Red Wings Sign Leino to Two-Year Deal

After losing several free agents last week, the Detroit Red Wings retained the services of one on Monday, signing Ville Leino to a two-year deal. Reportedly the contract is worth $1.6 million.

Leino had opted for salary arbitration before coming to terms with Detroit.

In his first year in North America, Leino scored five goals and added four assists for the Wings. He spent most of the season with the Grand Rapids Griffins, scoring 46 points.

The Red Wings lost Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky to the Chicago Blackhawks, Ty Conklin to the St. Louis Blues and Mikael Samuelsson to the Vancouver Canucks in the opening days of free agency, a conseguence of being up against the NHL’s salary cap.

Restricted free agent Jiri Hudler has also opted for salary arbitration.

Helm Scores in OT to Put Red Wings in Finals

Red Wings’ rookie forward Darren Helm scored 3:58 into overtime Wednesday night, lifting Detroit to a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks and putting the Wings into the Stanley Cup Finals for the second consecutive year.

Detroit’s 4-1 series win over Chicago means the Red Wings move on to face the Pittsburgh Penguins, who they defeated in a six-game series in last season’s Finals.

The game-winning goal came on a scramble in front of Chicago netminder Christobal Huet. Brett Lebda put a shot on net that Huet stopped but Tomas Holmstrom knocked the puck loose from the edge of the crease. Helm was free to bang the puck into the open net for his fourth career playoff goal.

Huet had been stellar all night, finishing the game with 44 saves on 46 Detroit chances, including a sprawling kick save on Johan Franzen in the closing seconds of regulation.

The Red Wings broke a scoreless tie 6:08 into the third period, with Dan Cleary deflecting a shot from Lebda past Huet.

Chicago tied things back up with 7:07 left in regulation on Patrick Kane‘s first goal of the series. Kane raced into the Detroit end down the right wing boards and lifted a backhander over the shoulder of Wings’ netminder Chris Osgood.

Osgood ended up with 30 saves on the night, including several on Colin Fraser, who made his first appearance of the series in place of the injured Martin Havlat.

In addition to missing Havlat, the Blackhawks were without starting goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.

The Red Wings came into the game with a long list of injured players. Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kris Draper, Tomas Kopecky and Andreas Lilja were joined by Jonathan Ericsson, who had an emergency appendectomy Wednesday morning.

Datsyuk, Lidstrom and Ericsson are expected to be in the lineup for Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Red Wings Down Ducks to take 3-2 Series Lead

Four different players scored for the Detroit Red Wings Sunday, carrying the team to a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks and giving the Red Wings a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference Semifinal series.

Chris Osgood stopped 16 of the 17 shots he faced in net for Detroit, helping the team capitalize on the low number of shots allowed.

The Red Wings outshot the Ducks 14 to three in the first period but neither team got on the board until Johan Franzen scored at 3:23 of the second.

Justin Abdelkader, making in his first postseason appearance in place of the injured Tomas Kopecky, moved the puck on a rush to Franzen at the Anaheim blue line. Franzen stepped up and snapped a shot off of the crossbar and in behind Anaheim netminder Jonas Hiller.

Just 39 seconds later, Jiri Hudler made it 2-0.

Henrik Zetterberg drove a shot on net that Hiller stopped but the rebound popped into the air. Hudler followed it up, whacking the puck in behind Hiller just after it dropped below crossbar height.

Ryan Whitney scored Anaheim’s only goal with 4:23 left in the period and the Ducks on a power play, snapping a shot past Osgood after a scramble left Detroit’s defense spun around and Osgood screened.

Darren Helm scored his first goal of the playoffs to restore the two-goal lead with 3:08 left in regulation, banging home a rebound after a goalmouth scramble with Dan Cleary and Henrik Zetterberg.

Zetterberg added an empty net goal for the second consecutive game, finishing off the scoring.

Each team had three power play chances. Anaheim made good on one of theirs while the Red Wings were held without a power play goal.

Hiller made 34 saves on 37 shots in the Ducks’ net.

Detroit played again without Brian Rafalski and Kris Draper, while adding Kopecky to the list of injured Wings… Derek Meech joined Abdelkader making his playoff debut, subbing in for Chris Chelios.

Abdelkader Replaces Kopecky in Game Five Lineup

Early news on Sunday’s Game Five… Justin Abdelkader will replace Tomas Kopecky in the Detroit lineup.

Kopecky is out after taking a hard punch in his fight with Anaheim’s Francois Beauchemin in Game Four.

The News has Mike Babcock‘s reasoning for going with Abdelkader over Ville Leino or Aaron Downey. All three forwards were called up after the Grand Rapids Griffins were eliminated from the playoffs, along with defenseman Jakub Kindl and goalie Jimmy Howard.

“Because he’ll run over people,” Babcock said of Abdelkader. “We expect him to play hard like (Darren) Helm. He’s on the forecheck and he’s a physical guy. He scored 23 goals for them (Grand Rapids) this season and was one of their best players in the playoffs.”

Brian Rafalski and Kris Draper are doubtful for the game. No word from the Ducks on the status of James Wisniewski.

Red Wings – Predators: What Just Happened?

This loss is a little hard for me to explain because it feels like a typical Nashville win. Two power play goals and two goals off of lucky breaks / broken plays.

It feels like the Predators never had any pressure on the Wings all game. Solid defense, of course, and they were playing defensively as the momentum shifted.

Nashville seemed content to sit back and wait for a break to go their way, and then one did when Jonathan Ericsson ran into Tomas Kopecky and lost the puck. It’s like if I were to sit here at my computer saying “I’m gonna stay here until a bag of cash falls into my lap” and then it works.

By all accounts, the Red Wings should have won Sunday afternoon. But they didn’t. Them’s the breaks, I guess. The painful, ridiculous, annoying breaks.

If you want good news to take out of it, at least Detroit showed up to this one, unlike Friday night. So while it may be two losses in a row, they’re two drastically different losses.

Four-goal Second Period Leads Red Wings over Blues

The Detroit Red Wings scored four times in the second period Saturday afternoon, carrying them to a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. Three of the goals came in a 46 second span.

Pavel Datsyuk got the Red Wings on the board 4:40 into the second period. Datsyuk took a long outlet pass from Brad Stuart to break into the St. Louis zone on the right wing before cutting to the slot and putting a shot past Blues goalie Chris Mason.

Just ten seconds later, Tomas Kopecky beat Mason, putting the Wings up by a goal. Valtteri Filppula held in a clearing attempt at the blue line and sent the puck to Jiri Hudler in the left circle, who moved it to Kopecky for a wrister past Mason from the right side of the slot.

Brett Lebda finished off Detroit’s surge at 5:26 of the period, snapping a shot past Mason on a rush.

T.J. Oshie had opened the scoring for St. Louis with 5:16 left in the first period, putting a shot from the left side of the slot past Detroit netminder Chris Osgood on a pass from Andy MacDonald behind the net.

A Jeff Woywitka slap shot snuck past Osgood at 9:08 of the second, pulling the Blues to back within a goal.

Datsyuk’s second of the night, a wrister from the left side boards that snuck past two defenders and Mason, came with just 36 seconds left in the second.

Henrik Zetterberg added an empty net goal with 1:57 left in the game.

Osgood finished the afternoon with 30 saves on 32 shots against. Mason stopped 19 of the 23 shots he faced while rookie Ben Bishop, who replaced Mason to start the third period, made three saves without allowing a goal.

The win was Osgood’s 300th as a Red Wing… Marian Hossa returned to the Detroit lineup after missing four with a neck injury.

Osgood Blanks Blues as Hossa-less Wings Win

Detroit netminder Chris Osgood stopped all 22 shots he faced Tuesday night, leading the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-0 win over the St. Louis Blues.

The Red Wings were without leading scorer Marian Hossa, who left the game on a stretcher early in the first period after crashing headfirst into the boards. Hossa did not lose consciousness and all tests for injury came back negative.

With Hossa out, the Wings’ depth players were key in the game’s scoring. Tomas Kopecky has a goal and two assists while Kris Draper, Niklas Kronwall and Valtteri Filppula all scored goals.

Henrik Zetterberg was the only star player to score for Detroit.

Kopecky opened the game’s scoring with a shorthanded goal with 5:06 remaining in the first period. Pavel Datsyuk carried the puck into the St. Louis zone and Kopecky raced in behind him, picking up the puck and jumping behind the Blues’ defense before reaching around goalie Chris Mason to slide the puck into the net.

Zetterberg scored a power play goal 3:24 into the second period to put Detroit up by a pair, banging home a rebound after Mason stopped several shots in a row.

At 7:52 of the third Draper opened the floodgates with the first of three goals in the final frame, tipping a wide shot by Kopecky past Mason.

Kronwall scored a power play goal 3:02 later, blasting a shot from the blue line off Mason and into the net.

Filppula scored with 3:30 remaining in the game just as a Detroit five-on-three expired. Kopecky picked up a loose puck at one side of the crease and sent it across to Filppula to lift into the net.

With the last goal coming at the exact moment the penalties expired, the Red Wings finished the night two-for-seven on the power play.

Hossa is expected to be with the team when they travel to Denver for Wednesday’s matchup with the Colorado Avalanche. Detroit head coach Mike Babcock was doubtful he would play… The shutout was Osgood’s first of the season.

Osgood Strong as Red Wings Down Kings

Red Wings goaltender returned from a ten-day rest to stop 30 of 31 shots against, leading Detroit to a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

The only goal he allowed was a power play marker by Alexander Frolov 4:48 into the third period.

After a failed clearing attempt by Detroit, Frolov circled behind the net and came back out front for a chance. Osgood stopped his first attempt but Frolov banged home the rebound chance to pull the Kings within a goal.

Derek Meech scored the Red Wings’ first goal with 7:52 left in the second period. Ville Leino brought the puck from behind the net to the front of the goal and tried to stuff it home. Meech jumped in from the blue line and put in the rebound.

“I saw (Los Angeles’ Anze) Kopitar lose his stick. Leino came from behind the net and tried to stuff it,” Meech said. “And I came in looking for the garbage.”

Just 1:43 into the third Tomas Kopecky made it 2-0 for Detroit, one-timing a shot from an acute angle past Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick.

Quick stopped 39 of 41 Detroit shots on the night.

The game was the 1000th of Kirk Maltby‘s career.

Red Wings – Kings Pregame Notes

Chris Osgood returns to the Red Wings’ crease tonight as Detroit hosts the Los Angeles Kings. This marks his first start since a 6-5 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche on February 15.

Tomas Kopecky also returns to the lineup, taking his spot on the fourth line with Ville Leino moved up to the second line to take the injured Marian Hossa‘s spot.

Hossa, hurt during the second period of Wednesday’s win over San Jose, is questionable for tomorrow’s matchup in Nashville.

Chris Chelios and Brett Lebda are healthy scratches. Lebda has recovered from his back injury enough to play if called upon.

I’ll probably miss the start of this one while I’m working on some projects around the house. I’ll catch up as soon as I can.

Red Wings – Sharks Pregame Notes

The top two teams in the Western Conference meet tonight as the San Jose Sharks visit the Detroit Red Wings. The race is still close enough that a win is important for both teams.

Chris Chelios and Tomas Kopecky will be the healthy scratches for Detroit tonight as Brad Stuart returns to the Red Wings’ blueline and Kris Draper takes his spot back on the fourth line rotation.

Ty Conklin gets the start in net.

Much has been made of Claude Lemeiux’s return to Joe Louis Arena but I think he’s a washed-up has-been so I won’t give him more words than that.

The Pistons have been shifted to FSN+ so this one is on standard FSN and FSN-HD.