Wings Defeat Blues, Claim President’s Trophy

The Detroit Red Wings’ Ray Whitney scored late in the second period Thursday night to give Detroit a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues, clinching the President’s Trophy for the Red Wings with one game remaining in the season. It is the second time in three years and fourth time since 1995 that Detroit has won the President’s Trophy, awarded to the team with the NHL’s best regular season record.

Whitney scored with 2:02 remaining in the second period and fourth-string goaltender Marc Lamothe allowed only two goals on 28 shots against as the Red Wings held off a St. Louis team fighting to make the playoffs.

With the game tied a two, the Red Wings had the Blues reeling in their own zone. Whitney faked a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle and skated in to the faceoof dot, firing a quick wrister over St. Louis goaltender Chris Osgood‘s shoulder and into the top of the net.

Detroit had opened the scoring 6:32 into the game on a goal by Boyd Devereaux. With Osgood sprawling across the goal crease, Devereaux got the puck from defenseman Chris Chelios at the left side of the net. He roofed a shot over Osgood and put the Wings up by one early.

Steve Thomas added to the Red Wings’ lead with 7:14 remaining in the opening frame. As Brett Hull skated into the St. Louis zone with Pavel Datsyuk, Thomas trailed the play. Coming down the right side of the ice, Hull dropped a pass to Thomas, who fired a shot past Osgood, giving Detroit a two-goal lead.

St. Louis tied the game with two goals just 1:13 apart early in the second period. Former Red Wing Mike Sillinger scored 1:52 into the period to put the Blues on the board and Brain Savage knocked in a loose puck at 3:05 to tie the game.

Lamothe stopped 13 shots in the third period to preserve the Red Wings’ lead. Osgood stopped nine of the 12 shots he faced in the game.

The Red Wings were perfect on the penalty kill, not allowing a goal on either of the two St. Louis power play chances. Detroit did not have any power play attempts of their own, as St. Louis was not penalized in the game. The Red Wings have had only one attempt with the man-advantage in the last two games.

The Red Wings will wrap up their season Saturday night when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Legace Leads Wings to Win over Avs

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace turned in one of his best performances of the season, stopping 34 of the 35 shots he faced and earning the win as the Red Wings defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 3-1.

Legace faced 12 more shots than his counterpart in the Colorado nets, David Aebischer, but allowed one less goal and held the Avalanche scoreless while Detroit led by one late in the third period. He made a key save on Riku Hahl with three minutes remaining in the game and the Red Wings leading, 1-0. Thirty seconds later, Pavel Datsyuk scored the eventual game-winner.

The Red Wings were outshot, 12-5, in the first period but came away with the game’s first goal.

With Colorado’s Jim Cummins in the penalty box for high-sticking Kirk Maltby, Tomas Holmstrom got the puck below the right faceoff circle in the Avalanche zone. In a seemingly innocent play, Holmstrom skated to the faceoff circle and fired a quick shot over Aebischer’s far shoulder and into the net. At the 9:52 mark of the first period, the Red Wings were up a goal.

The score would not change until Datsyuk’s goal with 2:32 remaining in the game.

After Legace’s stop on Foote, the Red Wings sent the puck into the Colorado zone. Aebischer tried to cover the at the side of the goal but it bounced loose. While the Avs thought the puck was covered, it came free and Datsyuk put a shot into the vacated net to give the Red Wings a two-goal lead.

Henrik Zetterberg added an empty-net goal one minute later.

Colorado’s only goal of the game came just in time to spoil Legace’s shutout.

With 31 seconds remaining in the game, Steve Konowalchuk beat Legace but it wasn’t enough as the final score was 3-1.

After three starts in which he allowed 13 total goals, Legace was back in form with Curtis Joseph reinjured. Joseph did not dress for the game and Marc Lamothe was called up to backup Legace.

The Red Wings and Avalanche play again Saturday afternoon, closing their home-and-home series in Detroit.

With the win, the Red Wings earned their fifth-straight 100-point season… The Red Wings remain tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the top spot in the NHL standings with 101 points… Joseph will have an MRI exam on Friday to see the extent of the injury to his right ankle. Reportedly, Joseph stated that if the playoffs started now, he could play through the injury.

Joseph Out, Lamothe Called Up

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Curtis Joseph will not dress for tonight’s game in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche. Marc Lamothe has been called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins to backup Manny Legace.

Joseph tweaked his previously-injured right ankle during pre-game warmups in San Jose Tuesday night. Legace replaced him as the starter as the Red Wings lost to the Sharks, 5-2. Joseph will have an MRI exam when the Red Wings return to Detroit on Friday.

When asked about his status, Joseph described himself as day-to-day. He did not sound confident about being ready for the playoff opener.

“Usually, when I feel it, it’s just like a 30-second thing and then it goes away,” he said. “This didn’t go away for a little bit. But eventually it did.”

Wings’ 4th Goalie of Season Ties in Debut

Marc Lamothe made 29 saves on 30 shots in his debut as a Red Wing, holding off the Edmonton Oilers to allow Detroit to come back for a 1-1 tie.

The Oilers’ game plan was to test Lamothe early, hope he was nervous, and try to get as many shots against him as possible. It worked””at least, it got them on the board early. Georges Laraque carried the puck around the net, muscling Mathieu Schneider out of the way as he skated. Laraque threw the puck across the goal crease. Jason Chimera was waiting at the other side of the net in perfect position to bank the puck past Lamothe.

Lamothe looked a little shaky on a few of the saves he had to make after giving up his first goal. He seemed to have a hard time getting his glove on the puck and covering up rebounds, but he settled in as the game went by. Lamothe kept the Oilers from going up by a pair with a big leg pad save against Shawn Horcoff with 3:50 left in the first.

Tommy Salo was no slouch at the other end of the ice. He scrambled to keep a low shot by Steve Yzerman out of the net. The play was reviewed, and the officials determined that Salo’s leg pad just barely blocked the puck from crossing the goal line.

Detroit thought they had tied up the game on a goal by Brendan Shanahan late in the second, but the referee instead called an interference penalty on Tomas Holmstrom for keeping Salo from getting back into the goal crease, so the goal was disallowed.

Nicklas Lidstrom finally tied the game up for Detroit with only 7:04 left in regulation. Yzerman’s pass to the right faceoff dot was bouncing horribly, but Lidstrom didn’t care. With the flat of his stick against the the flat of the puck, he slung the puck towards the net and right past Salo.

Brett Hull, Pavel Datsyuk, and Jiri Fischer had a good passing play in overtime which could have ended the game had Hull’s shot reached the net, but the puck was bouncing strangely and the Oilers were able to get it away. Lamothe had to be sharp to make saves on Eric Brewer and Ethan Moreau to keep the game a tie.

The Oilers outshot the Red Wings 30 to 26.

The Red Wings continue their western road trip with a game against the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night.

Curtis Joseph skated on his injured ankle today. He is expected to return sometime next week. Manny Legace will likely get the start in the remaining games before Joseph’s return…. Derian Hatcher‘s knee is healing nicely, and he is still on schedule to return on or about March 8.

Stars Spoil Hatcher’s Return to Dallas

Derian Hatcher made his first appearance at Dallas’ American Airlines Center since signing with the Detroit Red Wings but couldn’t stop the Starts from defeating the Wings, 3-2.

The Stars’ Bill Guerin knocked a bouncing puck past Detroit goaltender Dominik Hasek just 1:59 into the game to put Dallas up by a goal.

Pavel Datsyuk tied the game for Detroit, converting on a cross-ice pass from Ray Whitney on the power play with 3:41 remaining in the period.

With Dallas on the power play, rookie Antti Miettinen beat Hasek to put the Stars up again. Guerin scored his second of the night with just twenty-two seconds remaining in the second period, wristing a shot over Hasek’s shoulder.

Jason Williams added the game’s final goal 8:59 into the third period.

Hasek played the game’s first two periods in net for Detroit, allowing three goals on sixteen shots. Marc Lamothe played the third period, stopping all five shots he faced.

Marty Turco started in goal for the Stars, allowing only Datsyuk’s goal out of eleven shots. Ron Tugnutt relieved Turco to start the second, stopping tewleve of the thirteen shots he faced.

A short pregame ceremony included a video tribute to Hatcher, who served as the Stars’ longtime captain before signing with Detroit this summer.

Injured Wings Triumph Over Injured Blues in OT

The St. Louis Blues came to Detroit missing quite a few of their key players for this Central Division matchup. Chris Pronger and Jamal Mayers are both out for the season. Keith Tkachuk was gone for family reasons. Pavol Demitra was gone for, of all things, chickenpox. The Red Wings weren’t in much better shape. Aside from the already-known knee problems of Steve Yzerman, Jiri Fischer, Pavel Datsyuk, and Manny Legace, Igor Larionov and Tomas Holmstrom were both out with what was reported as stomach flu by some sources and food poisoning by others. In either case, both teams had a depleted lineup, but the remaining players put on a tough, entertaining game which ended in a 4-3 overtime win for Detroit.

Rookie Barret Jackman opened the scoring for St. Louis early in the third period with a strange goal. Curtis Joseph had slid across the net to block a shot by Cory Stillman. The shot was headed harmlessly wide anyway, but Joseph stumbled a little and kept right on sliding. When the puck bounced off the boards and back out front, Jackman was able to slap it into a wide open net.

The Red Wings had two power plays towards the end of the first period, but they weren’t able to get their scoring going until Dalls Drake took a cross-checking call early in the second. Brett Hull took a hard shot from the high slot which rang off the goalpost. The rebound came back to the left point, and Nick Lidstrom shot it back towards the net. Hull had kept moving in the meantime, and when goalie Fred Brathwaite left the puck loose on the side of the net, Hull was right there to chip it up high under the crossbar.

Jason Williams gave the Red Wings their first lead of the game with just under three minutes remaining in the second. Boyd Devereaux dumped the puck deep into the Blues’ zone just as he was being hit. Mathieu Dandenault got to it first and made a centering pass, again, just as he was being hit. Williams had just come off the bench and up to the play, and he one-timed Dandenault’s pass right into the net.

Scott Mellanby tied the game back up early in the third period. Dandenault was in the box for tripping, and the Blues showed a very efficient power play. Stillman brought the puck into the zone and left a drop pass for Mellanby, who let go a remarkably quick shot which sailed underneath Joseph’s glove.

Chris Chelios thought his goal would keep the game from overtime. It came with 2:52 left in regulation. Kris Draper won the faceoff cleanly back to Kirk Maltby, who passed the puck to Chelios. Chelios sent off a slapshot which hit the stick of one of the Blues on the way through, changing direction just enough to fool Brathwaite.

Unfortunately, a Jackman shot tipped into the net by Petr Cajanek just seconds later meant the game was heading to overtime after all. The Red Wings did get to start the extra period with a 4-on-3 advantage; Stillman was sent to the box for elbowing with 4 seconds left in the third period.

The penalty to Stillman had just expired when Henrik Zetterberg decided it was time for the game to be over. Jason Woolley sent a pass up to Zetterberg at the side of the net. It was a bad angle, but Zetterberg made the shot anyway and banked it into the net off of Brathwaite’s skate for his first career overtime goal and his seventh goal of the season.

The Red Wings outshot the Blues 30-26 overall, but the vast majority of those shots came in the second period. The Blues outshot the Wings in both the first and third periods.

The Red Wings’ next game will be Thursday night at home against the Minnesota Wild. The Wild are currently just one point behind Vancouver (yes, Vancouver; that’s not a typo) for control of the Northwest Division.

The Red Wings should have the results of the MRI on Manny Legace’s knee by tomorrow. Meanwhile, Marc Lamothe of the Griffins has been playing backup to Curtis Joseph…. Scott Mellanby’s goal was his 700th career point…. The illnesses of Igor Larionov and Tomas Holmstrom prompted Dave Lewis to temporarily move Mathieu Dandenault from defense back to right wing.

No Wings Lost in Waiver Draft

The Detroit Red Wings escaped Friday’s Waiver Draft without losing any of the seven players they had left unprotected. They also declined to make any selections in the Draft.

Detroit made defensemen Patrick Boileau and Eddy Campbell, forwards Derek King, Mark Mowers, Michel Picard and Stacy Roest, and goaltender Marc Lamothe available to the other twenty-nine NHL teams by leaving them off their Protected List. Each team may only protect twenty players.

Six players changed teams through this year’s Waiver Draft. The Atlanta Thrashers selected defenseman Stephane Robidas from the Montreal Canadiens. Mathieu Biron, another defenseman, was claimed by the Columbus Blue Jackets from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Right wing Petr Tenkrat was picked by the Florida Panthers from the Nashville Predators’ roster. Nashville then selected defenseman Francis Bouillon from the Canadiens. The New York Rangers added some depth at forward by claiming right wing Ronald Petrovicky from the Calgary Flames. Defenseman Rick Berry, part of the Dariius Kasparaitis trade last season, was claimed by the Washington Capitals from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Last season the Red Wings lost goaltender Chris Osgood to the New York Islanders via the Waiver Draft.

And, They’re Off….

The Red Wings got their pre-season off to a promising start with a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars.

The first period was somewhat penalty-filled. The referees seemed to want to prove they were serious about this year’s crackdown on obstruction, mandated by the NHL office, and the hooking and holding penalties were plentiful. The Wings’ goaltender Manny Legace and the Stars’ new acquisition Ron Tugnutt held the game scoreless, facing seven and four shots respectively in the first twenty minutes of play.

Sean Avery got his season off to a good start by scoring the first goal of the game just over six minutes into the second period, on an assist by Derek King. Avery assured the fans he wasn’t going to give up his grinding style of play less than three minutes later by starting a fight with Dallas rookie Steve Ott. Both players were sent to the penalty box for five minutes to cool off, and Avery picked up an extra two minutes for the cross-check that started the fight.

About midway through the second period, the goaltenders switched out. Marc Lamothe came into the net for the Red Wings, while newly promoted number one goalie Marty Turco came out for the Stars. Turco, unfortunately for him, gave up a goal on the first shot he faced.

To make matters worse for Turco, the Stars were on a power play at the time. Boyd Devereaux stole the puck away from the Stars and set up the re-acquired Stacy Roest for the short-handed goal.

Devereaux scored a goal of his own 1:26 into the third period. His goal on a pass from Brett Hull helped ensure the victory for the Wings.

Jason Arnott finally put the Stars on the board about five minutes later with a power play goal assisted by Bill Guerin and Mike Modano, but it was too little and too late for Dallas.

The total shots on goal were twenty-five to twenty-two in favor of the Stars. The Red Wings’ next pre-season game will be Tuesday night at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Jiri Fischer did not make the trip to Dallas, remaining instead in Detroit after further medical testing stemming from an abnormal EKG reading on September 12. He has been cleared to play and is expected to participate in practice this weekend.

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