Wings’ Passing Scores

A number of pretty passing plays by the Red Wings helped bring them the win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4 to 3.

With Darren McCarty out for at least a month with a knee injury sustained in the 10/13/01 game against the New York Islanders, Mathieu Dandenault was moved from defense back to right winger, and Steve Duchesne was brought back to play defense.

The first period was relatively quiet, for a hockey game. Both teams had scoring chances. Detroit got a power play opportunity 6:42 into the game when Kevin Dineen was sent off for cross-checking, but the power play was unable to score.

Brendan Shanahan opened the scoring with 4:01 remaining in the period. Sergei Fedorov passed the puck from the blue line up to Kris Draper, who sent it back to Shanahan. Shanahan sent the puck flying past goaltender Marc Denis, continuing his six game scoring streak and reaffirming his place as the NHL’s current high scorer.

The Wings scored again 6:52 into the second period. Jiri Fischer fired the puck from the blue line. Denis was able to block, but Luc Robitaille grabbed up the rebound and sent it into the net to continue his three game goal streak.

Fredrick Olausson was penalized for cross-checking with 10:53 left in the second. Only eleven seconds before the end of that penalty, Shanahan was sent off for slashing. The Blue Jackets’ Rotislav Klesla was able to score during the short 5-on-3 situation, firing the puck from the blue line past a well-screened Dominik Hasek.

The Wings responded with 3:48 left in the period. Boyd Devereaux passed to Olausson, and Olausson got the puck across center ice to Dandenault. Dandenault got the puck past Denis to score his 100th career point, showing that he didn’t forget how to play forward while he was back on defense.

Rookie Pavel Datsyuk nearly scored on a fast-moving breakaway early in the third period, but the Blue Jackets defense shot down his scoring opportunity and kept him from passing the puck back to Devereaux. Detroit’s fourth goal was not scored until 6:13 had gone by in the third period, when Sergei Fedorov picked up a rolling pass from Kris Draper and shot it into the net from the blue line. Chris Chelios also received an assist on that goal.

Columbus came back strong through the rest of the third. Tyler Wright flipped the puck past Hasek with 8:22 left in the game. Deron Quint was able to score three minutes later while Hasek was being screened by Dineen.

The Blue Jackets pulled their goalie with one minute remaining in the game, but six skaters were not enough to get past Hasek and the Red Wings defense a fourth time. Brett Hull nearly scored an empty net goal, but his shot went wide of the net.

Hasek stopped 19 of 22 shots, while Denis blocked 31 of 35.

The win lifted the Wings’ record to 4-1-0-0 and dropped the Islanders’ to 4-0-0-1. Detroit is off until Tuesday, when they begin their longest homestand of the season against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Red Wings hope to continue their winning ways when they host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

Detroit Defeats Vancouver… Again

The Red Wings’ power play unit may still need some time for the players to get used to each other, but the penalty kill unit seems on target to become a name to be feared throughout the NHL. The Wings continued their great start to the 2001-2002 season on Saturday night with a 4-1 victory against the Vancouver Canucks.

Vancouver continued the rough, tough style of play that caused such a rough time for Colorado in last season’s playoffs. Just 3:40 after the opening faceoff, Vancouver’s Donald Brashear boarded defenseman Maxim Kuznetsov, cutting him in the process. Brashear was given a 5 minute major penalty and a game misconduct. One less thug to worry about.

The game was full of penalties and stoppages in play, yet most of the penalties called seemed to be oddly unimportant. UPN 50 color commentator Mickey Redmond even complained about it, saying that he wished the referees would call more of the hard hits and cross-checks from behind that the Canucks were laying on Detroit. The first period ended scoreless, although a total of seven penalties (four for Detroit, three for Vancouver) had been handed out.

The second period continued in the same choppy fashion. Vancouver’s Ed Jovanovski opened the scoring 9:42 into the period with an unassisted goal against Dominek Hasek. Seconds later, however, at 9:53, the Canucks’ Matt Cooke was handed a penalty for tripping. Steve Yzerman won the faceoff and got the puck to Sergei Fedorov, who shot it right past goalie Dan Cloutier. The power play lasted a total of three seconds.

The Wings took the lead with 3:31 remaining in the second. Defenseman Jiri Fischer stepped out of the penalty box, grabbed the puck that teammate Frederick Olausson had just shot down the ice, and ran with it, flipping it past Cloutier on a bounce. Kirk Maltby was also given an assist on Fischer’s goal.

The Red Wings’ penalty killing unit, which, at this point, had already shut down seven Vancouver power plays, went on the offensive with 1:44 left in the second. Chris Chelios got the puck to Brendan Shanahan, who once again got past the surprised goalie for his third shorthanded goal in two games.

The third period began with Detroit determined not to lose a two goal lead as they had done against the Sharks. The penalties were less frequent. Shanahan and Jason Strudwick received offsetting penalties for roughing with 9:50 left in the game, while Strudwick also receievd a second minor for high sticking. Shanahan’s ear was bleeding from Strudwick’s stick, and he had to go off to the dressing room to receive treatment.

With 5:56 remaining in the game, Yzerman essentially clinched the game for the Wings, receiving a pass from Brett Hull and firing it into the net. Shanahan came back out to finish the game, but was almost immediately removed from the ice again, as he and Strudwick fought it out over the earlier high stick. Shanahan received the two minute instigator penalty and a game misconduct to go along with the regular five minute fighting major.

Detroit’s power play was 1 for 9, while Vancouver’s was 0 for 8. Hasek stopped 29 shots, and Cloutier stopped only 15. The Red Wings have not lost to Vancouver since February 6, 1997. It just goes to show, you don’t have to lay on the dirty hits to win a hockey game. Perhaps Vancouver coach Marc Crawford could learn a thing or two from Scotty Bowman.

Homer’s Hat Trick Leads Wings Past Sharks

Tomas Holmstrom‘s first career hat trick led Detroit past San Jose in the Shark Tank tonight. The Freep has the recap. Jiri Fischer has played really well since coming back from the minors. I’m willing to see that we’ll see a lot of him in the playoffs while Murphy and Duchesne sit out. Never know though, Bowman loves his veterans.

For any heartless souls who didn’t already know Monday (that’d be today) is Vladimir Konstantinov‘s thirty-fourth birthday. The Freep has an update on his condition and his healing process.

As for the Avs game, anyone who blames Osgood is a moron, you can’t expect your goalie to stop that many odd-man rushes. He held strong and kept the Wings in there and we nearly came back. Of course, Gary Thorne sounded like the happiest man alive when Bourque threw in the empty-netter. I hate national coverage.

8 February, 2001

Great game tonight, if anyone didn’t like watching it then they’re not a hockey fan. Mickey Redmond was right when he said it was just like a playoff game. This is how we need to have been playing all year. And how about those goals from the guys we’re not supposed to see them from, McCarty and Maltby. Gotta give Draper credit too, considering he did half the work on Mac’s goal. Only thing I don’t like about tonight is that Jiri Fischer wasn’t there for it. We knew we’d have to move someone to get Maxim Kuznetsov back in the lineup, and we’ll have to do it again when Chris Chelios (remember him?) comes back, so when the hell are we gonna finally get rid of Todd Gill?!? He’s slower than Larry Murphy and not nearly as smart, why exactly is he still around? Anyway, that’s my rant for tonight. The dailies aren’t updated (of course not, it’s a half-hour after the game ended) so I’ll do that tomorrow.

Aroudn the league a bunch of stuff has happened, and ESPN.com reports on it all. The well-rumored Rob Blake went down with a shoulder injury and seems to be day-to-day. Suspended Marty McSorely signed a deal to play for the London Knights of the British Superleague, he’s gotta get a transfer card from the IIHF before he can play, though. Teh Canucks dealt for a goalie today, picking up Dan Cloutier from Tampa Bay for Adrian Aucoin and a draft pick, which means that Felix Potvin will leave Vancouver one way or another.