Red Wings Enter Olympic Break with Win over Senators

Playing their last game before the Olympic Break on Saturday night, the Detroit Red Wings snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.

Coming into the game, the buzz was that forward Kirk Maltby might not be available as he faces season-ending shoulder surgery. Maltby remained in the lineup, however, and opened the game’s scoring.

At 9:33 of the first period, Maltby backhanded a rebound chance past Ottawa goaltender Brian Elliot to give the Red Wings the early lead.

With 3:27 left in the opening frame, Pavel Datsyuk put Detroit up by a pair. Nicklas Lidstrom faked a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle, then intentionally fired the puck wide for Datsyuk to deflect in from a sharp angle.

The Senators got on the board at 8:13 of the second as Peter Regin put a rebound opportunity past Jimmy Howard but Detroit extended their lead again 2:56 later when Dan Cleary tipped the puck past Elliot off a cross-crease pass from Todd Bertuzzi for a power play goal.

Johan Franzen added an empty net goal to wrap up the game’s scoring.

Elliot finished the night with 36 saves on 39 shots. Howard made 29 saves on 30 Ottawa chances.

Detroit scored two goals on four power play tries while the Senators were scoreless on their two chances with the extra attacker.

The Red Wings won’t play again until March 1 when they visit the Colorado Avalanche.

Olympians from both the Red Wings and Senators were honored in a pregame ceremony… The Red Wings were without forward Valtteri Filppula, who was out with a groin injury… Forward Tomas Holmstrom left the game during the first period after aggravating a knee injury.

Red Wings Roster Moves Recapped

The recap of the Red Wings’ recent roster moves, heading into tonight’s game against Ottawa…

Brad May has cleared waivers and has been given ten days to decide whether to report to Grand Rapids or retire. He’s done as a Wing, at least until the playoffs, and his $500,000 cap hit comes off the books.

Kirk Maltby could be done for the season but hasn’t decided yet. He’s been battling a shoulder injury that requires surgery. If he decides to have the surgery he’ll be out for two months – the rest of the regular season. Putting Maltby on long-term injured reserve would save the Red Wings $700,000, which when added to the savings from waiving May is enough to bring back Andreas Lilja.

Lilja did not play in the last game of his rehab stint with the Griffins on Friday, having been called to Detroit. He remains on LTIR but is likely to be cleared to play sometime during the Olympic break.

Guessing the Odd-Men Out

Sooner or later the Red Wings will be healthy again. Given how much they miss their injured players right now, that’s a good thing. It is going to cause quite the roster crunch, though.

The Wings currently have one extra forward. Last night it was Ville Leino who sat in favor of Brad May. Bill at A2Y questioned why May would play when Detroit’s offense has been so anemic.

He admits that having Leino on the ice last night wouldn’t have made a difference but it got me thinking… How are the Red Wings going to put together their lineup when their four missing forwards come back?

There are thirteen healthy forwards right now, including Mattias Ritola who can be sent to Grand Rapids at any time so I assume he’s gone as soon as someone comes back.

Dan Cleary and Henrik Zetterberg could be back tomorrow in Los Angeles. Jason Williams is looking at returning later this month. Johan Franzen is expected back after the Olympic break. That’s four of twelve forwards right there.

I don’t see Todd Bertuzzi, Pavel Datsyuk, Valtteri Filppula, Darren Helm or Tomas Holmstrom losing their spots in the lineup. I also highly doubt that Kris Draper would be a casualty of the numbers. Justin Abdelkader could be sent to Grand Rapids but the Red Wings told him to find a house in the Detroit area so I’m assuming he sticks with the team.

We’re up to eleven of twelve roster spots.

Patrick Eaves, Ville Leino, Kirk Maltby, Brad May and Drew Miller. Only one stays. Who is it?

May, Leino and Maltby are my immediate choices to be left out. This leaves either Eaves or Miller. I think I’d keep Eaves due to his slightly better offensive potential.

The choice is not an easy one no matter how you look at it.

Red Wings – Canucks Pregame Notes

Kicking off today’s gameday thread a bit early ’cause I’ve got meetings all afternoon and then I’m heading straight to the game.

Steve Yzerman will drop the puck for tonight’s game as the Red Wings honor him on his Hall of Fame inductment. Any reason to celebrate Stevie is good enough for me so I’m psyched about that.

Not so cool is the fact that Chris Osgood and Kirk Maltby will miss the game with the flu. This puts Drew Miller in the lineup in Maltby’s spot while Daniel Larsson has been called up to back up Jimmy Howard in goal.

I thought Miller would get into this game anyway, likely replacing Brad May. The circumstances changed but the result is the same.

Roberto Luongo will make his first start since being injured against Detroit on October 27. He played in relief of Andrew Raycroft on Tuesday after Raycroft allowed four goals to the St. Louis Blues.

Hall of Fame Class of 2009 to be Honored in Pregame Ceremony

The Red Wings head to Toronto with a three-game winning streak on the line but with the Maple Leafs having only two wins on the season it’s hard not to look at the pregame ceremony as the more important event tonight.

As part of the annual Hall of Fame Game, the Class of 2009 will be honored prior to tonight’s matchup. Three former Red Wings are included in the class, headlined by longtime captain Steve Yzerman.

Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille round out the Detroit contingent while former New York Ranger Brian Leetch and New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello will also be honored.

The ceremony will be televised by both FSD and the CBC and is expected to push the game’s start time back to 7:28.

The Wings will honor Yzerman at their first home game after Monday’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, next Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks.

In actual game news, Detroit will be without Patrick Eaves, who is nursing a sore foot. He suffered the injury while blocking a shot in Thursday’s win over San Jose.

Brad May will return to the lineup to replace Eaves. May will play on the fourth line with Justin Abdelkader and Kirk Maltby while Ville Leino moves up to the third line to take Eaves’ spot alongside Kris Draper and Darren Helm.

No other lineup changes are expected. Chris Osgood will start in goal.

Red Wings – Avalanche Pregame Notes

The Red Wings continue their road trip tonight against the Colorado Avalanche. Both teams will use lineups different from last Saturday’s game between the two teams at Joe Louis Arena, where the Avs picked up a 4-3 shootout win.

The Wings will start Jimmy Howard in net, giving him his first start since the second game of the season. Justin Abdelkader is out of the lineup in favor of Patrick Eaves while either Brad May or Kirk Maltby will join Darren Helm to round out the fourth line.

Colorado is without Darcy Tucker (concussion) and Cody McLeod (eye). Craig Anderson gets the start in goal.

Game time is 9:00.

Datsyuk Returns Against Coyotes

The Red Wings begin their longest road trip of the season tonight in Phoenix, still looking for their first road win of the year. They are 3-0-1 at Joe Louis Arena and 0-3 elsewhere, including one “home” game played in Stockholm.

The Wings will get a boost as Pavel Datsyuk returns to the lineup. When asked if he could do everything he could do before a shoulder injury knocked him out for two games, Datsyuk joked, “Well, I didn’t score before. I hope to maybe score.”

With Datsyuk in, Brad May and Patrick Eaves will be the healthy scratches.

Datsyuk will play with Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom, Valtteri Filppula will center Ville Leino and Jason Williams, Kris Draper will center Dan Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi, and the fourth line will be Darren Helm between Justin Abdelkader and Kirk Maltby.

Red Wings – Sabres Pregame Notes

The Red Wings are back to .500 and look to improve tonight in Buffalo. They’ll do so without both Kirk Maltby and Kris Draper as Darren Helm returns to the lineup.

Helm is making his first appearance of the season after suffering a sprained AC joint during the preseason. He takes Draper’s spot in the lineup while Maltby remains out in favor of Patrick Eaves.

Eaves and Helm will join Brad May on the Wings’ fourth line. All other lines are expected to remain the same as were used in the third period of Detroit’s 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

No changes are expected on defense and Chris Osgood will start in goal.

Zetterberg Moves to First Line in Franzen’s Absence

The Red Wings get a rare look at Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals tonight as the defending Southeast Division Champions visit Joe Louis Arena.

It will be the first match of many this season where Detroit will be without Johan Franzen, who suffered a torn ACL during Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks. To compensate, coach Mike Babcock has shuffled the forward lines.

Henrik Zetterberg will be moved up to the first line, at least temporarily.

“I wouldn’t count on it staying like that,” Babcock said following today’s morning skate.

Valtteri Filppula and Ville Leino will move up to the second line, joining Dan Cleary. Todd Bertuzzi shifts down to the third line along with Jason Williams and the recently-recalled Justin Abdelkader. Kris Draper continues to center the fourth line with Brad May. Kirk Maltby and Patrick Eaves will rotate in and out on that line, with Eaves getting the nod tonight for his Detroit debut.

Game time is 7:00 with television coverage by Fox Sports Detroit.

Kariya Scores Twice as Blues Rebound to Beat Red Wings

Paul Kariya scored two second period goals to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 4-3 comeback win against the Detroit Red Wings at Stockholm, Sweden, on Friday.

The game is the first in a neutral site home-and-home series between the two teams, to be concluded on Saturday. Friday’s game was considered a Detroit home game.

Kariya’s first goal came on a St. Louis power play with 7:29 left in the second, scored on a shot from the point to pull the Blues to 3-2.

After B.J. Crombeen tied the game by backhanding a rebound chance past Detroit goalie Chris Osgood, Kariya scored again to put the Blues in front for the rest of the game.

Kariya’s second goal came after Brian Rafalski turned the puck over to T.J. Oshie at the Detroit blue line. Oshie shoveled it on to Kariya who broke in on Osgood alone and beat him stick side.

Jay McClement had give the Blues an early lead, scoring off a feed from behind the net by Brad Winchester at 7:54 of the first period.

Jonathan Ericsson drove to the net and tapped in a rebound chance to tie the game 2:48 later and Kirk Maltby beat St. Louis netminder Chris Mason on a shorthanded breakaway with 5:59 left in the first.

Ville Leino scored on a Detroit power play at 7:17 of the second period, the Wings’ lone goal with the man advantage in five tries, including a long five-on-three.

St. Louis went one-for-four on the power play.

Osgood finished the game with 19 saves on 23 shots against. Mason made 31 saves on 34 Detroit shots.