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.

Happy Hull-o-ween!

Brett Hull came up big time on Halloween night, scoring an assist and two goals, including the game winner, as the Red Wings took revenge on the Dallas Stars, 4-3.

The Stars opened the scoring just over four minutes into the game. Joe Nieuwendyk was in the penalty box for high-sticking, giving the Red Wings a power play opportunity, but Jere Lehtinen was able to pick up the puck on a breakaway from Mike Modano and tip it in behind goalie Manny Legace.

The Wings came back only thirty seconds later. Hull passed to Nicklas Lidstrom, who got the puck to Sergei Fedorov. Fedorov shot the puck while Ed Belfour was screened, and it went into the net to tie the game.

The Stars scored again with 9:05 left in the period. Donald Audette picked up a pass from Sergei Zubov, squeezed between two Red Wings defensemen, and slid the puck under Legace’s left side.

Detroit then scored twice in quick succession. Hull got the equalizer with 7:42 left to play. The Stars’ Brenden Morrow and Detroit’s Maxim Kuznetsov were given offsetting penalties for slashing thirty seconds later. In the resulting four-on-four play, Brendan Shanahan tipped in a shot from the right point by Fredrik Olausson.

The Wings were not able to take their lead into the locker room for break, however. Benoit Hogue picked up an errant pass and fired from the blue line to get past Legace with less than four minutes left in the period.

The second and third periods were both scoreless. Both teams were able to generate multiple opportunities, including four Dallas power plays in a row in the second period, but solid play from Legace and Belfour kept the score even until the overtime.

Only forty-three seconds in, Hull took the pass from Lidstrom and beat Belfour on a three-on-one rush.

Legace stopped twenty shots in his second game back since his neck injury in Saturday night’s game against the Nashville Predators, bringing his record for the season to 4-0-0, and extending his unbeaten streak to fifteen games. The Red Wings generated twenty-eight shots against Belfour.

The Red Wings season record of 11-2-0 is the best thirteen game start in franchise history, and now leads the NHL. They hope to improve to twelve wins Friday night when the team in the second position, the New York Islanders, bring Chris Osgood back to Detroit to play against his old team.

Wings Down ‘Canes in a Whirlwind

Red Wings netminder Manny Legace bounced back from a neck injury suffered Saturday night against Nashville to lead Detroit to a 5-2 win over the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes.

Legace stopped twenty-six of twenty-eight shots in a game he didn’t expect to even dress for. With Dominik Hasek sick, Legace became the starter and shut down the Hurricanes.

Detroit jumped out to an early lead when Mathieu Dandenault scored on the rebound from a Pavel Datsyuk shot just 1:22 into the first period. Datsyuk scored his first NHL goal exactly five minutes later, flipping a backhand shot past Carolina goaltender Tom Barrasso.

We got two goals out of the young line,” Detroit coach Scotty Bowman said. “Mathieu Dandenault scored one and Pavel Datsyuk scored his first NHL goal. They give us a lot of energy out there.”

Brendan Shanahan added his ninth goal of the season just over two minutes later and the Wings carried a three goal lead into the first intermission.

The Hurricanes bounced back during the second period. Sami Kapanen took a pass from Sandis Ozolinsh to get a breakaway and score with 6:35 remaining in the period. Former Red Wing Aaron Ward also assisted on the goal.

Ron Francis deflected a shot past Legace 2:09 later to bring the ‘Canes within one. Carolina kept the pressure on for the rest of the period but Legace came up strong and kept the Wings in the lead.

Steve Yzerman put the Red Wings back in control, beating Barrasso at 4:10 of the third. The Hurricanes were never able to get back in the game, and Kris Draper ended it with an empty net goal with 1:19 remaining in the game.

The Red Wings complete their three game road trip tonight against the Stars as Brett Hull makes his first trip back to Dallas since signing with Detroit. Faceoff is at 8:30 PM.

A Storm Brewing

Part five of the Red Wings Reunion Tour 2001-02 takes place tonight as Detroit heads to Carolina to face former Wing defenseman Aaron Ward and his new Hurricane teammates.

Ward’s team holds the top spot in the Eastern Conference’s Southeast Division after an overtime win against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday and Ward himself already has two assists and a plus-five rating heading into tonight’s matchup.

The Red Wings are coming off a one-to-zero win over the Nashville Predators in a game which saw backup goaltender Manny Legace suffer a minor neck injury. Legace could dress for tonight’s game. To compound matters, starting goaltender Dominik Hasek felt ill during practice Monday, forcing the Red Wings to take shots against minor-league call-up Jason Elliot.

Should both Hasek and Legace be unable to start tonight, Elliot would be forced to make his first NHL start. Elliot is 0-3-0 with Cincinatti of the AHL this season, with a 5.09 goals against average and a .813 save percentage.

Hasek is expected to start, but Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland acknowledged that any of the three netminders could play between the pipes tonight.

In the meantime, the Red Wings look to continue their road unbeaten streak. Detroit is 4-0 on the road this season, including overtime wins over the San Jose Sharks and New York Islanders.

Costly Victory?

Goaltenders Manny Legace and Domink Hasek will share Detroit’s first shutout of the season, and Steve Duchesne got his first goal of the season, as the Red Wings won 1-0 against the Nashville Predators.

With Jiri Fischer back in the lineup, Scotty Bowman moved Mathieu Dandenault back from defense to right wing on the “3-D Line” with Pavel Datsyuk and Boyd Devereaux. While this line was not able to score in this game, they did an admirable job of controlling the puck and creating scoring chances against Nashville goalie Mike Dunham.

Tomas Holmstrom got the first penalty of the game, being sent off for holding with 13:09 left in the first period. Detroit’s penalty killing was effective against Nashville, never really letting them get off a quality shot. Just twenty-four seconds before the penalty was to end, Nashville’s Patrick Kjellberg was sent out for high-sticking, to give the Red Wings a four-on-four situation and then a shortened power play.

Detroit’s power play did a good job of controlling their passes and staying in the offensive zone, but were not able to beat Dunham for a goal.

Near the end of the period, the Predators’ Scott Hartnell was hit in the face by the stick of his own teammate, Rich Brennan. Hartnell was taken to the dressing room, where he was diagnosed as having a bruised left eye.

Steve Duchesne scored the game’s lone goal two and a half minutes into the second period. Fischer passed the puck behind the net to Sergei Fedorov, who tried to pass out front to Brendan Shanahan. Shanahan was too well-covered by Nashville’s defense to pick up the puck, but Duchesne was able to snag it and shoot along the ice from the right point, to slide under Dunham and into the net.

With just over five and a half minutes left in the period, Manny Legace had just made his fifteenth big save of the game when Nashville’s Kimmo Timonen was tripped up and fell on top of him. Legace hit his head hard on the ice, and was wheeled out immobilized on a stretcher to keep him from moving his neck. Legace was taken to a Nashville hospital for x-rays and tests, but further details were unavailable as of press time. Dominek Hasek came off the bench to take Legace’s place in goal.

In the third period, control of the puck went back and forth between the two teams. Neither was able to score, although Detroit had ten shots on Dunham, several of which were quality scoring chances. Detroit tightened up defensively and held the Predators to only two shots on Hasek in the third period.

Scotty Bowman showed great confidence in his young “3-D Line” by putting them on the ice to take a defensive zone faceoff with only two minutes left to play, and leading by only one goal. Devereaux, Datsyuk, and Dandenault did not betray their coach’s trust. They got the puck out to the Predator’s zone. Devereaux attempted to score against Dunham, but the shot was blocked. The Wings kept control of the puck for the remaining seconds of the game, keeping Dunham from edging out to the bench for the sixth skater.

Dunham stopped 32 of 33 shots, while Legace stopped all of the 15 he faced, and Hasek stopped all 4 shots the Predators managed to get on him. The Wings were 0 for 5 on the power play, and 4 for 4 on the penalty kill. Their next game will be in Carolina against the Hurricanes on Tuesday.

Waiver Draft Today

Chris Osgood‘s fate will likely be decided later today when the NHL conducts it’s annual Waiver Draft via conference call.

The Red Wings were unable to trade Osgood afer he became expendable with the aquisiton of Dominik Hasek, the best goalie in the league. The Red Wings opted to protect Manny Legace as a cheaper backup to Hasek, leaving Osgood available to be picked up by any of the other NHL teams.

The New York Islanders pick first in the draft and are interested in Osgood after poor preseason performances by Rick DiPietro and Garth Snow. Central Division rival St. Louis is also interested as the Blues lack a playoff-proven goaltender.

Even if no one picks him in the Waiver Draft, the Red Wings would likely keep trying to trade Osgood because he would count against the twenty-three man roster limit.

Hasek Headed to Hockeytown

Dominik Hasek, the Vezina-winning goalie for six of the past eight seasons, has been traded to the Detroit Red Wings.

In return for the future hall-of-famer, the Red Wings sent slumping forward Vyacheslav Kozlov, a first round draft pick in 2002, and future considerations to the Sabres.

Hasek is added to a Detroit goaltender corps that already includes Chris Osgood and Manny Legace.

The Sabres have scheduled a press conference to address the trade for later today.