Postgame: Red Wings @ Penguins – 4/9

Kind of hard to do postgame notes on a night when the lone point the Red Wings earned clinched the team’s 23rd consecutive playoff appearance. In the end, that point is all that mattered. Two would have been nice and the Wings are now in a quick battle with the Blue Jackets for playoff seeding, but the team can drop the last two games and their season will still go beyond next Sunday.

I guess I’ll work backwards?

The minute I saw Jussi Jokinen’s shootout goal, I knew it would hold up as the winner. Jonas Gustavsson successfully poke-checks the puck away only for it to pop up, flutter over him and in? That was the kind of ridiculousness this game deserved as a finish.

A similarly wacky bounce tied things up with 1:15 left in regulation, as Riley Sheahan‘s shot from the point was deflected, floated over Marc-Andre Fleury, off the crossbar and in. The play kind of summed up Detroit’s season, as the Kid Line was out there for a crucial faceoff in the offensive zone in the closing seconds and came through. Sheahan beat Sidney Crosby on the faceoff the started the play off. These guys weren’t even supposed to be on the team this year (okay, Tatar was on the roster but a healthy scratch to start the season) and they got the Wings into the playoffs.

Detroit seemed to be heading home with no points earlier in the period, when Jokinen found the loose puck off a Kris Letang chance and knocked it home to put the Penguins up 3-2. Letang’s shot slipped through Gustavsson, who thought he had it covered, and Jokinen got to it before anyone else realized it was still live to give Pittsburgh its first lead.

James Neal scored both of Pittsburgh’s previous goals early in power play opportunities. Tomas Jurco and Jakub Kindl scored for Detroit.

I’ve gotta say, I thought Kindl’s goal could have come back for goalie interference. I guess the Wings are only owed about seven more of those at this point.

But as I said off the top, the loser point is all that matters tonight. With it, they sit eighth in the East, tied with Columbus but the Blue Jackets have the tiebreaker. Detroit hosts Carolina (a game they should win) and visits St. Louis (a game they should lose). Columbus visits Tampa (a game they should lose) and Florida (a game they should win). The Jackets’ finish up on Saturday while Detroit does on Sunday, so the Wings will go into their last game knowing what they need to do.

Datsyuk, Howard Selected by Team Chara for All-Star Game

Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk and goalie Jimmy Howard were selected by All-Star team captain Zdeno Chara at the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft on Thursday.

Datsyuk was the first overall selection of the draft. Howard was the last goalie selected, going in the tenth round (the round by which all goalies were required to be selected).

Team captains were Boston’s Chara, with Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul as an assistant, and Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson, assisted by Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers.

The full draft list is as follows:

Round 1
Team Chara: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit
Team Alfredsson: Erik Karlsson, Ottawa

Round 2
Team Chara: Tim Thomas, Boston
Team Alfredsson: Jason Spezza, Ottawa

Round 3
Team Chara: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh
Team Alfredsson: Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles

Round 4
Team Chara: Marian Hossa, Chicago
Team Alfredsson: Claude Giroux, Philadelphia

Round 5
Team Chara: Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia
Team Alfredsson: Kris Letang, Pittsburgh

Round 6
Team Chara: Corey Perry, Anaheim
Team Alfredsson: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay

Round 7
Team Chara:Carey Price, Montreal
Team Alfredsson: Brian Elliott, St. Louis

Round 8
Team Chara: Phil Kessel, Toronto
Team Alfredsson: Shea Weber, Nashville

Round 9
Team Chara: Ryan Suter, Nashville
Team Alfredsson: Daniel Sedin, Vancouver

Round 10
Team Chara: Jimmy Howard, Detroit
Team Alfredsson: Dan Girardi, NY Rangers

Round 11
Team Chara: Brian Campbell, Florida
Team Alfredsson: Keith Yandle, Phoenix

Round 12
Team Chara: Patrick Kane, Chicago
Team Alfredsson: Milan Michalek, Ottawa

Round 13
Team Chara: Dion Phaneuf, Toronto
Team Alfredsson: Henrik Sedin, Vancouver

Round 14
Team Chara: Jarome Iginla, Calgary
Team Alfredsson: James Neal, Pittsburgh

Round 15
Team Chara: Dennis Wideman, Washington
Team Alfredsson: Alexander Edler, Vancouver

Round 16
Team Chara: Marian Gaborik, NY Rangers
Team Alfredsson: John Tavares, NY Islanders

Round 17
Team Chara: Jordan Eberle, Edmonton
Team Alfredsson: Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia

Round 18
Team Chara: Tyler Seguin, Boston
Team Alfredsson: Jason Pominville, Buffalo

Round 19
Team Chara: Jamie Benn, Dallas
Team Alfredsson: Logan Couture, San Jose

Datsyuk Leads Red Wings over Malkin’s Penguins

Pavel Datsyuk scored Detroit’s first goal and made a slick stick play to set up another as the Red Wings earned a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Fellow Russian Evgeni Malkin scored Pittsburgh’s lone goal as the countrymen appeared locked in a duel early in the game.

Malkin got the Penguins on the board with just five seconds remaining in the first period. Racing down the right wing on a two-on-one with Chris Kunitz, Malkin snapped a quick shot to the wide side of Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, off the post and into the net.

Datsyuk pulled the Red Wings back even with 3:59 left in the second period. After Todd Bertuzzi took the puck away from Matt Niskanen in the left corner he got it to Datsyuk at the top of the left circle. Datsyuk slid across into the high slot and flung a backhander back across Penguins’ netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, beating him stick-side.

Johan Franzen‘s power play goal at 5:15 of the third period put Detroit out in front. Datsyuk knifed an attempt to clear the Pittsburgh zone by Matt Cooke out of the air and worked the puck down to Franzen in the left faceoff circle. Franzen wristed a high shot past Fleury to make it 2-1.

Danny Cleary added an insurance goal with 4:24 remaining. On a rush with former Penguin Chris Conner, Cleary drove to the net and tipped a pass through Fleury, giving Detroit a 3-1 lead.

Cleary’s empty-net goal with six second remaining rounded out the scoring.

Franzen’s goal was the only power play tally of the night. The Red Wings had two tries with the extra attacker while the Penguins had four.

Howard finished the game with 25 saves on 26 shots while Fleury stopped 21 of 24 chances.

The Red Wings are back in action on Thursday when they visit the Nashville Predators.

Healthy scratches for Detroit were Cory Emmerton and Mike Commodore… The Penguins were without Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek.

Red Wings Rally but Fall in OT to Penguins

The Detroit Red Wings rallied from a 4-0 deficit to force overtime Monday night but couldn’t hold off the Pittsburgh Penguins in the shootout, dropping a 5-4 decision.

Mike Modano scored a power play goal to tie the game on a power play with 9:33 remaining in the third period but James Neal scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Penguins the win.

Pascal Dupuis opened the game’s scoring with 4:46 remaining in the first period when he slid a backhander from the right of Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard past him and into the far side of the net.

Chris Kunitz made it 2-0 4:03 later, beating Howard in close after scooping up the rebound of a Dupuis shot.

Dupuis added a shorthanded goal with 9:09 left in the second, jamming the puck home from the side of the net after his own initial shot bounced off the end boards and came right back to him.

Tyler Kennedy picked up the rebound of a Kunitz shot all alone in front of the net and put it past Howard 2:25 later, ending the Detroit netminder’s night.

Henrik Zetterberg got the Red Wings on the board with 2:19 left in the middle frame, scoring on a backhander similar to the Dupuis goal that started the night off.

Valtteri Filppula made it 4-2 at 1:57 of the third, jamming the puck under Pittsburgh goaltender Brent Johnson from in close.

Danny Cleary tipped a Niklas Kronwall shot from the point past Johnson at 8:06 with the Red Wings on the power play and Modano’s goal 2:21 later tied things up.

The final two goals put the Red Wings at two-for-four on the power play. The Penguins were scoreless on three tries with the extra attacker but did net Dupuis’ shorthanded goal.

Johnson stopped Todd Bertuzzi, Modano, and Cleary in the shootout. Joey MacDonald made stops on Alexei Kovalev and Kris Letang before Neal beat him on the final shot.

MacDonald stopped all ten shots he faced in regulation and overtime but took the loss allowing one goal in the shootout. Howard stopped 11 of 15 shots he faced while Johnson stopped 31 of Detroit’s 41 chances.

Osgood Blanks Penguins Again, Wings Lead Finals 2-0

Goaltender Chris Osgood earned his second consecutive shutout as the Detroit Red Wings rolled to a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night, giving them a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Osgood stopped 22 shots in the effort and became the second goalie in NHL history to start his Finals career with six consecutive wins.

The Red Wings got on the board just 6:55 into the game when Brad Stuart rifled a shot off of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and into the net.

Valtteri Filppula gained the Pittsburgh zone on the left side and slid a pass across to a trailing Stuart while going to the net. Stuart waited for Filppula’s screen before blasting a shot on net. Fleury got a piece of it but not enough as it deflected up and in.

Tomas Holmstrom stretched the lead to two 4:23 later, finishing off a chance by Henrik Zetterberg.

Holmstrom sent the puck from behind the net to Zetterberg in the slot to bang between Fleury’s pads. It slowly slipped through and Holmstrom reached in behind Fleury to push the puck across the goal line.

A highlight reel goal by Valtteri Filppula finished off the game’s scoring at 8:48 of the third.

With the teams skating four aside, Filppula was sprung on a rush into the Pittsburgh zone with a pass by Johan Franzen. He raced around defenseman Kris Letang and cut back in front of Fleury while being hooked. On one leg, he put a shot past Fleury before flying through the air.

The game ended with the Penguins trying to assert themselves physically, as Petr Sykora bumped Osgood, leading to a scrum that saw Pavel Datsyuk drop Gary Roberts. After time ran out, Maxime Talbot approached the celebrating Red Wings but was led away by the officials.

The Red Wings will look to take a stranglehold on the series in Game Three from Pittsburgh on Wednesday, a virtual must-win for the Penguins.

Franzen returned to the lineup after missing six games with concussion-like symptoms. Darren McCarty was scratched to clear room for him.

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