Red Wings Survive Columbus Comeback with Shootout Win

The last time the Detroit Red Wings had faced the Blue Jackets, they blew a three-goal third-period lead to fall to Columbus in the shootout. On Friday night, they lost a late lead again but this time they held on to pick up the win in the tiebreaker on a goal by Tomas Holmstrom.

Holmstrom scored the only goal of the shootout, taking Detroit’s shot in the fifth round.

Without usual shooters Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, the latter having left the game with an “upper body injury,” the Red Wings relied on Jason Williams, Steve Yzerman, Robert Lang and Mikael Samuelsson to take their first four shots.

The Blue Jackets’ shooters were Jaroslav Balastik, Rick Nash, Mark Hartigan, Trevor Letowski, and David Vyborny.

Columbus forced overtime when Nash completed his first career hat-trick with 33 seconds remaining and goalie Marc Denis on the bench for an extra attacker. Nash intercepted a clearing pass in the slot and threw it back past Detroit netminder Manny Legace, who didn’t even see the shot.

Detroit had opened the scoring on a goal by Samuelsson at 1:01 of the first but Columbus tied it with 1:47 remaining in that period on Nash’s first of the night, a power play goal.

Niklas Kronwall scored his first of the season on a Detroit power play at 4:14 of the second period to put the Red Wings back in front. They extended their lead with goals by Brendan Shanahan at 7:51 and Williams at 9:18 before the Blue Jackets came back.

With 8:58 remaining in the middle period, Hartigan scored. Dan Fritsche added another goal 5:40 later to pull Columbus to within one.

Nash’s second of the night at 4:21 of the third tied the game at four until Kris Draper pulled Detroit back into the lead at 9:05.

Each team went one-for-three on the power play in the high-scoring matchup.

Legace made 18 saves while facing 23 shots and Denis stopped 31 of the 36 shots that he faced.

The Red Wings and Blue Jackets will meet again Saturday night in Columbus in the second game of their home-and-home series.

Henrik Zetterberg left the game late in the second period with an undisclosed “upper body injury.” He was taken to Detroit Medical Center for precautionary examination.

Wings Down Columbus to Set Record Start

The Detroit Red Wings earned their ninth win in the first ten games of the season with a 6-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. It marks the first time in the team’s 80-year history that they have started 9-1.

Like in Detroit’s 6-0 win at Columbus on Saturday, the Red Wings got into penalty trouble early, taking a penalty in the first minute of the game. Unlike on Saturday, they did not shake it off and the Blue Jackets scored the game’s first goal with Jiri Fischer in the box at 10:18.

Just four seconds into the power play, David Vyborny won an offensive-zone faceoff back to Todd Marchant at the right point. Marchant quickly got the puck to Bryan Berard, who moved into the high slot and fired a shot that deflected off a Red Wings’ skate and past Detroit goalie Manny Legace.

Detroit bounced back with 3:23 remaining in the first, as Brendan Shanahan banked a shot in off the back of Columbus netminder Marc Denis from behind the net.

The Red Wings took the lead on a goal by Pavel Datsyuk 7:38 into the second. Datsyuk batted the rebound of his first shot out of mid-air and past Denis.

He scored again on the power play just 1:40 later, putting in the rebound of a shot by Fischer.

Trevor Letowski cut Detroit’s lead to one with 8:22 left in the period but the Red Wings pulled further ahead after Columbus’ Steven Goertzen was sent to the box for a five-minute roughing penalty after riding Andreas Lilja into the boards on an icing call.

Shanahan scored his second of the night on a slap shot from the top of the right circle with 3:27 left in the second. Mathieu Schneider added another with 2:13 remaining while the Wings skated 5-on-3.

Henrik Zetterberg scored the third period’s only goal, skating around two Blue Jackets as he broke into the zone and then beating Denis with 8:08 left in the game. The goal was scored as the teams skated four aside after a scrum in front of the Detroit goal.

Legace stopped 31 of 33 shots against for Detroit while Columbus got the same number of saves on 37 shots from Denis.

The Red Wings went 3-for-9 on the power play. Columbus was 1-for-8.

Detroit will be in action next on Thursday as they begin a three-game series with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Jackets Down Wings in Regular Season Closer

In a game of no postseason consequence, the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Detroit Red Wings, 4-1, Saturday night. It was the last game of the season for both teams. The Red Wings had already clinched the NHL’s best record, while the Blue Jackets were already eliminated from the playoffs.

Columbus opened the game’s scoring 6:27 into the game. On the power play, former Red Wing Anders Eriksson fired a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle. Just outside the crease, the puck was deflected downwards and slipped under the glove of Detroit goalie Manny Legace.

The Red Wings tied the game just 50 seconds later. Defenseman Derian Hatcher fired a shot from the blue line that went wide of the net and bounced off the boards behind Columbus netminder Marc Denis. Steve Thomas picked up the loose puck at the other side of the net and banked a shot off Denis, tying the game.

Rick Nash scored his league-leading 41st goal of the season 4:07 into the second period to put the Blue Jackets back on top. Nash beat Legace with a shot from the bottom of the right circle.

Just 3:45 later, Trevor Letowski lifted a shot over Legace from in close to put Columbus up by two.

The Red Wings were unable to score to even the game up, and the Blue Jackets added a goal by David Vyborny with eight seconds remaining in the game.

Legace stopped 13 shots out of the 17 he faced in the game, while Denis made 32 saves on 33 shots.

The Red Wings will open the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday or Thursday night against either the Nashville Predators or the Edmonton Oilers.

Lang’s First as a Red Wing Lifts Detroit over Columbus

Robert Lang‘s first goal as a Red Wing lifted Detroit to a win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Wednesday night. The Red Wings claimed the regular season Western Conference Championship with the win.

Lang’s goal came with the game tied 9:03 into the third period. Tomas Holmstrom carried the puck into Columbus zone and cut through the crease before dropping a pass back to Brendan Shanahan. Shanahan skated past the puck, letting it sit in the slot where Lang got to it and slipped a shot under Columbus goalie Marc Denis.

The Red Wings had scored 4:22 into the period to tie the game at two. After half a minute of pressure from Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom, defenseman Jiri Fischer threw a shot on net from inside the blue line. Denis stopped the shot but the puck was left sitting on the goal line. From the side of the net, Holmstrom poked the puck across the goal line, tying the game.

Detroit had opened the scoring in the second period. Just 1:45 in to the middle frame, Darren McCarty and Kirk Maltby streaked in on the Columbus net. McCarty fired a shot that Maltby deflected with the shaft of his stick into the net.

Columbus’ goals came six minutes apart in the first half of the second period. At 2:48, Trevor Letowski scored and at 8:28, Donald MacLean beat Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace.

Legace made 30 saves on 32 shots while Denis stopped 27 of 30 shots. The Red Wings were unsuccessful in their lone power-play attempts, with the Blue Jackets held scoreless in each of their seven chances with the advantage.

After the game, the Blue Jackets were less worried about the loss than about a third-period hit Maltby put on Columbus defenseman Rostislav Klesla with 4:52 remaining.

Maltby lined up Klesla coming across the center red line and hit him into the boards in front of the Detroit bench – with one of the bench doors open. Klesla caught the corner of the boards and dropped to the ice. No penalty was called on the play.

Maltby claimed he didn’t see that the door was open.

“I’m really not going to get into an argument about it,” he said. “I’m backchecking. I can’t see who’s coming on, who’s coming off, if the door’s closed or not. I’m not trying to hurt the guy. It was a foot race.”

“You can’t say he didn’t see the door open because it was open for four seconds – we watched it on video,” Columbus interim coach Gerard Gallant said. “He just drove him into the door. Not smart at all by him.”

The Red Wings and the Blue Jackets close out the season in Detroit on Saturday night.

Wings Down Columbus in Tight Game

A player coming back into a team’s lineup after missing quite a few games usually hopes to get through the game without making any glaring mistakes in timing. If he can make a positive impact, then that’s a bonus. Jason Williams and Curtis Joseph both provided the Red Wings with excellent bonuses tonight. Williams scored two goals in his first game since January 16, and Joseph made 31 saves in his first game since February 11, propelling the Red Wings to a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

As always, the Blue Jackets were eager to play the Red Wings, and they got the game off to a good start. Trevor Letowski opened the scoring with 6:36 gone in the second period. Joseph made a save against Nikolai Zherdev, and his left side was still tight to the goalpost when he lost sight of the puck. The puck bounced off the back boards, and Letowski was able to get to it and slide it in to Joseph’s right before the goalie could get back across. Williams tied the game a little while later. Joseph settled the puck behind his own net and sent it along to Jiri Fischer. Fischer made a good pass to Brendan Shanahan to clear the defensive zone, and Shanahan sent it to Williams flying through center ice. Williams carried across the blue line, danced around defenseman Anders Eriksson, and backhanded a high shot past goaltender Marc Denis.

Detroit thought they had moved into the lead just a moment later when Tomas Holmstrom deflected a shot into the net, but the officials ruled that he had knocked the puck in with his stick higher than crossbar level.

The Blue Jackets had a very good chance to regain the lead early in the second period; they were awarded back to back 5-on-3 power plays. First Boyd Devereaux was sent out for hooking, and Darren McCarty followed with a tripping call. Chris Chelios, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Steve Yzerman did an excellent job of getting in the Blue Jackets’ way and sending the puck down the ice, and Joseph made a surprising kick save against Zherdev, who thought he had a wide open net.

Just as Devereaux jumped back onto the ice, the referees assessed a high-sticking penalty to Chelios. This time Derian Hatcher, Mathieu Schneider, and Kirk Maltby weathered the power play storm.

The Red Wings took advantage of a bad line change by Columbus to move into the lead shortly after returning to even strength. Lidstrom forced a turnover at Detroit’s blue line and passed the puck across to Schneider. Schneider sent the puck ahead to Ray Whitney, and Whitney got it to Williams just as he was crossing the Columbus blue line. Williams faked a forehand shot, then switched to his backhand and lifted the puck over Denis.

Zherdev tied the game up with just 3:11 left in the second with a shot that beat Joseph low to the glove side.

However, Joseph made an excellent poke check against Rick Nash midway through the third, which not only denied the young forward an excellent scoring chance, but also set up Brett Hull‘s game winning goal. Yzerman picked up the puck from Joseph and headed up the right wing side on a three on two rush. He passed to Lidstrom coming up the middle, and Lidstrom made a neat pass left to Hull. Hull one-timed a hard wrist shot which went right through Denis. Henrik Zetterberg finished up the game with an empty net goal with 5 seconds left to play. Detroit outshot Columbus by a slight margin: shots were 35 to 33. The Red Wings will return home to face their next opponent, the Dallas Stars, Saturday afternoon at the Joe.

24 Hours Can Make A Big Difference

Whatever it was that Columbus Blue Jackets coach Doug McLean said to his team after last night’s 5-1 blowout loss to Detroit, it worked. The Blue Jackets rallied to take a 3-0 win over the Red Wings and split the home and home series with one win apiece.

It was evident from the first drop of the puck that tonight’s game was going to have more of a defensive focus than last night’s shooting match. Both teams seemed wary of each other. The Red Wings had a few good scoring chances against Marc Denis in the first period, but an odd bounce let Columbus open the scoring.

Rostislav Klesla took a shot from the right point. Trevor Letowski tipped the shot on its way through so that Manny Legace wasn’t able to stop it cleanly, and Rick Nash flipped the puck into an open corner of the net.

The Blue Jackets got an even bigger boost to their momentum when they managed to kill off a double minor penalty which overlapped the end of the first and beginning of the second periods. The Red Wings failed to capitalize on Jody Shelley‘s trip to the box for high sticking and unsportsmanlike conduct, which gave the Blue Jackets the energy they needed to score their second goal of the game.

Andrew Cassels carried the puck behind the net, then out to the side. His tight angle shot just squeezed into the net between Legace and his short side goalpost at 4:23 of the second.

Darryl Bootland made an effort to liven up the Red Wings by starting a a fight against David Ling. Bootland got the better of the fight, but he also got a two minute minor for instigating and a ten minute misconduct to go along with his five minute fighting major.

Legace kept Detroit in the game by stopping Nash on a breakaway attempt, but the Red Wings just couldn’t manage to set up a strong scoring chance against Denis. Dan Fritsche’s goal from the left faceoff circle early in the third period put the game away for good for Columbus.

Detroit outshot Columbus by a narrow count of 25-24. The Red Wings will play next on Saturday night when they face the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul.

Flat Play Brings A Loss

Very often after a big win, the victorious team will come out playing flat, uninspired hockey for their next game. The was the case for the Red Wings after their Tuesday night 5-0 rout of the Flames, and the Vancouver Canucks were the beneficiaries, winning 4-1.

The Canucks got their scoring going early in the game. Trevor Letowski took a shot on net from the right boards, and Curtis Joseph left a large rebound. Matt Cooke came in from the left, scooped up the rebound, and put it into the net before Joseph could get over.

The Red Wings spent unfortunately placed two-minute chunks of the rest of the period killing off penalties. Darren McCarty took two calls right in a row, and Jesse Wallin was then sent to the box for hooking with 5:24 remaining. With just four seconds remaining in that penalty, Markus Naslund increased the Canucks’ lead to two by slapping in a pass by Brendan Morrison from behind the net.

Breakdowns in defensive communication led to the two Vancouver goals in the second period. Jarkko Ruutu was allowed to make a pass which sprang Trent Klatt on a partial breakaway, and Klatt’s hard shot went in over Joseph’s shoulder. A few minutes later, a mix-up between Kris Draper and Dmitri Bykov at the Vancouver blue line allowed Todd Bertuzzi to steal the puck and get out on a full breakaway. This shot also went high past Joseph, and coach Dave Lewis decided it was time to rescue his goalie. Manny Legace came in to take Joseph’s place.

The Canucks forced Legace to make a few very good saves early on, but then they sat back a little. The Red Wings found their offensive momentum too late in the game. Brett Hull scored a power play goal by one-timing in a good pass from Luc Robitaille, and Detroit used the energy from that goal to sustain some pressure in the Vancouver zone, but goaltender Dan Cloutier was not about to let them stage a comeback at that late point in the game.

The final shots on net were 29 to 23 in favor of Vancouver. Joseph made 14 saves on 18 shots before being pulled. Legace stopped all 11 of the shots he faced.

The Red Wings will close out their western road trip Saturday night with the first game of a home-and-home against the Edmonton Oilers, who have an 8-8-3-1 record for the season and a 3-4-2-0 record when playing at home.

Markus Naslund’s goal moved him to sole possessor of first place in NHL goals for the season, with 13…. Manny Legace has played enough minutes at this point to qualify as a league leader in stats. Going into this game, he had first place in both save percentage (.983) and goals against average (1.79).

Tying It Up Neatly

Chris Chelios kept big Todd Bertuzzi neutralized. Steve Yzerman refused to be neutralized. Dominik Hasek kept the red light off. Sergei Fedorov?. well, the list could go on through the full roster. The Heroes of Hockeytown did what they do best- they won the game 4-2, tying their series with the Vancouver Canucks at two games apiece and bringing the series back to Detroit.

The first period scoring belonged to the Red Wings, even though the Canucks managed to outshoot them nine to four. Jiri Fischer put the Wings on the board with the very first shot against Dan Cloutier. Fischer shot the puck from the left point with Steve Yzerman skating towards the net, but Yzerman did not need to deflect the shot; the puck bounced off the stick of Brent Sopel and into the net.

Chris Chelios scored on a power play midway through the first period to give the Wings a two-goal lead. He fired from the right point, with Yzerman and Tomas Holmstrom both screening Cloutier, and the puck redirected off of Trevor Linden and into Cloutier’s net.

Hockey wisdom holds that a two-goal lead is the hardest lead to keep, and this case was no exception. Vancouver answered with two goals of their own in the second period. The first came midway through the period. Trevor Letowski took the puck behind the net, and Mattias Ohlund sneaked past Pavel Datsyuk to get to the front of the net. Letowski centered the puck, and Ohlund slapped it into the net past Dominik Hasek.

The Red Wings controlled the puck for most of the rest of the second period, but had to kill off a hooking penalty to Chelios with 2:32 remaining. With just one second left on the Vancouver power play, Sopel shot the puck from the blue line, and Matt Cooke redirected it in mid-air to tie the game at two.

Detroit regained the lead quickly once the third period started. Sergei Fedorov shot the puck on net, and Cloutier left the tiniest of rebounds. Yzerman pounced on the loose puck before Cloutier could regain control, and he dragged it past the goaltender’s prone body and tapped it into the net.

The Red Wings kept control of the puck through most of the rest of the period, in spite of two Vancouver power plays. The Canucks played more desperately towards the end and generated some good quality scoring chances, but Hasek was exactly where he needed to be at all times to keep the lead for his team. Vancouver gained an offensive zone faceoff with just over a minute to play, so they pulled Cloutier in exchange for a sixth skater, thinking to force an overtime. It did them no good, as Darren McCarty cleared the puck from the zone to Kris Draper flying up center ice. Draper put the puck into the empty net to put the game away, and then slid in after it because he was skating too quickly to stop in time.

Shots on net were twenty-four to fourteen in favor of the Canucks, giving Hasek a 91.6% save percentage and Cloutier a save percentage of 78.5%. Game Five of the series will be Thursday evening at Joe Louis Arena.

Jiri Fischer’s goal was the first playoff goal of his career?. Steve Yzerman’s assist and goal give him a career total of 159 playoff points, moving him one point past Gordie Howe‘s record for all-time Red Wings playoff scoring.

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