Red Wings – Canucks Postgame Notes

I said in the second period that the Red Wings were getting killed by their mistakes. It was a trend on the night and a key factor in the loss. They gave away the puck, failed to clear their zone, and blew their defensive coverage. The power play was weak and the PK wasn’t fantastic. Despite scoring four goals, they probably didn’t deserve to win this one, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that they didn’t.

The biggest thing to me, though (and I feel like I’m going to get killed for saying this), was that Jimmy Howard didn’t make a “big” stop when it was needed.

Go back to when it was tied at four and Vancouver was on the power play. Drew Miller makes a great pass to Darren Helm on a two-on-one and Roberto Luongo makes the initial stop on Helm, then a save on the rebound chance. Two stops when his team needed them, when he had to cover for their mistakes.

Howard didn’t have a moment like that. In the second period when Manny Malhotra broke in all alone shorthanded after a rare giveaway by Pavel Datsyuk, Malhotra scored to put the Canucks up 4-3. Howard didn’t come up with the save.

I’m not putting this all on Howard, I listed off plenty of things the team did wrong to make this loss happen, but I do think the lack of the big save was the difference tonight. It shouldn’t have to be, that’s where the rest of the team comes in. You don’t always need a stop like that from your goalie but tonight Luongo provided that and Howard didn’t.

Osgood Leads Red Wings to Game One Victory

Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood took a step towards answering his critics Thursday night, stopping 20 of 21 shots in leading the Red Wings to a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game One of their first-round matchup.

In the lead up to the playoffs, Detroit’s goaltending tandem of Osgood and Ty Conklin had been named as a prime reason why the Wings might not repeat as Stanley Cup Champions.

Osgood started out strong, stopping 13 first-period shots as the Red Wings were shorthanded four times, including a brief five-on-three.

Jiri Hudler opened the scoring for Detroit 48 seconds past the game’s midway point, taking a feed from Valtteri Filppula for a tap-in on a two-on-one.

Just 52 seconds later, RJ Umberger tied the game on a backhander when he was left alone in front of the net.

Rookie Jonathan Ericsson, making his first career playoff appearance, put the Red Wings back out in front with 5:39 left in the second. Ericsson fired a shot from the right point and Columbus’ Manny Malhotra attempted to glove it out of the air. Malhotra only got a piece of the puck and deflected it past goalie Steve Mason.

Niklas Kronwall‘s power play goal 48 seconds later was also a deflection on a shot from the point. Kronwall’s blast bounced off of Jan Hejda’s hip and through a Johan Franzen screen to get past Mason.

Franzen added a goal of his own 2:54 into the third, stuffing the puck in from the side of the net.

After the frantic first period, Osgood faced only eight shots for the remainder of the game. Mason faced 34 shots on the night, stopping 30 of them.

The Red Wings went one-for-four on the power play while the Blue Jackets were scoreless on five power play tries.

Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series between the two teams will be Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings were without Kris Draper, who will also miss Game Two of the series.

Kopecky Out for Season

Tomas Kopecky is out for four-to-six months, having suffered a torn ACL and a sprained MCL in a collision with Manny Malhotra of Columbus Thursday night.

“It’s disappointing for us, but it’s really disappointing for him after missing most of the playoffs last year,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland said. “He was starting to get more ice time and you could see his confidence growing.”

With Kopecky out, Holland will sign Justin Abdelkader to an entry-level deal on Friday and the former Michigan State star will remain with the team throughout the playoffs. Abdelkader made his Red Wings debut against the Blue Jackets and took on many of Kopecky’s minutes after the third-period injury.

Zetterberg Leads Red Wings over Columbus

Henrik Zetterberg scored a third-period natural hat trick Wednesday night, helping the Detroit Red Wings come from behind to earn a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Chris Osgood stopped 22 of 23 Columbus shots, keeping the Red Wings in the game after a slow start.

After outshooting Detroit 8-3 in the first period, the Blue Jackets opened the game’s scoring on a power play at 7:05 of the second, with Manny Malhotra banging a loose puck past Osgood.

Zetterberg would begin his run at 6:43 of the third period on a rush from his own blue line. He came down the left wing and cut to the middle before crossing the Columbus blue line and splitting the defense, poking the puck between the pads of Fredrik Norrena.

With just 1:54 remaining and the Red Wings on a power play, Nicklas Lidstrom fired from the blue line. It was deflected to Pavel Datsyuk at the edge of the slot, who slowed it up and threw it to the left circle where Zetterberg put a shot into the open side of the net.

Zetterberg completed his hat trick just 35 seconds later, stealing the puck at center ice and racing in alone on Norrena. The Columbus netminder came out to challenge and Zetterberg skated around him, putting it into the empty net.

Norrena finished the night with 24 saves on 27 shots.

Both teams scored one power play goal. Columbus had seven chances with the extra attacker and Detroit had five.

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

Detroit defenseman Derek Meech played as a forward, replacing the injured Valtteri Filppula.

Wings Set NHL Record with Win over Jackets

The Detroit Red Wings set a new NHL record Saturday night, earning a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets for their 29th road victory of the season. The win broke the former record of 28 road wins by the 1998-99 New Jersey Devils.

Unlike the first half of the home-and-home series with Columbus, which saw Detroit jump to an early lead, the Blue Jackets struck first in Saturday’s matchup.

After a bad clearing attempt by Detroit netminder Chris Osgood, Jan Hrdina got conrol of the puck and fired a shot from the top of the right circle. The puck trickled between Osgood’s pads and gave Columbus the lead just 3:03 into the game.

The Red Wings evened the game 9:03 later, when Brendan Shanahan scored on a rebound opportunity.

Another rebound chance with 2:41 remaining put Detroit in the lead, when Tomas Holmstrom picked up the puck after a Mikael Samuelsson shot and put it past goalie Pascal Leclaire.

On a two-on-one rush at 9:24 of the second, Manny Malhotra tied the game, firing a shot over Osgood’s glove.

Jason Williams scored his 20th goal of the season just 1:55 later to put the Red Wings back in front. A crossing pass from Steve Yzerman at the right wing boards got the puck to Williams in the slot. He faded back to the left circle and blasted a shot home.

After Osgood stopped all 13 shots he faced in the third period, Chris Chelios added an empty-netter from the center red line with just four seconds remaining, sealing the victory.

Osgood finished the game with 27 saves on 29 shots. Leclaire made 26 saves on the same number of chances against.

Neither team scored on the power play, with Detroit having four chances and Columbus two.

The Red Wings will return to the ice on Tuesday when they host the Edmonton Oilers.

Steve Yzerman’s assist on Jason Williams’ second period goal extended his point-scoring streak to eleven games… Henrik Zetterberg missed the game with an “upper body injury” suffered Friday night. He is expected to return on Tuesday.

Red Wings Blow Third-Period Lead, Fall to Columbus in Shootout

For the first time this season, the Detroit Red Wings carried a lead into the third period only to come away with a loss.

Saturday night, the Red Wings led the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-0, after two periods. Columbus scored four-straight goals to take a 4-3 lead before the Red Wings tied the game back up. Detroit would eventually fall in a shootout in which they were kept scoreless.

Detroit’s defensive collapse began with a goal by Rostislav Klesla at 7:08 of the period, a blast from the blue line that appeared to be deflected before getting past Red Wings’ goalie Chris Osgood.

David Vyborny pulled the Blue Jackets to within one 3:31 later when he was left all alone to deflect a shot from the left wing by Klesla.

A Mikael Samuelsson turnover in the Columbus zone led to the third Blue Jackets’ goal with 5:44 remaining. Vyborny stole the puck and sent an outlet pass to Rick Nash, who easily skated around a slashing Andreas Lilja before cutting in front of Osgood and putting the puck around him.

Just 29 seconds later, Manny Malhotra scored after two Detroit turnovers in their own zone. He was left all alone in front of Osgood to bang a shot that defelected off of the Red Wings’ goalie and into the net.

Pavel Datsyuk tied the game with 1:50 remaining, breaking into the Columbus zone and rifling a shot past Blue Jackets’ netminder Pascal Leclaire.

Johan Franzen and Steve Yzerman scored first-period goals and Robert Lang added one in the second period to build Detroit’s initial lead.

After a scoreless overtime, Jaroslav Balastik scored on the first shootout attempt for the only goal of the tiebreaker.

Osgood finished the game with 23 saves on 27 shotsm facing more shots in the third period than in the rest of the periods combined. Leclaire made forty saves on 44 shots against.

Neither team scored on the power play, with Detroit having three chances and Columbus having two.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Monday when they visit the St. Louis Blues.

Rompin’ and Stompin’

The preseason games may not count for much, but they sure can be enjoyable for the fans. Brett Hull scored a hat trick, Derek King added two more, and Curtis Joseph stopped 25 of 27 shots in his first home game in red and white, as the Red Wings continued their preseason dominance with an 8-2 victory over the Dallas Stars.

The Wings scored four goals in the opening period alone, while the Stars had trouble mounting any kind of offense against the Detroit net. On the first play of the game, Henrik Zetterberg‘s shot off a Brett Hull pass was deflected, but came right back to Derek King, who sent the puck fluttering back into the net between the ice and the leg pad of goalie Ron Tugnutt.

Soon thereafter, tough guy Derian Hatcher took a penalty for elbowing. Hull’s first goal of the game came just as the power play ended, before Hatcher could get back to the play. Igor Larionov passed to Luc Robitaille behind the net, and Robitaille sent it out in front where Hull was waiting unseen to slap it in for the 2-0 lead.

Hull scored his second goal just nine seconds into a slashing penalty on Aaron Downey. It was much the same setup as his first goal, the difference being that it was new defenseman Dimitri Bykov who sent the puck behind the net to Robitaille. Again, Hull waited in front of the net with no Dallas players even trying to get rid of him, and again, he snapped the puck in for the goal.

Sean Avery made his presence known he collided with Rob DiMaio, who picked a fight. Avery is certainly not one to turn down a chance to drop the gloves, and DiMaio definitely seemed to get the worse end of the deal, both in the fight and in getting an extra two minute penalty for elbowing.

King scored the Red Wings’ fourth goal, after Kris Draper nimbly evaded a Dallas defender, flew up the right wing side, and snapped a hard pass to King on the left side. King one-timed the shot, and the puck flew past Tugnutt.

The second period continued in much the same way, though the Wings did shut down the production somewhat, and the Stars did try to create a little more pressure. Hull scored his hat trick goal with 10:24 left to play, and the defensively lacking Stars rescued Tugnutt by sending Marty Turco in to take his place. The Stars finally got on the board two minutes later, when Manny Malhotra scored on a neat pass from DiMaio through traffic to the front of the net.

Zetterberg answered for the Wings during a penalty to Malhotra, slapping home a passing play by Sergei Fedorov and Brendan Shanahan.

Hatcher scored another goal for the Stars early in the third period, but a shorthanded goal by Jason Williams and a power play goal by Fedorov ensured that the game would go down as a rout.

The Wings continue their exhibition season Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The two teams are going to meet halfway and play at Hamilton, Ontario.

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