Black and Blue Wings Return Home to Host Preds

Only four games remain on the Detroit Red Wings schedule; yet their playoff fate is still unknown. Detroit will be assured the number one seed in the West if they can notch 2 points in all four of their remaining games. However, even if Detroit were to come out victorious in the rest of their match-ups, the positioning of the 6th, 7th, and 8th ranked teams are still undefined. Only one point separates the Ducks, Oilers, and Wild in the Western Conference standings. Their first step to nabbing first place in the West will be taken Monday night, when the Red Wings host the Nashville Predators.

Wasn’t Wrestlemania scheduled for Sunday night? That is what the Red Wings must have been thinking as they returned home after their passionate meeting with the St. Louis Blues. With the 6-2 blowout, Detroit added two more points to their total, which now stands at 104. One of Detroit’s biggest concerns, one that is surely present on all playoff contender’s coach’s minds, will be to remain healthy. After the type of game they were forced to play on Saturday, they are probably happy to be taking on the Nashville Predators

The last time Detroit met up with Nashville, they were facing a team that had their sights set on making the playoffs. Those hopes have since vanished, as the Predators were knocked out of playoff contention on March 25th with a 1-1 ties against the Flyers. A team that was only 3 points out of a playoff spot on March 1st must now regroup to go at it again next season. On Saturday night, the Predators were handed another loss at the hands of the Atlanta Thrashers. It shall be interesting to see if the Predators can come crawling into the Joe with any passion.

The Red Wings are 2-1-1-0 against the Pred’s this season.

-Players To Watch-
Nashville- #29 Tomas Vokoun. Heart and soul of the Predator’s. He has participated in 65 games for Nashville this season, and his play has caused many to believe that he is the biggest reason the team had a shot at the playoffs.

Detroit- #17 Brett Hull. Notching another hat trick in the game against St. Louis, the old goat probably wouldn’t mind seeing his goal total exceed 40.

-Out or in Doubt-
Nashville- Andreas Johansson LW (Wrist/Questionable), David Legwan C (Collarbone/Out), Stu Grimson LW (Concussion/Out), Vladmir Orszagh RW (Shoulder/Questionable)

Detroit- Jiri Fischer D (Knee/Out)

-Between da Pipes-
Nashville- #29 Tomas Vokoun (25-27-11, 2.23 GAA, .917 SV%, 3 SO), #34 Wade Flaherty (0-1, 4.71 GAA, .852 SV%)

Detroit- #31 Curtis Joseph (32-18-6, 2.52 GAA, .911 SV%, 4 SO), #34 Manny Legace (14-5-3, 2.06 GAA, .929 SV%, 0 SO)

-Most Points This Season vs. Opposition-
Nashville- Adreas Johansson (3 goals, 3 assists) vs. Detroit

Detroit-#14 Brendan Shanahan (4 goals, 1 assist) vs. Nashville

The game will be televised locally at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time on FOX DETROIT.

Legace, Cujo Lead Wings Over Predators

History seemed to repeat itself for Manny Legace. Last season, he was crashed into and injured in Nashville, in the middle of a well-played game, and the same thing happened to him tonight. Curtis Joseph came in for him and continued the excellent goaltending. At the other end of the ice, Tomas Vokoun and Jan Lasak split the netminding duties less skillfully, and the Red Wings took a 4-2 win over the Predators.

Kris Draper opened the scoring for Detroit 6:02 into the game. Brendan Shanahan took a shot from the left side which went wide and hit the back boards. The puck bounced right out to Draper on the right side of the net, and Draper took just a second to settle it before putting it high past Tomas Vokoun.

The Red Wings got a four minute power play to work with to try and open up their lead when Adam Hall was given a double minor for high-sticking, but Nashville’s penalty kill was efficient enough that the Wings never got a real chance to set up. In fact, Manny Legace had to be sharp to stop David Legwand on a breakaway shot.

The Predators had a great chance of their own when they wound up with just over a minute of five-on-three power play with both Tomas Holmstrom and Chris Chelios in the box. Draper, Kirk Maltby, and Nicklas Lidstrom were the three chosen to defend the net, and they did an excellent job, blocking most of the shots before they could get through. Legace was easily able to handle the ones that did get to him.

Boyd Devereaux increased Detroit’s lead early in the second. Maxim Kuznetsov forced a turnover at Detroit’s blue line and sent the puck ahead to Sean Avery, who carried in to Nashville’s zone. He dropped the puck off for Devereaux, who made a quick wrist shot which deflected off the rear of Kimmo Timonen and past Vokoun.

When Avery faked out both Bill Houlder and Vokoun to score Detroit’s third goal just a few minutes later, that signaled the end of the game for Vokoun. Nashville sent in backup goalie Jan Lasak instead, for his first game this season. Lasak was tested quickly by the Wings, but his teammates got the puck to the other end of the ice. Legwand was pushed off the puck in front of the net, but no one bothered to pick up the puck. Andreas Johansson managed to get in, fake a low, left shot, and then put the puck high to Legace’s right.

The Predators got another shorthanded scoring chance on another four minute penalty, but this one didn’t end so well as the last one. Scott Hartnell got out on a breakaway, but he forgot to stop at the other end and crashed into Legace, kneeing him in the helmet. Legace had to be helped off the ice for examination, and Curtis Joseph came in to take his place.

The Wings used the rest of that four minute power play to score. Lidstrom sent the puck towards the net from the blue line. Brett Hull took a shot at the puck and it deflected high above the net and players. As the puck came back down, Sergei Fedorov slapped it out of the air and into an empty corner of Lasak’s net.

Hartnell scored the Predators’ second goal midway through the third period, on a very similar play to the one he attempted against Legace. His teammates won a faceoff just outside the Detroit blue line, and got the puck back far enough to spring Hartnell. He crashed the net again, this time getting the puck in before he knocked the goalie down. Chelios took exception to Hartnell’s tendency to bulldoze goaltenders (once might be an accident, but twice in one game?), and both of them served time for roughing each other up twice before the end of the game. Both times, Chelios received double minors while Hartnell received only the single roughing calls.

The final count of shots on net was 35-23 in favor of Nashville. The Red Wings will play their next game tomorrow night in Dallas against the Stars for their fourth meeting of the season. The previous three have all ended in ties.


Nick Lidstrom‘s assist on Sergei Fedorov’s goal was the 500th of his NHL career… Team doctors reported that Manny Legace was more dazed and shaken up than anything else after being run over by Scott Hartnell. They plan to run more tests, but they feel he should be fine.

Rangers Get Dunham from Predators

Moments after revealing that starting goaltender Mike Richter will miss the remainder of the season due to a concussion sustained over a month ago, the New York Rangers announced a trade with the Nashville Predators for goalie Mike Dunham.

The Rangers acquired Dunham from the Predators for forward Rem Murray, defenseman Tomas Kloucek and the rights to defenseman Marek Zidlicky. With Richter out for the season, New York needed a starting netminder. Backup goalie Dan Blackburn had started the seventeen games since Richter’s injury.

Dunham had been the starting goaltender for Nashville since his selection in the 1997 Expansion Draft. With the Predators’ slow start this season, much of the blame fell to him and he lost the starting spot to Tomas Vokoun.

Murray was aquired by the Rangers at last season’s trade deadline along with Tom Poti in the deal that sent Mike York to the Edmonton Oilers. Kloucek had three goals and four assists with the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack but was deemed expendable by the Rangers’ glut of young defensemen.

The Rangers quickly moved to replace Murray, acquring Josh Green from the Oilers for a conditional pick in the 2004 draft.

This is Dunham’s second stint in the New York area. He broke into the league backing up Martin Brodeur with the New Jersey Devils and played his first two seasons there before moving on to Nashville.

Rallying Late

After a slow start and difficulty with penalties, a late-game rally by the Red Wings brought them from behind to tie the Nashville Predators at 3 goals apiece.

The rematch against the Predators did not get off to as good a start as the Wings would have hoped. Just before the midway point in the first period, Detroit had to kill off a minute and sixteen seconds of a five-on-three Nashville power play resulting from overlapping penalties to Jiri Slegr and Kris Draper. The Predators were able to capitalize when Andy Delmore passed along the blue line to Kimmo Timonen, who one-timed a shot which deflected off the skate of Kirk Maltby and into the net past Dominik Hasek.

The Predators followed up their lead by clogging up the center ice area and keeping the Red Wings from setting up quality scoring plays in the Nashville zone. Many of the shots Detroit sent against goaltender Tomas Vokoun were blocked by Nashville players before they could even get to the net.

The Red Wings had a few power play chances of their own, including a high-sticking double minor to Steve Dubinsky early in the second period for clipping Brendan Shanahan on the nose. Even so, the Red Wings were unable to score, and then they ran into more penalty trouble.

This time, they had to kill off fifty-six seconds of Nashville’s five-on-three because of penalties to Tomas Holmstrom and Nick Lidstrom. The three men out aggressively harrassed the Nashville players and kept them from getting comfortable enough to set up a scoring play, until the first penalty had just expired. Just as Holmstrom was stepping out of the box to head up to the play, Timonen sent a blue line pass to Delmore, who one-timed a wrist shot past Hasek.

Detroit finally got a five-on-three power play of their own early in the third period, on calls to Legwand and Cale Hulse. Lidstrom passed the puck along the blue line to Brett Hull at the left point, and Hull sent off a one-timer which bounced off of Vokoun and into the net.

Unfortunately, the Predators used an unusual bounce to score once more and regain their two-goal lead. After a turnover at the blue line, Legwand fired a shot from close to the net. The puck bounced off of Scott Hartnell, then off of Mathieu Dandenault and over Hasek’s shoulder.

Finally, with less than four minutes to play, Kris Draper brought his team a goal and the momentum which went along with it. Draper deflected Steve Duchesne‘s point shot, but Vokoun was able to block. Draper tapped his own rebound into the net as he was falling to bring the Wings back within one, scoring a career-high fourteenth goal of the season.

Shanahan tied up the game a minute and a half later. Hull was unable to hit the original shot hard enough to get it into the net, but Shanahan grabbed the puck before Vokoun could cover it and stop the play. Just as on Draper’s goal, it took two tries to put the puck past Vokoun, and Shanahan made the successful shot while being knocked to the ice.

Pavel Datsyuk had a chance to put the game away before the end of regulation time, with Vokoun caught behind the net, but his shot rang off the goalpost and away from the crease. Neither team was able to score in the overtime period.

Shots on net were forty to twenty-four in Detroit’s favor. Their next game will be Saturday night against the Atlanta Thrashers.


Steve Yzerman plans to begin skating and accompany the team on next week’s West Coast trip, hopefully to return to the ice against one of the California teams”¦.. Dominik Hasek needs three more victories to tie Terry Sawchuk‘s franchise record for the highest number of victories in one season”¦.. Scotty Bowman needs four more victories to tie Jack Adams‘ franchise record for number of wins as the Red Wings’ head coach”¦”¦ Tonight’s tie, with Philadelphia’s loss to Carolina, has won the Red Wings the President’s Trophy and guaranteed them home ice advantage for every round of the playoffs.