Red Wings’ Streak Reaches Seventeen with Home Win over Blues

The Detroit Red Wings extended their franchise-record home winning streak to seventeen games on Monday night, handing the Central Division rival St. Louis Blues a 3-1 loss.

With the win, the Red Wings move three points up on the Blues for first place in the division and the league, with the Blues holding a game in hand.

St. Louis had opened the game’s scoring at 9:12 of the first period, when they caught Detroit on a bad line change and B.J. Crombeen gained the offensive zone on a three-on-one. Crombeen’s pass to Scott Nichol got around defenseman Niklas Kronwall and goalie Jimmy Howard couldn’t get across to stop Nichol’s shot.

The tide turned late in the first period. After Red Wings’ defenseman Brad Stuart laid out the Blues’ Alex Pietrangelo, Stuart was jumped by Chris Stewart. Stewart earned the extra two minute minor for instigating the fight, putting Detroit on a power play that continued into the second period.

It was on that power play that the Red Wings tied things up. Just 51 seconds into the middle frame, Datsyuk carried the puck off the left wing boards and into the slot before lifting a backhander past St. Louis goalie Jaroslav Halak.

Johan Franzen put Detroit out front at 8:52 of the period. With Franzen heading to the front of the net, Jonathan Ericsson‘s shot was blocked in the slot. Franzen got his stick on it and backhanded it around Halak’s pad to make it 2-1.

A second power play goal finished off the game’s scoring. With Carlo Colaiacavo off for roughing and just after the expiration of matching minors to Todd Bertuzzi and David Backes, Niklas Kronwall fired a shot from the top of the left circle that went through a screen by Tomas Holmstrom and past Halak.

The game closed on a chippy note, with Backes, Pietrangelo and Howard each taking roughing minors in the final two seconds. Backes and Pietrangelo also took ten-minute misconducts in the scrum around the Detroit net.

Howard finished the night with 21 saves on 22 shots against. Halak made 25 saves on 28 shots.

The Red Wings scored on two of five power play chances, though one of those lasted for 1.5 seconds. The Blues did not score on their lone power play.

The Red Wings will start a four-game road trip in Montreal on Wednesday, their last game before the All-Star break.

Red Wings Hold Off Predators to Take Two-Game Lead

The Detroit Red Wings held off a strong push by the Nashville Predators Saturday afternoon, allowing a two-goal comeback before scoring twice more themselves and earning a 4-2 win.

Detroit also benefitted from an early no-goal call against the Predators, when goalie Dominik Hasek was beaten as the goal was knocked off of its moorings in what replays showed could have been and allowed goal.

Shortly afterwards, the Red Wings got on the board.

Dallas Drake drove to the net and backhanded a shot that goalie Dan Ellis knocked aside. Charging through the slot, Darren McCarty got to the puck and banged it back past Ellis just 2:26 into the game.

Nicklas Lidstrom added a power play goal 39 seconds into the second period to put the Red Wings up by a pair, sending a pass from the right point through a screen by Tomas Holmstrom.

Just 1:40 later the Predators got on the board with a bounce off the boards. Martin Erat sent the puck around the boards into the Detroit zone. As Hasek went behind the net to play it, the puck bounced off the glass and back out in front for Alexander Radulov to put into the vacated net.

Only 11 seconds lated, Jordin Tootoo tied the game when a bobbled puck by Jiri Hudler and Andreas Lilja put him in alone on Hasek, beating him through the legs.

Kris Draper put Detroit back in front after a Red Wings time out, putting a shot off defenseman Greg Zanon‘s skate and into the net at the 5:00 mark.

Midway through the third period, Holmstrom added a goal off the rebound of a Pavel Datsyuk chance, wrapping up the game’s scoring.

Hasek made 25 saves on 27 shots, 15 of them coming during Nashville’s spirited first-period effort. Ellis made 34 saves on Detroit’s 38 shots.

The two teams meet again on Monday when the series shifts to the Sommet Center in Nashville for Game Three.

Chris Chelios became the NHL leader for career playoff games played, stepping onto the ice for his 248th playoff game… The Predators replaced the injured Scott Nichol with Darcy Hordichuk.

Red Wings Down Predators for Game One Win

The Detroit Red Wings rode two third-period goals by Henrik Zetterberg to a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night, giving them a 1-0 lead in their first-round playoff matchup.

A lucky bounce off of a linesman kept Nashville’s Shea Weber from clearing the puck early in the third period. Pavel Datsyuk recovered it and sent a cross-ice pass to Zetterberg for a one-timer past goalie Dan Ellis at 6:54.

Zetterberg would add an empty-net goal with 19 seconds remaining in the game, scoring on a shot from the neutral zone after a faceoff win by Kris Draper.

Johan Franzen scored the series-opening goal 5:58 into the game, grabbing the puck off of a missed clearing attempt by Radek Bonk and backhanding it over Ellis from the low slot.

Jordin Tootoo scored Nashville’s lone goal with 2:13 left in the second, tipping a Greg Zanon shot from the point through Dominik Hasek and into the net.

Hasek finished the night with 19 saves on 20 shots against while Ellis stopped 37 of 39 Detroit attempts.

Game Two of the series will be on Saturday afternoon from Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena.

Nashville’s Scott Nichol left the game with an injury early in the second period.

Red Wings – Predators Zombie-Blogging

I realize I never do any fun blogging anymore. Tonight I’m going to try to change that, doing a zombie-blog of the Wings-Preds tilt.

I missed the game live, having had a couple soccer games tonight, so since this isn’t a live-blog but it’s close, so I’ll call it a zombie-blog.

Most people who do this are funny. I’m not. We’ll see how this works.

11:49 PM – Just now getting underway. It’s like a West Coast game if you’re talking about the west coast of Alaska. Or Maui, which is probably more likely given the NHL’s expansion/relocation history.

11:51 PM – Mikael Samuelsson starts with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. I’m insane but I want to see Tomas Kopecky out with them.

11:53 – Hand pass gives me time to mention that this zombie-blog is brought to you by Gatorade, makers of energy drinks and Sidney Crosby commercials.

11:55 – Darren Helm goes to the box. I didn’t see a penalty, whatever.

12:07 – I love Babcock going off on the refs. For once, Andreas Lilja didn’t deserve it.

12:11 – Scott Nichol just saved a goal. Great defensive play. Too bad.

12:13 – You’re kidding me. Giveaway by Niklas Kronwall, Alexander Radulov takes it into the corner and throws it back out front, off Kronwall and Hasek and in. When was the last time the Wings had one like that?

12:16 – End of the first. Yawn. Nothing too exciting, aside from Nichol’s save. Even the lone goal was a boring play.

12:19 – Kronner makes amends. As Redmond says, an awful goal to give up. Ellis just missed it.

12:24 – Chelios with a seeing-eye shot, no idea how that got through. Out comes Ellis. I’m not sure I’d do that.

12:28 – Starting to get chippy. That always worries me against Nashville.

12:29 – Bad clear by Nashville and Brian Rafalski rifles it into the top of the net. Power play goal. Very nice. Ken and Mickey making a big deal about three goals from the Detroit defense.

12:30 – Huge stop by Dom. I hope that means he’s feeling comfortable.

12:52 – Things had been kinda boring but now we’ve got a five-on-five scrum and the goalies yelling. Kind of surprising that no real fights came of that. Maybe not, how often does Nashville actually fight?

12:55 – Hamhuis goes after Zetterberg to end the second. At this point, Nashville’s not looking to make a point. You make a point by fighting the other team’s fighters. This is just thugging it up.

1:00 – The Wings blow a long five-on-three and Nashville comes right back to score. Bad goal for Dom to give up, he came too far off the post. And of course it’s off Kronwall’s stick.

1:04 – Tie game. Dom made a series of saves on the Nashville power play but couldn’t stop the last one.

1:07 – Huge save by Hasek on Bochenski but what was with the giveaway that led to that chance? Replay shows Lebda couldn’t corral it.

1:10 – Johan Franzen‘s been hanging out with Datsyuk and Zetterberg too much. He was all over the Nashville zone all on his own before slipping that shot past Mason to put the Wings back out in front.

1:13 – Dom stones Jordin Tootoo to keep the Wings in front. Someday someone’s going to snap Tootoo in half but for now I’ll take this.

1:20 – Zetterberg hits Datsyuk to put him in all alone and all I can do is laugh. Mason looked terrified. And an octopus hits the ice.

1:29 – Kirk Maltby hits the post on an empty net. Appropriate. Datsyuk puts it in. Also appropriate.

1:31 – And it’s over. I’m glad, this could have gotten messy pretty quick but never got quite to that point. I’m going to sleep.

Red Wings Hold On to Beat Predators

The Detroit Red Wings withstood a late comeback by the Nashville Predators Sunday afternoon, holding on for a 4-3 win.

The Red Wings had led 4-0 with half a period remaining but Nashville notched three goals to pull within a shot of tying things.

Special teams led the way as none of the seven goals were scored five-on-five.

Detroit’s first goal came on a five-on-three with 8:43 remaining in the first period. Nicklas Lidstrom, playing in his first game after missing six with a leg injury, worked the puck from the top of the left circle down to Henrik Zetterberg in the right circle, who sent it back across to the front of the net for a tip-in by Franzen.

Jiri Hudler scored on another smooth passing play 4:26 later. On another Detroit power play, Valtteri Filppula sent the puck past Hudler to Niklas Kronwall in the crease, who immediately sent it back to Hudler for a one-timer past goalie Chris Mason.

Brad Stuart notched his first goal as a Red Wing with 4:39 left in the second, scoring on a wraparound with the teams skating four aside.

Just 1:06 later, Franzen added a second power play goal, tipping a blast from the blue line by Lidstrom past Mason.

The Predators would begin their comeback in the second half of the final period.

With 8:36 remaining, just after the expiration of the first penalty in a five-on-three, Shea Weber‘s blast from the high slot went over Dominik Hasek‘s glove and into the net.

Martin Erat scored Nashville’s second with 3:25 remaining, banging in the rebound of a Scott Nichol chance on another power play.

With 1:01 left in regulation and the Nashville net empty for an extra attacker, Jordin Tootoo banged home another lose rebound, pulling the Predators to within a goal.

Detroit held on for the game’s final minute to preserve their lead and the victory, their third in a row after winning just one of eleven games.

Tomas Holmstrom missed the game with a groin injury. He will undergo an MRI on Monday to determine its severity… Brett Lebda was scratched due to illness.

Wings Fall to ‘Hawks in OT

Chicago’s Mark Bell slid a slow shot past Detroit goaltender Curtis Joseph just 15 seconds into overtime Thursday night to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 win over the Red Wings.

Bell broke in on Joseph, fighting off a check from Jason Woolley. As Joseph moved to poke check the puck away, Bell slid it past the Detroit netminder and into the net. Bell had picked up the puck at the Detroit blue line on a pass from Scott Nichol, who had carried the puck to center ice after Steve Poapst stuck his leg out and tripped up Pavel Datsyuk in the Chicago zone to steal the puck.

Chicago took an early lead in the game on almost identical goals by Tyler Arnason and Igor Radulov. At the 3:47 mark of the first period, Arnason deflected a Brett McLean pass over Joseph’s shoulder from just outside the crease. With four minutes remaining in the period, Radulov did the same with a pass from Igor Korolev.

Detroit pulled to within one on a goal from Kris Draper in the second period. With 4:03 left in the second, Draper wrapped around the Chicago net and threw a shot into the crease. The shot hit Blackhawks’ netminder Michael Leighton and deflected into the net.

At 4:51 of the third period, Detroit tied the game at two. Pavel Datsyuk fought off Poapst to put a shot on Leighton. He then picked up his own rebound a slid a shot to the side of the Chicago goalie for his 15th goal of the season.

Chicago regained the lead when Tuomo Ruutu sent a screened wrist shot through Joseph’s five-hole with only 6:31 remaining in regulation.

With the Red Wings’ net empty, Brendan Shanahan sent a one-timer past Leighton’s stick to tie the game with 1:08 remaining and force overtime.

Detroit was held scoreless on three powerplay opportunities and did not allow a goal any of the five times Chicago had an extra skater. Joseph ended the game with 22 saves on 26 shots in net for the Red Wings while Leighton stopped 30 of 33 shots between the pipes for the Blackhawks.

Detroit will next be in action on Saturday night when they visit the Washington Capitals.

Wings Continue to Roll, Down Stars 6-2

The Detroit Red Wings continued their winning ways Wednesday night, defeating the Dallas Stars 6-2 for their third victory in four games. Detroit had gone winless in five games before the resurgence.

Steve Thomas, playing in his first game as a Red Wing after signing with the team as an unrestricted free agent last week, scored the eventual game winning goal and Steve Yzerman and Pavel Datsyuk each contributed two goals in the rout of the slumping Stars. Dallas has lost four straight games and has been outscored 17-4 across the span.

Detroit opened the scoring early in the game, with Yzerman using his right knee to deflect a hard Jiri Fischer shot past Dallas goaltender Marty Turco just 1:07 into the first period. Yzerman would then score in the closing minutes of the period, rifling a shot from the left circle past a screened Turco while on the powerplay.

Dallas cut the Wings’ lead back to one on a powerplay goal of their own by Bill Guerin only 56 seconds into the second period, but Detroit regained the two-goal advantage eight minutes later when Thomas put a one-timed backhand shot a past Turco from the top of the crease.

Brendan Morrow pulled the Stars back within one again, putting a rebound past sprawling Wings netminder Dominik Hasek with 8:18 remaining in the second period.

Mathieu Schneider, who had earlier in the game left the ice after blocking a shot with the side of his face, scored shorthanded at the 59 second mark of the third period. Yzerman drew four Stars into the right corner and Brendan Shanahan fed the trailing Schneider who sent the puck past Turco.

Pavel Datsyuk added another Wings goal five minutes later and then closed out the scoring with a highlight reel goal in the game’s final minute. Breaking in all alone on Turco, Datsyuk put the puck onto his backhand as Turco slid across the crease. He then pulled it back onto his forehand and roofed it into the vacated Dallas net.

Detroit’s special teams were key in the game, with the powerplay going two-for-three and the penalty kill adding a shorthanded goal.

Hasek stopped 16 of the 18 shots he faced in net for Detroit, while Turco stopped 21 of 27 shots for Dallas.

The Wings are next in action on Friday when they visit Chicago. Detroit defeated the Blackhawks 3-0 on Monday this week.

Detroit forward Darryl Bootland was involved in his second NHL fight in only three NHL games. On Monday he fought Chicago’s Scott Nichol and tonight he went toe-to-toe with Dallas’ Steve Ott.

Staying the Course

This time, the lead held up. This time, the defensive plays worked all game. This time, the Red Wings played a full game and made it all the way to the happy ending””- a 3-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Dominik Hasek played a solid game in his first start after recovering from a groin injury. He made an excellent save against Scott Nichol on a shorthanded breakaway early in the game to keep the Blackhawks from jumping out to an early lead.

With the exception of that one breakaway, the Red Wings played a very careful, steady style through the first period. They did set up some good scoring opportunities against goalie Michael Leighton, but they were careful not to get out of their defensive position.

Pavel Datsyuk opened the scoring with a power play goal early in the second period. Steve McCarthy had been called for cross checking just as the first period ended. The Chicago penalty killers cleared the puck, but Brett Hull brought it back to center. He sent it over to Mathieu Schneider, who got it to Datsyuk. The speedy young center got into the Chicago zone ahead of all the defending players, fooled Leighton, and put the puck high into the net.

The Red Wings killed off three straight penalties after Datsyuk’s goal before Ray Whitney increased the lead with 1:50 left in the period. Kris Draper forced a turnover at center ice, and he and Whitney headed into the offensive zone on a two-on-one rush against Steve Poapst. Poapst was unable to take away the passing lane, so Draper got the puck across the crease for Whitney to flip it into the net.

Brendan Shanahan capped off the scoring with just eleven seconds left in the second period. Boyd Devereaux made a good play to cause the Blackhawks to give up the puck in their own zone. Devereaux sent the puck to Chris Chelios at the right point. Chelios shot on net, and Shanahan put the rebound past Leighton from about two feet in front of the goal line on the left side.

The Red Wings protected their lead in the third period. They still applied some offensive pressure against Chicago, but they didn’t take any risks in doing so. Mostly, they kept the puck away from the Blackhawks so Chicago couldn’t set up any attempts at a comeback, or even a shutout spoiler.

Detroit outshot Chicago by a count of 31 to 21. The Red Wings will head out of town for another road trip after this, beginning against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night.

New acquisition Steve Thomas received his work visa and will join the team for the road trip…. Darren McCarty will be staying at home. He is still unable to play because of the back spasms caused by a crash into the boards in Saturday’s Nashville game…. This was Hasek’s 62nd career shutout…. This was also the first time the Blackhawks have lost in regulation play at the Joe since April of 1999.

Flames Fizzle Again

It wasn’t a shutout this time, and Calgary put in a much better effort than they have in the two previous matches this season, but the Red Wings still came up with a 4-2 victory over the Flames.

This game had a much better flow to it than did the Red Wings’ Friday night game against Carolina. Even with the relative lack of penalties this time, the Red Wings opened the scoring on a power play resulting from an interference call against Stephane Yelle. Dmitri Bykov took a shot on net which was deflected by goalie Roman Turek. Sean Avery took the rebound behind the net and sent it to Darren McCarty, who passed it across to Brendan Shanahan waiting on the left side. The Flames had all turned towards the right in reaction to Bykov’s shot, and before they could get refocused, Shanahan let go a hard shot. Turek was partially screened by one of his own defensemen, and the puck rattled into the net.

The Flames had a chance to even the game while they were shorthanded. Jarome Iginla managed to get the puck and fly in all alone against Curtis Joseph, but Joseph flung himself out to take away the bottom half of the net, and Iginla couldn’t lift the shot high enough.

Calgary did tie the game with 7:35 left to play in the second period. Robyn Regehr made a shot from the left point which was deflected on its way through by Scott Nichol. The redirection caused the puck to be hard for Joseph to handle, and the rebound came free to Craig Conroy, who put it into the empty portion of the net.

Henrik Zetterberg stole the Flames’ momentum and quite probably cast a hush over all the sports bars in and around the city of Calgary just 32 seconds later. Jason Woolley banked a shot off the end boards which came right out to Zetterberg in front of the net, and Zetterberg put the puck in on the far side of Turek.

Sean Avery increased Detroit’s lead midway through the third period. The Flames made an ill-advised pass up the middle, and Avery, just off the bench, picked it off and went in alone against Turek. The puck sailed into the net high past Turek’s catching glove.

The Flames had a golden opportunity when Jesse Wallin was given a tripping penalty with less than two minutes to play, and they did what they could with it. They pulled Turek from the net so that they could go with six skaters against four. Conroy won the faceoff deep in the Red Wings’ zone and got the puck back to Toni Lydman at the right point. Lydman sent it across to Iginla in the high slot, and Iginla ripped a hard shot past Joseph.

Calgary pulled Turek out of the net again after the next faceoff, but this time it worked to the Red Wings’ advantage. Brett Hull cleared the puck from the zone up to Sergei Fedorov at center, and Fedorov’s shot edged into the empty net with 16.3 seconds remaining.

Turek stopped 14 of the 17 shots he faced over the night, giving him an 82% save percentage. Joseph stopped 31 of the 33 he faced, for a much more impressive 94% save percentage.

The Red Wings next opponent will be the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. The two teams will meet on Tuesday night at the Joe.

Pavel Datsyuk was out with a sprained knee. The team reports that he will be out for at least two weeks…. Chris Chelios was also out tonight, with a broken finger…. Brett Hull’s assist on Sergei Fedorov’s last second empty net goal saved Hull’s point streak and extended it to nine games.

First Loss of Season Close to Home

The Red Wings took a 4-2 loss to the Flames in their home season opener, despite goals from Kris Draper and Brendan Shanahan, ending the 19 regular season game home unbeaten streak carried over from last season.

The game story was one of penalties, fights, and stoppages in play. Calgary’s Marc Savard got the penalty parade off to its slow start just 1:49 into the game, being sent off for elbowing. The game took on a deceptive flow for a few minutes after that, with both teams taking shots, but neither able to score.

4:20 into the game, Jarome Iginla started a fight with Darren McCarty, after seeing McCarty attempt to hit Savard. Both combatants got 5 minute fighting penalties. Iginla also received a 2 minute instigator call and a 10 minute misconduct. And yet, Detroit’s power play was unable to score.

Kris Draper opened the scoring with 7:17 left in the period. He came off the bench, flew down the ice with all his typical speed, received a bouncing pass from Igor Larionov, and flipped it past goaltender Roman Turek.

The remainder of the period was relatively quiet. Calgary’s Rob Niedermayer received an interference penalty with 5:49 remaining, and Maxim Kuznetsov was called for high sticking with 3:05 remaining, but neither power play unit was able to score.

The second period began with a deceptive calm. 6:11 into the play, Brendan Shanahan and Bob Boughner fought over a rough hit Boughner had landed on Shanahan. Both were sent to the box for five minutes.

With 11:44 left in the period, Mathieu Dandenault was called for elbowing. Detroit’s problems were compounded just 22 seconds later, when Steve Yzerman was given a penalty for high-sticking. The Flames’ Dean McAmmond was able to capitalize on the 5-on-3 opportunity, getting the puck past Dominek Hasek.

Calgary got another 5-on-3 opportunity just moments later. With 6:29 left in the period, Kuznetsov was called for cross-checking. Yzerman made a beautiful breakaway attempt in the short-lived 5-on-4 situation, but Turek was able to deflect the puck. Brett Hull received a tripping penalty at 5:56, and Calgary’s Scott Nichol was able to score on Hasek.

Calgary got another 5-on-3 opportunity just moments later. With 6:29 left in the period, Kuznetsov was called for cross-checking. Yzerman made a beautiful breakaway attempt in the short-lived 5-on-4 situation, but Turek was able to deflect the puck. Brett Hull received a tripping penalty at 5:56, and Calgary’s Scott Nichol was able to score on Hasek.

Darren McCarty, just back from a shoulder injury, elbowed Ron Petrovicky, most likely because Petrovicky had speared the back of his leg with the stick. The referees didn’t see that part, however, and McCarty was given a 5 minute major penalty and a game misconduct, and sent off to the locker room. The resulting Calgary power play was partially cancelled when Craig Conroy took a 2 minute hooking penalty.

The Flames were able to score an even strength goal 3:50 into the third period, with Igor Kravchuk picking up the rebound and sneaking it in behind Hasek, despite Frederick Olausson’s attempt to block the shot.

Kravchuk then took a cross-checking penalty 6:08 into the period, and Detroit’s power play unit kicked into action. Shanahan picked up the puck from where it had slipped away from Turek’s glove, waited for an opportunity, and fired it home.

The game could have changed for the Wings after that, but it was not to be. Shanahan was given a boarding penalty with 7:05 left in the game. Yzerman and Hull attempted to score short-handed, but Iginla picked up the puck and got it past Hasek on a rebound.

Shanahan now leads the NHL in goals, with 5 goals in 3 games. Hasek stopped 29 of 33 shots, most of which came when Detroit was in penalty-killing mode.

Would the game have gone in Detroit’s favor had the penalties not fallen so hard and so fast? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Even a team starring nine future Hall-of-Famers is still going to lose some of the games. Even the Red Wings have to be human once in awhile.

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