Red Wings Continue Streak with Win over Mighty Ducks

The Detroit Red Wings extended their winning streak to four games with a 3-1 victory over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim on Wednesday night.

With the Mighty Ducks fighting to make the playoffs and the Red Wings battling for the top spot in the league, the defenses dominated the game.

Kris Draper‘s empty-net goal with ten seconds remaining in the game was the only goal not scored during the first period of play.

Henrik Zetterberg opened the game’s scoring just 1:00 in, fighting off Jeff Friesen at the blue line and skating into the right circle before whipping a shot off the far post and behind Anaheim netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

With Detroit on a five-on-three at 10:45 of the period, Mathieu Schneider wired a shot from the high slot to the corner of the net as Tomas Holmstrom screened Giguere.

The Ducks got on the board with a power play goal of their own with 5:44 remaining in the period. Scott Niedermayer sent a crossing pass from behind and to the right of Detroit goalie Chris Osgood and Teemu Selanne was left alone to bang home a shot from the opposite side of the net.

The goalies were key in the game with Osgood stopping 25 of 26 shots in the second of rare consecutive starts. Giguere made 26 saves on the 28 shots he faced.

Detroit finished the game one-for-four on the power play, with Anaheim going one-for-six.

The Red Wings now head on the road for a short Western Canada trip. They will visit the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday and the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

Red Wings Blank Mighty Ducks as Swedes Return

The Detroit Red Wings’ lineup was bolstered by the return of their five Swedish Olympians Wednesday night and their impact was immediately felt, as the Swedes scored the game’s only goals en route to a 2-0 Detroit win over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Goaltender Chris Osgood, making his first appearance since January 30, made 24 saves in the shutout effort. It was his second shutout of the season.

All of the game’s scoring came in the first period, when Tomas Holmstrom and Henrik Zetterberg beat Anaheim netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

At 7:28 of the period, Holmstrom scored just after coming out of the penalty box.

Pavel Datsyuk carried the puck into the Anaheim zone before sending a pass in to Zetterberg, who tapped it along to Holmstrom who was cutting through the crease. Holmstrom lifted a backhander over Giguere’s glove to put Detroit on the board.

Just 46 seconds later, Zetterberg extended his team’s lead.

When Anaheim’s Vitali Vishnevski was called for tripping in his own zone, Zetterberg won the ensuing faceoff over to Datsyuk, who cleared the puck back to Nicklas Lidstrom at the blue line. Lidstrom fired a shot on goal as Holmstrom went to the front of the net to screen, and the puck ended up deflecting off the inside of Holmstrom’s leg. The puck came to the side of the net where Zetterberg was wide open to tap it into the net.

Giguere shut the Wings down for the rest of the night, making 31 saves on 33 shots against, but the damage was already done.

The Zetterberg goal was Detroit’s lone power play tally in eight attempts, while five power plays were not enough for the Ducks to get onto the board.

The Red Wings will continue their road trip on Saturday when they visit the Phoenix Coyotes in the first game of a home-and-home series.

The only point in the game not scored by a Swede was Russian Pavel Datsyuk’s assist on Tomas Holmstrom’s goal.

Ducks Win 8-6: Wings & Ducks Defy NHL’s Current Low-Scoring Reputation

The Red Wings had plenty of jump and generated plenty of scoring chances on Sunday, but their defense just wasn’t quite as strong. With key players Mathieu Schneider and Kirk Maltby now out of the lineup, and Kris Draper and Derian Hatcher already missing, the Wings’ penalty killing suffered accordingly, allowing the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to score 2 power play goals in 6 tries en route to an 8-6 win.

Detroit made a point of starting the game strong. Pavel Datsyuk, Brett Hull, and Steve Yzerman got the Red Wings out to an early 3-0 lead, each putting a wrist shot past Jean-Sebastien Giguere before six minutes had passed in the game. Unfortunately, the Wings’ defensive play was not nearly so well-executed as their offensive play.

The Ducks got their first power play of the game when Boyd Devereaux was called for hooking, and Sergei Fedorov set up a good play for Joffrey Lupul to score. Fedorov circled the net and centered a pass across the goal crease, and Lupul was right at the side of the net to whack the puck past Manny Legace.

Steve Rucchin took advantage of Detroit’s inability to clear the puck. Vaclav Prospal shot on net from the left point. Vitaly Vishnevski took a whack at the rebound, and Rucchin pulled the second rebound away before Legace could cover it up, then slipped it around the side of the goalie and into the net.

Jason Williams took a double minor penalty for high sticking as the first period was ending. Detroit thought they caught a break when Niclas Havelid was given a hooking penalty with a minute and a half gone in the penalty to Williams, but the Ducks scored twice during the resulting four-on-four. Sammy Pahlsson‘s goal off a partly screened wrist shot tied the game at 2:10, and Fedorov moved Anaheim into the lead by slipping a rebound of Rob Niedermeyer’s shot past Legace’s right skate at 2:36.

Curtis Joseph came in for Legace at that point, but that didn’t give the Red Wings quite the shake-up they were hoping for. Jamie Rivers took a boarding call, giving Anaheim 15 seconds of 5-on-3 play with Williams still in the box. Prospal was able to make a hard pass across the goal crease, and Petr Sykora smacked the puck into the net.

Nicklas Lidstrom converted on a good centering pass from Henrik Zetterberg to get the Wings back within one just two minutes later, and Rivers jumped into the play from the blue line to tie the game with a high shot over Giguere with 3:07 left in the third. Joseph did his part by coming up with a big save against Lupul with only 1:25 left in the period.

Ray Whitney moved Detroit back into the lead early in the third. He got the rebound from Yzerman’s shot. Giguere had slid far to his left while making the first save, but defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh was flopped in the crease trying to cover as much of the net as he could. Whitney whacked at the puck until he finally put it past Ozolinsh.

Vishnevski negated the momentum swing by tying the game back up just 26 seconds later. Detroit made an uncoordinated line change, and Vishnevski was able to drive to the net uncovered to put the rebound of Pahlsson’s shot past Joseph.

Fedorov flipped a deflection by Niedermeyer into the net at 7:01 to give the Ducks the lead for good. Rucchin capped off the scoring with an empty net goal with 14 seconds left.

Detroit outshot the Ducks by a count of 57 to 30. The Red Wings will have tomorrow off to try to regroup before facing the Pacific Division-leading Sharks in San Jose on Tuesday night.

Yzerman’s assist on Whitney’s goal was the 1041st of his career, moving him past Marcel Dionne into 8th on the all time assists list”¦. Schneider is listed as day-to-day with a groin injury. Hatcher wasn’t quite ready to play, so the Wings had to play with only five defensemen”¦. Maltby left the team after Saturday’s game to return to Detroit in preparation for the birth of his first child.

Wings Down Ducks, Fedorov, 3-1

Sergei Fedorov made his second appearance of the season at Joe Louis Arena with his new team, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and fared no better than he did in his return to Detroit as the Red Wings defeated the Mighty Ducks, 3-1.

Unlike in Detroit’s 7-2 rout of the Ducks in December, where Fedorov scored once, the former Red Wings star was held without a point. Anaheim’s only goal was scored by Andy MacDonald with 5:30 remaining in the second period, knocking the puck by Detroit goalie Manny Legace as Legace attmpted to clear the puck from the side of the net.

MacDonald’s goal tied the game after the Red Wings had taken an early lead. Tomas Holmstrom scored with 6:44 left in the first period, taking a long pass from Brett Hull and skating up the left side of the ice before blasting a shot over Anaheim netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere‘s left shoulder.

Detroit retook the lead with a goal by Brendan Shanahan just 1:54 into the third period. Shanahan took a Ray Whitney pass from behind the net and fired a wrist shot from the left circle, beating Giguere for his 550th career goal.

Kirk Maltby sealed the win for Detroit with 3:21 remaining in the third period. Maltby deflected a shot by Mathieu Schneider past Giguere to give the Red Wings a two-goal lead and the Ducks were unable to respond.

Legace stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced in net for Detroit. Giguere made an amazing 38 saves on the 41 shots he faced between the pipes for Anaheim.

The Red Wings are next in action on Monday when the Nashville Predators visit Joe Louis Arena.

Wings Overcome Ducks and Media Circus for Decisive Win

The media hype was tremendous. Sergei Fedorov returns to Detroit! Red Wings to face the team who shut them out in the playoffs! The Red Wings are used to media scrutiny, here in the heart of Hockeytown, and they put it all aside to play a solid game and beat the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, 7-2.

Manny Legace was solid in his fourth start in a row, and saved a potentially game-breaking goal early in the first period when Petr Sykora got in all alone on a breakaway. Legace’s save led right into Detroit’s first goal. The Red Wings got the puck back down the ice, but the Ducks tried to clear it out of their zone. Kris Draper stole it away from Niclas Havelid. He handed the puck off to Kirk Maltby, who centered the puck for Mark Mowers to chip into the net.

Pavel Datsyuk won a faceoff in the Anaheim zone late in the period, thus setting up Brett Hull to wind up and blast the puck right past Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Then the scoring floodgates opened.

Maltby and Jason Williams scored within 50 seconds of each other midway through the second period, both with hard wrist shots which sailed over Giguere’s glove hand. Four goals was enough for Giguere, who reluctantly left the net to be replaced by Martin Gerber.

Gerber didn’t fare any better than did his counterpart. Detroit kept pressing their advantage. “They just got better and better and faster and faster and we got slower and slower,” said Ducks coach Mike Babcock.

Detroit’s speed led to their fifth goal. Steve Thomas held the puck in at the blue line. He passed it to Hull on the left wing side, who passed it to Schneider on the right side of the crease. Schneider lured Gerber over, then made a fast pass to Datsyuk, who had a wide open net into which he shot the puck.

Fedorov finally got Anaheim onto the scoreboard with 4:40 left in the second. He carried into the zone, then took a hard shot which beat Legace high on the stick side. However, Datsyuk answered with hardly a minute gone by. He beat Fedorov in a faceoff, drew the puck back to Schneider, then deflected Schneider’s shot down to slide beneath Gerber’s glove.

Brendan Shanahan beat Ruslan Salei to what should have been an icing call against Detroit””Salei went right past the puck without touching it””and Shanahan slapped the puck past Gerber to cap off Detroit’s scoring 1:53 into the third period. Tony Martensson scored his first goal for Anaheim at 8:53, leaving the final score at 7 to 2.

The Red Wings outshot the Mighty Ducks by a count of 40 to 23. The Wings won 35 of the 60 faceoffs.

In the end, the game wasn’t about avenging Detroit’s loss to Anaheim in last year’s playoffs. Nor was it about Fedorov’s much-ballyhooed first game against his old teammates. In the end, this game was about the present, with veterans Hull and Maltby playing strongly, and the future, with young stars-to-be Datsyuk, Williams, and Mowers running up the score. Sure, it was satisfying to see Detroit repeatedly beat Giguere, their bane of last spring, and finally chase him from the net. On some slightly shame-faced level, it was even satisfying to hear the fans booing Fedorov every time he got near the puck. But in the end, it was simply two points well-earned, a fine display of offensive talent, and a tide of momentum to carry Detroit into St. Louis to face the Blues tomorrow night.

Devils Down Ducks, Claim Cup

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim didn’t have a storybook ending left in them after forcing a Game Seven in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Ducks were shutout by Martin Brodeur as the New Jersey Devils claimed their third Stanley Cup in nine years.

The Devils tight defensive game and stellar netminding by Brodeur left Anaheim struggling to create offense but unable to put the puck in the net. Brodeur ended the series with his third shutout of the Finals and an NHL record seven playoff shutouts.

The Ducks and Devils seemed to be off to a defensive battle in the first period. Like in Games Three and Four in Anaheim, chances for both sides were limited. The teams combined for a total of only twelve shots in the period. The score remained tied at zero after twenty minutes of play.

New Jersey broke the game open in the second period. Scoring twice on twelve shots, the Devils pulled away from Anaheim on their way to claiming the Cup.

Rookie call-up Michael Rupp scored the game’s first goal, his first goal of the playoffs and the eventual Cup-winner, just 2:22 into the period. Rupp deflected a Scott Niedermayer shot from the blue line between Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere‘s pads while set up in front of the crease.

Anaheim attempted to get their offense going but Brodeur held strong and the Devils added a second goal almost exactly ten minutes later.

At 12:18, Jeff Friesen, acquired from Anaheim in an offseason trade last summer, put the rebound of a Rupp shot past Giguere and gave the Devils a two-goal lead.

Anaheim couldn’t bounce back from the two-goal deficit. Friesen added a second goal with 3:44 remaining in the game and the Devils finished off the Ducks.

Despite his loss in the deciding game, the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP went to Anaheim’s Giguere, who led the seventh-seeded Ducks to wins over second-seeded Detroit, top-seeded Dallas and the Minnesota Wild before finally falling to the Devils.

Ducks Win Again in OT to Even Series

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim remained perfect in overtime as goaltenter Jean-Sebastien Giguere shutout the New Jersey Devils and veteran forward Steve Thomas scored just thirty-nine seconds into the extra period to put the Ducks past the Devils and tie the Stanley Cup Finals series at two games apiece.

Anaheim is now 7-0 in overtime playoff games this season, including Games Three and Four of the Finals, both played on their home ice. Ten of the Ducks’ fourteen wins have come in overtime.

Thomas, a late-season acquisition, scored for the Ducks after picking up the rebound from a Samuel Pahlsson shot in the right circle.

“I thought their D-man was going to get to it,” Thomas said. “I just went to the net, and it came right to me and I shot it. … When you have an opportunity to score an overtime goal like that, that’s the ultimate.”

The Ducks had fallen behind in the series after being shutout by Devils’ netminder Martin Brodeur in both Games One and Two in New Jersey.

“We gave them too much respect, and we needed to go out there and play our game, do what we’ve done all year. (As a result) there is a hell of a lot of difference on the ice,” Giguere said.

“It’s a lot different going back to Jersey 2-2 instead of 3-1,” Thomas said. “We knew after those two games in Jersey we were a lot better team than we showed. We decided it was time to turn up our game. It was a little bit embarrassing to play the way we played in the first two games.”

Brodeur agreed that the series has changed dramatically since the teams left New Jersey.

“They feel pretty good about themselves, and on the other side, we just blew a 2-0 lead,” he said. “So it’s kind of hard to bring any kind of momentum into Game 5. But we’ll regroup. … It’s really important for us to have that confidence that we’re going to be hard to beat in our building, because they didn’t play well in those games.”

Ducks Advance to Cup Finals

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim continued their Cinderella post-season, defeating the Minnesota Wild, 2-1, to sweep their Western Conference Finals series and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Anaheim is the lowest-seeded team to make the Stanley Cup Finals since the Vancouver Canucks advanced in 1994, only to fall to the New York Rangers. They are making their first Finals appearance in the franchise’s ten-year history.

The Ducks have ridden goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere throughout the playoffs. Giguere has lost only twice in fourteen games this postseason and allowed a single goal against in the Western Conference Finals, the lowest total ever in a best-of-seven series.

Giguere made twenty-four saves on twenty-five shots on his twenty-sixth birthday Friday. “It’s a great birthday present, something I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid,” said Giguere, who stopped 122 of 123 Minnesota shots in the Western Conference finals. “Just to be part of this is very exceptional.”

Adam Oates, who will be making his second Stanley Cup Finals appearance, scored both Anaheim goals, leading the Ducks’ comeback after being down 1-0.

Minnesota’s Andrew Brunette scored the only Wild goal of the series less than five minutes into the game.

Anaheim now awaits the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals series between Ottawa and New Jersey. The Devils lead that series, two games to one.

Early Summer This Year

The Game
Henrik Zetterberg scored the first goal of the game, his first-ever playoff goal, but Steve Rucchin scored the last goal of the game, and that, as it turned out, was the important one. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim completed their quarterfinal sweep of the Red Wings with a 3-2 overtime win.

The Red Wings looked much better to start Game Four than they had looked previously in the series?not completely up to their potential yet, but certainly better. They were driving to the net and trying harder to put the puck high against Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and that extra effort led directly to Zetterberg’s goal late in the first period. Brett Hull stripped Petr Sykora of the puck in the high slot area of Anaheim’s zone. Hull pushed towards the net, and Zetterberg came with him on the right side. Hull made a quick pass across to his linemate, and Zetterberg lifted a quick wrist shot over Giguere.

Confusion on a call let the Ducks tie the game up just under two minutes later. Mathieu Dandenault knew he was about to get a penalty for high-sticking on a delayed call. He looked to have touched the puck, and the other Wings on the ice slowed in anticipation of the whistle, but that whistle didn’t come because Dandenault never actually had possession of the puck. Adam Oates took the puck away, brought it into the zone, and sent it across to Paul Kariya. Kariya had a clear shot on Curtis Joseph and was able to put the puck into the top corner.

The second period was scoreless, although both teams had their chances. The Grind Line brought havoc to the Ducks’ zone, creating multiple quality scoring chances. Rob Niedermayer was so frustrated by Joseph’s excellent saves during an Anaheim power play that he took an ill-advised cross-checking penalty, negating his team’s man-advantage and giving the Red Wings a shortened power play of their own.

Jason Krog scored early in the third period, and the Ducks promptly shut down. The Red Wings still managed to get through to the Ducks’ zone, but rarely were they able to get the screened shots or deflected shots which seemed to be the best way to defeat Giguere. Mathieu Schneider took an interference penalty with just 5:23 left in regulation, further thwarting the Wings’ chances.

Then, with 2:15 left to play, the Red Wings finally got a break. Sergei Fedorov eluded the Ducks who had been dogging his steps all series. He went into the right corner, one on one against Keith Carney, and won the battle for the puck. Fedorov threw it out in front of the net, and it hit the skate of Niclas Havelid. It bounced. It bounced right past Giguere and into the net.

Fedorov played like a man possessed for the rest of regulation time, seeking to win before overtime started, but Giguere regained control of himself and sent the game to the extra session.

At 6:53 of overtime, a little after 1:00 am in Detroit, a little after 10:00 pm in Anaheim, Rucchin scored his series-winning goal. Carney was allowed to take the puck behind the net. He centered it out front to Rucchin, coming up the high slot all alone. Rucchin one-timed the shot up and over Joseph for the win.

Now What?
There could be changes in Detroit this summer. Not drastic ones, surely. But there will be financial considerations, with no further playoff revenue coming to the team. Ticket prices may have to be raised for next year. It may be harder to keep free agents like Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Darren McCarty, Luc Robitaille, and Jason Woolley, and certainly it could be more difficult to lure free agents from other teams.

But these are matters for later. It’s time to rest now, time to carefully roll up the car flags and stow them in the trunk, time to fold the banners and set them gently in the closet for next year. Time to regroup and heal, time for our young rookies to become stronger and time for our veterans to rest their strength.

The 2002-2003 season is over. But Jiri Fischer will be fully healed by fall, and Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Dmitri Bykov show much promise, along with a host of other young prospects who played in the minors or the European leagues this year. The team’s veteran core will remain intact, contributing and teaching. There’s always 2003-2004.

There’s always a next year for Hockeytown.

Hope Springs Eternal In Hockeytown

The naysayers and harbingers of doom are very loud, second-guessing Dave Lewis and Kenny Holland, taking down the red and white that so proudly decorated our city just a week ago, and packing it all in.

“It’s over,” they say. “Cujo isn’t good enough. We should have picked up Belfour. Put the jerseys away, put the car flag in the trunk, and what on earth are we going to do with the leftover octopus?” Or worse yet, telling BRETT HULL, the fifth-leading goal scorer of all time, how to score a goal on Jean-Sebastien Giguere. “You gotta put it high, Brett, you blasted old goat!” (Like someone with over 700 goals needs scoring advice from people who’ve never picked up a hockey stick!)

I was driving around Metro Detroit yesterday on various errands, and I noticed a distinct LACK of red and white, in comparison with this time last year. Not too many car flags. Not too many banners. Not too many “Go Wings” signs on the message boards outside bars. It’s as if people are ashamed and embarrassed to be still cheering for the Red Wings in what the “fans” have already named a losing battle.

Well, I say to you, you SHOULD be ashamed. But you should be ashamed of YOURSELVES! Listen, we as fans have absolutely no control over whether the Wings pull it off tonight or not. We can make voodoo goalies or follow any wacky hockey superstitions we want, but in the end, it’s up to the players themselves. What the fans do have control over is the spirit of Hockeytown. And Hockeytown?the Hockeytown I have come to know and love– is not a place that gives up before the final buzzer sounds.

While I was out driving yesterday, a man on a motorcycle pulled up next to me while I was stopped at a red light. He had two Wings flags hanging off the back of his bike, and his long hair had red and white ribbons braided into it. He looked over at me, saw my car flag and my own red and white ribbons, and we smiled. A quick thumbs-up. Then the light turned green and we were off about our business.

The poll right here on shows that 75% of respondents believe that the Wings will pull it off and win four straight. Admittedly, only eight people have taken the poll. But for a larger slice of Hockeytown, try the recent poll on the Red Wings’ official site, Now, they’ve just changed to a new question, and I can’t get the exact numbers for you since they don’t archive their polls, but over 2000 respondents still believed the Wings would win the series, compared to about 1300 people who thought the Ducks would put them away tonight.

So it looks like the true fans outnumber the fair-weather fans. The fair-weather fans are just louder and more obnoxious.

It’s 1:30 pm. Nine hours to go. So what if only two teams in history have rallied from an 0-3 deficit? One of those teams was the New York Islanders against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1975. Dave Lewis was on that team! Coach Al Arbour told them then to take it one shift at a time, one period at a time. Lewi knows how it can be done! So what if the Wings haven’t been scoring? Tomas Holmstrom showed them how to do it late in Game Three?park in front of the net and chip the puck high. Do you think this is a team that will let Homer get bruised and battered in front of the net for nothing? So what if you think Joseph hasn’t been good enough? Here’s what I think of that opinion: Joseph’s goals against average in the playoffs is 1.89. His save percentage is .925. Those are not numbers that can be faulted. “Goaltending is not an issue,” according to no less an authority than Steve Yzerman. “You’re going in the wrong direction if you’re looking at that.”

The Captain had plenty more to say. “I’m confident we can win the next game,” Yzerman said. “It’s not like I’m doubting my team or we’re doubting ourselves. I’m perfectly comfortable coming into Game 4 and confident in our team that we’ll play well and we’ll win the game.”

If Steve Yzerman, future-hall-of-famer, the man who battled back from an unprecedented knee surgery to play again, warrior and leader extraordinaire, is confident, that’s good enough for me. One shift at a time, one period at a time, one goal at a time, one game at a time.