorado zone down the left wing. He faked around Joe Sakic and put a shot into goalie Peter Budaj. Franzen followed up with a rebound chance and the puck popped into the air, where he smacked it past Budaj for the game’s final goal.

Theodore stopped 16 of 20 shots before being replaced by Budaj, who made 19 stops on the same number of chances. Detroit netminder Chris Osgood also stopped 19 of 20 shots.

Game Three of the series will be Tuesday in Denver.

The last Red Wing to score a playoff hat trick was Darren McCarty, who scored three times in Game One of Detroit’s 2002 series with Colorado… Before the game, Colorado’s Cody McLeod scooped up an octopus from the ice – in direct violation of the new NHL rule – and taunted the Red Wings bench with it.

Red Wings End Streak in Colorado

The Detroit Red Wings ended their losing streak at six games Monday night, earning a 4-0 victory over the host Colorado Avalanche to complete a sweep of the season series between the two teams.

Goaltender Chris Osgood made 18 saves to pick up the shutout after being pulled from each of his last two starts. It marked Detroit’s third blanking of the Avalanche this season.

Detroit’s victory came even after losing captain Nicklas Lidstrom to injury in the first period. Lidstrom left the game with what the team called a slight knee sprain after a hit from Ian Laperriere.

Aaron Downey later fought Laperriere.

The Red Wings got on the board with 7:57 left in the first period on Chris Chelios‘ second goal of the season. Pavel Datsyuk sent out a pass from down low that Tomas Holmstrom let slide past him in the slot to Chelios at the blue line. His shot slipped through traffic and past Jose Theodore to give Detroit the lead.

Valtteri Filppula put the Red Wings up by a pair with just 56 seconds left in the opening frame, gathering up the rebound from his own shot from the slot to roof it over Theodore at the side of the net.

Henrik Zetterberg scored a pair of goals in the second to wrap up the scoring.

At 7:42 he scored with the Red Wings on a two-man advantage, taking a cross-crease pass from Pavel Datsyuk to score into the open side of the net.

Just 2:16 later he added another, taking a drop pass from Datsyuk and cutting through the slot, waiting for Theodore to dive before putting a shot past him.

Theodore finished the night with 36 saves on 40 Detroit shots.

The Red Wings finished the game two-for-five on the power play. The Avalance couldn’t score on any of their three tries.

Red Wings Enter All-Star Break with Loss to Avalanche

In their last game before the All-Star break and their second in as many nights, the Detroit Red Wings couldn’t hold off the Colorado Avalanche, allowing a late go-ahead goal and falling 3-1.

The teams were tied at a goal apiece when Andrew Brunette gave the Avalanche their second lead of the night at 9:52 of the third period, just seconds after the expiration of a penalty to Andreas Lilja. With Detroit attempting to clear the puck from their crease, Brunette crashed in and knocked it into the net.

The Red Wings were never able to even things back up, and Joe Sakic added an empty net goal with 42 seconds remaining.

Ian Laperriere had given the Avalanche their first lead of the night at 9:45 of the first period, putting a backhander past goaltender Joey MacDonald off the rebound from a tremendous save.

Detroit evened things up 5:40 later when Valtteri Filppula slipped a shot from the left circle past Colorado goalie Peter Budaj.

Neither team scored a power play goal, with Detroit having three chances with the extra attacker and Colorado having five, including the final three of the game.

Budaj stopped 27 of 28 shots against in the win, while MacDonald – starting in place of the sick Chris Osgood – made 28 saves on 30 shots.

After the All-Star Game, the Red Wings will be back in action next Friday when they visit the St. Louis Blues.

Penalty Killers Lead Red Wings over Avalanche

The Detroit Red Wings took a 4-3 lead over the Colorado Avalanche into the third period on Saturday and their penalty killers helped them keep it through two Colorado power plays in the period, including a five-on-three chance.

Goaltender Manny Legace led the way for the Red Wings in the third, stopping all nine shots he faced including two big Avalanche chances during a flurry with the two-man power play.

The Avalanche had two chances with a two-man advantage on the game and could not score on either. Detroit’s game-winning goal came on their only five-on-three chance.

With the game tied at three and 2:58 remaining in the second period, Robert Lang scored the game’s final goal to put Detroit in the lead. With Colorado down to three men on the ice, Pavel Datsyuk was free to send a pass from down low through the crease to Lang on the other side, where he was open to bank the puck in off the skate of Colorado netminder David Aebischer.

The Red Wings had opened the game’s scoring just 49 seconds into the game. Behind the goal, Kris Draper sent the puck to Brendan Shanahan, who passed it into the slot for Datsyuk. Datsyuk quickly sent it back on net and past Aebischer to put Detroit on the board.

The Avalanche pulled back into a tie 46 seconds later, when Ian Laperriere tipped a soft shot from the point by John-Michael Liles past Legace.

Tomas Holmstrom put the Red Wings back out in front with 2:57 remaining in the period. Mark Mowers carried the puck away from the goal through the bottom of the right circle before spinning to send a pass through the crease to Holmstrom on the far side, open for an easy tip-in.

With 1:09 left in the period, Detroit took a two-goal lead on their first power play. Mathieu Schneider sent a shot on goal from the high slot through a screen. The puck deflected off Colorado blueliner Patrice Brisebois and into the net.

Colorado came back in the second period, starting with a power play goal at 1:29. Brisebois fired a shot from the point that Andrew Brunette deflected at the top of the crease to beat Legace.

With 6:37 remaining in the period and the teams skating four-on-four, Rob Blake scored to tie the game. Blake sent a shot from the point that may have deflected off of Chris Chelios and past Legace.

Lang’s game-winner came 3:39 later.

The Red Wings ended the game two-for-five on the power play and held the Avalanche to one goal on eight power play chances.

Legace made twenty saves on 23 shots while Aebischer stopped 28 of 32 shots.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Monday when they host the Nashville Predators.

Mowers was in the lineup for the second-straight game as Henrik Zetterberg rests a hip flexor. Zetterberg is expected to play on Monday… Monday’s matchup is the rescheduled November 21 game. As such, Nashville will begin the game with a 1-0 lead.

Red Wings Bounce Back with 7-3 Win over Avalanche

The Detroit Red Wings had a lot of reasons to be down heading into Wednesday night’s matchup with the archrival Colorado Avalanche.

On the ice, they were on a season-high four-game winless streak. Of the ice, concerns about defenseman Jiri Fischer‘s health were still at the front of everyone’s mind. And just 1:30 into the matchup they had another thing to come back from, as the Avs already had a 1-0 lead.

Detroit was able to get past all of that and pick up a 7-3 win over Colorado, a win that comes at the time when it is most needed.

After Andrew Brunette opened the game’s scoring with a power play goal, Detroit took over.

Mikael Samuelsson scored the first of his four points just 48 seconds later, at 2:18. Jason Williams skated around the Colorado net for a wraparound attempt and picked up his own rebound as he skated along the goal line to Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj‘s left. He sent a crossing pass through the crease and Samuelsson was on the far post to knock the puck in.

Robert Lang scored on a two-on-one with Samuelsson at 5:32 of the second to give the Wings their first lead of the game.

Ian Laperriere tied it 2:22 past the game’s midway point. Alex Tanguay controlled the puck behind the net and sent it out to Laperriere, who blasted home a shot from the slot.

Detroit regained the lead on Dan Cleary‘s first goal as a Red Wing just 2:19 later. Samuelsson ripped a shot on net from the right circle and it was kicked aside. The long rebound came to Cleary in the left circle, who rifled it through the scrambling Budaj.

A power play goal by Brendan Shanahan put Detroit up by two with 1:30 remaining in the period. Nicklas Lidstrom fired a shot from the blue line that Shanahan tipped in front of the net, setting the score at 4-2 after two periods of play.

The Avalanche pulled to within one when John-Michael Liles scored at 7:14 of the third. Joe Sakic sent a pass from the right circle to Liles on the edge of Detroit goalie Manny Legace‘s crease. Liles put the puck on net and Legace got a piece of it but not enough.

With 4:16 left, another two-on-one put the Red Wings back up by two. Pavel Datsyuk made a quick move at the Detroit blue line to break past a defender and he and Jason Williams faced Budaj and a lone defenseman. Datsyuk got the puck to Williams, who redirected it into the net from the top of the crease.

Samuelsson added his second goal and fourth point of the night with a wicked wrist shot from the slot just 55 seconds later and Johan Franzen added a shorthanded empty-net goal with 54 seconds remaining.

Legace ended the night with 24 saves on 27 shots, while Budaj stopped 22 of the 28 shots he faced.

The Detroit power play went one-for-three on the night. Colorado, whose power play had been slumping of late, scored on two of their seven opportunities.

The Red Wings will be back in action for an afternoon game from Anaheim on Friday.

Jamie Rivers took Fischer’s spot in the Red Wings lineup and Kyle Quincey was called up from Grand Rapids to serve as an extra defenseman… Fischer was released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon and has been placed on the 24-day disabled list. Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill expects the situation to be sorted out in a month to six weeks.

Special Teams Lead ‘Yotes over Wings

Three power play goals and two shorthanded goals lifted the Phoenix Coyotes to a 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings Friday night. The Coyotes ended the night three-for-six on the powerplay with goals on three of their first four chances with the man-advantage.

Phoenix’s first powerplay goal opened the game’s scoring just 47 seconds into the first period. With Detroit’s Ray Whitney in the box for hooking, Daymond Langkow deflected a Shane Doan shot from the point past Detroit netminder Curtis Joseph, giving Phoenix the 1-0 lead.

Detroit came back buzzing after the Phoenix goal and evened things up at 6:45 of the first. Pavel Datsyuk kicked a pass from Steve Thomas from his skate to his stick as he crossed the blue line, then carried the puck down the left side of the ice and rifled a shot by Coyotes’ goaltender Brian Boucher.

The Coyotes regained their lead when Radoslav Suchy scored a powerplay goal with 7:26 remaining in the period. Suchy took a pass in the slot and fired a quick shot under the sliding defenseman Chris Chelios and through Joseph’s five-hole.

Another powerplay goal gave the Coyotes a 3-1 lead 3:44 into the second period. Paul Mara took a point shot that went wide on the short side. Joseph moved to follow the puck behind the net but it took a lively bounce off the back boards and came out to Jan Hrdina, who had an open net to put the puck into.

Mathieu Schneider pulled the Wings back to within a goal of the Coyotes, scoring at 8:46 of the second. Schneider darted in from the blue line to one-time a deflected pass in the slot past Boucher.

Daniel Cleary gave Phoenix a shorthanded goal with 1:07 remaining in the second and Branko Radivojevic added a shorthanded empty-net goal with 29 seconds left in the game.

Detroit’s Joseph stopped just four of the eight shots he faced in the first two periods before being replaced by Manny Legace. Legace was perfect on five shots. Boucher stopped 44 of the 46 shots he faced.

The Red Wings will conclude their Pacific Division road trip on Monday night in Dallas.

The game was Detroit’s first at Glendale Arena, the Coyotes’ new home… Jiri Fischer missed the game due to a one-game suspension handed down by the NHL. Fischer was suspended for head-butting Los Angeles’ Ian Laperriere on Thursday night.

Captain’s Debut a 5-4 Win

He looked a little awkward at times, and his timing was definitely off. But yes, it really was Steve Yzerman out there on the ice at Joe Louis Arena, winning nine of the fifteen faceoffs he took (important) and (more important) inspiring his team on to a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

The Red Wings were perhaps buoyed by the fans’excitement at the Captain’s return, because they definitely dominated the first period of play. Los Angeles goaltender Jamie Storr was sharp in the net, but Brett Hull finally put one past him as the period was winding down. Nicklas Lidstrom shot the puck deep into the right corner, and it bounced off the boards and out just past the goal line. Hull took his shot from a very tight angle. It didn’t look like a particularly good scoring chance, but the puck slid between Storr’s legs and in for the goal.

Igor Larionov increased the Red Wings’ lead early in the second. Brendan Shanahan passed from behind the net to Sergei Fedorov, and Fedorov sent the puck across the goal crease to Larionov. Larionov put the puck in high from right in front of the net.

The Kings got to go on the power play shortly after that, when Maxim Kuznetsov was sent to the box for holding the stick, and Mathieu Schneider was able to put his team on the board. He shot the puck from the blue line after taking a pass from Zigmund Palffy. Manny Legace was screened by both Lidstrom and Bryan Smolinski, and wasn’t able to see the puck on its way through.

Kirk Maltby and Tomas Holmstrom put the Wings back out front before the period was over. Maltby’s goal resulted from a tangle of players in front of the Los Angeles net. Storr didn’t cover up the puck, and it squirted free to Maltby, who put it over all the bodies for the goal. Holmstrom’s power play goal came less than two minutes later. Hull’s shot bounced off Storr’s chest. Holmstrom came around from the back of the net hoping to pick up the rebound, but as he skated, the puck bounced off his skate blade and into the net. The goal was reviewed by the officials, who determined that Holmstrom had not kicked the puck in.

The Kings didn’t give up, and the Red Wings’ defense started to break down a little. Ian Laperriere was allowed to get right up in front of the net with no one to cover him. When Aaron Miller sent the pass through, Legace was able to stop the first shot by Laperriere, but the second one went high and out of Legace’s reach.

The late period goal energized the Kings, and they came on strong in the third period. Legace made some very strong saves, but the onslaught finally broke through with just 6:52 left to play. Laperriere and Eric Belanger got through on a 2-on-1 break. Kuznetsov dropped down to take away the passing lane, but Belanger’s shot deflected off the big defenseman and up into the net.

Fedorov put the Red Wings ahead for good just as a slashing penalty to Yzerman had expired. Fedorov got the puck through center and up to Shanahan, who left the drop pass just inside the Los Angeles blue line. Fedorov picked up the puck, tipped it past a Kings’ defenseman, regained it, and backhanded it past Storr.

Derek Armstrong added one more goal for the Kings with 2:06 left in the game. They pulled their goalie to send in an extra skater in the last minute, but the Red Wings tightened up and came out with the win.

The final count of shots on net was 31-30 in Detroit’s favor. The Red Wings play next on Thursday evening, when their Original Six rivals the Toronto Maple Leafs pay a visit to the Joe.

Holmstrom’s goal was his 17th of the season, setting a new personal best record…. League Standings at the three-quarter mark of the season: In the East, the #1 Senators would play the #8 Lightning, the #2 Devils would play the #7 Bruins, the #3 Capitals would play the #6 Islanders, and the #4 Maple Leafs would plat the #5 Flyers. In the West, the #1 Stars would play the #8 Oilers, the #2 Canucks would play the #7 Wild, the #3 Red Wings would play the #6 Mighty Ducks, and the #4 Blues would play the #5 Avalanche.

Back Down To Earth

All hockey players learn that lucky bounces are fickle things. They also learn that a ready, excited team with faith in its goaltender is much more difficult to play against than less-prepared teams starting a young backup goalie because the regular starter isn’t under contract yet. All the bounces that helped the Red Wings on Thursday night went against them on Saturday night, and they took their first loss of the season from the inspired Los Angeles Kings, 3-2.

The Kings got a very lucky break only twenty-seven seconds into the game. Nick Lidstrom attempted to send the puck around the back of the net. Instead, the puck hit one of the stanchions which hold the glass together and bounced back out front, right to the stick of Jason Allison. Allison was then able to slap the puck into the net past Curtis Joseph.

Detroit had a very good power play and a chance to tie the game when Ziggy Palffy was sent to the penalty box for obstruction holding. Even so, the full two minutes plus sustained pressure by the Grind Line directly afterwards were ineffective against Felix Potvin, who proved to be, as he so often does, a thorn in the sides of the Red Wings’ forwards.

The Red Wings got their first goal with 6:45 left in the period. Pavel Datsyuk set up a short pass to Brett Hull, who was already moving up the right wing side. Meanwhile, Kris Draper streaked up the left side, unseen by the Kings’ defense. Hull passed across, Draper got his stick down, and Potvin dove to make the save, but the puck hit the post and went back into the net.

Los Angeles pulled back in front soon enough. Ian Laperriere came up with the puck after a scrum in the left corner of the Detroit zone and sent it to the front of the net. Brad Chartrand was there waiting all alone, and he put it past Joseph for the goal.

With just under three minutes remaining, a double minor for high sticking was called against Jiri Fischer, putting him into the box for four minutes. The Kings capitalized on their power play just after the first two minutes had gone by. Jaroslav Modry fired a hard shot from the blue line. The puck bounced off Joseph and out to Allison near the high slot, and he one-timed the shot into the net.

The Wings came out more organized in the second period. They had two more power plays with excellent offensive pressure, but again, Potvin kept the shots away, and the score remained 3-1 after two periods.

Detroit came back within one point early in the third period, during a power play. Sergei Fedorov passed from the middle of the blue line up to Igor Larionov at the right side of the net, and Larionov centered a pass for Brett Hull. Hull one-timed the shot through a screen of players, and Potvin had no chance to see or stop it.

The Kings shut down defensively even more then, giving the Red Wings little chance to get the puck towards the net. As time was becoming a factor, and Detroit seemed ready to pull out all the offensive pressure they could find, penalty disaster struck. First, Larionov was handed a two minute penalty for holding. Then, just a few seconds after that penalty expired, Fedorov accidentally high-sticked Mathieu Schneider and cut him, which is an automatic four-minute double minor. This incident, coming with 3:24 remaining, essentially negated any chance the Wings had to set up some offensive play. They did manage to get enough control of the play to pull Joseph for the extra skater, but there were less than thirty seconds remaining by then, and that just wasn’t enough time.

Joseph stopped twenty-three of twenty-six shots he faced, while Potvin stopped twenty-seven of twenty-nine. The Red Wings will wrap up their West Coast trip Sunday night against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

This was Igor Larionov’s 800th game in the NHL.

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