Sharks Chomp Down

The first multiple-goal game of Jason Williams‘ young NHL career was not enough to make up for the Red Wings’ defensive mistakes or the determination and skill of the San Jose offense, and the Red Wings went down to the Sharks 6-3, while the theme from “Jaws” blared over the speakers in the Shark Tank.

The Red Wings started out with more jump to their offensive game, but got into penalty trouble early on when they got caught with too many men on the ice. The Sharks’ power play passed effectively and got the puck to Mike Ricci behind the net. Ricci passed it out front to Patrick Marleau, who put the puck into the net high over Manny Legace.

Detroit continued to pressure offensively, and Legace made some big saves to cover his team’s defensive lapses. The Red Wings scored their first goal on their fourth power play attempt late in the first period during a hooking penalty to Gary Suter. Sergei Fedorov passed the puck from the left point up to Brendan Shanahan behind the goal line, and Shanahan passed it back to Jason Williams at the left faceoff dot. Williams took a quick wrist shot and put it into the net past goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, whose view of the puck was blocked by Tomas Holmstrom.

San Jose regained the lead early in the second period on another power play goal, this one on a penalty to Uwe Krupp. Owen Nolan got the puck as it bounced off the boards, then fired quickly on net, using Mathieu Dandenault as a screen to keep Legace from seeing the shot before the puck was in the net.

The Sharks scored again within a few minutes. A bad turnover by the Red Wings gave Nolan a breakaway. Legace stopped the first shot, but Nolan was able to pick up his own rebound and bank it into the net off the leg of his teammate, Vincent Damphousse.

Williams put Detroit back within one goal shortly thereafter. Kirk Maltby held the puck in at the blue line, then fired on net. Darren McCarty redirected the puck to slide underneath Nabokov, and Williams tapped it in for that extra speed it needed to cross the goal line.

The rest of the second period was all Sharks. Marleau scored two more times before the period was over, first by knocking a rebound from Marco Sturm’s shot out of the air and into the net, and then by intercepting a pass by Jiri Slegr and going in on Legace all alone.

The Wings did score once more, midway through the third period. Nabokov had been given a penalty for roughing Holmstrom (the penalty was served by Marleau), and Holmstrom was the one to make him pay for it. Igor Larionov shot the puck from the blue line, and Holmstrom deflected it into the net.

A fight started by Scott Thornton against Sean Avery and joined by the other skaters on the ice led to a double penalty to Avery and a single penalty to Bryan Marchment, leaving the Red Wings shorthanded and taking away their chance to come back from their two-goal deficit. Teemu Selanne took the puck into the left wing corner and passed down and across just as he was being hit. Mike Rathje, coming up the right wing side, got Selanne’s pass and put it off the crossbar and into the net past the beleaguered Legace.

The shots on goal were thirty-four to thirty-two in Detroit’s favor. The Red Wings will return home and have a few days off before facing the Chicago Blackhawks Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.

The Sharks’ victory tonight moves them past the Colorado Avalanche into second place in the Western Conference standings”¦. Luc Robitaille and Chris Chelios were both healthy scratches for this game”¦. Steve Yzerman is expected to return to the lineup Wednesday night against Chicago.

A Sound Thrashing

The Red Wings’ recent problems against spoiler teams unable to make the playoffs were eradicated tonight, with their high-energy 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers.

The first goal of the game came during four-on-four play resulting from offsetting roughing calls to Darren McCarty and Chris Tamer. The Thrashers got a breakaway on Manny Legace, but Legace made the save and set up a three-on-two for his teammates. Igor Larionov, Jiri Slegr, and Brett Hull carried the puck down the ice. Some crisp passing got the puck to Hull in the Thrashers zone, and he paused just long enough to fake out goaltender Frederic Cassivi before snapping a low wrist shot into the net.

The Thrashers had two power play chances in the first period, but just as they had done all period, the Red Wings kept the puck away from Atlanta for the most part, and kept the Thrashers from making any passes to get a scoring play set up. Legace only had to face five shots in the first period, compared to the twelve that Cassivi faced.

The second period continued with the same Detroit intensity the Wings had shown in the first, leaving Atlanta scrambling to get any time controlling the puck. Mathieu Dandenault posted the Red Wings’ second tally of the night during a high-sticking double minor penalty to Yannick Tremblay. Dandenault skated up a clear path from the blue line down the middle, took Larionov’s pass from behind the net, and tapped it past Cassivi for his eighth goal of the season.

Atlanta ran into more penalty trouble when Tremblay was sent back to the box for hooking a moment later. Sergei Fedorov won the faceoff, and slipped the puck back to Hull. Hull’s first shot bounced off of Tomas Holmstrom and straight back to Hull, who wrested the second shot high and into the net. The entire power play lasted five seconds.

Atlanta tried to play with more intensity in the third period, and they were rewarded with a goal two and a half minutes in. Legace flopped down low to block Tomi Callio’s original shot, but J.P. Vigier was able to get the puck and flip it in high before Legace could return to his position.

The Red Wings answered with another goal of their own a few minutes later. Larionov made a good pass to Dandenault, who fired on net from the right wing side. The puck bounced off the leg of Jason Williams and into the net.

A fight broke out in the final minutes, when Francis Lessard attacked Chris Chelios, and McCarty followed up on Lessard. The resulting penalties- a slashing to McCarty, a roughing to Chelios, and one of each to Lessard- offset each other and did not put either team on the power play.

The final count of shots on net was thirty-two to twenty-two in Detroit’s favor. The Red Wings were three for six on the power play and kept Atlanta from scoring on any of their four power play chances. The Red Wings’ next game will be Monday night, when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Brendan Shanahan and Nick Lidstrom sat out tonight’s game to rest minor injuries. Scotty Bowman plans to rest Lidstrom by leaving him home during next week’s West Coast road trip”¦.. The team is planning on having Uwe Krupp return to the lineup sometime during that California trip”¦.. The Atlanta Thrashers have not once beaten the Red Wings in their three seasons of existence.

Dunham Spoils the Fun

On most counts, the Red Wings outplayed the Nashville Predators on Monday night, but Nashville goalie Mike Dunham outdid himself against the Wings’ offense, and the two teams skated to a 3-3 tie.

Nashville played a flat game in the first period, and the Red Wings seemed to be still buoyed by the leftover momentum from Saturday’s defeat of the Avalanche. Detroit outshot the Predators fifteen to five in the first.

The Red Wings got their first goal of the night on their first power play of the night, during an interference penalty to Vladimir Orzog. Nick Lidstrom one-timed Brett Hull‘s pass from the blue line, and goaltender Mike Dunham let the rebound slip up center. Sergei Fedorov was able to get to it before any Nashville defenders could, and he slapped it into the net between Dunham’s legs.

The Predators came back from the first intermission playing like a different team. They managed to block up the neutral zone and keep the Red Wings from setting up many quality scoring chances. Nashville scored a power play goal of their own to even up the game during an interference call to Max Kuznetsov. Manny Legace blocked the original shot, and Jiri Fischer tried to clear the rebound away, but the puck bounced off of Denis Arkhipov and into the net.

The Red Wings kept on and on firing shots on net, but Dunham demonstrated why he was named to the US Olympic team, and the game remained tied at one.

Nashville scored again to take the lead with less than two minutes left in the period. Scott Hartnell sent a backhand pass across to Karlis Skrastins, who slid the puck beneath Legace and into the net.

Detroit didn’t have to go to the intermission trailing. Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom, and Jason Williams took off on a three-on-one. Draper gained the zone and passed to Holmstrom at the right wing side, who sent the puck to Williams at center. Williams waited just long enough for Dunham to drop down low before putting the puck into the top of the net.

A defensive lapse by the Red Wings early in the third gave Nashville the lead again. Nashville had six skaters in Detroit’s end, due to a delayed penalty call, and Hartnell managed to get to the front of the net with no one to cover him. Jukka Hentinen sent the pass across, and Hartnell flipped it into the net.

With a one-goal lead, the Predators shut down and played defensively for the rest of the game. They lined up across their zone and sent only one forechecker up on the attack, causing Detroit to have to dump the puck into the zone and chase after it, rather than carry it in as they prefer to do. Dunham continued to make the necessary saves.

Legace made some strong saves to keep his team within one, and the Red Wings finally tied up the game with just under two minutes to go. Brendan Shanahan fired hard from the left wing side, with Luc Robitaille going to the net. Robitaille partially blocked Dunham’s view, and Shanahan’s shot flew into the net just above Dunham’s right shoulder.

Neither team was able to score in the overtime period. The best chance came to Mathieu Dandenault, who put a shot towards an empty net while being dragged down to the ice. The puck rang off the far goalpost, and the game ended in a tie.

Legace stopped seventeen shots of the twenty he faced during the game. Dunham stopped thirty-five of the thirty-eight the Red Wings put on net. The Red Wings will play the Predators again on Thursday night at home.

Home Sweet Home

Igor Larionov led the team with four assists, and Nick Lidstrom, Jason Williams, and Chris Chelios all contributed goals to give the Red Wings a 4-3 overtime victory over the Edmonton Oilers at Joe Louis Arena.

Like a shadow of Sunday’s game against Buffalo, the Red Wings had to start out by killing off a penalty. This time, it was a four minute double minor to Igor Larionov for high sticking. And this time, the Detroit penalty-killers kept control of the puck and kept Edmonton out of the net for the full four minutes.

The Red Wings looked sharp and ready to play, and spent most of the first period in Edmonton’s zone. When their first power play came along, from a tripping call on Steve Staios, they were ready. Larionov won the faceoff and got the puck back to Freddy Olausson, who passed along the blue line to Nick Lidstrom at the right point. Lidstrom fired a hard shot which dipped down and between the leg pads of goaltender Jussi Markkanen, exactly five seconds after the power play began.

Edmonton applied more offensive pressure in the second period, testing Dominik Hasek with twelve shots on net. Hasek made the saves, however, and Lidstrom increased the Red Wings’ lead, again on the power play. Georges Laraque was in the box for holding, and Luc Robitaille passed the puck from behind the net to Larionov at the right wing side. Larionov passed across to Lidstrom, coming up deep on the left side, and Lidstrom put a perfectly aimed wrist shot into Markkanen’s net.

The Oilers finally found some luck in the third period. Marty Reasoner scored twice on power plays within the first five minutes- the first during a holding call on Chris Chelios and the second during an obstruction hooking call on Kris Draper, tying the game at two goals apiece.

Sean Avery sought to re-energize his team by winning a fight against Scott Ferguson, and Jason Williams put the Red Wings back into the lead. Robitaille again centered the puck from behind the net, and Williams skated around Rem Murray and slapped the puck past Markkanen.

The Red Wings tried to protect their lead with defensive play, but when the Oilers pulled their goalie for an extra skater with just over a minute to play, the protection was not enough. Mike Comrie, whose earlier goal was waved off after review because it was kicked into the net, carried the puck towards Hasek while having his stick tied up by Lidstrom. Just as Hasek came out to poke the puck away, Comrie got his stick free, and put just enough on the puck to lift it over Hasek and send the game to overtime.

Luck was with Detroit in the overtime period, as a slashing call to Ryan Smyth gave them two minutes of a four-on-three penalty. Larionov passed from the blue line to Chelios at the left wing side, and Chelios blasted a hard one-timer past Markkanen, for what was, surprisingly enough, his first ever overtime goal.

Shots on net were thirty-eight to thirty-one in the Oilers’ favor. Detroit was three for six on power plays. The Red Wings next game will be Saturday afternoon, when they will travel to Boston to face the Bruins.

Team officials expect that Darren McCarty will be recovered from his finger injury by this weekend and Steve Yzerman will be recovered from his knee injury by next week. Max Kuznetsov returned to the lineup for the first time since December. This game was Hasek’s thirty-eighth win of the season, which is a new personal best record for him.

Sabres Prove Themselves On Dom

Even the team with the best record in the NHL needs to get a good night’s rest between games, especially when they go up against an inspired team, as the Red Wings discovered in a 5-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday afternoon.

The Red Wings had planned to travel from St. Louis to Buffalo on Saturday evening, but due to high winds, the plane was forced to land in Cleveland, and the Wings did not make it to Buffalo until a few hours before the game. They found the Sabres ready to take revenge on their former star goaltender, who left them this summer on bad terms.

Dominik Hasek‘s return to Buffalo to face his former teammates did not get off to the start he had hoped for. Detroit had to deal with over a minute of five-on-three play early in the first, during penalties to Jason Williams and Sergei Fedorov. Miroslav Satan received the puck from teammate Tim Connolly, and fired on net from a few steps past the blue line. Hasek, screened by Curtis Brown, was unable to see the shot, and the Sabres were up by one.

The goal ended the penalty to Williams, but Buffalo still had some time at five-on-four, and they were able to make the most of it. Kris Draper got the puck away from a Buffalo attacker along the boards, but his pass was intercepted by Maxim Afinogenov, who sent the puck cross-crease to Brown. Brown one-timed the shot, and the puck was in Hasek’s net.

The Red Wings had a power play chance of their own when Afinogenov was sent off for tripping. The power play kept control of the puck for most of the two minutes, but were unable to score.

Chris Chelios attempted to make a pass along the blue line just as the power play was ending, but it went wide and out of the zone, and Afinogenov grabbed it up as he stepped out of the penalty box. Nick Lidstrom tried to catch up, but Afinogenov was away, and tricked Hasek by putting the puck high into the net with a backhand shot.

Detroit tried to play with a little more energy in the second period, but the Sabres scored again just over a minute in. Chris Gratton brought the puck in on the left wing side, and Hasek came out of the net expecting to block a passing lane. Instead of passing, Gratton put the puck into the open net.

Detroit finally got on the board a few minutes later. Boyd Devereaux got the puck to Brett Hull behind the net, and Hull passed it out front. The puck deflected off the stick of goalie Martin Biron, and straight to the stick of Pavel Datsyuk, who lifted the puck into the net.

Scotty Bowman pulled Hasek from the game to put Manny Legace in net for the start of the third period. Without their former goalie to shoot at, Buffalo lost much of their incentive to play hard, but neither did Detroit gain inspiration from the goalie switch. The Sabres did score once more. Satan took a pass from Gratton and put the puck in the net with 14:58 remaining.

Hasek stopped eighteen of twenty-two shots in two periods, while Legace stopped six of the seven he faced in the third. Biron stopped nineteen of the twenty shots the Red Wings sent against him. The Red Wings next game will be at home against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday evening.

Datsyuk’s goal, his eleventh of the season, puts him into fifth place in NHL rookie scoring.

Wings at Home on the Road

The Detroit Red Wings downed the Blues in St. Louis on Saturday, lengthening their road winning-streak to a team record of eight games.

Detroit started the scoring early, with Tomas Holmstrom putting a rebound past St. Louis netminder Brent Johnson 6:24 into the first period.

Luc Robitaille put the Wings up by two when he pushed in a rebound just over seven minutes later.

“The goal was a result of a great play by Steve Duchesne,” Robitaille said. “I just kept pushing at the puck.”

St. Louis struck back late in the period. Scott Mellanby fired a shot off the post but the puck hit Detroit goaltender Dominik Hasek and bounced in.

The Blues tied the game early in the second period when Cory Stillman put a power play goal past Hasek.

Detroit regained the lead on a Sergei Fedorov power play goal just past the midway point in the game.

Robitaille scored his second late in the second period. Jason Williams fed Robitaille a perfect pass at the side of the net, and Robitaille redirected it past Johnson to put Detroit up by two.

Detroit fought off a tough St. Louis attack early in the third and held the lead. With Johnson pulled for the extra attacker late in the game, Pavel Datsyuk added an empty net goal to cap the Wings’ 5-2 win.

Several Red Wings are nearing career milestones… Brendan Shanahan is at career goal 499, Sergei Fedorov is at career assist 499, Chris Chelios is four assists away from 700 career, and Scotty Bowman needs only eight more victories to tie Jack Adams for most by a Red Wings coach.

Falling Leafs

Brendan Shanahan did NOT manage to get his 500th career goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs. But Jason Williams got his first, and Sean Avery got his second, and Sergei Fedorov, Luc Robitaille, and Igor Larionov all contributed to give the Red Wings a true team victory of 6-2 over the Maple Leafs in their first game at Joe Louis Arena in over a month.

With star goaltender Curtis Joseph out of the lineup with a broken wrist, it seemed like the Maple Leafs would be an easy mark for the Red Wings. Detroit opened the scoring just over halfway through the period. Chris Chelios brought the puck into the Leafs’ zone and passed to rookie Jason Williams at the right point. Williams fired a hard shot which redirected slightly off the skate of Cory Cross and into the net past goalie Corey Schwab, giving Williams his first NHL goal.

Detroit scored next during a tripping penalty to Bryan McCabe. Defenseman Aki Berg had lost his stick, and Brendan Shanahan neatly feathered a pass right by to Sergei Fedorov, who tipped the puck into the net.

Luc Robitaille put the Red Wings up by three goals during another power play, this time on an unsportsmanlike conduct call against Shane Corson. Nick Lidstrom‘s shot from the blue line was deflected wide of the net. Robitaille caught the puck and banged it in from the right side of the net, getting it in on the second try.

Toronto started the second period with a goalie switch, putting in 20-year-old Sebastien Centomo. It looked as if the Leafs would be able to get on the board, when Igor Larionov and Brendan Shanahan were sent to the penalty box within five seconds of each other, but Dominik Hasek stayed steady, and the penalty killers Chelios, Lidstrom, Fedorov, and Kris Draper stayed strong, allowing the Leafs only two shots on net during a full 1:55 of five-on-three hockey.

As if to add insult to injury, the Red Wings scored yet again on their power play, when Marc Moro was in the box for holding the stick. Pavel Datsyuk sent a perfectly aimed pass from the corner to Igor Larionov waiting in front of the net, and Larionov was easily able to redirect the puck past Centomo.

Tomas Kaberle finally ended Hasek’s potential shutout with six and a half minutes left in the second. The Wings were again killing off a five-on-three penalty, and Kaberle took a shot from the blue line which redirected off the stick of Draper and past a screened Hasek.

Mats Sundin scored while the Leafs were shorthanded, putting the game within reach. Sundin stole the puck from Larionov. Hasek came out to cut down the angle of Sundin’s shot, but Sundin instead kicked it between Hasek’s legs. Just before two Detroit defensemen could get back to clear it away, Sundin made a diving play and tapped the puck into the empty net.

The Red Wings answered both Toronto goals in the third period. Fedorov scored his second of the night just thirty-eight seconds in, going to the front of the net and tipping in Mathieu Dandenault‘s pass from the right wing corner.

Sean Avery put the game out of Toronto’s reach for good midway through the period. Angering Toronto tough guy Tie Domi with a hard, clean hit early in the game just wasn’t enough for Avery, so he skated hard for the front of the net, trailing Kirk Maltby on the right wing. Maltby faked a goal line shot, but instead passed across the crease to Avery, who flipped the puck into the wide open net.

Shots on net were thirty-five to twenty-five in Toronto’s favor. Detroit converted on three of six power plays, while Toronto converted on one of five. The Red Wings’ next game will be Saturday afternoon in St. Louis.

Darren McCarty had surgery on his infected finger, and should be back in the lineup by next week. The Red Wings record now stands at 45-11-6-2, meaning that even if they win only half of their remaining eighteen games, no other team in the Western Conference will be able to pass them.

Some Games Are Easier Than Others

In theory, it should have been an easy victory. The Red Wings, with the best road record in the League, should have romped right over the Florida Panthers, who have the League’s worst home record. And in almost every aspect of the game, the Red Wings outplayed the Panthers, all except for one- goals for. Goaltender Roberto Luongo played an amazing game, almost single-handedly carrying his team before finally giving up the game winning goal in overtime, letting the Red Wings breathe a sigh of relief at their 3-2 victory.

The Red Wings outplayed the Panthers by a considerable margin through the first period, outshooting them 11-5, but it was the Panthers who took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

Just as a Detroit power play was ending, Nicholas Hagman brought the puck out through center, accompanied by two of his Florida teammates. Brad Ference stepped out of the box and joined the rush, giving the Panthers a four-on-two. Hagman passed neatly to Christian Huselius, who got ahead of the Red Wings’ defensemen and put the puck past Dominik Hasek for the goal.

Florida scored again only eighteen seconds into the second period. The Panthers controlled the opening faceoff, and Valeri Bure brought the puck into Detroit’s zone. He delayed passing until the last second, drawing Hasek towards him. Bure then passed across to Sandis Ozolinsh, and Hasek was not able to get back across the front of the net in time to stop Ozolinsh from putting the puck into the net.

The Red Wings shelled Luongo with shots for the rest of the second period, but were unable to score until the period was nearly halfway over, while Byron Ritchie was in the penalty box for holding. Nick Lidstrom passed the puck to Brett Hull at the right point, who passed up to Luc Robitaille standing by the side of the net. Robitaille made a backhand shot and put the puck in high on the far side of Luongo.

Detroit continued its domination of the game, but Luongo played the game of his life, setting a new Panthers franchise record by stopping an amazing fifty-seven shots and keeping the Red Wings trailing by one.

The Red Wings kept coming, and finally Robitaille tied the game with just over two minutes left in regulation play. Detroit got a lucky break when Bill Lindsay took a penalty, and they managed to control the puck in the Panthers’ end. Hull faked a shot from the blue line, and passed instead to Robitaille at the right face-off circle. Robitaille’s one-timed wrist shot lifted over Luongo and into the net.

Both teams came on hard in the overtime period, but it was Pavel Datsyuk who made the winning goal happen. He pulled the puck out from a tangle of players along the boards and headed for the net, sneaking past Olli Jokinen and sending the pass back right to Hull. Hull fired hard, and finally put one past Luongo.

The Red Wings next game will be Saturday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Igor Larionov sat out this game with a sore leg, which gave Jason Williams a chance to play. Hull’s goal was his one-hundredth game winning goal.

Broken Thumb No Hindrance For Shanny

Brendan Shanahan, despite his injured thumb, scored two goals to lead the Red Wings past the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-3 in overtime.

The Red Wings came on strong in the first period, picking up right where they left off before the Olympic break. After a few defensive lapses, they pulled together and shelled Tampa Bay goaltender Kevin Weekes, putting sixteen shots on net on the first as opposed to the Lightning’s six. Weekes, however, was strong and steady, and the Red Wings couldn’t put the puck past him until they had a power play chance.

Juha Ylonen was sent to the box for tripping with only 4:23 left in the period. The After Tampa Bay’s first clearing attempt, Nick Lidstrom shot the puck deep into the zone, and it bounced off the back boards to Weekes. Weekes let the puck slip away and fell down, and Sergei Fedorov flipped it high into the net.

Tampa Bay scored only thirty seconds into the second period when Vaclav Prospal stuffed a rebound from Ben Clymer’s shot past Dominik Hasek, and the momentum from that equalizing goal inspired them to increase their offensive play considerably. Hasek recovered after the first goal, and the Red Wings were beginning to take back control, when the penalties started.

For over nine minutes, the Red Wings and Lightning were on continuous, alternating, overlapping penalty kills, beginning when Mathieu Dandenault was called for slashing at 16:04. Even a penalty shot by Dan Boyle was not able to score against Hasek. The penalty parade finally ended when Dave Andreychuk was able to score on a rebound at 6:58, putting the Lightning up by one.

Brendan Shanahan brought the Red Wings back in with another power play goal with 3:42 left in the period. Luc Robitaille brought the puck deep into the Lightning’s zone and passed directly across the goal crease. Shanahan flipped it high into the net.

The Lightning started off strong in the third period as well. At one point, a rebounded puck got past Hasek, who had come out of the net to stop the first shot. The rebound was part of the way across the goal line, but Jiri Fischer kicked it out just before it would have been a goal for Tampa Bay.

Jimmie Olvestad scored for the Lightning midway through the period. Fedorov tried to pass the puck from behind the Red Wings’ net, but Olvestad intercepted the pass and sent the puck past Hasek.

The Wings came back less than two minutes later. Tomas Holmstrom‘s shot rebounded to Freddy Olausson, who passed across to Robitaille. “Lucky Luc” slid the puck past Weekes to score the equalizing goal.

Tampa Bay continued their pressure through the rest of the period and into the overtime, but the Red Wings took back control when it was important. Chris Chelios shot the puck from the blue line, and it bounced off the back boards to Shanahan in the right corner. Shanahan fired the puck from the goal line, and it banked off Weekes and into the net with 2:05 left in the overtime.

Steve Yzerman‘s knee became sore during the Olympics, and he is expected to be out of the lineup for two to three weeks. Sean Avery will be playing center until Yzerman returns. Pavel Datsyuk sat out tonight’s game with the flu. The coaching staff plans to recall Jason Williams from Cincinnati to play until Datsyuk is feeling better.

Game On!

The Detroit Red Wings and their new star-studded lineup get their first chance to shine tonight in San Jose.

The Red Wings play their first “real” game tonight when they start their regular season against the San Jose Sharks. Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Dominik Hasek will start against Calder Trophy winning netminder Evgeni Nabokov.

Luc Robitaille, Brett Hull and Fredrik Olausson are all expected to play for Detroit. The only injured regular from last season for the Red Wings will be Darren McCarty, who’s out with a sore shoulder but expected to return in time for the Wings home opener next week.

With the addition of rookies Jason Williams and Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit will still be able to roll four lines without a problem, but it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be on which lines.

The first regular season matchup for the new look Red Wings is tonight from San Jose and ten o’clock Eastern Time.

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