Bertuzzi Leads Red Wings over Blue Jackets

Todd Bertuzzi scored twice on Saturday night, carrying the Detroit Red Wings to a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first game of a home-and-home series.

Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard made 28 saves in the win, including 14 in a first period that saw the Red Wings badly outshot.

Antoine Vermette opened the game’s scoring with 7:50 left in that opening period. Jakub Vorecek picked up the puck in the Detroit end on a miscommunication between Derek Meech and Valtteri Filppula. Howard stopped Vorecek’s chance but Vermette scored on the rebound to put Columbus in front.

Detroit nearly tied the game early in the second when a Brad Stuart shot deflected off of R.J. Umberger before hitting both posts and bouncing out.

Bertuzzi scored his first of the game to even things up, taking a feed from Pavel Datsyuk in behind the defense and cutting around netminder Mathieu Garon for a power play goal at 6:38 of the second.

It looked like Columbus would retake the lead with three minutes left in the middle period but a tremendous defensive play by Darren Helm kept the game tied. A shot from Umberger bounced over Howard and was headed into the net before Helm swatted the puck up into the air at the goal line and then batted it out of the crease with his glove.

Bertuzzi would add his second at 2:44 of the third to put the Red Wings in front. Brian Rafalski fired a shot from the blue line intentionally wide of the net and Bertuzzi was there to pick up the puck as it came out the other side, banging it into the open cage.

In the game’s closing seconds Filppula put a shot off the side of an empty Columbus net but the Wings held on without the insurance goal.

Bertuzzi’s first goal was the game’s only power play tally. The Red Wings had five chances with the extra attacker while the Blue Jackets had four.

Garon finished the night with 25 saves on 27 Detroit chances.

The two teams meet again on Monday in Columbus.

Rafalski and Filppula returned to the Detroit lineup. Rafalski had missed one game with the flu while Filppula had been out since October with a broken wrist. The Red Wings are now down to seven injured regulars.

Datsyuk Tallies Two Assists in Return as Red Wings Trounce Penguins

Pavel Datsyuk returned to the Detroit lineup Saturday night, notching two assists in his first appearance in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals as his Red Wings lit up the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 5-0 win.

The Red Wings now lead the series 3-2 with a chance to claim their second consecutive Stanley Cup on Mellon Arena ice in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Chris Osgood made 22 saves en route to the shutout, his second of these playoffs and third against Pittsburgh in the last two Finals.

Detroit had to survive an early push by the Penguins. Pittsburgh got the game’s first power play and outshot the Red Wings 10-8 in the first period but it was the Wings with a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Dan Cleary opened the game’s scoring with 6:28 left in the period. Datsyuk carried the puck into the Pittsburgh zone, drawing defenders to him before pushing the puck off to Cleary for heavy wrister past Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from near the top of the right faceoff circle.

The Red Wings opened the game up in the second period, scoring four more goals including three on the power play, tying an NHL playoff record for most power play goals in a single period.

Valtteri Filppula put Detroit up by a pair just 1:44 into the period, five seconds after Chris Kunitz got out of the penalty box for goalie interference.

Osgood sent a long outlet pass to Marian Hossa, catching the Penguins in a line change. Hossa gained the offensive zone and centered the puck on to Filppula, who drove to the net and lifted a backhander over Fleury.

Niklas Kronwall scored the first of Detroit’s power play goals at 6:11 of the second. Kronwall gained the Pittsburgh zone and passed the puck off to Johan Franzen at the right point before driving to the net. With no play, Kronwall went down to the corner, getting the puck back from Franzen then jumping back out to the top of the crease, lifting a shot over Fleury.

Just 2:15 later, Brian Rafalski snapped a shot from the high slot past a screened Fleury to make it 4-0.

Henrik Zetterberg ended the game’s scoring with 4:20 left in the period. Jiri Hudler sent a hard pass from the left point down to Zetterberg in the left faceoff circle and Zetterberg roofed a shot that saw Fleury chased from the crease, replaced by backup Mathieu Garon.

The five Detroit goals came on 21 shots against Fleury. Garon would go on to stop all eight shots he faced in 24:20 of playing time.

The Red Wings finished the night with three goals on nine power play chances after having scored just once with the extra attacker in the previous four games of the series. The Penguins were held without a goal on two power play tries.

Game Six of the Stanley Cup Finals will take place Tuesday.

With Datsyuk’s return, rookie Ville Leino was scratched.

Red Wings Rebound but Fall to Oilers in Shootout

The Detroit Red Wings rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the third period to take a late 3-2 lead Tuesday night but were unable to hold on, falling to the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in a shootout.

The point earned was just Detroit’s third in the last ten games, a slump that coincides with injuries to most of their defensemen.

Rookie Jonathan Ericsson, in the lineup to fill in on the depleted blueline, started Detroit’s comeback at 5:42 of the third period.

With the Red Wings on the power play, Valtteri Filppula sent a pass from the bottom of the left faceoff circe to Ericsson up high for a one-timer that found its way through Edmonton goalie Mathieu Garon.

Pavel Datsyuk added a second power play goal with 7:42 left in regulation, rifling a shot from the left circle over Garon’s shoulder.

Detroit took the lead with 2:16 remaining on a Valtteri Filppula goal. A stretch pass from Brett Lebda sprung Filppula into the Edmonton zone. Unable to control the puck quickly, he was left to throw a shot on net from an acute angle but it found a way into the net.

The Oilers tied the game back up with 29 seconds left, when Fernando Pisani lifted a rebound over Detroit netminder Chris Osgood in a goal-mouth scramble.

Robert Nilsson scored the only goal of the shootout to win the game for Edmonton, putting a shot past Osgood’s glove in the third round of the tiebreaker.

The Oilers had opened the scoring at 2:54 of the second period. Osgood scrambled to make a series of saves but Tom Gilbert was left open at the bottom of the left circle to take a pass and lift a shot into the net.

Geoff Sanderson extended the lead at 1:44 of the third, taking an outlet pass from Jarret Stoll and catching Ericsson flat-footed at the Detroit blueline to race in alone on Osgood and put a shot between his pads.

Osgood finished the night with 26 saves on 29 shots. Garon stopped 40 of 43 Detroit chances.

Detroit’s recently-struggling power play made good on two of seven opportunities while the Oilers went one-for-six.

Trade deadline acquisition Brad Stuart was not in the Detroit lineup.

Red Wings Get Back on Track with 7-3 Win

After uncharacteristic sloppy defensive play on Tuesday led the Detroit Red Wings to a loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, they bounced back on Thursday to notch a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

The Red Wings started off strong, killing a long Los Angeles five-on-three in the second half of the first period. Neither team allowed a goal in the frame but they made up for it in the remaining periods, scoring a combined ten goals.

Robert Lang opened the game’s scoring just 1:29 into the second period, cutting in from the right circle and faking around defenseman Aaron Miller before putting a shot past Kings netminder Mathieu Garon.

Only 1:10 later, Dustin Brown tied the game with LA on the power play. A long shot by Joe Corvo bounced off Detroit goalie Manny Legace and hit Brown’s ankle, deflecting back into the net.

The Wings got a goal on a lucky bounce of their own at 6:48 of the period, also on the power play. Pavel Datsyuk attempted a cross-crease pass to Nicklas Lidstrom but the puck bounced off Miller’s skate and into the net.

Again, the Kings quickly tied it, scoring 1:45 later, when Mike Cammalleri put in the rebound of his own wraparound chance.

Detroit pulled back ahead with two Henrik Zetterberg goals just 52 seconds apart.

With 6:56 remaining in the period, Zetterberg scored a power play goal from the left circle on a blast to the top corner of the net.

With 6:04 remaining, Zetterberg scored again, this time spinning through the edge of the left circle before backhanding a shot past Garon.

Jason Labarbera replaced Garon in the Los Angeles goal but the Kings wouldn’t bounce back until the third period.

At 9:52 of the final frame, Vitali Vishnovsky scored on a one-timer from the high slot with the Kings on a five-on-three, pulling them to within one.

It wouldn’t be enough, as Jason Williams scored his second goal in twenty games to restore Detroit’s two goal lead with 6:19 remaining, tipping a rebound on the backhand between his legs and past Labarbera while facing away from the goal.

Tomas Holmstrom added an empty-net goal with 1:05 remaining and then, after the Kings took two penalties in frustration, Lidstrom added a 5-on-3 goal with 7 seconds left in the game.

Legace finsihed the game with 22 saves on 25 shots. Garon made 26 saves on 30 before he was replaced by Labarbera, who stopped 12 of the 14 shots he faced.

Detroit went three-for-nine on the power play while Los Angeles scored on two of their eight power play chances.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Saturday night when they host the retooled Chicago Blackhawks in the first game of a home-and-home series on back-to-back nights.

Week 3: October 16-22

There will come a time when it will seem like the Red Wings are playing more. Honestly.

Detroit did play four games this past week, but the two days in between St. Louis and Calgary, then two more in between Vancouver and Los Angeles made it seem less. Now, after a game tonight in Phoenix and hosting San Jose on Monday, the Wings will once again get a rest, not playing Anaheim until Friday.

Then, it’s another back-to-back contest, traveling to Columbus on Saturday after battling the Mighty Ducks. Another two days off separates that game and a Chicago meeting, the first of three straight between the Wings and Blackhawks. Can the Wings get used to this schedule, playing two games in two nights, then getting two or three days off? They’ll have to. Detroit will play on back-to-back nights 13 more times this season. They have looked good so far.

This past week was a good one for the Wings, with the only loss coming against a good Vancouver team, who may or may not have been helped with 11 powerplays. Detroit finally had a good third period against the Kings on Thursday en route to a 5-2 win. And the powerplays went the Wings way on Sunday, scoring five with the man advantage in a 6-3 win over Calgary. The week ends tonight in Phoenix, where the Coyotes have not started the season well. With only 12 goals scored, Gretzky’s team is 1-3-1 and in the bottom five of the NHL.

(Phoenix will be without former Red Wing Brett Hull, who retired today at age 41.)

Speaking of scoring, the Wings are used to getting help from just about everyone, and this season looks no different. Twelve players have scored so far in the first five games, and fifteen of 21 who have played a game have at least one point.

The Wings have eight powerplay goals so far, tied with Atlanta for most in the league. Not surprisingly, Kirk Maltby scored the team’s first shorthanded goal on Thursday. The Wings seem to be slowing as games go on; they have allowed just two goals in first periods so far this season, five in second periods and six in third periods. They had a good third against the Kings and look to keep that up.

Congratulations go out to Johan Franzen, Jason Williams and Chris Chelios, who all achieved career milestones against the Kings. Franzen’s first NHL goal was a game winner against Mathieu Garon. Thursday was the 100th career game for Williams, and the 1,400th for Chelios.

This Week’s Matchups:

October 17 vs. San Jose – The Sharks won’t surprise anyone this season if they do well. They were considered on the weak side of the West before winning the Pacific Division in 2003-2004. Obviously not rebuilding, the Sharks are young and will remain tough to beat. Their 0-2 start will quickly be forgotten.

October 21 vs. Anaheim – The Neidermayer brothers finally get to play together in the NHL. Sergei Fedorov and Teemu Selanne should mesh well and they still have Giguere – though maybe a smaller version of him. These are the guys that need to lead this team, and with only nine goals so far as a club, they need to step it up. Detroit has lost six of the past nine meetings (including playoffs), but was 36-7-7 before that.

October 22 at Columbus – What’s worse than nine goals? Seven. They have only allowed twelve, but the Bkue Jackets need to find their game. They traded Geoff Sanderson (who has a point in two games with Phoenix), so it’s up to Rick Nash. Problem is, Nash is out two weeks with an ankle sprain. If Detroit and Nashville continue to play well, Columbus could be in big trouble with the new division-unfriendly schedule.

Wings Defeat Kings as Yzerman, Woolley Return

Steve Yzerman and Jason Woolley each played their first game of the season Thursday night as the visiting Detroit Red Wings picked up a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Both players were held without a point on the night.

Johan Franzen‘s first career NHL goal ended up being the game-winner for the Red Wings. With 4:52 remaining in regulation and just 53 seconds after the Kings had tied the game, Franzen took a pass from Mikael Samuelsson that was tipped by Dan Cleary and wristed a shot past the left side of Los Angeles goalie Mathieu Garon, making the score 3-2.

The goal deflated the Kings, who had been buzzing after Jeremy Roenick tied the game at two with 5:45 remaining. Dustin Brown drove the net with the puck and was stopped by Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace. The puck bounced out to Roenick at the top of the crease and deflected off his skate and into the net.

The Red Wings had opened the scoring late in the first period. With 2:15 remaining, Jason Williams broken into the LA zone with Brendan Shanahan and Robert Lang. Williams fired a pass past Lang to Shanahan on the far side of the ice. Shanahan deflected the puck into the top of the net for his first even strength goal of the season.

The Kings tied the game 3:04 into the second, when Tim Gleason sent a long pass to Derek Armstrong at the Detroit blueline. Armstrong gained the zone and passed cross-ice to former Red Wing Sean Avery, who stepped into the slot alone and rifled a shot past Legace.

The Red Wings regained the lead momentarily in the third on a shorthanded goal by Kirk Maltby 5:29 in. Kris Draper chased Joe Corvo from behind the Kings’ net and forced him to make a bad outlet pass at his own blueline. Maltby jumped up from center ice and picked it off, skating in alone on Garon and beating him for his first of the season.

After the Red Wings killed off a late penalty, Henrik Zetterberg added an empty net goal to increase the Detroit lead. Avery started some pushing and shoving that ended with a Los Angeles power play, so the Kings pulled Garon again but Jiri Fischer closed the game’s scoring with a second empty net goal for Detroit.

Legace finished the game with 26 saves on 28 shots, while Garon stopped 16 of the 19 shots he faced. Neither team scored on the power play, Detroit having three chances and Los Angeles having seven.

The Red Wings are back in action on Saturday night from Phoenix, where they will meet former Wings Brett Hull and Boyd Devereaux, longtime Detroit associate coach Barry Smith will be behind the bench, and former Detroit goalie Curtis Joseph could be between the pipes.

Week 2: October 9-15

Sure, the Red Wings can beat a St. Louis team which added a new goalie and lost two all-star defensemen, but what does that mean?

Detroit had a light first week this season with only two back-to-back games, the same way they started out the 2003-2004 season. That year, they quickly beat the Los Angeles Kings and the Ottawa Senators for a 2-0-0-0 start. They have won the season opener for six straight seasons, and have finished the regular season in the top five of the Western Conference for a long time. There isn’t much you can take from the first two games, but here are a few notes:

The new guys are contributing already. Mikael Samuelsson and Brett Lebda have more points than Kris Draper and Nicklas Lidstrom. Jason Williams isn’t new, but he’ll get more ice time this year and had three assists on Thursday.

There should not be a goalie controversy. Manny Legace has proven himself as a great goalie no matter how often he plays, and you can bet on Chris Osgood to win 30 games every year if healthy. Jim Howard might get in a game or two this month, but he looked good in preseason and is well liked so far by the other goalies.

Draper and Kirk Maltby will have to go above and beyond what they’ve normally done as defensive forwards. The Wings were shorthanded 11 times in Thursday’s game at St. Louis, and these two are the best penalty killers on the team.

With the signing of Jason Woolley, the Wings can make the decision to either rest the veterans Chris Chelios and Lidstrom a bit or take time away from youngsters Lebda and Jiri Fischer. These players are all going to have to adjust with the penalties being called, and a deep defensive core will help.

This Week’s Matchups:

October 9 vs. Calgary – Steve Yzerman may not play, but you can be sure Darren McCarty will. He won’t take it easy on his former team, but claims his heart is still wearing red. Many are picking Calgary to once again win the Western Conference, so this should be a good game. (Update: Detroit wins 6-3)

October 10 vs. Vancouver – Finally knocking Colorado off the top of the Northwest Division, Vancouver remains dangerous. Like Detroit, they’ve had good regular seasons and that doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy. They usually give the Wings a hard-fought game; the teams split four games last season.

October 13 at Los Angeles – The Kings may have lost the biggest offensive output of any team in the off-season, parting ways with Zigmund Palffy, Jozef Stumpel, Jason Allison and Martin Straka. To counter, they did sign Pavol Demitra and Jeremy Roenick. If the Kings want any chance of making the playoffs, goalies Mathieu Garon and Jason Labarbera have to immediately make an impact. Lababera won his first game, stopping 27 of 29 shots against Phoenix.

October 15 at Phoenix – Call it the sequel to the Wings’ Red vs. White game in training camp. Lots of familiar faces are in Phoenix now: Brett Hull, Curtis Joseph, Boyd Devereaux and assistant coach Barry Smith. Speaking of coaches, Wayne Gretzky is still in the spotlight – not for what he has done, but what he can do. There have been reports of the players being intimidated by the presense of The Great One, which may explain their 0-2 start. The Coyotes are re-tooling quickly, acquiring Geoff Sanderson from the Blue Jackets in a five-player deal.

Habs Hold Off Late Surge To Win 2-1 Over Wings

The Red Wings did their best to overcome a slow start on Monday night, but the Montreal Canadiens held on to keep the 2-1 lead.

Dominik Hasek had plenty of work to keep him busy in the first period. The Canadiens started the game with plenty of offensive fire, and the Red Wings struggled to keep up. Hasek, on the other hand, was superb, keeping his team in the game until they could find their skating legs and take a little bit of control back from Montreal.

The opening twenty minutes was fast paced for both teams, but no one got on the scoreboard until the second period. Detroit made an error on a line change, which let Jason Ward and Steve Begin get into the zone all alone against Hasek. Jason Williams did his best to catch up and try to get in between the two skaters, but Ward got the pass through to Begin, and Begin slid the puck past Hasek’s left side.

Another defensive error by the Red Wings allowed the Canadiens to increase their lead to two. Stephane Quintal poke checked the puck away from Brendan Shanahan at the Montreal blue line. The Red Wings had four players on the offensive rush, so only Jason Woolley was back to play defense. Mike Ribeiro and Richard Zednik brought the puck into Detroit’s zone. Woolley tried to take the pass away so that Hasek would only have to worry about stopping Ribeiro, but the puck jumped over Woolley’s stick and Zednik was able to knock it into the net.

Things seemed to go from bad to worse for the Red Wings when Chris Chelios was given a roughing penalty just one minute after Zednik scored. Detroit managed to shift the momentum in their favor, however, with a shorthanded goal. Jiri Fischer intercepted the puck in his own zone. He carried it up ice with Henrik Zetterberg on his right and Mathieu Dandenault trailing. Two Canadiens were in front of them. Fischer passed to Zetterberg as they entered the Montreal zone. Zetterberg carried into the right corner, then centered the puck for Dandenault. Goalie Mathieu Garon was screened by his own defender and couldn’t see Dandenault’s shot until the puck was in the net.

The shorthanded goal turned the game’s momentum in favor of the Red Wings. Detroit controlled the play through the end of the second and into the third period, but Garon had a strong night. The young netminder stopped a number of quality scoring chances, including a pair of shots by Brett Hull and a hard point shot by Shanahan.

The Red Wings pulled Hasek from the net in the final minute to send in their extra attacker, but the Canadiens were able to clear the puck and keep the Wings from scoring.
The final count of shots on net was 19 to 15 in favor of Detroit. The Red Wings’ next game will be at home Wednesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Curtis Joseph will play a conditioning game with the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday night so that the Wings can get a better idea of how his surgically repaired ankle is rehabilitating. If all goes well, Joseph should make his season debut with the Red Wings within the next week or so.

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