Late Goal Lifts Wings over Blues

Boyd Devereaux scored his third goal of the season with just 2:23 remaining in the third period to lift the Detroit Red Wings to a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. The win puts Detroit two points ahead of St. Louis in the league standings and into sole possession of the Central Division lead.

The third period was dominated by each team’s top two lines, neither the Blues nor the Wings willing to roll four lines with the game on the line. Devereaux came out with Kirk Maltby and Mark Mowers as Detroit’s third line late in the game and made good on what little ice time was available. Defenseman Mathieu Dandenault pinched in to force a turnover near the bottom of the right circle anf got the puck to Devereaux, who deflected the puck between Blues goaltender and former Red Wing Chris Osgood‘s pads, giving Detroit the lead for the first time in the game.

St. Louis had opened the scoring just past the midway point of the first period. With the puck bouncing off a faceoff, Petr Cajanek had a clear lane to the net and blasted a shot past Detroit netminder Manny Legace.

The Wings escaped the period down only one after allowing 12 Blues shots and only taking five.

Former St. Louis captain Brett Hull tied the game with 4:48 remaining in the second period. Chris Chelios picked up the puck in the high slot and sent it to Hull who drifted to the top of the left circle. Osgood couldn’t see around a screen and didn’t know Hull had the puck, leaving a wide open net for him to blast a shot into.

After being outshot by seven in the first period, Detroit ended up with 28 shots to St. Louis’ 22.

The win is Detroit’s third in a row. They will next be in action on Wednesday, when Sergei Fedorov makes his first appearance at Joe Louis Arena since signing with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. The following night they will be back in St. Louis for their third matchup of the season with the Blues.

Detroit and St. Louis have split the first two of the six games the teams will play against each other this season. Both teams won on the road… Boyd Devereaux’s goal was his tenth career game-winner in just 35 career goals.

Frustration, Inconsistency Show Up Again in Loss to Caps

The Washington Capitals came into tonight’s game with the worst record in the NHL, but you never would have known it by the game’s end. The Red Wings fell behind early and wound up losing to the Capitals, 4-1.

“The first period was the whole hockey game,” sighed Steve Yzerman. “They just played the basic trap and we kept turning the puck over.”

The Capitals’ first goal came just 6:57 into the game. Robert Lang took a shot on net, which Curtis Joseph stopped easily enough. Sergei Gonchar got the rebound over to Jaromir Jagr. Jagr was completely uncovered deep in the Red Wings’ zone, and he was able to skate right into the crease and beat Joseph from point-blank range.

Washington followed up with a goal from Peter Bondra. Dainius Zubrus carried the puck across the blue line on the right side. He spun deftly away from Mathieu Schneider, then backhanded a shot on net. Joseph made the save, but Bondra had been allowed to rush the net up the left side, and he was right on hand to tap the puck in.

The Red Wings made a decent attempt on the power play when Gonchar was snet out for hooking shortly after Bondra’s goal. Brendan Shanahan had two good shots against rookie goalie Rastislav Stana, who was making his very first NHL start, but Stana could see the shots with no one blocking his view and was able to handle them without much trouble.

The power play ended in misfortune when Jagr poked the puck away from Brett Hull just as Gonchar was stepping out of the box. Gonchar got the puck, and he, Jagr, and Land headed up ice on a three on one rush. Gonchar passed across to Lang, and Lang’s high shot went past Joseph and into the net.

That was the end of the night for Joseph. Even though the three goals were caused by defensive meltdowns and there wasn’t much he could have done to stop any of them, Manny Legace came in to replace him. It often happens that a goalie switch will shake a team up a little and let them regain control. It didn’t happen in this case.

The Red Wings did begin to increase the number of shots they were taking against Stana, but they did nothing to increase the quality of those shots. They shot from far out, without anyone in front of the crease, and Stana could see the puck the whole way. To compound matters, Washington was consistently able to beat Detroit to any rebounds left by Stana and clear them away to safety.

The Capitals increased their lead even more with a power play goal early in the second. Lang passed from the left boards to Zubrus in the high slot, and Zubrus wristed a one-timer over Legace’s right shoulder.

Detroit continued to send shots against Stana, but didn’t break onto the scoreboard until the third period was nearly half-gone. Mark Mowers took a shot on net from near the right boards. Kris Draper tipped the puck on its way through, then took a second whack at it so that it slid between Stana’s leg pads. The Red Wings began to press harder after that, finally starting to put some screening in front of the young goaltender, but it was too late to save this game.

Detroit outshot the Capitals 39 to 19. Nineteen of the Wings’ shots came in the third period alone. The Red Wings play next on Wednesday night when they host the Edmonton Oilers.

Wings End Short Trip With Win Over Minnesota

Curtis Joseph made 27 saves in his first game since November 8, and Brett Hull added a goal and two assists to help lift the Red Wings over the Minnesota Wild, 5-2.

Detroit opened the scoring just two minutes into the game. Steve Thomas handed the puck off to Mark Mowers just inside the Minnesota zone. Mowers made a good pass through the slot to Hull on the left side of the net, and Hull flipped the puck in over goalie Dwayne Roloson.

The Wild answered with a power play goal late in the period. Jiri Fischer was in the box for cross checking when Richard Park brought the puck into the zone and took a wrist shot from just inside the blue line. Joseph seemed to be expecting Park to pass, so he was sliding the wrong way and couldn’t get back across in time to block the shot.

Minnesota took the lead early in the second period. Brent Burns and Alexandre Daigle were up on a two-on-one. Fischer dropped to take the pass away, but he was too far back and Burns got the pass across. Daigle was able to put the puck into the net over Joseph.

The Red Wings answered just 23 seconds later. Steve Yzerman got the puck out from the left corner to Boyd Devereaux coming up through the offensive zone. Devereaux one-timed a shot from the left circle, and the puck deflected off Brad Brown before beating Roloson through the five-hole.

Detroit dominated the second period after squelching Minnesota’s goal-inspired momentum. Pavel Datsyuk turned a clearing pass by Hull into a scoring play, carrying the puck into the Wild’s zone and around the net before making a sharp pass to Nicklas Lidstrom in the low slot. Lidstrom had time to settle the puck before putting it in just under the crossbar.

Kris Draper added a goal late in the second, taking a quick step in front of the net to throw Roloson off before converting Kirk Maltby‘s centering pass into a high shot and a goal.

The third period was a time of concern, since the Red Wings have had trouble protecting their leads through the ends of games this season. There were some defensive lapses on Detroit’s part, but Joseph was able to stop every scoring chance the Wild could come up with. His best save was probably against Daigle from right in front of the crease midway through the period, but Andrew Brunette and Marian Gaborik also had good chances which Joseph stopped. Datsyuk put the cap on the game with only two seconds remaining. Hull made a pass which sprang Datsyuk on a breakaway, and Datsyuk backhanded a shot which bounced off Roloson’s blocker and into the net.

Shots on net totaled 33 to 28 in Detroit’s favor. The Red Wings’ next game will be at home against the struggling Washington Capitals on Monday night.

Dominik Hasek and Ray Whitney both sat out again with groin injuries…. Jamie Rivers came into the lineup for Jason Williams, who sat out with (what else?) a groin injury. Rivers played on the fourth line with his companions from the Grand Rapids Griffins, Mark Mowers and Darryl Bootland. The Griffins Line played about nine minutes together, and did a very respectable job as defensive forwards, coming out with a +1 rating thanks to Mowers’ assist on Hull’s goal.

Big Saves, Big Goals Extend Unbeaten Streak to Five

An excellent game by Manny Legace and two goals by Brett Hull helped the Red Wings gain a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first game of a home and home series.

The Blue Jackets started the game strongly, outshooting Detroit by the considerable margin of 18 to 11 in the first period. Legace was solid and kept the Red Wings in the game with some big saves, which gave Detroit the chance to open the scoring.

Kirk Maltby took a shot against Columbus goaltender Marc Denis from the right circle. The shot changed direction off the stick of Rastislav Klesla, so Denis wasn’t able to stop it cleanly. The rebound came out to Kris Draper, who flipped it into the net.

Hull scored his first of the game just two minutes later. Pavel Datsyuk centered the puck from the right boards, and Hull one-timed it past Denis on the short side.
Columbus continued to press, but Legace held them off with big saves against Rick Nash and Geoff Sanderson with only a few seconds left in the period.

The Red Wings came to their goalie’s aid and took control of the game in the second period, not letting the Blue Jackets get a chance to set up any good scoring chances. Tomas Holmstrom increased the lead with a power play goal five minutes in. Denis stopped the first shot by Nicklas Lidstrom, and the rebound shot by Steve Yzerman, but Holmstrom was able to whack the second rebound into the net.
Hull’s second goal of the night came a few minutes later. David Vyborny turned the puck over at his own blue line, and Hull scooped it up to take a quick shot which went right through Denis.

The Blue Jackets finally got on the board during a penalty to Jiri Fischer early in the third. Sanderson’s shot from in front of the crease bounced off the goal post and off Legace’s shin pad before trickling across the goal line.
Columbus gained a lot of momentum from that goal, and they pressed hard offensively after that. Legace was challenged to make some vital saves until the Red Wings could regain control of the game’s flow.

Steve Thomas took advantage of another Columbus turnover to put the game out of reach for good. Jaroslav Spacek’s clearing attempt bounced off Thomas and back into the zone, and Thomas was away with it, putting a high shot over Denis from just in front of the net.

Detroit outshot Columbus by a final count of 42-38. The Red Wings and Blue Jackets will finish up their home and home series tomorrow night in Columbus.

Darren McCarty was officially placed on the injured reserve list today due to his back spasms, and forward Mark Mowers was called up from the Griffins…. Dominik Hasek and Ray Whitney both sat out this game with groin injuries…. Datsyuk’s assist on Hull’s first goal was his 100th career point.

Wings Rout Bruins for First Exhibition Win

After dropping their first two games of the exhibition season, the Red Wings bounced back Wednesday night to defeat the Boston Bruins, 9-0.

Detroit’s special teams led the way as the Wings went 5-for-10 on the power play. The Bruins were unable to convert on any of their five attempts with the man-advantage.

“Guys were conscious about their position and that’s important,” coach Dave Lewis said. “They did the things we practiced and asked them to do, and then things happen.”

By the start of the third period, Detroit had built up enough of a lead that minor leaguers Mark Mowers and Darryl Bootland were used on a power play.

In all, eight different Red Wings scored. Tomas Holmstrom notched two goals. Henrik Zetterberg had three assists. Steve Yzerman notched his first preseason goal and rookie Jiri Hudler scored his third in as many exhibitions.

When asked about his recent success, Hudler said, “I don’t know. I think I play with great players. I think more games, I feel better.”

Of the Red Wings, only Dominik Hasek could be disappointed with the game. The goaltender, who prefers to stay active during a game, saw only twenty shots on goal from the Bruins.

“You try to stay focused the whole game,” Hasek said, “But 7-0 after second period, you know…”

Boston’s Felix Potvin, signed as a free agent this summer after a trade with Detroit fell through when Curtis Joseph elected to have surgery on his ankle, faced thirty Red Wings shots and allowed seven goals in the first half of the game. Andrew Raycroft, who replaced Potvin near the midway point of the second period, allowed two goals on seventeen shots.

The Red Wings are in action again tonight, heading to Washington to face the Capitals. The 7:00 PM game will not be televised or broadcast on radio in the Detroit area. Most Detroit stars will be kept out of the game, but Manny Legace and Chris Chelios are expected to play.

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.