TGTW: Red Wings Strong Defensively in Week Thirteen

The Games That Weren’t is one of many projects simulating the games lost by the NHL lockout. In the absence of actual games to write about, I’ll be checking in periodically on the fictional Red Wings’ season.

The Detroit Red Wings didn’t gain any ground in the standings in the NHL’s thirteenth week but they did pick up two wins while allowing only a single goal.

On Tuesday the Red Wings earned a 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Winter Classic in Ann Arbor. Mikael Samuellson’s second-period goal and Jakub Kindl‘s marker in the third carried the Wings past the Leafs after Henrik Zetterberg‘s first-period tally was negated by a James van Riemsdyk goal late in the first. Jimmy Howard needed to make only 18 saves on 19 shots to get the win.

On Friday night against the Nashville Predators, Howard stopped all 24 shots he faced and former Predator Jordin Tootoo scored the game’s only goal, as the Red Wings won, 1-0. Tootoo’s tally with 8:10 remaining in regulation was his third of the season for his new team.

With the wins, the Red Wings kept pace with the Predators and the St. Louis Blues, four points behind them for the Central Division lead. They did add an additional game in hand on each, giving them one on St. Louis and three on Nashville.

Howard moved into first place in the NHL with six shutouts on the season, one more than New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur and a host of others.

The Red Wings will hit the road in Week Fourteen, starting a five-game road trip with visits to Chicago, San Jose, and Los Angeles.

TGTW: Wings’ Win Streak Hits Six

The Games That Weren’t is one of many projects simulating the games lost by the NHL lockout. In the absence of actual games to write about, I’ll be checking in periodically on the fictional Red Wings’ season.

The Detroit Red Wings extended their winning streak to six games in the tenth week of the season, picking up victories over the Boston Bruins, Phoenix Coyotes, and Nashville Predators.

A two-goal second period lifted the Wings to their 2-1 win over the Bruins on Monday night. Pavel Datsyuk and Drew Miller scored in the second half of the middle frame and Adam McQuiad’s third period goal wouldn’t be enough for Boston. Jimmy Howard made 19 saves on 20 shots to earn the win.

On Thursday, Howard faced only twelve shots, allowing one goal in a 5-1 win over the Coyotes. Todd Bertuzzi opened the game’s scoring at 4:08 of the first period and Ian White‘s second of the season made it 2-0 at 8:18. Johan Franzen scored on a power play with 6:49 left in the second period. Phoenix got on the board with a Steve Sullivan power play goal at 5:01 of the third but former Coyote Danny Cleary responded for the Wings just 53 seconds later. Jakub Kindl rounded out the scoring with 7:01 remaining.

On Saturday night in Nashville, the Wings limited the Predators to 17 shots and Howard stopped them all, en route to a 3-0 win. Miller scored with 42 seconds left in the first period, Filppula with 3:14 in the second, and Datsyuk with 6:50 in the third to secure the victory.

After ten weeks, the Red Wings remain atop the Central Division, with two points and a game in hand on the Predators. They’re ten points back of the league-leading Los Angeles Kings.

With his blanking of Nashville, Jimmy Howard moved into a tie with Martin Brodeur for most shutouts in the league with five.

In the coming week, Detroit will host the Kings on Tuesday, the New York Islanders on Thursday and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday before taking a break for Christmas.

TGTW: Wings Drop Three Consecutive Games in Week Six

The Games That Weren’t is one of many projects simulating the games lost by the NHL lockout. In the absence of actual games to write about, I’ll be checking in periodically on the fictional Red Wings’ season.

Three consecutive losses dropped the Detroit Red Wings out of a tie for first place in the National Hockey League in the season’s sixth week but the team remains in a tie with the Los Angeles Kings atop the Western Conference.

The Red Wings dropped their first overtime game of the season on Tuesday when they hosted the Dallas Stars.  Dallas’ Vern Fiddler opened the game’s scoring at 9:27 of the first but Johan Franzen responded for the Wings with 49 seconds left in the period to even things up.  Pavel Datsyuk made it 2-1 in Detroit’s favor at 1:51 of the second, a score that would hold until Michael Ryder made it a 2-2 tie with 7:38 left in regulation.  At 1:34 of the overtime period, Eric Nystrom gave Dallas the win.

Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard allowed the three goals on just 19 shots while Dallas netminder Kari Lehtonen made 19 saves on 21 shots.  The lone bright spot for the Red Wings was the return of Todd Bertuzzi to the lineup after missing two games with concussion-like symptoms.

The Wings’ skid continued on Thursday with a 5-3 loss to the visiting New Jersey Devils, fueled by three quick goals in the middle of the third period.  Datsyuk got the Red Wings out to a quick start, scoring just a minute into the game and adding another at 9:38 of the first on a power play.  Ilya Kovalchuk got the Devils on the board at 3:21 of the second and Dainius tied things up with a power play goal at 6:14 of the third.  Jordin Tootoo‘s first as a Red Wing put Detroit back out in front at 8:05 but Tim Sestito re-tied it 23 seconds later.  Adam Larsson gave the Devils their first lead with 9:32 remaining and Zubrus extended after only three seconds, chasing Howard from the crease in favor of Jonas Gustavsson.

Gustavsson stopped the three shots he saw in the final 9:29 of play after Howard made 24 saves on 29 shots.  New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur stopped 29 of the 32 shots he faced.

A six-round shootout loss in Minnesota closed out the week for the Red Wings.  Cal Clutterbuck got the Wild out to an early lead at 1:04 of the first before Darren Helm responded with his first of the season at 6:46.  Valtteri Filppula put the Red Wings out front at 6:58 of the second with a power play goal and Jakub Kindl extended the lead 53 seconds later.  With 8:35 left in the third, Jared Spurgeon cut Detroit’s lead to a goal.  Just eight seconds later, Kyle Brodziak tied things up.

Franzen and Brodziak scored to open the shootout.  Datsyuk was stopped and Devin Setoguchi scored in the second round but Henrik Zetteberg scored and Howard stopped Pierre-Marc Bouchard to keep the Wings alive.  Mikael Samuelsson, Matt Cullen, Bertuzzi, Steven Kampfer and Drew Miller would all fail to score before Ryan Suter beat Howard to give the Wild the win.

Howard finished the night with 24 saves on 27 shots.  Niklas Backstrom made 29 saves on 32 chances.

After six weeks of play, Filppula remains the team’s leading scorer with 26 points, five more than Datsyuk and good for second in the NHL, one behind Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin.  Datsyuk sits fourth in the league in scoring.  Howard’s 2.09 GAA puts him at fifth in the league.

The next week will see the Wings host the Penguins and Blues before visiting the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Red Wings Reach All-Star Break with Win over Devils

The Detroit Red Wings defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-1 Wednesday night, wrapping up their January schedule as the NHL heads into the All-Star break.

Darren Helm opened the game’s scoring just 1:43 into the first period, picking off a pass from Mark Fraser at the New Jersey blue line and skating in all alone on Martin Brodeur, beating him over the shoulder.

Brian Rolston tied things up at 6:35 of the period, banging home the rebound of an Anton Volchenkov shot after Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard bobbled it.

Valtteri Filppula put the Red Wings back in front at 5:32 of the third period, taking a cross-ice feed from Jiri Hudler and snapping a shot past Brodeur from the left faceoff circle.

Ilya Kovalchuk appeared to tie the game late in the third but the referee ruled he had pushed Howard into the net with the puck. Replay would show this was not the case but the call on the ice stood as it was not reviewable.

Johan Franzen finished off the game’s scoring with 44 seconds left in the game, snapping a shot from the high slot past Brodeur on a rush into the zone.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night. Each team had three tries with the extra attacker, though all of Detroit’s came on a double-minor and an overlapping penalty for a long five-on-three.

Howard stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced. Brodeur made 26 saves on 29 shots against.

The Red Wings are off until next Wednesday when they visit the Ottawa Senators.

Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom is the only Red Wing going to the All-Star Game. He will captain one of teams there… The Red Wings expect Pavel Datsyuk and Danny Cleary to return from injury in Ottawa. Tomas Holmstrom is expected to return shortly after.

Early Goals Lead Red Wings over Devils

The Detroit Red Wings scored twice in the opening 1:42 Saturday night, cruising to a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.

Just 28 seconds into the game, Tomas Holmstrom deflected a Nicklas Lidstrom past Devils netminder Martin Brodeur. The puck bounced off the post, off of Brodeur, and into the net.

Danny Cleary made it 2-0 1:14 later. Cleary raced through the neutral zone and took a cross-ice pass from Todd Bertuzzi, gaining the New Jersey end and snapping a shot past Brodeur’s glove from the left faceoff dot.

Henrik Zetterberg made it 3-0 with 8:23 left in the second period, driving to the net to knock his own rebound chance past Brodeur.

The Devils finally got on the board 39 seconds into the third period. Patrick Elias snapped a shot from the right faceoff circle through a screen by Dainius Zubrus and by Detroit goalie Chris Osgood.

Pavel Datsyuk wrapped up the game’s scoring with 9:48 left in the game. Henrik Zetterberg beat out an icing call and sent the puck to Datsyuk in the slot. Datsyuk moved to his backhand and beat Brodeur to make it 4-1.

After allowing goals on the first two shots he faced, Brodeur finished the night with 19 saves on 23 Detroit chances.

Osgood stopped 33 of 34 New Jersey shots en route to his 399th career win.

The Red Wings went scoreless on three power play tries. The Devils scored once on five tries with the extra attacker.

Detroit is back in action on Monday when they host the Los Angeles Kings.

Red Wings Rally but Fall to Devils in Shootout

The Detroit Red Wings rallied after falling down 2-0 in the first period Saturday night but could not get past Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils in the shootout, dropping a 4-3 decision.

Brodeur stopped Henrik Zetterberg, Todd Bertuzzi and Ville Leino in the tiebreaker, only allowing a goal to Pavel Datsyuk on Detroit’s first shot.

Patrick Elias won the game for New Jersey, beating Chris Osgood in the fourth round. Zach Parise scored on the Devils’ first attempt before Osgood stopped Jamie Langenbrunner and Travis Zajac.

Langenbrunner and Johnny Oduya put the Devils on the board with goals less than two minutes apart late in the first period.

Langenbrunner opened the scoring with 4:31 left in the period, sneaking in behind the Detroit defense to take a pass from Parise and put it into a wide open net.

Oduya extended the lead 1:56 later, beating Osgood five-hole on an odd-man rush. Osgood got a piece of the shot with his stick but it wasn’t enough to keep it from slipping through.

Kris Draper scored Detroit’s first goal at 9:23 of the second period, crashing the net to bang home the rebound of a Darren Helm shot from the right wing.

The teams traded late-period goals. Rob Niedermayer knocked a loose puck in the crease past Osgood with 5:17 left in the second to restore New Jersey’s two-goal lead. With 30 seconds left in the period, Tomas Holmstrom tipped in a Brad Stuart power play shot to cut the lead back to a goal.

At 9:30 of the third, Patrick Eaves deflected a shot by Justin Abdelkader past Brodeur to tie the game.

Both teams had chances to add another goal in the third. Brad Stuart cleared a puck out of a wide open Detroit crease in the first minute of the period and Brodeur dove on a loose puck in the game’s final seconds, saving almost-sure goals.

Osgood finished the night with 23 saves on 26 shots. Brodeur stopped 28 of Detroit’s 31 chances.

Detroit went 1-for-3 on the power play for the night. New Jersey was 0-for-2.

The Red Wings return to the ice Sunday at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers.

The Red Wings were without Brian Rafalski, who missed his first opportunity to play in New Jersey since leaving the Devils for Detroit in 2007. Jakub Kindl played in his place for the second consecutive game.

Avery’s Suspension a Joke

Former Red Wing Sean Avery has been suspended indefinitely by the NHL following comments made to the press about Calgary Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf and Phaneuf’s girlfriend (Avery’s ex-girlfriend) Elisha Cuthbert.

“I am really happy to be back in Calgary, I love Canada,” Avery said on camera this morning in Calgary. “I just want to comment on how it’s become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don’t know what that’s about. Enjoy the game tonight.”

I’m no fan of Avery. I wasn’t sad to see him go when the Wings traded him to LA. That said, I think the NHL’s handling of him is absolutely pathetic.

In a league where players throw elbows at each others heads with no penalties called, where slew-foots and hits from behind are still issues, Avery is suspended indefinitely for an off-the-ice insult? At least the league has its priorities in order.

Was what he said tasteless? Absolutely. Was it true? Seems kinda like it. If Phaneuf was offended he could reply off the ice with words or on the ice with fists. Instead, the league stepped in where it had no right to.

And, yeah, the Dallas Stars support the suspension. Of course they do, none of them like Avery, he’s a locker room cancer. That doesn’t mean the suspension is right.

It’s the second time in less than a year that Avery has been targeted. In last year’s playoffs Avery annoyed Devils’ goalie Martin Brodeur by waving his stick in the netminder’s face. In that case the league was quick to announce an unprecedented mid-playoffs rule change banning that behavior.

I scream all night, nearly every game for the officiating to be consistant. Here is a prime example of the NHL’s bias against certain players and its tendency to use the officials (both on- and off-ice) to met out punishment not for breaking the rules but for p*ssing off someone at NHL HQ. It’s sad but its true and I hope blind hatred of Sean Avery doesn’t stop people from seeing it.

Red Wings – Devils Pregame Notes

The Red Wings are back after the week they got off following their long West Coast road trip. They host a New Jersey Devils team that’s battling a whole mess of injuries.

Unless you’ve been living under a hockey rock for the last week, you’ve heard that Martin Brodeur is on the shelf for up to for months. Kevin Weekes replaces him in the New Jersey crease.

Brodeur is one of seven Devils on the IR. Also out are Paul Martin, Brian Rolston, Bobby Holik, Barry Tallackson, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, and Andy Greene.

The Wings will still be without Johan Franzen, who hopes to return to the lineup on Tuesday.

This will be Brian Rafalski‘s first matchup against his former team (the Wings and Devils didn’t play each other last season).

No player who will be in the New Jersey lineup tonight has ever been present for a New Jersey win in Detroit.

Three Red Wings to Start All-Star Game

Three Detroit Red Wings will be on the ice at the start of the 2008 NHL All-Star Game, the league announced today.

Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Nicklas Lidstrom were voted as starters to the Western Conference squad, to be coached by Detroit head coach Mike Babcock.

Lidstrom led all Western Conference players in votes with 477,787. Zetterberg and Datsyuk led all forwards with 326,244 and 303,309, respectively.

It marks the tenth All-Star appearance for Lidstrom, who has played in every All-Star Game since 1998. Zetterberg and Datsyuk were selected for the second time, though Zetterberg opted out of his prior opportunity with a back injury.

Calgary’s Jarome Iginla will be the other forward starter with teammate Dion Phaneuf joining Lidstrom on the blue line. Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo will get the start in net.

The Eastern Conference forward starters are Sidney Crosby, Vincent Lecavalier, and Daniel Alfresson. Zdeno Chara and Andrei Markov start on defense with Martin Brodeur in goal.

Lidstrom, Datsyuk Claim Awards

Detroit Red Wings Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk were honored with NHL awards Thursday night, repeating as the winners of the James Norris Trophy and the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, respectively.

Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman for the fifth time, matching a feat accomplished by Ray Bourque. Only Bobby Orr (eight) and Doug Harvey (seven) have won it more times.

“Ray Bourque was a player that I looked up to,” Lidstrom said. “I really enjoyed watching him play. Being mentioned with names like Bobby Orr and Doug Harvey, it’s quite an honor.”

Datsyuk was awarded his second Lady Byng, given for gentlemanly play and sportsmanship.

Datsyuk was not present to accept the award. Detroit general manager Ken Holland did so on his behalf.

“He plays the game the right way,” Lidstrom said of Datsyuk. “He has fun out on the ice, and he exemplifies the sportsmanship (part of the trophy). He should be very proud.”

Pittsburgh Penguins’ sophomore Sidney Crosby took home the most hardware of anyone, claiming the Hart Memorial Trophy as league MVP and the Lester B. Pearson Award as the most outstanding player (as voted by the NHLPA) to go along with the Art Ross Trophy that he had already locked up by being the league’s leading scorer.

Crosby’s teammate, Evgeni Malkin, went home with the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year.

New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur claimed his third Vezina Trophy in the last four years as the league’s best goalie. Netminders Nicklas Backstrom and Manny Fernandez shared the William M. Jennings Trophy for the fewest goals against.

Rod Brind’Amour, captain of the Carolina Hurricanes, was named the league’s best defensive forward, repeating as the winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy.

Alain Vigneault of the Vancouver Canucks was named the coach of the year, winning the Jack Adams Award.

Saku Koivu was awarded the King Clancy Award for humanitarian contribution to hockey.

Boston Bruins’ rookie Phil Kessel was given the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Kessel was diagnosed with, treated for, and recovered from testicular cancer all in his first NHL campaign.

Tamapa Bay Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier claimed the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal-scorer.

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