Sharper Against the Sabres

Dominik Hasek‘s former teammates were unable to defeat his new teammates, “Lucky Luc’s” luck seems to be returning, and Nicklas Lidstrom became the Red Wings’ top scoring defenseman of all time, as the Wings gained a 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

Compared to recent games, this game had an amazing amount of flow to it. There were no stoppages in play until a full 3:26 into the first period, when icing was called against Buffalo. Slava Kozlov, given to the Sabres this summer in exchange for Hasek, nearly got the puck past the Red Wings’ goaltender, but Hasek was able to block the shot.

Seven minutes, thirty-six seconds into the game, Detroit’s Maxim Kuznetsov was penalized for interference, but the situation went to a 4-on-4 just over a minute later, when Buffalo’s Jason Woolley was handed a penalty for holding the stick. Detroit wound up with 29 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play, because Rhett Warrener got called for tripping, but the power play unit 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.

Detroit’s power play had another chance with 6:33 remaining in the first, when Warrener was penalized for holding rookie Pavel Datsyuk, but the power play was cut short when Brendan Shanahan was given a tripping penalty. Buffalo was not able to score on their resulting power play, but captain Stu Barnes did score exactly two seconds later, after a very patient play and pass from Miroslav Satan.

Many of the shots Detroit fired were blocked by Buffalo’s defense before they even got to goalie Martin Biron, who played backup to Hasek last year. Not that Biron was incapable of stopping shots- far from it! Kris Draper made a beautiful pass to Sergei Fedorov, who left the puck for Shanahan. Shanahan fired the puck hard, but Biron kept it out of the net.

Two minutes, fifty-seven seconds into the second period, Luc Robitaille passed the puck to Nicklas Lidstrom, received the puck back again, and let it fly past Biron, scoring his first goal as a Red Wing. Tomas Holmstrom also received an assist on that goal. Buffalo answered back just over a minute later, with Satan picking up a rebound to slide the puck past Hasek.

Holmstrom was penalized for cross-checking with 11:22 left in the period, but Detroit’s penalty-killing unit was more than adequate for the job: they kept the puck in Buffalo’s zone for over half of the penalty.

With 4:52 to go in the period, Fedorov carried the puck behind the net, eluding a hit by a Buffalo defenseman. He passed the puck to Shanahan, and this time, Biron was not able to stop the shot.

Frederick Olausson scored his first goal as a Red Wing and gave Detroit the lead with only 2:26 left before intermission, in a 4-on-4 situation resulting from penalties to Darren McCarty and Alexei Zhitnik. Detroit had 1:05 of a power play remaining after the 4-on-4 ended, but was unable to score, despite good chances by Brett Hull.

The third period was quiet until near its end. Buffalo attempted to bring Biron back to the bench to have the sixth skater out, but miscalculated and received a penalty for having too many men on the ice. They pulled Biron anyway, with 30 seconds left to go, but Lidstrom got the puck to Shanahan, and Shanahan was able to send it into the empty net with only 5 seconds before the end of the game. This gave Lidstrom a total of 571 career points, sending him past Reed Larson’s record as the Red Wings’ all-time top scoring defenseman.

The Red Wings looked more organized on both offense and defense than they had in their previous games. There can always be improvements, but things look like they’re starting to come together. Former Red Wing Doug Brown, joining UPN 50 regulars Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond in the broadcast booth, put it more succinctly: “That whole line’s gonna score 13,000 goals.”

2001-2002 NHL Schedule Released

The National Hockey League released it’s schedule for the 2001-2002 season on Wednesday.

The Red Wings will start the season in San Jose on October 4. Detroit’s home opener will be on October 10 against Calgary.

Early in the season, the Red Wings will host the Buffalo Sabres (October 12) and Los Angeles Kings (October 20). The Wings aquired Vezina-winning goaltender Dominik Hasek from the Sabres for Slava Kozlov and a draft pick, and signed former-King Luc Robitaille as a free agent.

The Red Wings will play their first game against Aaron Ward and his new team in Carolina on October 30.

Detroit’s only matchup with the Boston Bruins, with whom former Red Wing Martin Lapointe signed as a free agent, is March 16 in Boston.

The first meeting between the Wings and arch-rival Colorado will take place on December 5 in Detroit.

The season ends with what could be a crucial home-and-home series against division rival St. Louis on April 13 and 14.

Hasek Headed to Hockeytown

Dominik Hasek, the Vezina-winning goalie for six of the past eight seasons, has been traded to the Detroit Red Wings.

In return for the future hall-of-famer, the Red Wings sent slumping forward Vyacheslav Kozlov, a first round draft pick in 2002, and future considerations to the Sabres.

Hasek is added to a Detroit goaltender corps that already includes Chris Osgood and Manny Legace.

The Sabres have scheduled a press conference to address the trade for later today.

Kozzie Plays the Hero as Wings Tie ‘Nucks

Wow. One point five seconds left and Slava Kozlov slams one home to tie the game, that’s excitement. Too bad nothing came out of overtime. The Freep has a recap of the game. We gain a point on the Blues with their loss to Philly. Everybody needs to look at the standings and be scared. Time to decide if we should drop back or move up ’cause the second seed isn’t safe.

17 February, 2001

Nice little win over one of those pesky expansion teams last night, CNN/SI has the boxscore and the Free Press recaps.

Slava Kozlov finally got himself a goal, two in fact. Now that his drought seems to be over, let us know what you think about his chances of being traded in the Fan Forum.

We can all thank the Blackhawks today, last night they beat the Blues, 6-2, which pulls us two points closer in the race for first place in the Central.

2 February, 2001

CTVSportsnet.com is reporting that Rob Blake will become a Detroit Red Wing sometime in the next two days. No terms of a possible deal were revealed, but the Kings captain and All-Star defenseman will not come cheap. drwcentral.net sees the only players Detroit would be willing to part with as Vyacheslav Kozlov and Todd Gill, who, along with a draft pick or prospect, could be enough of an offer to convince Los Angeles to make the trade. With Blake’s contract up at the end of the year, whoever should aquire him will have to pay a pretty penny to keep him. The Red Wings would have three of the top defensemen in the NHL should the deal go through, with Blake joining All-Star Nicklas Lidstrom and the injured Chris Chelios on the blue line.

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