Sweater Numbers, Round Three

Assuming the full-camp roster from Red Wings Central is correct, there will be only one number change for a returning Red Wing this season.

Aaron Downey will be giving up #20 for the #44 made available by Mark Hartigan‘s departure.

Newcomer Ty Conklin will be wearing the #29 that hasn’t been worn since Jason Williams was traded to Chicago at the 2007 trade deadline, allowing Jimmy Howard to keep his #35.

The #21 worn at camp last year by failed prospect Igor Grigorenko has been given to Finnish player-of-the-year Ville Leino.

Howard and Ericsson Signed

There are reports that both Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Ericsson have re-signed with the Red Wings. The team hasn’t made an announcement but Malik pointed out a couple signs that it could be true.

The big evidence is the NHLPA’s website listing compensation for both players for next season.

For those who didn’t follow that link, this leaves Chris Chelios, Aaron Downey, Valtteri Filppula, Mark Hartigan, Logan Koopmans, Darren McCarty and Kyle Quincey unsigned. Chelios supposedly has a deal and Filppula will, either through negotiations or arbitration. Hartigan and Koopmans are likely on their way out. Downey and McCarty have been offered two-way deals. I haven’t heard anything about Quincey all summer.

Helm in for Hartigan in Game Five

Darren Helm will replace Mark Hartigan on the Red Wings’ fourth line in Game Five tonight.

“Really excited and nervous at the same time,” Helm said. “There’s a lot of young guys up, being one of the first guys to jump in definitely means a lot to me, gives me some confidence that they believe in me.”

Mike Babcock had previously said he had no worries about playing Helm or Justin Abdelkader in playoff games, as they’ve been in high-pressure situations before (Helm in the World Junior Championships and Memorial Cup, Abdelkader in the Frozen Four).

I would have gone with Abdelkader but Helm’s not a bad move either.

Red Wings Down Blackhawks to Close Regular Season

The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on Sunday afternoon in a game that meant little to either team.

Chicago had been mathematically eliminated from earning a playoff spot three days earlier, while Detroit had clinched first overall on that same day.

The Red Wings rested many of their regulars, with Brian Rafalski, Chris Chelios, and Dallas Drake healthy scratches and others seeing their minutes drastically reduced but it was still captain Nicklas Lidstrom leading the way, scoring twice en route to the win.

Jiri Hudler opened the game’s scoring at 7:21 of the first period, taking a pass from behind the goal by Darren McCarty and tipping it past Nikolai Khabibulin from in front.

The assist marked McCarty’s first point in his second stint with Detroit.

Lidstrom’s first of the game put the Wings up by a pair with 1:31 left in the second period. While skating on a five-on-three, Lidstrom blasted a shot from the top of the left circle past Khabibulin.

Mark Hartigan made up for a gaffe that nearly led to a Chicago goal early in the third, taking the puck on a giveaway by Khabibulin and putting it into the net at 6:28.

Lidstrom added his second with 5:58 remaining, scoring another power play goal on a long blast, this one deflected off the skate of defender Duncan Keith.

Patrick Kane broke the shutout with just 2:20, scoring on the power play with Jonathan Toews in behind Detroit netminder Dominik Hasek.

Hasek stopped 27 Chicago shots, doing his part to protect the Red Wings’ league-leading goals-against to earn the team the Jennings Trophy, split between Hasek and Chris Osgood.

Khabibulin made 34 saves on 38 Detroit shots.

The Red Wings will now wait until the playoff schedule is made official to find out when Game One of their first-round series with the Nashville Predators will begin.

Red Wings’ Rally Clinches Presidents’ Trophy

The Detroit Red Wings scored twice in the final 3:27 Thursday night, rebounding from down 2-1 to earn a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The win clinched their fourth Presidents’ Trophy in the past six seasons and sixth overall. No other team has won the award more than twice.

Johan Franzen tied the game on a Red Wings’ power play with 3:27 left in the third, putting home the rebound of a Nicklas Lidstrom shot from the blue line.

With 12 seconds left, Henrik Zetterberg gave the Red Wings their lone lead. Columbus netmnder Pascal Leclaire tried to play the puck on a dump in but it slipped past him as Zetterberg raced in. Zetterberg got to the puck behind the net before Leclaire could get back between the pipes, and the Swede’s backhand shot banked off of the goalie and into the net.

The Blue Jackets had scored first when Ron Hainsey scored on the power play at 7:13 of the second. After a fight for the puck on the right wing, Hainsey was left wide open acorss the ice for a blast past Dominik Hasek‘s glove.

Mark Hartigan evened things up 2:30 later, banging the rebound of a Niklas Kronwall shot past Leclaire.

Aaron Rome put Columbus back out in front before the Detroit comeback, scoring at 4:05 of the third on a blast from the blue line that slipped through Hasek.

Hasek made 20 saves on 22 shots on the night, with Leclaire stopping 36 of 39 attempts.

Justin Abdelkader made his Red Wings debut, in for the injured Kirk MaltbyTomas Kopecky left the game early in the third period with a knee injury.

McCarty to Play Friday

Darren McCarty will make his Red Wings re-debut on Friday as Detroit hosts the St. Louis Blues. Aaron Downey will be a healthy scratch as McCarty skates alongside Mark Hartigan and Dallas Drake.

Valtteri Filppula will also return, skating on Johan Franzen‘s wing along with Jiri Hudler.

Dominik Hasek is still out with the flu, causing Jimmy Howard to be called back up to backup Chris Osgood. Tomas Holmstrom is also still out.

Shorthanded Red Wings Dominate Wild in Win

Without two-thirds of their top forward line, the Detroit Red Wings still shut down the Minnesota Wild Saturday night, winning 4-1 while outshooting them 51-19.

The 51 shots were a season-high for Detroit.

Minnesota’s Marian Gaborik, who scored five goals on Thursday against the New York Rangers, tallied only one assist and was -2 with two shots.

Gaborik’s point came on a Kim Johnsson power play goal with nine seconds left in the second period. Gaborik sent a cross-ice feed from the right wing to Johnsson for a shot into the top of the net.

The goal made cut Detroit’s lead to 3-1.

Detroit got on the board with a power play goal at 6:57 of the first period. A Valtteri Filppula shot into the top of the net was knocked down by the stick of goalie Niklas Backstrom, sprawled out on the ice. Pavel Datsyuk was on the doorstep, though, and banged in the rebound.

Second-period goals just 45 seconds apart gave the Wings a 3-0 lead.

With 4:46 left in the period, Johan Franzen carried the puck behind the net for a wraparound attempt, coming out wide and using defenseman Sean Hill as a screen. Backstrom came off the near post and Franzen fired a shot into the top corner.

Dan Cleary scored Detroit’s second of the period on a long outlet pass from Nicklas Lidstrom. With the Wild pushing into the Detroit zone, Lidstrom grabbed the loose puck and flung it out to Cleary, behind the Minnesota defense in the neutral zone. Cleary caught up with it at the Wild blue line and broke in on Backstrom alone, snapping a shot past him.

Tomas Kopecky wrapped up the game’s scoring at 9:59 of the third period. Brian Rafalski threw the puck on net and Backstrom couldn’t control the rebound. Kopecky fought off a defender to get to the puck and shovel it into the net.

Backstrom finished the night with 47 saves to Dominik Hasek‘s 18.

Each team scored once on the power play. Detroit had seven chances with the extra attacker and Minnesota had two.

The Red Wings will be back on the ice after the holiday break, meeting the Blues in St. Louis on Wednesday night.

Mark Hartigan, who was planning to travel to Minnesota over the holiday break anyway, was called up from Grand Rapids to fill in for the injured Zetterberg… Kirk Maltby was also still out of the lineup… Cleary and Filppula replaced Tomas Holmstrom and Henrik Zetterberg on Datsyuk’s line.

Red Wings Fall to Oilers to End Streak

The Detroit Red Wings’ winning streak ended at seven games Thursday night with a 4-3 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

Edmonton’s Ales Hemsky scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Oilers the win, beating Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek stick-side.

Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler failed to score for the Red Wings. Hasek stopped Sam Gagne on Edmonton’s first shot.

Detroit trailed late in the game but Henrik Zetterberg forced overtime, scoring with 2:40 left in regulation to tie the game. Zetterberg took a pass from Dan Cleary and went behind the Edmonton goal, coming out on the other side into the right circle to turn and put a shot over goaltender Dwayne Roloson‘s shoulder.

The Red Wings had gotten on the board first just 2:46 into the game, with Mark Hartigan‘s first goal as a Red Wing. Similar to Zetterberg’s tying goal, Hartigan beat Roloson on a wraparound chance.

Hemsky tied things up with 7:32 left in the period, scoring on the rebound of a Sheldon Souray shot from the blue line with the Oilers on the power play.

With 1:54 left in the first, Joni Pitkanen jumped across the Detroit blue line, taking a pass while splitting the defenders to rifle a shot past Hasek and put Edmonton in the lead.

Zetterberg evened things up with his first goal of the night, scored on the power play with 6:36 left in the second period. Brian Rafalski sent a hard pass from the top of the right circe to Zetterberg in the slot for a deflection past Roloson.

Fernando Pisani gave the Oilers the lead back 2:09 later, fighting off Brett Lebda to score from the front of the net off a pass from Gagner.

Hasek, who was seemingly injured after Shawn Horcoff slid into him, played the full game and stopped 22 of 25 shots against. Roloson made 39 saves on 42 shots.

Both teams went one-for-four on the power play.

Osgood Remains Perfect Against Lightning, Wings Win 4-2

Goaltender Chris Osgood improved his career record against the Tampa Bay Lighting to 16-0 Thursday night, helping his Detroit Red Wings to a 4-2 win to remain in first place in the National Hockey League.

The Red Wings earned the win without forwards Kirk Maltby or Kris Draper. Draper is expected to miss two weeks with a sprained knee while Maltby – nursing a sore back – sat out for the first time in 189 games.

Detroit got on the board early and never let up, scoring just 3:24 into the game.

Jiri Hudler opened the scoring, jumping off the left-wing boards to redirect a Chris Chelios slap-pass from the blue line past goalie Marc Denis.

The Lighting survived being outshot 17-1 in the first period down by only a goal but they would fall further behind in the second.

Pavel Datsyuk scored a power play goal at 4:04 to put the Red Wings up by a pair. Nicklas Lidstrom fired a shot from the blue line that was knocked down as Denis fought off a screen by Tomas Holmstrom. Datsyuk grabbed the loose puck from the side of the net and put it in.

Tomas Kopecky, playing in his first game back from a shoulder injury, made it 3-0 3:35 later. Andreas Lilja sprung Kopecky with a long outlet pass to the Tampa Bay blue line. Kopecky broke in on Denis down the right wing and froze him with a shoulder fake before putting the puck into the top of the net.

Brad Richards put the Lightning on the board with 7:57 left in the second. Andreas Lilja couldn’t control a dump in behind Osgood’s net and the Lightning recovered, working the puck out front to Richards to put into the top corner of the net.

Dan Cleary scored another early-period goal to re-extend the Wings’ lead. Just 2:05 into the third, Brett Lebda put a shot from the blue line on Denis. At the top of the crease, Denis kicked it aside, straight to Cleary on the right wing for a shot back into the open net.

Mathieu Darche scored the game’s final goal with 3:06 remaining, tipping a Shane O’Brien shot past Osgood from inside the crease.

Osgood stopped 21 of 23 shots to earn his twelfth win of the season. Denis made 35 saves on 39 Detroit shots.

Detroit went one-for-two on the power play and the Lightning did not score on any of their three tries with the extra attacker.

Mark Hartigan was called up from Grand Rapids replace the injured Maltby. He was sent back to the Griffins after the game.

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