Helm Scores, Mrazek Blanks Oilers as Red Wings Win 5-0

Rookie goaltender Petr Mrazek stopped all fourteen shots he faced for his first career NHL shutout and Darren Helm scored in his first game of the season, leading the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers.

It was Mrazek’s first appearance of the season, having been called up to replace injured Detroit backup Jonas Gustavsson. He is now 2-1-0 in three career NHL starts.

Helm was in the lineup for just the third time since March 17, 2012, having recovered from a series of injuries that ended with back and groin issues. In just his second shift of the night, he scored what would be the game-winning goal, snapping a shot from the left side of the slot past Edmonton goalie Richard Bachman on a breakaway.

Tomas Tatar made it 2-0 just 27 seconds later, knocking the rebound of a Joakim Andersson chance past Bachman from the slot.

Jason Labarbera replaced Bachman in the Oilers’ crease midway through the first period when Bachman left with an injury but things didn’t get better for Edmonton.

At 6:55 of the second, Jakub Kindl took a feed from Daniel Alfredsson and rifled a shot from the right wing through traffic and past Labarbera.

Andersson made it 4-0 at 7:54 of the third period, banging a loose puck at the edge of the crease past Labarbera after a wrap-around attempt by Drew Miller.

Todd Bertuzzi closed out the game’s scoring at 9:43 of the period, beating Labarbera from the right faceoff circle off a feed from behind the net by Henrik Zetterberg on a Detroit power play.

The Red Wings finished the night with one goal on five chances with the extra attacker. Edmonton had three tries with the man-advantage.

Bachman took the loss for the Oilers, stopping seven of the nine shots he faced in 13:52 of play. Labarbera made 19 saves on 22 shots in relief.

The Red Wings will look for the sweep of their four-game Western Canadian road trip on Monday when they visit the Winnipeg Jets.

Johan Franzen missed the game due to illness… In addition to Helm returning, Mikael Samuelsson swapped back into the lineup, replacing Patrick Eaves. Jordin Tootoo was the other healthy scratch… Detroit placed defenseman Jonathan Ericsson on long-term injured reserve to make room for Helm on the roster.

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.

Pregame: Red Wings @ Coyotes – 3/25

Coming off a sweep of the Anaheim Ducks in their two-game series at the Honda Center, the Red Wings move on to face the Phoenix Coyotes tonight in Glendale.

The “trap game” narrative is set. Two big road wins against the number two team in the league lead into a game against a team seven points back of Detroit, in an arena affectionately known as “Hockeytown West.”

It’s also the third game in four nights on the road – specifically on the West Coast. I’m tired just thinking about it and there’s still over two hours until game time. Jonas Gustavsson is getting the start for the Wings, which hasn’t boded well for them this season.

Of course, Jason Labarbera gets the nod for the Coyotes, so we’ll see if that evens out.

After being a healthy scratch for the first time in his career, Damien Brunner is back in the lineup tonight. No word on who’s coming out but my money is on Gustav Nyquist.

Game time is 10:00 on FSD.

Red Wings Score Five in the First to Power Past Coyotes

The Detroit Red Wings scored five first period goals Thursday night, all the scoring they needed to defeat the Phoenix Coyotes, 5-2.

Todd Bertuzzi and Valtteri Filppula scored in the first 2:09 of the period to get the Red Wings out to the early lead. In the final 5:14 of the opening frame, Tomas Holmstrom, Darren Helm and Jiri Hudler added three more goals.

Bertuzzi opened the games scoring 1:16 into the game. He took a pass near the top of the right faceoff circle from Pavel Datsyuk and backhanded the puck into the slot, where he caught up with it and snapped a shot between the pads of Coyotes’ goalie Mike Smith.

Just 53 seconds later, Filppula – returning to the lineup after missing a game with a deep cut on his leg – was left all alone in front of the Phoenix net to take a pass from Henrik Zetterberg and put a wrister past Smith.

Holmstrom restarted the scoring on a power play with 5:14 left in the first. Ian White drove into the slot and threw a shot on net with Holmstrom there to knock in the rebound.

Helm made it 4-0 43 seconds later. He gave the puck to Chris Conner in the right circle and went to the net. Conner carried it down low and got it back to Helm to bang past Smith. Smith would be pulled for Jason Labarbera after the goal.

Hudler wrapped up the period’s scoring with 43 seconds left. After failing to score off a turnover in the Phoenix end, Filppula took the puck to the left wing boards and sent a pass across to Zetterberg in the slot. Zetterberg moved it on to Hudler in the right circle and he threw it into the open side of the net.

Radim Vrbata got the Coyotes on the board with 4:15 left in the second period, rifling a shot from the top of the right circle past Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard.

Martin Hanzal added another Phoenix goal with 8:28 left in the third when a Shane Doan power play shot deflected off of his pants on its way past Howard.

Both teams had five power play chances on the night and each scored a goal.

Howard finished the night with 30 saves on 32 shots. Smith stopped seven of the eleven shots he faced in 15:29 of play while Labarbera made 20 saves on 21 shots to close out the night for the Coyotes.

The Red Wings will next be in action on Saturday when they host the Winnipeg Jets.

Pavel Datsyuk was kept out of the third period as a precaution, as he reported feeling sore earlier in the day. He is expected to be available on Saturday… Cory Emmerton and Mike Commodore were the healthy scratches for the Red Wings.

Kings End Red Wings’ Streak at Eight

The Detroit Red Wings’ winning streak ended at eight games Thursday night, with the Los Angeles Kings scoring four goals in the third period to rally for a 5-3 win. The loss prevented the Red Wings from tying a franchise record with a nine-game winning streak.

Patrick O’Sullivan, Alexander Frolov, Brad Stuart and Anze Kopitar were the goal-scorers in the final frame as the Kings rallied from down 3-1.

O’Sullivan scored just 39 seconds into the period to begin the comeback. A shot by Stuart was knocked aside by goaltender Chris Osgood but the rebound bounced over the stick of Pavel Datsyuk to O’Sullivan in the slot for a one-timer back into the top-corner.

Frolov’s power play goal at 6:15 evened the game up. Former Red Wing Kyle Calder sent a pass from the bottom of the right circle across to Frolov in the left circle for a one-timer past Osgood.

With 6:53 left in regulation, Stuart’s power play blast from the blue line slipped through a screen and put the Kings up by a goal.

Kopitar iced the game 1:32 later when Stuart’s shot from the point was deflected straight to him in the slot for a backhander past Osgood.

The Red Wings had opened the scoring early, getting on the board just 49 seconds into the game when a Mikael Samuelsson shot slipped under Jason Labarbera‘s pad and Tomas Kopecky jumped in to knock it into the net.

Calder evened the game up with 9:43 left in the first, poking the puck past Osgood from the side of the net after the Detroit goalie thought it was covered up.

Henrik Zetterberg scored twice to build Detroit’s 3-1 lead.

With 1:09 left in the first, Zetterberg broke down the left wing and put a high shot short side on net. It slipped under Labarbera’s arm and into the goal to put Detroit back in the lead.

With 6:55 left in the second, he added another on a wraparound attempt.

The Red Wings finished the night without a goal on three power play chances while the Kings scored on two of their five chances with the extra skater.

Osgood stopped 20 of 25 Los Angeles shots in net for Detroit. Labarbera made 26 saves on 29 shots.

Red Wings Get Back on Track with 7-3 Win

After uncharacteristic sloppy defensive play on Tuesday led the Detroit Red Wings to a loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, they bounced back on Thursday to notch a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

The Red Wings started off strong, killing a long Los Angeles five-on-three in the second half of the first period. Neither team allowed a goal in the frame but they made up for it in the remaining periods, scoring a combined ten goals.

Robert Lang opened the game’s scoring just 1:29 into the second period, cutting in from the right circle and faking around defenseman Aaron Miller before putting a shot past Kings netminder Mathieu Garon.

Only 1:10 later, Dustin Brown tied the game with LA on the power play. A long shot by Joe Corvo bounced off Detroit goalie Manny Legace and hit Brown’s ankle, deflecting back into the net.

The Wings got a goal on a lucky bounce of their own at 6:48 of the period, also on the power play. Pavel Datsyuk attempted a cross-crease pass to Nicklas Lidstrom but the puck bounced off Miller’s skate and into the net.

Again, the Kings quickly tied it, scoring 1:45 later, when Mike Cammalleri put in the rebound of his own wraparound chance.

Detroit pulled back ahead with two Henrik Zetterberg goals just 52 seconds apart.

With 6:56 remaining in the period, Zetterberg scored a power play goal from the left circle on a blast to the top corner of the net.

With 6:04 remaining, Zetterberg scored again, this time spinning through the edge of the left circle before backhanding a shot past Garon.

Jason Labarbera replaced Garon in the Los Angeles goal but the Kings wouldn’t bounce back until the third period.

At 9:52 of the final frame, Vitali Vishnovsky scored on a one-timer from the high slot with the Kings on a five-on-three, pulling them to within one.

It wouldn’t be enough, as Jason Williams scored his second goal in twenty games to restore Detroit’s two goal lead with 6:19 remaining, tipping a rebound on the backhand between his legs and past Labarbera while facing away from the goal.

Tomas Holmstrom added an empty-net goal with 1:05 remaining and then, after the Kings took two penalties in frustration, Lidstrom added a 5-on-3 goal with 7 seconds left in the game.

Legace finsihed the game with 22 saves on 25 shots. Garon made 26 saves on 30 before he was replaced by Labarbera, who stopped 12 of the 14 shots he faced.

Detroit went three-for-nine on the power play while Los Angeles scored on two of their eight power play chances.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Saturday night when they host the retooled Chicago Blackhawks in the first game of a home-and-home series on back-to-back nights.

Rookie Howard Leads Red Wings over Kings

Rookie goaltender Jim Howard stopped twenty-two shots en route to his first National Hockey League victory as his Detroit Red Wings defeated the Los Angeles Kings Monday night, 5-2.

Howard, making his first start in the NHL after backing up Manny Legace and Chris Osgood for 13 games and going unbeaten in six AHL contests this season, allowed his first career goal on a penalty shot at 7:39 of the second period.

Kirk Maltby dove to block a possible shot by the Kings’ Joe Corvo. As Maltby spun and reached with his stick to continue blocking Corvo, it was knocked out of his hands. Referee Wes McCauley quickly called Maltby for throwing his stick and awarded an automatic penalty shot to Corvo.

The Red Wings had opened the scoring at 4:03 of the second after a scoreless first period. After a long stretch of uninterrupted play while the teams went end-to-end several times, Chris Chelios took the puck in the high slot and ripped a hard shot past Los Angeles goalie Jason Labarbera.

Chelios was using one of Kirk Maltby’s sticks after trying it out during the morning skate and breaking four panes of glass with it.

Just 1:58 after LA’s penalty shot goal, Detroit regained the lead as Mathieu Schneider continued his hot streak, scoring a power play goal from the top of the right circle.

Captain Steve Yzerman, returning to the lineup after sitting out Saturday’s game in San Jose, scored the eventual game-winner with 6:17 left in the middle period. Jason Williams sent a hard shot from the top of the right circle that Yzerman tipped in the slot. The goal was scored on the power play with a delayed penalty coming against the Kings.

Henrik Zetterberg added to the Wings’ total with 4:41 remaining in the game, scoring on his own rebound while on a three-on-two with Pavel Datsyuk and Mikael Samuelsson.

Nicklas Lidstrom added an empty net goal off an intercepted pass at the Detroit blue line with 1:43 left.

The Kings closed out the scoring with 1:01 remaining when former Red Wing Sean Avery deflected a Nathan Dempsey shot from the point at the edge of the crease, over Howard’s shoulder.

Labarbera, also a rookie, stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced.

Detroit went two-for-six on the power play while holding the Kings scoreless on their seven chances.

The Red Wings will be off until Thursday night when they host the Calgary Flames.

Robert Lang left the game during the second period with a groin injury.

Lang Scores Overtime Winner to Beat Kings

Manny Legace‘s return from a knee injury turned out to be an exciting game, with the Wings letting a two goal lead slip away late in the third period. But thanks to Robert Lang‘s overtime winner, Legace’s stellar performance was not lost.

Lang’s goal came 1:39 into the extra session after Andreas Lilja found Nicklas Lidstrom‘s shot from the point along the boards behind the net. Lilja brought it back around and passed it into the slot where Lang put it past Los Angeles Kings’ goalie Jason Labarbera.

The Kings started the scoring 3:31 into the game while on the power play for a Mathieu Schneider hooking call. Michael Cammalleri took a shot from the left circle while Legace was screened.

Legace then came up big only moments later on a Sean Avery shot. Taking advantage of not going down 2-0, the Wings tied the game with a goal from Steve Yzerman at 8:18. The goal was set up by Daniel Cleary passing the puck around the left boards to the circle where Schneider fed Yzerman who had come in just left of the crease.

Legace and Labarbera traded great saves halfway through the second period to keep the game tied until Johan Franzen scored short handed at 12:34. Franzen was breaking for the slot and took a pass from Cleary.

Sixteen seconds into the third period Tomas Holmstrom scored when he pounced on a loose puck in front of the Kings’ net after Labarbera and Tim Gleason both mishandled the puck.

The Kings score four minutes later as Jeremy Roenick fired a shot from the left point to bring them within one goal again.

Tomas Holmstrom put the Wings up by two again with his second goal of the night from the slot after a nice give-and-go with Pavel Datsyuk on his left at 13:19.

Only 25 seconds later the Kings were within one goal again after Craig Conroy hopped on a rebound in the slot off a Pavol Demitra shot from the right circle. Then at 16:12 the Kings tied the game after Alexander Frolov tipped a Jiri Fischer pass just inside the Wings blue line. As Frolov was getting a handle on the puck, Legace came out to poke check, but Frolov moved around and slid the puck into the open net.

Both goalies faced a high number of shots, with Labarbera turning aside 34 of the Wings’ 39 shots, while Legace stopped 37 of the Kings’ 41 shots.

The Kings’ went one for six on the power play, while the Red Wings who were ranked first in the NHL going into the game, came up empty handed on their four chances with the man advantage.

The Wings next face the Minnesota Wild at home on Friday night.

Week 2: October 9-15

Sure, the Red Wings can beat a St. Louis team which added a new goalie and lost two all-star defensemen, but what does that mean?

Detroit had a light first week this season with only two back-to-back games, the same way they started out the 2003-2004 season. That year, they quickly beat the Los Angeles Kings and the Ottawa Senators for a 2-0-0-0 start. They have won the season opener for six straight seasons, and have finished the regular season in the top five of the Western Conference for a long time. There isn’t much you can take from the first two games, but here are a few notes:

The new guys are contributing already. Mikael Samuelsson and Brett Lebda have more points than Kris Draper and Nicklas Lidstrom. Jason Williams isn’t new, but he’ll get more ice time this year and had three assists on Thursday.

There should not be a goalie controversy. Manny Legace has proven himself as a great goalie no matter how often he plays, and you can bet on Chris Osgood to win 30 games every year if healthy. Jim Howard might get in a game or two this month, but he looked good in preseason and is well liked so far by the other goalies.

Draper and Kirk Maltby will have to go above and beyond what they’ve normally done as defensive forwards. The Wings were shorthanded 11 times in Thursday’s game at St. Louis, and these two are the best penalty killers on the team.

With the signing of Jason Woolley, the Wings can make the decision to either rest the veterans Chris Chelios and Lidstrom a bit or take time away from youngsters Lebda and Jiri Fischer. These players are all going to have to adjust with the penalties being called, and a deep defensive core will help.

This Week’s Matchups:

October 9 vs. Calgary – Steve Yzerman may not play, but you can be sure Darren McCarty will. He won’t take it easy on his former team, but claims his heart is still wearing red. Many are picking Calgary to once again win the Western Conference, so this should be a good game. (Update: Detroit wins 6-3)

October 10 vs. Vancouver – Finally knocking Colorado off the top of the Northwest Division, Vancouver remains dangerous. Like Detroit, they’ve had good regular seasons and that doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy. They usually give the Wings a hard-fought game; the teams split four games last season.

October 13 at Los Angeles – The Kings may have lost the biggest offensive output of any team in the off-season, parting ways with Zigmund Palffy, Jozef Stumpel, Jason Allison and Martin Straka. To counter, they did sign Pavol Demitra and Jeremy Roenick. If the Kings want any chance of making the playoffs, goalies Mathieu Garon and Jason Labarbera have to immediately make an impact. Lababera won his first game, stopping 27 of 29 shots against Phoenix.

October 15 at Phoenix – Call it the sequel to the Wings’ Red vs. White game in training camp. Lots of familiar faces are in Phoenix now: Brett Hull, Curtis Joseph, Boyd Devereaux and assistant coach Barry Smith. Speaking of coaches, Wayne Gretzky is still in the spotlight – not for what he has done, but what he can do. There have been reports of the players being intimidated by the presense of The Great One, which may explain their 0-2 start. The Coyotes are re-tooling quickly, acquiring Geoff Sanderson from the Blue Jackets in a five-player deal.

After Slow Start, NHL Free Agent Frenzy Picks Up

When the National Hockey League’s free agent signing period opened at noon on Monday, many fans were surprised to see a league that was relatively quiet as GMs and players alike took a wait-and-see approach.

Early on Monday, only two notable signings – Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk agreeing to terms with the Florida Panthers – were on record. The Boston Bruins’ trade for Edmonton Oiler Brad Isbister rounded out the major moves.

Things picked up Monday night, as the Columbus Blue Jackets made their first-ever major free agent signing, picking up defenseman Adam Foote from the Colorado Avalanche.

The signings and trades continued into Tuesday as the Philadelphia Flyers made the first big splash in the free agent pool, signing defensemen Derian Hatcher (Detroit Red Wings), Mike Rathje (San Jose Sharks), and Chris Therien (Dallas Stars) and resigning forward Jon Sim.

The Chicago Blackhawks picked up one of the top remaining free agent defensemen, signing Adrian Aucoin of the New York Islanders.

Shortly thereafter, the Atlanta Thrashers signed forward Bobby Holik from the New York Rangers.

In one of the more inevitable signings of the offseason, the Red Wings re-upped longtime captain Steve Yzerman, who will return to the team for at least one more season.

The Bruins continued on Monday’s moves by resigning winger Glen Murray and bringing in forwards Shawn McEachern (Atlanta) and Dave Scatchard (NY Islanders), while the Panthers continued their signings by bringing in Martin Gelinas (Calgary Flames).

Calgary moved to replace Gelinas with grinding forward Darren McCarty (Detroit) and add to an offense already boasting Jarome Iginla by signing Tony Amonte (Philadelphia).

The Los Angeles Kings broke into the free agent market by signing All-Star winger Pavol Demitra from the St. Louis Blues and AHL goaltender Jason Labarbera from the Rangers organization.

The Rangers then shored up their goaltending by resiging Kevin Weekes. They added to both offense and defense by bringing in forward Martin Straka (Los Angeles) and defenseman Marek Malik (Vancouver). Meanwhile, the cross-island rival Islanders filled the gap left by the departure of Aucoin by signing Buffalo’s Alexei Zhitnik.

The first player to depart the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning was Cory Stillman, who signed with the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday evening.

The biggest move of the day was saved for late Tuesday night, as the Blues, already burdened by the contracts of Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk, traded former captain and Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Chris Pronger to the Edmonton Oilers for defencemen Eric Brewer, Doug Lynch, and Jeff Woywitka.

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