Canucks Capitalize on Chances to Rally Against Red Wings

The Vancouver Cancucks scored twice in the third period to force overtime against the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday night, then notched a tally in the extra frame to pick up the win.

When the Red Wings made a bad line change with 1:59 left in the overtime, Sami Salo sent a pass to the breaking Brendan Morrison who moved in all alone on Detroit netminder Dominik Hasek and beat him five-hole for the game winner.

Morrison had tied the game at 7:23 of the third period, throwing the puck into an empty net after Hasek tripped on a rut in the ice and fell down, out of position, with the Red Wings already down two men.

“This isn’t about officiating,” Detroit head coach Mike Babcock later said. “We don’t get the job done, end of story.”

Markus Naslund pulled the Canucks to within one 2:33 earlier, scoring on a rebound.

Vancouver had opened the scoring only 18 seconds in to the game on a one-timer by Livonia native Ryan Kesler.

The Red Wings scored the game’s next three goals.

Mathieu Schneider knocked the puck out of mid-air on a rebound chance to put Detroit on the board at 9:24 of the first.

Just 2:01 later, Lidstrom fired a shot that bounced off Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo, defenseman Mattias Ohlund, and into the net for a power play goal.

With 1:00 remaining in the second period, after an apparent goal by Mikael Samuelsson was called back, Dan Cleary lifted a shot over Luongo to put the Red Wings up by a pair of goals, before the Canucks’ third-period comeback began.

The Red Wings were down a main for almost two periods, when a hit by Willie Mitchell with 2:11 remaining in the first knocked Johan Franzen out of the game. With Franzen’s head down, Mitchell lifted his shoulder into the Swede’s jaw, sending him sprawling to the ice.

Franzen was helped off the ice by Jason Williams, who was felled by a similar hit from Edmonton’s Raffi Torres just two weeks ago. Williams missed three games with a concussion, which Franzen was also diagnosed with.

Wings Show Wild Some Variety in Win

If it’s true that a team needs offense from all possible sources in order to succeed in the playoffs, then the Red Wings look to be in pretty decent shape headng into next week. Five different players scored goals to overcome the normally stifling defense of the Minnesota Wild in a 5-3 win.

Darren McCarty opened the scoring early in the first. Kirk Maltby carried the puck into Minnesota’s zone and dropped a pass back to McCarty, who took a wrist shot from the top of the left circle. Wild goalie Manny Fernandez was sliding to his right, and the puck sailed over his catching glove.

Andrei Zyuzin tied the game up with a power play goal midway through the period. Zyuzin was able to drive to the net with no one covering him, then slam Pierre-Marc Bouchard’s centering pass past Manny Legace.

Jiri Fischer regained the lead for Detroit late in the first with a similar goal””he pushed his way to the net and banged in a centering pass from Brendan Shanahan.

Shanahan and Boyd Devereaux scored in quick succession to open the second period. Shanahan scored off a hard wrist shot set up by Ray Whitney‘s hard work shaking off a Minnesota defenseman in the right corner. Devereaux’s goal came after Jason Williams‘ shot bounced off the back of Willie Mitchell, who was tussling with Tomas Holmstrom in front of the goal crease. Devereaux was able to scoop up the loose puck and put it into an empty corner of the net while Fernandez was screened by Holmstrom and Mitchell.

Alexandre Daigle brought the Wild back within a pair a few minutes later. Wes Walz cleanly won a faceoff in Detroit’s zone, and Daigle one-timed the shot before Legace was quite ready for it. The puck barely squeezed through between the goalie’s pads.
Daigle outskated Derian Hatcher and put his own rebound into the net at a very tight angle to bring the Wild within one goal with 8:32 left in the game, but Pavel Datsyuk put the game out of reach with his 30th goal of the season. Datsyuk picked up the rebound from Brett Hull‘s shot, danced around three Minnesota skaters in the slot, then whipped the puck past Fernandez.

Detroit outshot Minnesota by a count of 38 to 24. The Red Wings will head out for their last road trip of the regular season after tonight. They’ll play the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday and the St. Louis Blues on Thursday before returning home to close the season against Columbus on Saturday.

Detroit only needs one more point in the standings to clinch the Western Conference title”¦. Kris Draper and Robert Lang should be back in the lineup for Wednesday’s game. Mathieu Dandenault could return for Saturday’s game”¦. The Detroit chapter of the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association has nominated Steve Thomas as the Red Wings’ candidate for the Bill Masterton Trophy, which is awarded to the player who most exemplifies perseverance and dedication to hockey.

Wings Tie Wild, Extend Home Unbeaten Streak

As usually happens, the Minnesota Wild played a tight defensive game without a whole lot of scoring chances. Once they take a lead, they rarely give it up to their opponents, thanks to their strong defensive system. The Red Wings, however, forced the Wild to give up the lead twice in the third period, forcing a 2-2 tie and extending their home unbeaten streak to nine games.

The Red Wings weren’t without their chances. Pavel Datsyuk had two good chances to score in the first period, as did Henrik Zetterberg, but goaltender Dwayne Roloson was solid and refused to let the puck by.

Curtis Joseph was just as solid for Detroit. He stopped Wes Walz on a shorthanded breakaway about eight minutes into the second period, and the fans showed their appreciation by chanting, “Cujo! Cujo! Cujo!”

Minnesota opened the scoring with just 15 seconds left in the second period. The play had gone end to end repeatedly, each team trying hard to score before the period was over. Pascal Dupuis knocked the puck away from Brendan Shanahan in the Wild’s zone, clearing it up to speedy Marian Gaborik. Nicklas Lidstrom just couldn’t catch up with Gaborik quickly enough to stop him. Gaborik’s shot hit Joseph’s leg pads, but managed to find the way between them and across the goal line.

Minnesota’s lead didn’t last very long into the third period. Roloson’s stick had been knocked away from him, but with the Red Wings pressuring offensively, no one could take the time to get the stick back to the netminder. Niklas Kronwall held in a clearing attempt by Sergei Zholtok, then passed the puck to Zetterberg. Zetterberg one-timed a centering pass, which hit Zholtok’s stick in the high slot and deflected right pass Roloson.

The Wild regained the lead when Walz got to the side of the net by himself just in time to redirect a shot by Willie Mitchell, but Kris Draper tied the game back up less than a minute later. Draper was forechecking alone in the Minnesota zone. Mitchell’s clearing attempt hit Draper’s skate. Draper knocked Mitchell away, took the puck onto his stick blade, spun around, and fired towards the net. The puck sailed into the small space between Roloson’s blocker and right leg pad.

The Red Wings would have had offensive control of the overtime period, if they hadn’t been called for having too many men on the ice with 1:42 left to go. Lidstrom, Draper, and Kirk Maltby killed off most of the four-on-three penalty. Shanahan and Steve Yzerman replaced Draper and Maltby to finish off the game by keeping the puck tied up in the corner of Minnesota’s end of the ice.

The Wings outshot the Wild by a count of 37 to 24. Nineteen of Detroit’s shots came in the third period. The Red Wings’ next game will be Sunday night, when they face the Blackhawks in Chicago.

Draper is one goal away from tying his personal best season total of 15 goals…. Injury Update: Derian Hatcher skated for the first time Friday morning. He is still on schedule to return in the third week of March. Darren McCarty and Steve Thomas are still quite a way off from being able to return to the ice, but Tomas Holmstrom should return on Sunday against Chicago and Chris Chelios should return sometime next week. Dominik Hasek is cleared to start skating again on Saturday.

Who Says Expansion Teams Can’t Do Well?

The Minnesota Wild are known for playing games with a lot of stops in play through offsides and icing, and turning these choppy games to their advantage with a strong, patient defensive trap. The Red Wings clearly outshot and outchanced the Wild for the entire game, but some defensive lapses on Detroit’s part led to the Wild winning the game 3-2.

Boyd Devereaux opened the scoring with his first goal of the season. He first obtained the puck on the rebound from Henrik Zetterberg‘s shot, but was too well-covered to get a clear shot away, so sent it back to Chris Chelios at the right point. The rebound from that point shot also came to Devereaux, and this time he was able to chip it in over the top of goaltender Dwayne Roloson.

The Wild came back to tie less than two minutes later. The teams were playing four-on-four because of a hooking call to Tomas Holmstrom coupled with a diving call on Willie Mitchell. Nick Schultz intercepted a failed clearing attempt in the Red Wings’ zone. He sent the puck across to Wes Walz near the corner of the net. Jason Woolley was unable to get back in time to cover, and Walz put the puck past Curtis Joseph.

The Red Wings got a little too relaxed in the secind period, and Minnesota was able to capitalize on one defensive breakdown and one strange bounce to take a two goal lead. First, Joseph let go a large rebound off a shot by Walz, and Richard Park was able to come uncovered to the front of the net to grab the rebound and put it into the wide open space Joseph had left by sliding to make the first stop.

The next goal, only two minutes later, was more of a fluke than a mistake by the defense. Joseph had come out of the net to play the puck, but it bounced off the skate of Chelios and right out in front, where Rickard Wallin was in just the right spot to slap it in for the goal.

Sean Avery attempted to provide some energy for the Wings by starting (and winning) a fight with Stephane Veilleux, and Detroit did manage to come out stronger in the third period. An interference call on Matt Johnson gave Detroit their first power play of the game early in the third. The Wild did their best to shut down the passing lanes, so the Red Wings scored their power play goal in a little different way. Igor Larionov sent a high pass towards the front of the net, and Brett Hull knocked it out of the air. Brendan Shanahan then outworked defender Antti Laaksonen to tap the puck past Roloson.

Detroit had their chances in the rest of the period, but Minnesota played a tight defense and took away most of the passing plays before they could get well set up, and so kept their win.

The final count of shots on net was 38 to 23 for Detroit. The Red Wings’ next game will be Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Rickard Wallin’s goal was the first of his career…. The two points the Wild gained with this win put them ahead of Vancouver for first place in the Northwest Division and tie them with Dallas for first place in the Western Conference…. The MRI on Manny Legace‘s knee shows no damage, but the knee is still sore, and Legace’s condition is listed as day-to-day by the team. Legace feels he should be back in practice by the end of the week. “I just have to get the soreness out,” he explained. Walking hasn’t caused him a problem, but going up and down stairs has been painful. “I have to get my wife to carry me up and down,” he joked.

Running Wild

The Minnesota Wild showed once again that even though they are an expansion team, they are not to be taken lightly, as they and the Red Wings skated to a 3-3 tie.

The first period belonged mainly to the Red Wings, as they applied strong offensive pressure to the Wild, yet still managed to keep the defense tight and keep Minnesota off their guard.

The Red Wings opened the scoring on a power play with 7:48 remaining in the period, while Ladislav Benysek was in the box for high-sticking. Luc Robitaille sent a pass rinkwide to Nick Lidstrom. Lidstrom left the puck for Steve Yzerman, who fired a hard slapshot into the net while Tomas Holmstrom screened Minnesota netminder Manny Fernandez from seeing the puck flying towards him.

Minnesota played more strongly in the second period, allowing fewer giveaways and tying the game four minutes in. Jason Marshall sent a hard shot from the right point, and ended Dominik Hasek‘s shutout streak at 162 minutes and 40 seconds. Yzerman regained the lead for his team midway through the period, during a hooking penalty to Filip Kuba. Holmstrom tried to tip a shot which was blocked by Fernandez, but regained control of the puck and sent it back to Robitaille at the right circle. Robitaille got it across to Yzerman at the blue line, and The Captain sent off a one-time shot right past Fernandez for the goal.

The Red Wings had to go on the penalty kill with 9:11 left in the second when Igor Larionov was sent to the box for high-sticking. The penalty-killers were able to shut down Minnesota’s power play without much problem, but Yzerman was injured when he dropped to the ice and blocked a shot with his left foot. Brett Hull had to help him off the ice. Yzerman tried to return to the game during a later penalty to Max Kuznetsov, but spent only a few seconds on the ice before returning to the dressing room.

The Wild were able to tie up the game again with three minutes left in the period. Wes Walz and Richard Park got a two-on-one rush against Jiri Fischer, leaving Chris Chelios unable to catch up to the play. Walz passed across to Park, and Fischer dropped to the ice to try to take the pass away, but the puck got through and Park was able to flip it past Hasek.

Minnesota took their first lead of the game only forty-eight seconds into the third period. Walz carried the puck into the Detroit zone and left it for Willie Mitchell, who took a wrist shot from the left wing side and sent the puck in on the far side of Hasek.

Robitaille scored the equalizing goal for the Red Wings with six and a half minutes left in the third. Mathieu Dandenault fired a shot from the left wing side. The shot was knocked down by Mitchell as he fell into the net, and the puck went right to Robitaille’s stick. Robitaille was easily able to lift the puck into the net over both Mitchell and Fernandez.

The last minute of regulation play was an offensive flurry by the Red Wings, but they were unable to get the puck past Fernandez again.

The Red Wings ran into penalty trouble in the overtime. Fifty-seven seconds into the extra time, Brendan Shanahan was given a penalty for hooking, sending the Wings to a four-on-three penalty kill. However, Sergei Fedorov, Lidstrom, Chelios, and Hasek were able to rise to the challenge and keep the Wild out of the net, and even carry the puck shorthanded to challenge Fernandez at the other end. Despite strong effort by both teams, neither was able to score again, and the Red Wings left the Xcel Energy Center with their third tie of the season.

Hasek stopped twenty-one of the twenty-four shots he faced, while Fernandez managed to stop twenty of the twenty-three sent against him. The Red Wings will play at home Thursday night againt the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Selanne Dealt as Deadline Nears

But first, the recaps for the bad tie with Phoenix and the even worse loss to Los Angeles.

Now the fun trade stuff… San Jose picked up sniper Teemu Selanne from the Ducks for goalie Steve Shields, winger Jeff Friesen, and a conditional draft pick. Selanne makes the Sharks a threat in the regular season but San Jose will be forced to ride a rookie goalie through the playoffs. Phoenix dealt holdout goalie Nikolai Khabibulan and Stan Neckar to Tampa Bay for defenseman Paul Mara, forwards Mike Johnson and Ruslan Zainullin and a second-round draft pick. The Blues picked up d-man Alexei Gusarov from the Rangers for rookie blueliner Peter Smrek. Defenseman Sean O’Donnell was picked up from the Wild by the Devils for Willie Mitchell and future considerations. I bet this much doesn’t happen on the day of the deadline.

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