Bruins Take Season Series in OT

It was a much closer score in the Red Wings’ second game this week against the Boston Bruins, but once again a timely goal by Bruins captain Joe Thornton decided the game. Boston took a 2-1 decision in overtime.

The Red Wings held a 1-0 lead for most of the game, thanks to a nice goal by Kirk Maltby 8:00 into the game. Steve Yzerman intercepted the puck in the Boston zone and sent a pass up to Ray Whitney. Maltby picked up the rebound from Whitney’s shot and fired it past goalie Andrew Raycroft.

Just as it was in the Wednesday matchup between these two teams, the goaltending was very good on both sides. Raycroft was continuously in just the right position to block oncoming shots, while Curtis Joseph was in fine acrobatic form, sprawling and twisting to block the shots the Bruins were sending in from strange angles.

In spite of the quality of the Bruins’ scoring chances, Boston wasn’t able to get on the board until they were handed a five-minute power play. Pavel Datsyuk was given a boarding major and a game misconduct for an ordinary-looking check against Michal Grosek.

The penalty-killers did a good job for the most part, but they did give up the lead when Marty Lapointe put the rebound of a bad angle shot by Mike Knuble past Joseph on the glove side.

Detroit controlled the play for the last several minutes of the third period, but Raycroft’s solid play sent the game to overtime. Halfway through the extra session, Dan McGillis carried the puck up the right side of Detroit’s zone, luring everyone towards him, then made a back pass to Thornton coming through the slot with no one to cover him. Thornton easily put the puck into the mostly empty net.

Raycroft made 27 saves on the 28 shots he faced, while Joseph stopped 33 of 35.
The Red Wings have a few days off before their next game. They’ll be back in action Wednesday night when they face the Chicago Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena.

Wings Can’t Crack Bruins

Boston rookie goalie Andrew Raycroft was most assuredly the star of this game. The Red Wings peppered him with shots and set up numerous scoring chances, but Raycroft always seemed to be right where he needed to be, and the bounces all went the Bruins’ way. Boston won the game 3-0.

Detroit outplayed Boston considerably in the first period, outshooting the Bruins 13 to 3. Raycroft was solid, making big saves on Pavel Datsyuk, Kris Draper, and Ray Whitney. The Bruins, unfortunately, scored on only their second shot of the game. Dan McGillis knocked the puck away from Brendan Shanahan at the blue line, then got it to Sergei Samsonov. Samsonov made a short pass to Joe Thornton, who faked to his left, then pulled the puck back to the right and put it between Curtis Joseph‘s skate and the goalpost.

Boston, having a lead, began to shut down the game at that. They played a skillful trap, and the Red Wings had a tough time breaking through the blue line to generate offensive chances. Meanwhile, Boston scored their second goal of the game on an odd bounce off the back boards. The Bruins won the faceoff in Detroit’s zone, and Jeff Jillson banked the puck behind the net. The puck bounced back off the side of the net and into the goal crease, and Travis Green was able to whack it into the net.

Mike Knuble topped off the scoring for the Bruins by taking a nice pass from Sean O’Donnell and bouncing it off Joseph and into the net.

The Red Wings tried even harder to pressure Raycroft after that, but he was steady, sliding all the way across the net to make a save against Brett Hull and stoning Henrik Zetterberg on a near-breakaway chance.

Raycroft made 35 saves for his second career shutout. Joseph made 23 saves on 26 shots. The Red Wings will soon have the chance to avenge their loss: these two teams will play the second game of their home and home series Saturday afternoon at the Fleet Center in Boston.

Dave Lewis is guaranteed to be either the head coach or assistant coach of the Western Conference All-Star Team in February. The jobs go to the head coaches whose teams have the highest and second-highest points percentage (points earned divided by points possible) after January 8. Whether Lewis goes as the head coach or the assistant depends now on whether Tony Granato and the Colorado Avalanche win or lose tomorrow night against Nashville.

Clutch Goals, Goaltending Lead Wings Over Bruins

Clutch goaltending from Red Wings backup netminder Manny Legace and timely goals from Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov lifted Detroit to a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins Thursday night. The win was the Red Wings’ first in four games, ending a three-game mini-slump.

Lidstrom scored the Wings’ first goal of the night just past the midway point of the third period. While on the power play, Lidstrom skated into the slot and rifled a one-timer past Boston netminder John Grahame. The goal tied the game at one at was the first Red Wings goal in over 121 minutes of play across three games.

Boston’s Joe Thornton had opened the scoring at 5:16 of the third. Detroit defenseman Mathieu Dandenault mishandled the puck, Thornton jumped past him and moved in on Legace, beating him to put the Bruins up by a goal.

Late in regulation, Red Wing Brendan Shanahan was sent off for high sticking Jozef Stumple, a penalty that would carry into the overtime period.

Legace kept the Wings alive in overtime, making several outstanding saves including a sprawling stop on a shot by Thornton from the doorstep. With Shanahan’s penalty killed off, the Red Wings jumped back onto the offensive.

At the 2:08 mark of overtime, Sergei Fedorov jumped off the bench on a line change and raced into the Boston zone. The puck came to him and he ripped a slap shot past Grahame to give Detroit the victory.

“Just changing, and the puck came between our players,” Fedorov said. “I just walked in, picked up the pass and I shot it. I knew it would be short side. Good change.”

Legace stopped thirty-three of the Bruins’ thirty-four shots in the win, while Grahame made twenty-six saves on twenty-eight shots.

Curtis Joseph did not start the game because of the flu… Kris Draper took a high stick to the face late in the second period; he returned for the third… Steve Yzerman skated with the Red Wings Thursday morning, but is still expected to be out until January.