Hawks Avenge 2 OT Losses, Even Season Series

In spite of strong first and third periods by Detroit, the Chicago Blackhawks were determined not to lose their third meeting in eleven nights. They played a solid game, capitalized on some lucky bounces and breaks, and took a 4-1 victory.

The Red Wings had fairly solid control of the first period. Sergei Fedorov escaped on a breakaway attempt shorthanded, but was thwarted by goalie Jocelyn Thibault. Maxim Kuznetsov and Mathieu Dandenault played solid defense, blocking shots and keeping Chicago players’ sticks so tangled up that they couldn’t even get shots on net.

Henrik Zetterberg opened the scoring for Detroit with a power play goal midway through the first. Fedorov made the pass as Zetterberg was crossing the blue line. Zetterberg jumped over a Chicago defenseman who had dropped to block the shot, kept the puck long enough to fool Thibault into going low, then put the puck into the high corner of the net.

The Blackhawks tried to rush back after that, but their scrambling play led them to take a few penalties late in the first and early in the second. They did manage to calm down as the second period got underway, and they capitalized on a failed clearing attempt to tie the game. Chris Chelios made a pass which didn’t cross the blue line, and Kyle Calder picked it up. He passed backwards to Alexei Zhamnov coming up center, and Zhamnov’s shot flew across the goal line before Manny Legace could get his glove on it.

Dandenault took a double minor penalty for holding the stick and unsportsmanlike conduct with 6:40 gone in the period, and the Blackhawks took the lead with a power play goal. Andre Nikolishin brought the puck out from the right boards. His pass took a strange bounce off of Chris Simon and into the net.

Less than a minute later Eric Daze added a goal for his team. He somehow managed to get around the net and stand by the corner uncovered. When the puck trickled through the crease from Mike Eastwood’s deflected shot, Daze was able to flip it in to a wide open corner.

The Red Wings tried to settle the game down and regain control in the third period. They had a number of chances to score, but Thibault was ready for them. The Wings had a good opportunity when Steve Poapst took a penalty for holding with just over five minutes remaining. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks were able to get the puck out at the blue line. Eastwood sent the bouncing puck down the ice to Mark Bell, and Bell got in alone to knock the puck out of the air and into the net to put the game away.

Chicago had 30 shots on net to Detroit’s 27. The Red Wings play their next game tomorrow night, when they travel to Denver for their first meeting of the season with the Colorado Avalanche.

Sean Avery played tonight in place of Igor Larionov, who was scratched so that he could be well-rested for tomorrow night’s game against the Avs.

Wings’ Slumps Snap in Overtime Win

An assist by Luc Robitaille ended his twelve game scoring drought and helped end the Red Wings’ nine game home winless streak against the Chicago Blackhawks with a 5-4 overtime win. The Red Wings had not beaten the Blackhawks at the Joe since April 2, 1999.

The first period went by scoreless, though it wasn’t due to a lack of effort by either team. Curtis Joseph and rookie goaltender Michael Leighton both came up huge for their respective teams. Leighton managed to stop Kirk Maltby on a point-blank shot just as the period was about to end.

Chicago came out with good pressure to start the second period, and they were able to capitalize on a disjointed, scrambling play. Andre Nikolishin passed the puck from behind the net, and Kyle Calder, just off the bench, was able to get to it and slide it underneath Joseph.

The Red Wings answered quickly, scoring their first of the night less than two minutes later. Sergei Fedorov carried the puck into Chicago’s zone and sent a good feed up to Jason Woolley. Woolley circled the net and scored on the wraparound by putting the puck between Leighton’s glove and the goalpost.

Nicklas Lidstrom gave Detroit its first lead of the game a few minutes later by one-timing a good pass Luc Robitaille sent from the left corner out towards the blue line. Unfortunately a rare faceoff violation penalty against the Wings led Chicago to tie the game up, with Calder scoring again, this time from Phil Housley and Alexei Zhamnov.

Detroit started the third period with two minutes of four-on-four followed by a three minute power play. Just before the buzzer to end the second period, Maltby and Theo Fleury had a battle. Maltby wound up with two minutes for slashing, while Fleury took a five minute spearing major and a game misconduct. Even so, the Wings didn’t regain their lead until a few minutes after the power play had expired.

Maltby stole the puck at Chicago’s blue line and went in alone on Leighton, and this time Leighton wasn’t so lucky. The puck bounced off of him, curved up into the air, and came down inside the net.

The Blackhawks answered with another power play goal. Sergei Berezin and Steve Thomas brought the puck in on a two on one rush. Mathieu Dandenault dropped to block the passing lane, but somehow Berezin made the pass anyway, and Thomas put the puck past Joseph.

Brett Hull got Detroit another one goal lead with unwitting help from two Chicago defenseman. Henrik Zetterberg passed Hull the puck, and Hull brought it out from the corner. He made a tight angle shot, but Mike Eastwood got his stick in the way so that the shot went wide””just wide enough to bounce off Housley’s rear end and into the net.

Housley evidently didn’t want the game’s deciding goal to be one scored off of his rear, because he tied the game back up for the Blackhawks with just over three minutes to play. Calder centered a pass from behind the net and Housley fired off a quick one-time shot to send the game to overtime.

Joseph made an excellent stop against Zhamnov early in the overtime, and Fedorov took the puck over, heading up ice with Lidstrom and Brendan Shanahan.. Fedorov made the pass, Shanahan made the shot, and Lidstrom followed up and flipped the puck in over Leighton.

Chicago outshot Detroit by a count of 38-33. These two teams will skate again Wednesday night in Chicago.

Two more goals for Brett Hull, and he’ll be celebrating the 700th of his career…. Dave Lewis was not necessarily pleased with tonight’s game, though he’ll take the two points gladly. “That was too wild for me,” he said. “As a team, we were too porous and we lost a lot of battles. But we found a way to win.”…. Steve Yzerman will travel with the Wings on their upcoming western road trip so that he can continue to workout with his teammates and begin a regular practice routine.

Hull Breaks Goal Slump at Just the Right Time

For awhile, it looked as if the Chicago Blackhawks were going to emerge as winners, but they didn’t seem to count on plain old Detroit stubbornness. The Red Wings overcame a two goal deficit to start off their four game road swing with a 4-3 overtime win.

The play between the teams was fairly even through the first period. The puck went end to end, with both teams getting scoring chances, but goalies Curtis Joseph and Jocelyn Thibault were ready for the challenge.

Chicago struck in the second period. They got a power play in the early going when Kirk Maltby was sent to the box for roughing. Veteran Phil Housley took a shot from the right point, and Kyle Calder was right at the front of the net to tap the rebound past Joseph.

Some skillful puck-handling by Alexei Zhamnov set up the Blackhawk’s second goal 7:23 into the period. Zhamnov skated a circle around the net, having his shooting lanes blocked by defenders but not allowing them to knock the puck away. Finally he made a quick centering pass to Steve Poapst, who put a wrist shot into the net.

Sergei Fedorov stole the Blackhawks’ momentum early in the third period. Alexander Karpovtsev fanned on a clearing pass inside his own blue line and threw himself off balance. Fedorov stepped up to the puck and shot it right past Thibault.

The Red Wings were unable to capitalize on the momentum shift, and Chicago was able to calm the game down and score again. This time, Zhamnov centered a pass from the half boards to Theo Fleury in the high slot. Fleury’s shot changed direction off the skates of Kirk Maltby and rolled into the net past Joseph.

Brett Hull led the Red Wings to take control of the game after that. They got their break when Poapst was sent out for tripping. The power play set up. Nicklas Lidstrom made a pass to Brendan Shanahan at the half boards. Shanahan skated around with the puck just enough to gain good shooting position before letting the shot fly, and Hull tipped it through on its way past Thibault.

The Red Wings played inspired hockey after that, but so did Thibault. Finally, with only 37 seconds remaining in the game, and Joseph out of the net for a sixth skater, Hull, Lidstrom, and Shanahan did it again. This time Shanahan made the first pass and Lidstrom shot the puck towards the net, but again it was Hull who had his stick in just the right position to redirect the puck past Thibault and send the game to overtime.

Barely a minute in to the extra five minutes, Detroit scored for the win. Not surprisingly, Hull had a hand in this goal as well. Igor Larionov made a good pass to send Hull up on a two-on-one rush with Jason Woolley. Thibault was expecting Hull to shoot, so he was unprepared when Hull passed instead and Woolley put the puck just below the crossbar. “We didn’t quit when it was 3-1 and it paid off,” said Hull. “We were doing a lot of good things and just stuck with it.”

The final count of shots on net was 32-24 in favor of Detroit. The Red Wings’ next game will be Tuesday evening against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are second in the Southeast Division with a 17-15-5-3 record.

Chris Chelios sat out another game with a leg injury. The team expects him back for either Tuesday’s game at Tampa Bay or Wednesday’s game at the Florida Panthers.

Flying ‘Hawks

Nicklas Lidstrom celebrated his 800th game in the NHL by scoring his 450th career assist and helping the Red Wings come to a 4-4 tie with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The teams seemed an even match throughout the first period. Both played a tight defense. The Blackhawks allowed the Wings only four shots against goalie Steve Passmore throughout the period. The Wings let in nine against Dominik Hasek, but the majority of those were shots from far back that Hasek could see and stop easily.

Neither team was assessed a penalty in the first period. “That’s pretty unusual for a Detroit – Chicago game,” said Darren McCarty, smiling during a first-intermission interview.

The Red Wings opened up offensively in the second period. Their first goal came only thirty-six seconds in. Sergei Fedorov passed to Brendan Shanahan, got the return pass, and flipped the puck just over Passmore’s arm for the goal.

Detroit got a power play chance 3:27 into the second when Ryan Vandenbussche was sent out for holding. The power play did what it set out to do, as Shanahan took a cross-ice pass from Lidstrom and fired a hard one-timer from a bad angle on the left wing side. The puck flew past Passmore and hit the inside of the net.

Kris Draper put the Red Wings up by three goals exactly one minute after Shanahan’s goal. Shanahan won an offensive zone faceoff and got the puck to Draper, who put it right into the net, for his eighth goal of the young season, tying his last year’s total.

Chicago, after a lecture from coach Brian Sutter, started to come back hard. They scored their first goal of the night 8:22 into the period. Tony Amonte took a pass from Alexei Zhamnov. Instead of shooting, Amonte passed the puck to Kyle Calder at the net, who was able to flip it in behind Hasek.

The third period belonged mainly to the Blackhawks, as they continued their offensive pressure. Detroit ran into trouble when they wound up with a five-on-three situation resulting from a high-sticking penalty to Freddy Olausson and a boarding penalty to Kirk Maltby just under a minute and a half later. Zhamnov was able to fire the puck past Hasek from a tight angle just seconds after the first penalty expired, before Olausson was able to catch up to the play.

Hasek was surprised again just over a minute later. Eric Daze took a pass from Calder and flew fast down the right wing side. He fired the puck apparently before Hasek expected him to, and the score was tied at three.

Daze scored again to break the tie halfway through the third. He was able to steal the puck from Mathieu Dandenault and go in alone against Hasek, who was unable to stop Daze’s tricky shot.

Before Detroit could lose too much momentum, help came from an unexpected source. Igor Larionov passed from near the boards up to Luc Robitaille near the net, and Robitaille fooled Passmore by sending the puck cross-crease to McCarty instead of firing. McCarty was easily able to send the puck into the net behind Passmore, scoring his first goal in twenty games.

Despite six minutes and forty seconds of fast and furious regulation play by both sides, not to mention a full five minutes of overtime, neither team was able to score again. Chicago might have scored on a two-on-one rush up the ice as time was winding down, if it had not been for Steve Duchesne dropping to the ice to knock the puck away with the end of his outstretched stick, just before the final buzzer.

The Red Wings have made this the best twenty-five game start in franchise history, with a 20-3-1-1 record. They hope to extend their seven game unbeaten streak Tuesday night, when they host the Calgary Flames.

Blackhawks Strong At Home

In spite of valiant play in the second and third periods, the Red Wings’ six-game road unbeaten streak was snapped Sunday by the Chicago Blackhawks, who won the game 5-4.

Chicago opened the scoring on the power play. While Sergei Fedorov was serving a penalty for slashing, Chicago’s Eric Daze fired on Dominek Hasek. Hasek blocked the shot, but Kyle Calder picked up the rebound and shot it into the net.

The Blackhawks scored again with just under three minutes left in the period. Daze shot the puck from behind the net and banked it off the skate of Michael Nylander, and between Hasek’s legs. As if adding insult to injury, the Blackhawks added another goal barely a minute later. On a two-on-one rush, Igor Korolev was able to get the puck past Nicklas Lidstrom and over Hasek to make the score 3-0.

Chicago’s penalty killing unit, ranked 27th in the NHL, had to go into action early in the second, when Daze was sent to the box for tripping. They were no match for Detroit’s power play. Igor Larionov passed from behind the net to Steve Yzerman, who fired the puck, and Luc Robitaille was on hand to sweep it in behind goalie Jocelyn Thibault.

Despite the energy generated by Robitaille’s goal, Chicago got the next two goals. Steve Thomas scored with a bouncing puck just ten seconds after the end of a Detroit penalty to Hasek (served by Brent Gilchrist) for delay of game by firing the puck over the glass. The next was scored by Aaron Downey with 8:46 left in the second period, and was the first goal of his NHL career.

Down by four goals, the Detroit bench pulled Hasek out of the game and sent in Manny Legace to take his place. Hasek, still recovering from stomach flu, had let in five goals on fifteen shots.

The Red Wings got a 5-on-3 opportunity late in the period. Jaroslav Spacek was given two minutes for delay of game for laying on the puck with 4:02 left to play. Just over a minute later, Tony Amonte was sent to the box for slashing. Larionov scored by shooting the puck from behind the net and banking it off the skate of Alexander Karpotsvev and into the net.

They continued with a 5-on-4 power play, since Amonte’s penalty had not yet ended. This time, Larionov passed to Robitaille behind the net. Robitaille got it out front to Brett Hull, who fired hard and beat Thibault for the goal.

Detroit held Chicago to only three shots against Legace in the third period, but was only able to score once more. With 8:22 left to play, Larionov won an offensive zone faceoff. The puck bounced free to Robitaille, who shot it past Thibault to score his 599th career goal.

The Red Wings controlled the puck for most of the remainder of the game. Even when they pulled Legace to send in the sixth skater, however, they were not able to beat Thibault again.

Chicago, with new coach Brian Sutter, has not lost a home game yet this season. Shots on goal were 29-18 in the Red Wings’ favor.

Detroit will continue their road trip with a game against the Phoenix Coyotes Wednesday night.

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