Wings Win Game One: Third period goals lift Detroit over Nashville

The Detroit Red Wings scored three goals in the third period to bounce back from an early 1-0 deficit against the Nashville Predators Wednesday night, allowing Detroit to take a 1-0 series lead over Nashville and win Game One of a first round playoff series for the first time since 2001.

The Predators got on the board just 16 seconds into the game. Former Michigan State Spartan Adam Hall fired a shot from in the slot that was stopped by Detroit goaltender Manny Legace but Legace was unable to control the rebound. As Scott Hartnell crashed the net, the puck came loose to Legace’s right and Hall swept in to put it into the net.

Jus 1:15 later, the Predators got a glorious opportunity to take an early two-goal lead. Nashville’s Steve Sullivan broke across the Detroit blue line as Red Wings defender Chris Chelios laid a hook on him. Sullivan broke free of Chelios and got a good scoring chance on the play but was still awarded a penalty shot for the hook at the blue line. Sullivan broke in on Legace and fired a shot that missed the net, leaving the Predators with only a one-goal lead.

Nashville goaltender Tomas Vokoun preserved the lead through the first two periods and the Predators’ defensive play kept the Red Wings frustrated for 40 minutes of play.

The third period was a different story, however, as Detroit’s Kris Draper got the Red Wings; first goal of the game just 37 seconds in. Draper got a lead pass from Kirk Maltby at the Nashville blue line and split the Predators’ defense paring of Brad Bombardir and Mark Eaton. Draper skated in all alone on Vokoun and put a soft shot between his pads, evening the score and reigniting the Red Wings.

Tomas Holmstrom gave Detroit the lead 4:18 later. Trade deadline acquisition Robert Lang passed the puck from behind the net to defenseman Mathieu Schneider at the blue line, who fired a shot on net. Holmstrom reached out and tipped the puck in the slot, deflecting it between Vokoun’s pads and putting the Red Wings up by a goal.

The Predators, who had slipped into a defensive mode of play by the end of the second period, were unable to even the score.

Lang iced the game with 1:45 remaining in the third period. Lang broke around Nashville defenseman Dan Hamhuis to pick up a pass from Maltby in the Predators’ zone. Hamhuis draped himself across Lang’s back, but Lang threw him off before faking out Vokoun and sliding the puck into the net.

Both Legace and Vokoun were making their first NHL playoff starts. Legace made 23 saves on the 24 shots he faced in net for Detroit, while Vokoun stopped 26 of the 29 shots in faced in the Nashville crease.

Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup is Saturday afternoon in Detroit.

Rivalry Takes a Nap: Wings Lose 3-0 to Chicago

Maybe the Red Wings were overdue for a game like this “” the kind where nothing goes quite right. The frustrating kind where none of the passes are exactly where they should be, your power plays are cut short by penalties being called, none of the bounces land in spots where they might be useful, all of the shots hit the goalie or go just wide, and the skaters just can’t seem to get going. And as is typical of a bad-luck game, it just HAD to be against a team everyone hates to lose to, Detroit’s oldest rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. A 3-0 shutout, to be exact.

The Blackhawks were full of offensive fire in the first period, outshooting Detroit by a 13 to 5 margin. Manny Legace was strong in net, especially on a point blank glove save against Brett McLean with just under six minutes to go in the first.

Nathan Dempsey opened the scoring for Chicago with 4:24 left in the period. He took a pass from Kyle Calder and shot on net from a very tight angle. The puck deflected off the skate of Niklas Kronwall and slipped in between Legace and the short side goal post.

The first period flowed nicely, but the second was choppy and full of penalties. The penalty killers for both teams did such a good job that hardly any shots on net were registered in the full twenty minutes””five for Chicago and four for Detroit. Tuomo Ruutu finally increased Chicago’s lead with a power play goal with 1:36 left in the period.

Deron Quint put the game away for the Blackhawks with another power play goal late in the third. Steve Sullivan passed Quint the puck as he was coming up the slot, and Quint one-timed a high shot through a screen over Legace’s blocker. In the end, Chicago outshot Detroit by a count of 27 to 20. The Red Wings’ next game will be their traditional New Year’s Eve home game. The opponent for this year is the high-scoring Atlanta Thrashers.

Tomas Holmstrom returned to the lineup for this game, but Jason Woolley was out. He blocked a shot with his foot during Friday’s game against the Wild. He is expected back in the lineup on Wednesday…. Chris Chelios is also scheduled to return against the Thrashers.

Milestone Not Quite Enough To Win

Sergei Fedorov apparently doesn’t believe in taking a long time to score a milestone goal after scoring the one right before it. He scored the 400th goal of his career today, just two games after scoring his 398th and 399th, but that wasn’t enough to lift the Red Wings over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks took advantage of their opportunities to come out with a 4-3 overtime win, meaning that the Red Wings will finish second in the Western Conference and face the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the first round of the playoffs.

The Red Wings started the game with a lot of energy, and they opened the scoring. Jason Woolley made a pass across the slot to Kirk Maltby. Maltby faked a hard one-time shot from the left circle, but then carried the puck a few steps closer to the middle of the rink before shooting. Rookie goaltender Michael Leighton made the first save, but the rebound came right back to Maltby and he was able to put it into the net.

Luc Robitaille increased the Red Wings’ lead to 2-0 just 23 seconds later. Igor Larionov made a good pass from the right point up to Mathieu Dandenault near the goal line. Dandenault sent the puck across the goal crease, and Robitaille was able to slide it into the net beneath Leighton.

A strange bounce got the Blackhawks back into the game. Eric Daze made a pass from behind the net which bounced off Alexei Zhamnov before landing on the stick blade of Nathan Dempsey. Dempsey shot the puck on net. Daze had come back out front, and the puck hit the heel of his skate as it passed through. The puck deflected up and over the shoulder of Curtis Joseph.

The Blackhawks came on a lot more strongly in the second period, applying much offensive pressure in the Red Wings’ zone. Joseph made some excellent saves to hold the lead for his team.

The Blackhawks got even with a power play goal early in the third period. Steve Sullivan made a wraparound scoring attempt to Joseph’s right. Joseph stopped that one easily enough, but the rebound came out to Igor Radulov right in front of the goal crease. Radulov was able to flip the puck in to the empty side of the net.

Fedorov’s goal came with 8:15 left to play. The Red Wings were shorthanded due to a tripping penalty agaisnt Patrick Boileau, but Mathieu Schneider made a clearing pass that sent Fedorov flying up the ice on a full breakaway. Fedorov took a hard wrist shot which sailed into the net past Leighton’s goal stick.

The lead was shortlived, however. Daze scored another strange goal 1:14 later to tie the game back up. He took a shot which bounced off the goalpost, off the back of Joseph’s arm, and back into the net.

Kris Draper thought that he had regained the lead a few minutes later, but the video review showed that the puck had been kicked into the net, and the goal was disallowed.

The game went to overtime, and Tyler Arnason was able to score the game winning goal with 2:50 left, thus ending the regular season and sending the Red Wings home to get ready for the playoffs.

The final count of shots on net was 35 to 30 in favor of Detroit. The first round playoff schedule will be released by the NHL on Monday. The Red Wings’ first game could be either Wednesday or Thursday against the Mighty Ducks.

The First Round Matchups

Eastern Conference:
#1 Ottawa vs. #8 NY Islanders
#2 New Jersey vs. #7 Boston
#3 Tampa Bay vs. #6 Washington
#4 Philadelphia vs. #5 Toronto

Western Conference:
#1 Dallas vs. #8 Edmonton
#2 Detroit vs. #7 Anaheim
#3 Colorado vs. #6 Minnesota
#4 Vancouver vs. #5 St. Louis

Shutout by Chicago

In spite of strong goaltending by Manny Legace, and a number of quality scoring chances, the puck just didn’t bounce in the Red Wings’ favor tonight. The Blackhawks, on the other hand, were ready to win, and managed to shut out the Red Wings by a score of 2-0.

Detroit had ample opportunity to score in the first period. They had three consecutive power plays in the first period, but Chicago shut them down, keeping their passes from getting through, blocking shots, and not letting anyone get in front of the net to screen goaltender Jocelyn Thibault.

Kris Draper had two good breakaway chances to score, but Thibault was sharp. At the other end of the rink, Legace held off several quality shots by the Blackhawks to end the period with no score for either team.

The Red Wings had to begin the second period on the penalty kill, with Chris Chelios serving the remainder of a holding penalty he had been assessed at the end of the first period. Just as Chelios was stepping back onto the ice, the Blackhawks scored their goal. Alexei Zhamnov flung the puck towards the net, and Steve Sullivan raced after it to redirect it past Legace for the goal.

The Red Wings tried to apply some offensive pressure to tie the game back up, but Thibault continued to be huge in the Chicago net. The Blackhawks’ defensemen blocked many shots as well, especially Jon Klemm, a former defenseman for the Colorado Avalanche, and Alexander Karpotsev, who blocked a hard shot by Brett Hull with his ankle and had to be helped off the ice and sent for x-rays.

The Red Wings continued to have their chances in the third period, but the scoring didn’t follow. Pavel Datsyuk made a notable play to steal the puck from three Blackhawks and center a pass for Sergei Fedorov, but Fedorov’s shot hit Thibault in the chest, and no rebound was let go.

The Blackhawks put the game away shortly afterwards, when Draper was sent to the penalty box for slashing. Again, the very second the power play was ending, Chicago was able to score. Legace stopped two wraparound scoring attempts by Sullivan and Steve Thomas, but Thomas took the puck back, then gave it to Andrei Nikolishin, who simply kept hitting it until it slipped under Legace’s pads and into the net.

The final shots on net were 23-18 in favor of Chicago. Both teams went 0 for 6 on the power play. The Red Wings’ next game will be Thursday night at home against another Original Six rival, the Boston Bruins.

Sean Avery was a healthy scratch for this game. Dmitri Bykov is still recovering from a shoulder injury, and Brendan Shanahan stayed out for personal reasons…. Jocelyn Thibault shut out the Red Wings the last time they were unable to score in a home game, as well. That was another 2-0 Blackhawks victory, on December 17, 2001.

Cujo Ready And Set

Curtis Joseph stopped thirty-five of thirty-six shots, and Nick Lidstrom posted a shorthanded goal, but a slow-to-start Red Wings offense couldn’t quite get past the Chicago Blackhawks. The two teams ended the pre-season with a 1-1 tie at Joe Louis Arena.

The Blackhawks held the Red Wings to only four shots on goal in the entire first period, in spite of a four minute Detroit power play resulting from a double penalty to Alexei Zhamnov for interference and slashing. Curtis Joseph, meanwhile, was brilliant in his net, stopping all twelve of the shots Chicago sent at him in the first period.

The Red Wings managed to generate some more offensive effort in the second period, but were still outshot by the Blackhawks. The first goal of the game came towards the end of the period when the Wings were shorthanded. Sergei Fedorov got the puck down the ice and carried it around the Chicago net and into the left corner. When four of the Blackhawks went towards him, Fedorov dropped a pass back to Nick Lidstrom coming up in the high slot. A quick one-time shot right past rookie goaltender Michael Leighton, and the Wings were in the lead.

Chicago tied the game back up early in the third period. Nathan Dempsey shot the puck towards the net. The shot was blocked, but the puck went back to Dempsey, so he angled it behind the net to Steve Sullivan. Sullivan’s quick shot hit Joseph on the back of the leg and went into the net before anyone could stop it.

The game headed to overtime, but the teams couldn’t break the tie.

The Red Wings begin the regular season with a West Coast road trip. They open against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night before continuing on to Los Angeles and Anaheim.

The players seem to be glad the preseason is coming to an end. “This camp seemed like it was long for whatever reason,” said Kris Draper before the game. “We’ve got one more game left — let’s go play it and the bottom line is, remain healthy.”… Defenseman Patrick Boileau was sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday, leaving only two more cuts to be made to get the roster down to twenty-three players. The likely cuts will be either Derek King, Stacy Roest, or Doug Brown. Coach Dave Lewis planned to make his decision after tonight’s game.

Scotty Bowman’s Early Christmas Gift

After being shut out by the Chicago Blackhawks in Detroit on December 17, the Red Wings traveled to Chicago to return the favor, defeating the Blachawks 5-0 before a sellout crowd at the United Center.

Brendan Shanahan opened the scoring with 6:26 left in the first period. Kris Draper passed to Sergei Fedorov in the right corner, and Fedorov sent it out to Shanahan at the right circle. Shanahan sent off a quick wrist shot, and the puck slid past netminder Jocelyn Thibault.

Detroit increased their lead and their momentum with only nineteen seconds left in the first. The Red Wings won an offensive zone faceoff, and Luc Robitaille got the puck back to Chris Chelios at the blue line. Chelios fired hard and the puck flew past Thibault.

The Red Wings ended their power play drought 4:49 into the second period, while Michael Nylander was in the box for high-sticking. Brett Hull fired hard from the left point. Tomas Holmstrom was able to take the rebound from Thibault and pass it between his legs over to Luc Robitaille, who flipped it into the net to score his first goal in ten games and the Red Wings’ first power play goal in twenty-five tries.

Hull added to the Red Wings’ lead five minutes later. Steve Yzerman got the puck in the right corner, then sent a centering pass out front. Boyd Devereaux was too well covered to take the pass, but Hull was right behind him to take the puck and snap it past Thibault.

The Chicago bench decided at this point to pull Thibault from the net and send in backup goalie Steve Passmore. However, Passmore had to face a five-on-three Detroit power play right away as, Darren McCarty and Ryan Vandenbussche were given offsetting penalties for fighting. Vandenbussche was also called on an interference minor and Bob Probert was given a roughing penalty and a misconduct for taking a swipe at Dominik Hasek, all at the same time.

Yzerman fired the shot from the point, and Shanahan passed the rebound across the crease to Igor Larionov, who lifted the puck into the net behind Passmore. The Red Wings continued on a five-on-four power play, but this time Hasek had to make a sprawling save to stop a Chicago breakaway opportunity by Steve Sullivan.

The Red Wings took their lead and shut down the Blackhawks’ offense almost completely in the third period, holding them to only five shots in the twenty minutes of play.

Thibault stopped twelve of sixteen shots before being pulled, and Passmore was able to stop eight of the nine shots sent against him. Hasek stopped all twenty-three of the shots he faced, to earn his fifty-ninth career shutout and bypass Ed Belfour and Patrick Roy to become the shutout leader among active goaltenders. This game, coupled with the 3-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on December 21, marks the first time the Red Wings have earned back-to-back shutouts since January of 1998.

The Red Wings will travel to face the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.