Canucks Have Trouble With Manny: Wings Win 3-1

Once again, goaltender Manny Legace held his team in the game so they could get the win. Legace’s goaltending and a three-point night from Nicklas Lidstrom propelled the Red Wings to a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Both teams played a very open game to start the first period, and both goalies had to be sharp. Dan Cloutier faced and stopped two quick rebound shots by Robert Lang from point-blank range before the game was even a minute gone. At the other end of the ice, Legace stoned Daniel and Henrik Sedin when they broke through neutral ice on a two-on-one rush.

Brendan Shanahan opened the scoring 3:15 into the second period. Lidstrom made a soft pass from the right point to Shanahan at center. Shanahan blasted a one-timer from nearly sixty feet in front of the net. Cloutier was unscreened, but the shot went right through.

The Red Wings got to take advantage of a five on three power play shortly thereafter. Daniel Sedin was sent to the box for high sticking. Just a few seconds into the power play, Mattias Ohlund tripped and slid into the boards while being closely followed by Tomas Holmstrom. Vancouver coach Marc Crawford believed Holmstrom should have been given a penalty, and he was very forthcoming in sharing this viewpoint with the game officials.

The referees didn’t seem to appreciate Crawford’s vocal opinion, so they assigned him a bench minor penalty, leaving the Canucks down by two men. Fedor Fedorov went into the box to serve Crawford’s time, and the Detroit power play went to work. After a lot of passing, a few wide shots, and a couple of good saves by Cloutier, Brett Hull‘s shot was the one that clicked. Lidstrom passed from the right point to Hull at the top of the left faceoff circle, and Hull fired off a one-timer which bounced off the goalpost and into the net.

Vancouver nearly got themselves into the game with 2:47 left in the second period, but Legace flung himself across the crease to make a sprawling glove save against Sean Pronger.

Legace gave the fans a scare early in the third. Matt Cooke shoved Mathieu Schneider into Legace just to the right of the net. Legace was slow to get up and seemed a little shaky for a moment, but he stayed in net and finished the game.

Lidstrom added a goal to his pair of assists at 6:07 of the third. He intercepted a bad pass by the Canucks and was away on a two-on-one rush with Ray Whitney. Brent Sopel, the only defender back, was unable to stop Lidtsrom’s pass to Whitney or Whitney’s pass back across. Lidstrom took the pass, got to just the right spot, and wristed a shot into the net on Cloutier’s short side.

Mike Keane spoiled Legace’s shutout bid with 4:59 left to play. Sean Pronger won a faceoff in Detroit’s zone. He pulled the puck back to Keane, who took a few steps to his left before firing the puck. The puck hit the short side goalpost and bounced into the net.

The Canucks pulled Cloutier with 1:27 left to play, but the extra attacker did them no good.
Legace made 23 saves on the 24 shots he faced, while Cloutier stopped 24 of 27 shots.

The Red Wings’ next opponent will be the Southeast Division leaders, the Tampa Bay Lightning, on Monday night at the Joe.

Boyd Devereaux came back into the lineup tonight to fill in for the injured Pavel Datysuk, while Mark Mowers, Anders Myrvold, and Jamie Rivers stayed in the lineup to fill the holes left by Kris Draper, Jason Woolley, and Mathieu Dandenault“¦. Shanahan’s 20th goal of the season makes this his 16th consecutive 20 goal season. He and Hull, who is in his 17th consecutive 20 goal season, lead all active players in that regard.

Datsyuk Added to All-Star Roster

Detroit Red Wing Pavel Datsyuk was among fifteen players added to the Western Conference All-Star team on Thursday night. The starters for both the Eastern and Western Conference teams were announced two weeks ago.

Datsyuk joins Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom on the All-Star team. Lidstrom was announced as a starter after receiving the second-most votes for a defenseman from the Western Conference.

The two Red Wings will be coached by Detroit head coach Dave Lewis, who will be making his second appearance behind the bench for an All-Star team. Last season he was the assistant coach to Vancouver’s Marc Crawford. This season Crawford will be the assistant, while Lewis has the head coaching position.

Datsyuk will be making his first career All-Star appearance in only his third season. He played in the 2002 YoungStars game in his rookie year.

Refs Ruin Game

In yet another display of the way NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Director of Officiating Andy Van Hellemond seem determined to drive away all of hockey’s fans, the on-ice officials took it upon themselves to give the Vancouver Canucks a 4-3 overtime win over the Red Wings.

The Canucks are thought by many analysts to be the NHL front office’s Chosen Team to win the Stanley Cup this year so that Commissioner Bettman can prove that small-market Canadian teams don’t actually need any help. Vancouver, with its rough, thuggish style of play guided by the sick mind of coach Marc Crawford, has probably been the main beneficiary of the League’s directive to make phantom obstruction calls instead of focusing more on blatant and dangerous charging, boarding, cross-checking, and high-sticking calls.

The Red Wings got off to a good start against the Canucks, in spite of the fact that one of the referees seemed to be having a Cold War flashback and decided to fight for Truth, Justice, and The American Way by calling non-existent penalties against young Russians Pavel Datsyuk and Dmitri Bykov, who were all of 12 and 13 years old respectively when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Vancouver golden boy Todd Bertuzzi actually spent time in the penalty box for mugging Chris Chelios, but the Red Wings didn’t get on the board until early in the second period. They had another power play, this one because Vancouver had had too many men on the ice. Sergei Fedorov, quite happy with his new higher level of ice time, took a pass from Brett Hull and one-timed the puck from the right point. The puck sailed past Dan Cloutier, who perhaps still has nightmares of the shot by Lidstrom which beat him from center ice in last year’s playoffs.

Henrik Zetterberg increased Detroit’s lead shortly thereafter. Datsyuk made a good pass through a few pairs of legs to Zetterberg in front of the net, and Zetterberg easily flipped the puck over Cloutier.

When the Red Wings scored two goals, including a power play goal, within the space of 1:03, it soon became obvious that Detroit would not be getting another power play. But that didn’t seem to matter. The Wings played a very strong period, continually pressuring the Canucks in their own zone and easily killing off a phantom penalty on Datsyuk.

But when Luc Robitaille scored early in the third and Cloutier ran away to hide behind the mattress-sized leg pads of his backup goalie Peter Skudra, the referees realized that the Canucks might actually LOSE, so they sprang into action. (Who knows what evil the League might wreak upon the officials of a loss by Vancouver?!?!?) First came a hooking call on Bykov. Again. The Wings were handling the penalty-killing role nicely, until Bertuzzi dragged his feet just enough to pitch him over Lidstrom’s skate and went flying like a clumsy ballerina. (Really, the man has a future as a melodramatic soap opera actor when his playing days are over…. or at least he would, if he weren’t one of the ugliest men in North America.)

Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, and Chris Chelios did a heroic job of killing off the 1:02 of 5-on-3 play. Chelios did an excellent job of helping Curtis Joseph defend the net and harrassing the Canuck attackers down low, while Maltby and Draper used their speed and agility to force the other attackers to make quick passes and play keep-away instead of setting up a scoring chance. Bykov came out of the box to help, and the Wings sent the puck down the ice.

Trent Klatt carried the puck back into the Detroit zone and crashed the net. Literally. Like a steamroller. The puck preceded Klatt into the net by an inch or two before the net came up off its moorings, but it should seem fairly obvious to most observers that Joseph cannot stop the puck when he is being leveled by a 225-pound man with full forward momentum. Apparently referee Don Van Massenhoven is no ordinary observer. In the strange and unusual physics of his little world, Joseph would have been perfectly capable of being run over and of making the save at the same time, so Van Massenhoven waved off any unimportant objections such as “goaltender interference” and allowed the goal.

The Canucks pulled Skudra and his mattresses out of the net to send in an extra skater with just over a minute left to play, and Van Massenhoven had another chance to shine. The Canucks were pressuring in the Detroit zone, and Lidstrom sent the puck around behind the net so the Wings could pick it up and clear it on the other side. Van Massenhoven was in the way. The puck hit his skate, his foot moved, and somehow the puck went right to the stick blade of Markus Naslund. What a coincidence! (I’ve seen goals disallowed for less of a kicking motion than Van Massenhoven used in his assist. Sure, you can kick the puck if you’re only setting up a goal, but that’s only if you’re actually ON THE TEAM!) Naslund, who isn’t leading the League in goals for nothing, sent the puck right into the empty corner of the net, in spite of the way everything suddenly seemed to go into slow motion and Cujo flung himself across the crease to try to somehow block the shot.

Goalies sometimes see in slow motion. If a goalie can somehow project his slow motion view of the puck to the fans in the audience and the TV viewers at home, then you know you are watching a very powerful goalie indeed. But a goalie’s power matters little when the referee gets the first assist on the game-tying goal””even Terry Sawchuk himself, who had over 100 career shutouts with shorter seasons and much smaller equipment than the NHL has now, would have been hard-pressed to make that save. (By the way, does ESPN know ANYTHING about sports history? Where do they get off calling Patrick Wah the best goalie ever? Have they never heard of Sawchuk? Esposito? Vezina? Crozier? But don’t get me started on that.)

So, the game went to overtime, and the Canucks proceeded to blatantly obstruct the Red Wings’ attempts to get the puck and set up plays. Hmm, not so quick with the whistles now? Can’t imagine why…. Marek Malik scored the game winner with 1:58 remaining, and Skudra proceeded to jump up and down as if he’d actually done something. Meanwhile, the Red Wings proceeded to go to the dressing room to regroup and try to wash away the nastiness of a game decided by referees before facing the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night. Fortunately, the Oilers are NOT the Chosen Team this season, so there may even be a chance of a somewhat fair bit of officiating.

Wings’ Lewis to Assistant Coach All-Star Team

The Detroit Red Wings did their part in Dave Lewis’ quest to become the head coach of the Western Conference team in the 2003 NHL All-Star Game, defeating the Florida Panthers in the arena where the All-Star Game will be played next month. Unfortunately, the Red Wings’ win wasn’t enough.

Lewis will be the West’s assistant coach behind the Vancouver’s Marc Crawford. Crawford earned the head coaching position as his Canucks cruised to a 6-4 win over the Ottawa Senators after the Wings had finished off Florida in overtime.

Coaches are chosen for the All-Star teams based on team winning percentage as of January 8, 2003.

Ottawa’s Jacques Martin will be the head coach of the Eastern Conference All-Stars. His assistant will be Ken Hitchcock of the Philadelphia Flyers.

More Great Goaltending, Better Outcome for Wings

The Red Wings gave head coach Dave Lewis a gift few first-year head coaches can attain as their 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers guaranteed that Lewis will be either head coach or assistant coach of the Western Conference All-Star Team.

The first period was owned by Detroit. They outshot Florida by a count of 16-6 through the first. Florida goalie Roberto Luongo practically stood on his head to keep the Red Wings off the scoreboard, while Manny Legace was sharp when he had to be at the other end of the rink. Detroit was generating scoring chances all period, and when the Panthers got the first power play of the game, the Wings nearly scored shorthanded. Brett Hull had the puck past Luongo, but it rang off the goalpost.

The Panthers opened up their attack a little more in the second period, but Legace continued his strong game, and the Red Wings continued to pressure. Hull and Pavel Datsyuk made an amazing passing play to set up Henrik Zetterberg near the wide open side of the net, but somehow, Luongo got just enough of his glove on the shot that it redirected and hit the post, then dropped back down in front of the goaltender.

Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Hull were far from done. When the Red Wings got to go on the power play just a few minutes later, they were the three to open up the scoring. Datsyuk made a nice play to keep the puck away from a Florida player and get it to Zetterberg behind the net. Zetterberg made a pass out front to a wide-open Hull, and Hull blasted a shot right post Luongo.

The Panthers scored a power play goal of their own early in the third to even the game back up. Viktor Kozlov made the pass to Marcus Nilson, who used other players as a screen and fired the puck into the net before Legace could see it.

The goal seemed to energize the Panthers, and they went on the attack. Legace made save after save to keep the game tied. When Florida was awarded over a minute and a half of 5-on-3 power play with calls to Kirk Maltby and Dimitri Bykov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, and Kris Draper did an incredible job at keeping the puck away from the net, even carrying the puck almost to Luongo’s net at one point.

Both goaltenders continued their excellent play through the rest of the period, sending the game to overtime. Kozlov nearly put an end to the game with a breakaway attempt, and the shot deflected off of Legace’s catching glove, then off the crossbar, and up over the net.

The Wings were away in the other direction then, and Datsyuk carried the puck in across the Panthers’ blue line. He passed across to Jason Woolley in the high slot, and Woolley saw that Hull was in and open near the left faceoff circle. The pass went across, and Hull’s one-timer sailed past Luongo for the goal.

The final count of shots on net was 32-29 for Detroit. The Red Wings will finish up their road trip on Saturday afternoon when they head north to face the Philadelphia Flyers.

Pavel Datsyuk played his first game back after missing 19 with an injured knee, and looked as solid as ever, helping to set up both of Detroit’s goals…. Chris Chelios sat out again with his vaguely described leg injury…. Dave Lewis’s position with the All-Star Team is now up to the Vancouver Canucks. If the Canucks lose or tie in their late night game with the Ottawa Senators, then the Red Wings will have a larger win percentage, so Lewis will be the head coach, and the Canucks’ Marc Crawford will be his assistant. If the Canucks win, Crawford will be the head coach and Lewis the assistant.

Home Is Where The Octopi Are

Home ice advantage became at last an advantage, and in a big way. The Red Wings returned to Joe Louis Arena, and left the crowd making noises which suit them much better than Friday night’s boos: cheers– loud, raucous, hopeful playoff cheers. The Red Wings took a 3-2 series lead by shutting out the Canucks, 4-0.

The goal scoring all came in the first period. The first goal came on a power play set off by a roughing call to Todd Warriner. Brendan Shanahan shot the puck from the left side. The rebound bounced off Dan Cloutier and right up the center, through several pairs of legs. Sergei Fedorov got to it and one-timed a wrist shot through the Vancouver players and into the net four minutes into the game, just thirty-four seconds after the start of the power play.

The Red Wings then were faced with killing off three penalties in a row. They succeeded, controlling the puck and keeping the Canucks from setting up any of their planned plays. Dominik Hasek was huge in the net, stretching and reaching to keep the red goal light off.

Detroit scored their second goal shorthanded, towards the end of the string of penalties. Fedorov intercepted the puck at Detroit’s blue line, and took off down the ice with Mathieu Dandenault. Fedorov passed the puck, and Dandenault shot it between Cloutier’s legs and into the net.

Brett Hull and Boyd Devereaux scored to put the Wings up by three. Nick Lidstrom passed the puck up the ice to Hull, barely onside. Hull’s shot bounced off Cloutier, and straight to Devereaux, who had sneaked to the net behind all of the Vancouver players. Devereaux easily put the puck into the wide open net.

Vancouver coach Marc Crawford changed things around after that. He pulled Cloutier out of the game and replaced him with backup goalie Peter Skudra. The Wings tested Skudra thoroughly in the remainder of the first period, giving him no chance to get comfortable in the net. Fedorov scored again with 1:29 remaining. Devereaux detained Todd Bertuzzi, allowing Jiri Fischer to clear the puck from Detroit’s zone. Fedorov and Brett Hull stole the puck from the Canucks attempting to hold it in at the line, and they were away. Hull carried the puck up the left side and threw it towards Skudra. Fedorov went to the net, put out his stick with one hand, and neatly deflected Hull’s shot into the goal.

Detroit played an intelligent game for the remaining two periods, taking few chances that would allow the Canucks to score. Hasek continued to be vital to the team, stopping every shot the tight Detroit defense allowed. Fischer kept big Bertuzzi from becoming a threat to either the score or the players. The Red Wings controlled the puck for most of the game, defending their goal by keeping the puck in Vancouver’s zone or at center. “Hey, we’re old and we’re smart,” said defenseman Steve Duchesne.

Shots on net were thirty to twenty-five in favor of the Red Wings. The teams will return to Vancouver tonight to play Game Six on Saturday evening.

This was Dominik Hasek’s seventh career playoff shutout?. Jason Williams returned to the lineup tonight; Pavel Datsyuk was given a rest?. Vancouver general manager Brian Burke complained bitterly about the officiating after Game Four, claiming that the referees were giving the Red Wings an unfair advantage. But after his team had four straight power plays and did not manage to score, what is he going to find to complain about in his next press conference? ?. Can the Red Wings wrap up the series on Saturday night? “We’ll see when we get there,” said Sergei Fedorov.

Detroit Defeats Vancouver… Again

The Red Wings’ power play unit may still need some time for the players to get used to each other, but the penalty kill unit seems on target to become a name to be feared throughout the NHL. The Wings continued their great start to the 2001-2002 season on Saturday night with a 4-1 victory against the Vancouver Canucks.

Vancouver continued the rough, tough style of play that caused such a rough time for Colorado in last season’s playoffs. Just 3:40 after the opening faceoff, Vancouver’s Donald Brashear boarded defenseman Maxim Kuznetsov, cutting him in the process. Brashear was given a 5 minute major penalty and a game misconduct. One less thug to worry about.

The game was full of penalties and stoppages in play, yet most of the penalties called seemed to be oddly unimportant. UPN 50 color commentator Mickey Redmond even complained about it, saying that he wished the referees would call more of the hard hits and cross-checks from behind that the Canucks were laying on Detroit. The first period ended scoreless, although a total of seven penalties (four for Detroit, three for Vancouver) had been handed out.

The second period continued in the same choppy fashion. Vancouver’s Ed Jovanovski opened the scoring 9:42 into the period with an unassisted goal against Dominek Hasek. Seconds later, however, at 9:53, the Canucks’ Matt Cooke was handed a penalty for tripping. Steve Yzerman won the faceoff and got the puck to Sergei Fedorov, who shot it right past goalie Dan Cloutier. The power play lasted a total of three seconds.

The Wings took the lead with 3:31 remaining in the second. Defenseman Jiri Fischer stepped out of the penalty box, grabbed the puck that teammate Frederick Olausson had just shot down the ice, and ran with it, flipping it past Cloutier on a bounce. Kirk Maltby was also given an assist on Fischer’s goal.

The Red Wings’ penalty killing unit, which, at this point, had already shut down seven Vancouver power plays, went on the offensive with 1:44 left in the second. Chris Chelios got the puck to Brendan Shanahan, who once again got past the surprised goalie for his third shorthanded goal in two games.

The third period began with Detroit determined not to lose a two goal lead as they had done against the Sharks. The penalties were less frequent. Shanahan and Jason Strudwick received offsetting penalties for roughing with 9:50 left in the game, while Strudwick also receievd a second minor for high sticking. Shanahan’s ear was bleeding from Strudwick’s stick, and he had to go off to the dressing room to receive treatment.

With 5:56 remaining in the game, Yzerman essentially clinched the game for the Wings, receiving a pass from Brett Hull and firing it into the net. Shanahan came back out to finish the game, but was almost immediately removed from the ice again, as he and Strudwick fought it out over the earlier high stick. Shanahan received the two minute instigator penalty and a game misconduct to go along with the regular five minute fighting major.

Detroit’s power play was 1 for 9, while Vancouver’s was 0 for 8. Hasek stopped 29 shots, and Cloutier stopped only 15. The Red Wings have not lost to Vancouver since February 6, 1997. It just goes to show, you don’t have to lay on the dirty hits to win a hockey game. Perhaps Vancouver coach Marc Crawford could learn a thing or two from Scotty Bowman.

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