Pregame: Red Wings @ Ducks – Game 1 – 4/30

The Red Wings open their Western Conference Quarterfinal series with the Ducks tonight in Anaheim.

The teams have met four times previously in the playoffs, with each team taking two series. Both teams have gone on to win the Stanley Cup once after a Detroit-Anaheim matchup.

Stupid stat of the day: Detroit is 3-1 in the first game of a series in Anaheim and 3-1 in a Game One against Anaheim. This is the first time the teams have opened a series in Anaheim, so that first set of games would all be Game Three.

The Red Wings will be going with the same lineup as won the last four games of the season to get them into the playoffs. This means that Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson will be healthy scratches up front while Ian White, Carlo Colaiacovo and Brian Lashoff are out on the blue line. Jimmy Howard gets the start in the Detroit net.

Game time is 10:30 PM on FSD.

Red Wings Ink Howard to Six-Year Extension

The Detroit Red Wings made it official on Tuesday, announcing the signing of a six-year contract extension for goaltender Jimmy Howard.

Howard had spoken about the deal late last week, stating that the two sides were “really, really, really close” to an agreement.

Though team policy prevents the release of financial details, the contract is reportedly worth $31.8 million, good for a $5.3 million salary cap hit. It makes Howard the Red Wings’ highest-paid goalie since the team had both Dominik Hasek and Curtis Joseph signed to $8-million deals during the 2003-04 season.

Howard has a 17-12-6 record this season, with a .920 save percentage and a 2.31 goals against average. In four seasons since becoming the starter for Detroit, he has a 126-61-25 record. His career save percentage is .917 and goals against average is 2.39.

With the signing, the Red Wings are projected to have approximately $12.5 million remaining in cap space for the 2013-14 season, with 18 current roster players (including goalie Jared Coreau) already signed. The team has nine pending free agents. Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl, Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson will be restricted free agents while Damien Brunner, Valtteri Filppula, Daniel Cleary, Drew Miller and Ian White will be unrestricted.

Red Wings Fall to Sharks in Shootout

Pavel Datsyuk scored the only goal of the shootout for Detroit on Thursday night while Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau each scored to give the San Jose Sharks a 3-2 win over the Red Wings.

Couture and Marleau each beat Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard five-hole in the tiebreaker. Howard narrowly prevented a Joe Pavelski chance that rang off the post from bouncing off his back and in, stopping it on the goal line. San Jose goalie Antti Niemi made toe stops on both Damien Brunner and Gustav Nyquist to give his team a chance to close things out.

The Sharks had opened the game’s scoring just 2:35 in with a shorthanded two-on-one. Pavelski picked off a pass intended for Brunner in the San Jose zone and carried it out alongside Marleau, with only Niklas Kronwall back. Kronwall couldn’t cut off Pavelski’s pass to Marleau for a wrister from the right faceoff circle past Howard.

Justin Abdelkader tied things up at 9:51 of the second period, banging the puck past Niemi from the side of the net off a feed from Johan Franzen.

Detroit took the lead at 2:29 of the third when Zetterberg in the right circle found Jakub Kindl wide open in the slot on the power play. Kindl’s wrister hit the open side of the net to make it 2-1.

Just 1:41 later, Couture tied it back up with a power play goal, gathering up the rebound of a Joe Thornton shot and lifting a backhander over Howard’s outstretched glove.

Howard finished the night with 28 saves on 30 shots while Niemi stopped 27 of 29 chances.

Each team had a power play goal on four tries with the extra attacker.

The Red Wings are back in action on Friday when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks.


Detroit forward Damien Brunner returned from injury and defenseman Brendan Smith returned to the lineup, taking the places of Jordin Tootoo and Ian White, respectively.

Pregame: Sharks @ Red Wings – 4/11

The Red Wings host the San Jose Sharks tonight in what only seems like their first game in a month. Detroit has been off since a 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday afternoon, just the team’s second (and final) three-day break of the truncated season.

It’s the first of games on consecutive nights for the Wings, as they visit the Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow night.

Stupid stat of the game: The Red Wings are 2-1-0 all-time in the regular season when hosting the Sharks the night before a road game.

Jimmy Howard, he of the pending $5.3 million/year contract, gets the start in net for the Wings (’cause if we ever see Jonas Gustavsson get another start this season, it means the playoffs are out of the picture). On defense, Brendan Smith is back in the lineup, replacing Ian White. Up front, Damien Brunner returns from injury with Jordin Tootoo as the healthy scratch.

Game time is 7:30 PM on FSD.

Pregame: Red Wings @ Avalanche – 4/5

Coming off an uninspired 4-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes last night, the Red Wings head on to Denver to meet the Colorado Avalanche tonight.

Jimmy Howard will get the start for the second consecutive night and the forward lines remain unchanged but the defense will be all shaken up. In are Kyle Quincey, Ian White and Danny DeKeyser. Out are Brian Lashoff, Carlo Colaiacovo and Brendan Smith.

Stupid stat of the day: This season the Red Wings are 4-3 against teams whose location name does not match the city they play their home games in.

Game time is 9:00 PM on FSD.

Datsyuk Scores Twice as Red Wings Down Avalanche in OT

Pavel Datsyuk opened and closed the scoring Friday night in Denver, scoring his second goal of the night with 16 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanch.

Datsyuk backhanded a loose puck in the crease past Colorado netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere to secure the win for Detroit.

Datsyuk had opened the scoring at 8:27 of the first period. Johan Franzen drew the Colorado defense to him as he cut through the right faceoff circle and drove to the net before dishing off to Datsyuk alone in the slot for a shot past Giguere. It was a power play goal, the same way Detroit opened the scoring the previous night against Phoenix.

As against the Coyotes, the next goal tied the game when Mark Oliver backhanded a shot over Jimmy Howard on a partial breakway with 8:24 remaining to make it 1-1.

The tie was short-lived, as Gustav Nyquist put Detroit back out in front just 13 seconds later. Nyquist scooped up a bobbled puck in the left circle of the Colorado zone and took it to the net, stuffing it in around Giguere’s pad to make it 2-1.

P.A. Parenteau evened things back up at 6:29 of the third period. Jamie McGinn threw the puck on net from the left wing boards and Parenteau knocked it in behind Howard out of mid-air with the shaft of his stick.

Howard would finish the night with 33 saves on 35 shots while Giguere stopped 28 of 31 chances.

The opening goal was the game’s only power play tally. Detroit had four tries with the extra attacker to Colorado’s three.

The Red Wings will now fly back to Detroit for a 12:30 matchup with the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.


Rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser made his NHL debut for Detroit and Kyle Quincey returned from injury. Ian White was also back in the lineup. Brendan Smith, Brian Lashoff and Carlo Colaiacovo were out to make room.

Second Period Sinks Red Wings in 4-2 Loss to Coyotes

The Red Wings scored first on Thursday night in Glendale but a three-goal second period propelled the Phoenix Coyotes to a 4-2 win over Detroit.

Valtteri Filppula opened the game’s scoring just 1:56 into the first period on a power play. Gustav Nyquist‘s chance from the slot was knocked down and Nyquist caught up with the puck for another try. Phoenix netminder Chad Johnson knocked it aside but Filppula got to the rebound in the left faceoff circle and backhanded a shot into the open side of the net.

Michael Stone knotted things up at 1:47 of the middle period with a blast from the top of the left faceoff circle through Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

Former Red Wing Chris Conner put the Coyotes out in front at 8:08. Mikkel Boedker carried the puck into the Detroit zone and as soon as Detroit defender Brendan Smith shifted to pressure him, he passed the puck off to Conner all alone in the left circle to snap a shot between Howard’s legs.

With 3:59 remaining in the period, Shane Doan made it 3-1. Doan and Martin Hanzal were left all alone at the Detroit blue line during a Red Wings’ line change and Keith Yandle hit Hanzal with an outlet pass. Hanzal passed it around a diving defender to leave Doan all alone in front of Howard for a wrister into the back of the net.

The Red Wings made it close with 1:13 remaining when Henrik Zetterberg threw the puck on net and it deflected off Daniel Cleary to get past Johnson for a power play goal with Howard on the bench for yet another attacker.

Hanzal would add an empty-net goal to round out the scoring in the game’s final second.

Detroit finished the night with two power play goals on six tries with the man-advantage. Phoenix was scoreless on four attempts.

Howard stopped 34 of 37 shots he faced while Johnson made 34 saves on 36 shots.

The Red Wings are right back in it on Friday night in Colorado.


Brian Lashoff, called back up from the Grand Rapids Griffins with the NHL’s roster limits no longer in place, swapped into the lineup for Ian White… Henrik Zetterberg returned from a groin injury to replace the injured Damien Brunner (hip flexor) in the lineup.

Pregame: Red Wings @ Coyotes – 4/4

The Red Wings visit the Phoenix Coyotes tonight in their first game after the NHL’s trade deadline. The Wings made no moves at the deadline but the Coyotes sent off Matt Lombardi, Raffi Torres and Steve Sullivan.

Jimmy Howard will get the start coming off a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

On defense, Brian Lashoff is back in, replacing Ian White. Up front, Henrik Zetterberg is back from injury but Damien Brunner is hurting and out of the lineup.

Game time is 10:00 PM on FSD.

Why Standing Pat Won’t Work at the Deadline

Red Wings’ general manager Ken Holland is on the record stating that he’s looking to trade for talent, not depth as the NHL trade deadline approaches.

I agree with that strategy. This team already has tons of depth, to the point that they’ve been pushing bottom-six forwards into the top six all season. They just gave away Kent Huskins essentially for free because they were able to sign Danny DeKeyser and also get Carlo Colaiacovo and Kyle Quincey back from injury (though Quincey isn’t due back until later this week).

Depth isn’t going to help this team. Talent is, and a move to acquire it is admirable.

If talent isn’t available, however, standing pat should not be an option for Holland. He has to switch gears and become a seller.

As assembled, this Red Wings team is good enough to make the playoffs. They can finish in the bottom half of the postseason teams and probably drop a six-game series in the first round. Their consecutive playoff appearance streak will remain intact but, with that outcome, you would hardly be able to call the season a success.

I know people will say all you really need to do is get into the playoffs and then anything can happen. Just look at the Los Angeles Kings of last season. The Kings, however, were able to add talent in the form of Jeff Carter at the trade deadline. The team as assembled prior to the trade deadline does not make that run.

Without a move to get better, the Wings will not make a run, and as such should sell.

We keep hearing that there aren’t many sellers in the market right now. Too many teams are still in the hunt. The Wings are still in the hunt, too, but I believe it’s worth risking their position this season – a season in which they’re not likely to win the Cup anyway – to put themselves in better position next season.

With defensemen at a premium, what return could Ian White fetch the Red Wings? A second-round draft pick? More?

I’d love to suggest dealing Colaiacovo as well but, as he’s been injured all year, I can’t imagine he has much trade value.

Michael Handzus just got San Jose a fourth-round pick. What would Daniel Cleary bring Detroit?

Would Mikael Samuelsson waive his no-trade clause if Holland told him “We’re buying you out this summer, here’s your chance to impress a different team?”

The Wings want to keep him, but what would Valtteri Filppula bring in trade?

I’m not suggesting Holland blow the team up. Dealing Fil would require a good return. Pending free agent Jimmy Howard isn’t going anywhere.

Clearing out a few bodies gives a chance for more of Detroit’s youth to get playing time. DeKeyser has an open roster spot. Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist remain in the lineup.

If the young guys prove they’re not ready, Holland can go back to signing veterans like Samuelsson and Colaiacovo over the summer, as he did preemptively last year.

I just don’t think doing nothing should be an option. As assembled, this team is not going to win the Cup. Either get better and take a shot at it or risk getting worse and still not winning the Cup.

Personally, I’d rather miss the playoffs this year (a deep draft year) and come back stronger next year than have two years of seventh-place finishes and first-round exits.

Gustavsson Helps Carry Red Wings to 3-2 Win over Coyotes

Jonas Gustavsson stopped the Coyotes’ Lauri Korpikoski on a penalty shot with 4:12 remaining in regulation on Monday night, keeping Phoenix from tying the game late as the Detroit Red Wings held on for a 3-2 win.

Gustavsson made 29 saves on 31 shots to earn his second win of the season. Phoenix netminder Jason Labarbera stopped 32 of the 35 shots he faced in the loss.

Ian White got the Red Wings on the board 4:01 in, snapping a shot from the blue line through traffic and past Labarbera to make it 1-0.

Phoenix responded 3:55 later when Martin Hanzal tipped a Radim Vrbata shot from the left wing past Gustavsson on a power play.

The Coyotes got out in front with 7:43 left in the period. After the Red Wings failed to clear the zone, Keith Yandle fired a shot on net. Gustavsson stopped Yandle’s shot and a rebound attempt from in front by David Moss but Rob Klinkhammer jumped into the play and roofed it over the sprawling goalie, making it 2-1.

Johan Franzen evened things back up with 39 seconds remaining in the second period. On a Red Wings’ power play, Niklas Kronwall faked a shot from the left wing before feeding Franzen in the slot for a snap past Labarbera.

Pavel Datsyuk put the Wings back in front with a power play goal 6:12 into the third. Henrik Zetterberg took the puck behind the Phoenix net before sending a pass out front. The puck bounced off defenseman David Schlemko’s skate and settled down at the edge of the crease for Datsyuk to scoop up and lift past Labarbera to make it 3-2.

The Red Wings scored twice on five total power plays. The Coyotes had three power plays and scored on one of them.

The win was Detroit’s fifth consecutive road win. They’ll conclude their West Coast road trip on Thursday in San Jose.