Wings Won’t Bring Back Lang

The Detroit News reports that Red Wings GM Ken Holland has opted not to offer a contract to forward Robert Lang. Lang will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

“With the salary cap, you can’t bring back everyone,” Holland said. “It forces you to make decisions.”

Holland will be meeting with the agents for defensemen Danny Markov and Mathieu Schneider and goalie Dominik Hasek during the draft this weekend.

I don’t think a lot of people will be too surprised that Lang won’t return. He saw decreased playing time during the playoffs and has been a constant target of criticism across the blogosphere (I hate that word).

To replace him, I expect either that Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg will be split up to center the top two lines or Valtteri Filppula will jump up to second-line center.

Blown Opportunities: Ducks Win as Red Wings Fail to Capitalize on Suspension, Power Plays

The Detroit Red Wings had a chance to take a 3-1 series lead over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night – and do so with Anaheim defenseman Chris Pronger serving a one-game suspension for a high hit on Tomas Holmstrom in game three of their Western Conference Final matchup – but they failed on that opportunity, losing to the Ducks, 5-3.

En route to the loss, the Red Wings were unable to score on two long five-on-three chances, one in the second period and one in the third.

The Ducks got on the board just 1:37 into the game and would never trail.

After a failed outlet pass by Todd Bertuzzi, Corey Perry picked up the puck at the Detroit blue line. He stepped up to the top of the right circle and ripped a shot past Detroit netminder Dominik Hasek.

The Red Wings pulled even 1:52 later when Dan Cleary deflected a Chris Chelios pass in behind goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

Richard Jackman, in the lineup for the suspended Pronger, put the Ducks back out in front with 8:14 remaining in the opening period, slapping the puck into the back of the net from the high slot on an Anaheim power play.

Teemu Selanne extended the Ducks’ lead with 1:29 remaining, whacking a bouncing puck past Hasek from in close.

The Red Wings would rally in the second.

Bertuzzi atoned for his earlier miscue with a power play goal at 7:48. Robert Lang carried the puck behind the net before throwing it out front to Bertuzzi, who banged it home from the top of the crease.

Cleary would add a second goal with 4:24 remaining in the middle period, another Detroit power play goal. Bertuzzi tried a bank shot from behind the net off of Giguere but the puck came free in front of the net. With the Anaheim netminder scrambling and sprawled on the ice, Cleary lifted a shot over him and into the net.

The Ducks would retake – and hold – the lead in the third period.

Ryan Getzlaf scored on a wrister from the top of the right circle to pull the Ducks ahead on a power play at 5:24 and Rob Niedermayer added an empty net goal with 1:08 remaining.

Both teams finished the night with two power play goals. Detroit had six chances with the extra attacker while Anaheim had five.

Hasek made 18 saves on 22 shots against. Giguere stopped 36 of Detroit’s 39 shots.

The Ducks’ win means the series will now go at least six games. Game five will be on Sunday afternoon in Detroit and game six will be Tuesday night in Anaheim.

Ducks Win in OT to Even Series with Red Wings

Scott Niedermayer scored with 5:43 remaining in overtime Sunday night to lift the Anaheim Ducks to a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings, tying their Western Conference Final matchup at one game apiece.

Niedermayer’s goal came when he put a shot from the right faceoff circle over the shoulder of Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek.

The Red Wings were leading by a goal until Travis Moen scored at 5:06 of the third period.

Moen put a rebound chance on Hasek, who sprawled out across the goalmouth. With the puck on top of his pads, Hasek was pushed across the goal line by Rob Niedermayer. After review, the goal was allowed.

Anaheim opened the scoring with 2:56 remaining in the first period, when Ryan Getzlaf went behind the net and sent a pass out front to Rob Niedermayer to bang into the goal, at the exact second a Ducks power play expired.

Detroit replied with a shorthanded goal by Kirk Maltby with 9:26 remaining in the second but Andy McDonald put the Ducks back out in front, scoring from the top of the crease as that power play expired.

Nicklas Lidstrom fired a shot from the slot past Ducks’ netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere on a Detroit power play to even the game with 3:53 remaining in the middle frame.

The Red Wings converted on a five-on-three to take the lead just 1:03 into the third period, with Robert Lang passing the puck down low to Pavel Datsyuk to lift into the open side of the net.

Hasek made 29 saves on 33 shots against in net for Detroit. Giguere stopped 24 of 27 shots.

The Red Wings scored twice on their seven power play chances. Anaheim did not record a power play goal but scored twice as their chance with the extra attacker expired.

Game three of the series will be Tuesday night in Anaheim.

Hasek Blanks Sharks, Red Wings Advance

Goaltender Dominik Hasek was perfect on Monday night, stopping all 28 shots he faced as his Detroit Red Wings picked up a 2-0 win over the San Jose Sharks, ending their Western Conference Final series.

With the win, the Red Wings advance to the Western Conference Finals, where they will face the Anaheim Ducks.

Hasek had help in earning his 13th career playoff shutout, including a first period stop on Mike Grier by defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom.

Hasek came out of the net to play the puck and lost it to Grier, who took it behind the net for a wraparound attempt. Lidstrom dove across the crease to cover for Hasek, knocking the puck away from the goal line.

Mikael Samuelsson scored both Detroit goals, starting with 4:34 remaining in the first period.

Samuelsson caught up with a long outlet pass from Johan Franzen in the Sharks zone, then cut across the top of the crease and outwaited San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov, sliding the puck behind the netminder after he had sprawled out on the ice.

With 8 seconds remaining in the opening period, Samuelsson added his second, putting a wrist shot over Nabokov’s glove while on a two-on-one with Robert Lang.

Nabokov finished the night with 20 saves on 22 shots.

Neither team scored on the power play with four opportunities.

The Red Wings will open their Western Conference Final series with Anaheim on Friday night in Detroit.

Detroit was without defenseman Mathieu Schnieder, who suffered a broken wrist in game five of the series. Brett Lebda returned from injury to take Schneider’s spot in the lineup.

Red Wings Even Series with OT Win over Sharks

The Detroit Red Wings rallied from two goals down to force overtime Wednesday night, then scored with 3:56 remaining in the extra period to earn a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks and even their Western Conference Semifinal series at two wins apiece.

Mathieu Schneider scored the game-winning goal for the Red Wings on their lone power play attempt of the extra frame.

San Jose defenseman Scott Hannan attempted to clear the puck from the side of the net up the middle of the ice and Schneider knocked it down, settling it for a blast on net that deflected off a defender and under the crossbar.

Detroit forced overtime when Robert Lang scored with 34 seconds remaining in regulation.

Rookie Valtteri Filppula carried into the San Jose zone along the left wing and pushed a pass off to Lang, who skated to the top of the left circle and blasted a shot through goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.

Tomas Holmstrom, playing in his first game of the series after suffering an eye injury in overtime of Detroit’s series-clinching win against Calgary, got the Red Wings on the board with just 5 seconds remaining in the second period.

With the Red Wings starting a power play in the San Jose zone, Henrik Zetterberg won a draw back to Schneider at the blue line, who moved it to Nicklas Lidstrom for a shot on net that was blocked into the air. Holmstrom batted the puck in behind Nabokov to cut San Jose’s lead to 2-1.

The Sharks got on the board with 2:08 remaining in the first period when Todd Bertuzzi lost the puck along the right wing boards in the Detroit end. Milan Michalek and Joe Thornton combined to get the puck to Jonathan Cheechoo on the far side of the ice for a one-timer past Detroit netminder Dominik Hasek.

A fluky goal by Marcel Goc extended the Sharks’ lead at 8:07 of the second. Goc put a shot on net from the right wing boards that deflected off the head of Red Wings’ defender Andreas Lilja before floating over Hasek and into the net.

All of Detroit’s goals came with an extra attacker. Holmstrom and Schneider scored on two of the Red Wings’ five power play attempts and Lang’s marker came with Hasek on the bench for a sixth skater.

The Sharks were held without a power play goal on five tries.

Hasek made 25 saves on 27 shots against on the night. Nabokov stopped 46 of 49 shots against.

The series now shifts back to Detroit for game five on Saturday afternoon. Game six will be on Monday night from San Jose, while a possible game seven would be in Detroit next Wednesday.

Flames Extinguished: Red Wings Claim Series Win on 2OT Goal

The Detroit Red Wings eliminated the Calgary Flames from the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Sunday, scoring at 4:23 of the second overtime period to wrap up the two teams’ Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup.

Detroit snapped a trend with the win. Prior to game six, the home team had won every game of the series. Calgary was unable to hold off a relentless Red Wings’ attack and finally fell on home ice.

Either the Dallas Stars or the San Jose Sharks will be Detroit’s next opponent. If Dallas wins their game seven matchup with the Vancouver Canucks on Monday, they will advance to face the Wings. Should the Canucks win, they will play the Anaheim Ducks, leaving the Sharks to travel to Detroit.

Johan Franzen gave the Red Wings the win. Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom sent an outlet pass from the Red Wings’ blue line across the ice and off the boards for Franzen to pick up and carry into the Calgary zone. Franzen cut across the top of the right faceoff circle before blasting a shot from the slot over the shoulder of Flames’ netminder Miikka Kiprusoff.

It was Franzen’s second goal of the playoffs, coming on Detroit’s 55th shot of the night.

Calgary got on the board first at 3:09 of the second period. Daymond Langkow threw a pass from behind the net out to Jarome Iginla, who reached to grab it with his stick at the top of the left circle and whip a shot past Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek.

Robert Lang tied things back up with 3:07 remaining in the middle frame. Chris Chelios sent an outlet pass to Todd Bertuzzi along the right wing boards. Bertuzzi poked it along to Lang, who jumped into the Calgary zone and wristed a shot from the right faceoff dot between Kiprusoff’s pads.

Even with four minutes of power play time for each team in the first overtime, no one could put the puck home. Thoughtout the game both goalies made several key stops.

Hasek finished the night with 20 saves on 21 shots against. Kiprusoff made and incredible 53 saves on Detroit’s 55 shots.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night. Detroit had five attempts to do so while Calgary had four.

The Red Wings were without defenseman Brett Lebda for the game, out with a mild concussion and an ankle injury. Kyle Quincey was called up from Grand Rapids to take his place on the blueline… Tomas Holmstrom left the game in the first overtime period after taking a stick to the head from Craig Conroy, suffering a cut above the eye.

Power Plays Help Flames Even Series with Red Wings

The Calgary Flames capitalized on two long five-on-threes Thursday night, scoring twice on the power play en route to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings to even their Western Conference Quarterfinal series at two games apiece.

Daymond Langkow put the Flames on the board with his first goal of the night at 8:29 of the first period. With the Flames skating with a two-man advantage, Alex Tanguay threw the puck out from behind the net to Langkow, who banged it past Detroit netminder Dominik Hasek as the first penalty expired.

Todd Bertuzzi scored his first playoff goal as a Red Wing just 2:38 later. New linemate Robert Lang put the puck out front from behind the net and Bertuzzi took it on his backhand, shifted to the forehand, then roofed a shot over goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.

A blast from the top of the left circle by Craig Conroy deflected off defenseman Brett Lebda and past Hasek with 6:27 remaining in the period to put the Flames up by a goal but the Red Wings would even things up.

Bertuzzi carried into the Calgary zone and sent it across to Johan Franzen for a wrister from the left side of the slot past Kiprusoff with 4:23 remaining.

With the game tied at two after 20 minutes, Langkow’s second of the night would put the Flames out front for good.

In a play almost identical to his first goal, Tanguay sent the puck from behind the net out front to Langkow for a one-timer past Hasek. Scored at 8:19, the goal came with two Red Wings in the penalty box.

Detroit was unable to even things back up and the Flames held on to get the victory.

The Calgary goals came on two of their six power play attempts, which included two long five-on-three chances. Detroit also had six power plays but no two-man advantages.

Kiprusoff stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced on the night. Hasek stopped 18 of 21.

The Calgary win forces a game six in the series, to be played in Calgary on Sunday night. Game five will be in Detroit on Saturday afternoon.

Red Wings Steamroll Blackhawks to End Season

Neither the Detroit Red Wings nor the Chicago Blackhawks needed a win in Saturday afternoon’s matchup between the Original Six rivals but only the Blackhawks played like it, as the Red Wings rolled to a 7-2 win to clost out their regular season schedule.

A shootout loss by the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night assured the Red Wings that they had clinched the Western Conference’s regular season championship but that didn’t stop them from jumping out to an early lead and staying in control for the rest of the game.

Danny Markov got the Red Wings on the board just 4:31 into the game with a shot from the point that deflected off of a Blackhawk defender, hit the back boards, came out in front of the net, bounced off the skate of goalie Patrick Lalime, and went into the net.

It was 1:03 later that Detroit got a goal that did not require a series of lucky bounces, when Mikael Samuelsson scored the first of two on the afternoon with a quick shot from the right faceoff dot past Lalime.

Kyle Calder added a power play goal with 8:30 remaining in the period, deflecting a blast by Samuelsson.

Detroit kept the pressure on in the second, scoring at 3:51 when Tomas Holmstrom slipped a shot from the slot under Lalime.

Calder notched his second of the day against his former team 1:36 later. After a Blackhawk giveaway in their own zone, Robert Lang sent the puck up to Samuelsson, who threaded a pass back down low to Calder alone in front of the net to roof a shot over Lalime.

Samuelsson added his second with 7:30 remaining in the middle period with the Red Wings on a power play, seconds after the expiration of a four-on-three, when his wrister from the top of the right circle got past Lalime with Dan Cleary screening him.

Radim Vrbata got Chicago on the board with 1:46 remaining in the second but Kyle Quincey‘s first career goal put the Red Wings back up by six just 12 seconds later.

Nikolai Khabibulin replaced Lalime to start the third period and did not allow a goal.

Jeff Hamilton closed out the game’s scoring at 7:37 of the final period when his wrister from the top of the right circle deflected off of Markov and past Detroit netminder Chris Osgood.

Osgood finished the game with 19 saves on 21 shots against, the first of which didn’t come until the Red Wings already had a three-goal lead. Khabibulin stopped all 15 shots he faced in the third while Lalime made 17 stops on 24 shots in the first two periods.

Detroit scored twice on eleven power play chances. Chicago was held off the board on their four tries with the extra skater.

The Red Wings now await to find out whether their first round playoff opponent will be the Calgary Flames or the Colorado Avalanche. The two teams meet on Sunday in what would be a de facto playoff if the Flames lose to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night and the Avalanche defeat the Nashville Predators.

Whichever team Detroit faces, general manager Ken Holland expects the series to begin on Thursday or Friday night, with game two to be held on Sunday afternoon.

The Red Wings were prevented from claiming a third-straight Presidents’ Trophy by the Buffalo Sabres’ win over the Washington Capitals, clinching Buffalo’s first regular season championship.

Shootout Loss Spoils Bertuzzi’s Detroit Debut

A shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets spoiled the debut of Todd Bertuzzi for the Detroit Red Wings Thursday night.

Bertuzzi, playing his first game since November when he was with the Florida Panthers, finished the night plus-one with no points and a missed shootout attempt.

Former Red Wing Sergei Fedorov clinched the win for Columbus, scoring in the sixth round of the shootout. Mikael Samuelsson had missed on Detroit attempt in the final round.

Neither team scored in the first forty minutes of play, which was controlled by Columbus as the Red Wings played a lazy game.

Pavel Datsyuk scored to get Detroit on the board at 8:30 of the third period. Jiri Hudler poked the puck to him in the neutral zone and Datsyuk carried into the Columbus end before wristing a shot past the glove of Blue Jackets’ goalie Fredrik Norrena.

Ole-Kristian Tollefsen tied things back up with 2:42 remaining, firing a shot from the top of the left circle that bounced off the blade of Robert Lang‘s stick and past Detroit goalie Chris Osgood.

Osgood finished the night with 29 saves on 30 shots against. Norrena made 35 saves on 36 shots, with half of those shots coming in the third period.

Neither team scored on the power play. Detroit five tries and Columbus had six, including a lengthy five-on-three.

The point for the shootout loss gives the Red Wings 100 on the year, the seventh season in a row that they’ve reached triple-digit points. They’ll look to add to that total on Saturday when they host the St. Louis Blues.

Dan Cleary also returned to the Detroit lineup. He was held without a point but scored in his fourth-round shootout attempt.

Out in Front: Red Wings move into first place with win over Predators

The Detroit Red Wings leapfrogged into first place in the National Hockey League Wednesday night with a 4-2 win over the Central Division rival Nashville Predators. The Red Wings now lead Nashville by one point in the standings while retaining a game in hand.

Detroit needed a comeback to earn the win and rookie Jiri Hudler delivered, scoring twice to even the game and then put his team out in front.

With the Red Wings down 2-1 and 3:37 remaining in the second period, Robert Lang threw the puck out in front from behind the net and Kyle Calder got a whack at it. The rebound came out to Hudler, who whipped it past Nashville goalie Chris Mason to even the game.

At 5:41 of the third, Hudler would score the eventual game-winner, sneaking in behind the defense and taking a pass from Lang before roofing a shot over Mason.

Kirk Maltby added an empty-net goal to seal the win.

Alexander Radulov opened the scoring for the Predators with 1:54 remaining in the first period. Radulov stole the puck in the neutral zone and got around defender Andreas Lilja, who couldn’t get back to stop him from putting a shot past netminder Dominik Hasek‘s glove.

Nicklas Lidstrom tied the game just 1:16 into the second, blasting a shot from the top of the left circle past Mason.

Jason Arnott put Nashville back out front 8:56 later, knocking a fluttering puck past Hasek with the shaft of his stick.

Hasek finished the night with 27 saves on 29 shots against. Mason stopped 31 of the 34 shots he faced.

Neither team scored on the power play. The Predators had five chances with the extra attacker while the Red Wings had one.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Saturday night in Vancouver in the first game of a brief two-game Western Canada road trip that will wrap up on Tuesday in Calgary.

The Red Wings lost rookie Valtteri Filppula to an unspecified lower body injury at the end of the second period.