Archive for March, 2008

Nashville at Detroit (3/30/08)

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

The Red Wings honored Gordie Howe before the game to celebrate his 80th birthday (a day early). It was a very nice presentation. They gave him a framed jersey with number 17 on it, which was the number he wore his rookie year. Below the jersey in the frame was the original score sheet from his first game. They said that Gordie’s signing bonus was a Red Wings varsity jacket so they also gave him a new updated jacket.

The first period was pretty uneventful. There was no scoring and both teams seemed to be somewhat cautious.

In the second period the Red Wings generated some glorious scoring chances but Nashville’s goalie, Dan Ellis, made an equally glorious save for each one. At the other end Hasek was up to the challenge. He came up big when he had to and kept the Predators off the board. There was still no score heading into the third.

The third period was a carbon copy of the second. The Red Wings had lots of chances and the Predators had lots of miracles. At the end of regulation it was still tied 0-0.

Hasek made a huge save in OT when the Predators had a breakaway. It was one on one against the goalie and Hasek came up big.

All the scoring chances finally paid off for the Wings in OT as Franzen notched ANOTHER game-winning goal. That goal ended a shutout streak for Dan Ellis that lasted over 200 minutes which broke a Predators franchise record. If we end up facing the Predators in the first round of the playoffs this guy could give me nightmares. Maybe we jinxed him by breaking his streak.

This 1-0 win brings us to:
111 points

St. Louis at Detroit (3/28/08)

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Well, tonight was the first game back for Darren McCarty.  It sure is great to see him back in a Red Wings uniform.  In a classy move Babcock put the Grind Line back together to start the game.  They didn’t play together after that, but at least they had that first shift.  It was a nice sign of respect for McCarty’s history with the team. 

The Red Wings celebrated Dallas Drake’s 1000th game.  His family was on hand to join in the pre-game ceremony.

The Red Wings were trying to clinch the President’s Trophy tonight.  They needed two points and a loss by San Jose in order to wrap that up in this game.

The Blues are out of the playoffs for he third year in a row but they are still playing to win.  They were very physical in the first period and opened the scoring on a bang-bang play.  Osgood never had a chance to stop the puck.  It came from behind the net to Brad Boyes and he nailed it without hesitation.

The Blues scored early in he second.  It was another goal that Osgood was mostly helpless to sop.  It started out low and was deflected up off of a skate over Ozzy’s shoulder.

The Red Wings got on the baord not long after that with a power play goal by Rafalski.  It was deflected as well, so that made up for the Blues second goal.

The Blues scored again in the third period on a rising shot from Andy McDonald.  It looked like it might have redirected off of Lidstrom’s leg.  That put the Blues up by two.

The Red Wings got another power play goal thanks to Franzen standing in front of the net cleaning up the rebounds.  He’s been making a habit of that lately.

Then just a few minutes later, Franzen scored again to tie the game.  It was a great pass by Zetterberg right in front of the net and Franzen had an easy tap in.

The tie held until the end of regulation, just barely.  The Blues had a shot with less than a minute to go that bounced over Osgood and came down just on the top of the net.  Luckily it kept going and came down behind instead of in front of the net.

The Blues scored the game winner in OT.  So the Wings came away with a point.  That’s not enough to clinch the President’s Trophy even if San Jose loses, so that’ll have to wait for another day.  All in all, the Red Wings played pretty well.

This 4-3 overtime loss brings us to:
109 points

Detroit at St. Louis (3/25/08)

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Dan Cleary returned to the Red Wings lineup tonight and made an impact right away.  He took a shot in the first period and Legace gave up a rebound that was popped in by Zetterberg.  Cleary was credited with the only assist on the goal.

The Blues scored early in the second period.  Detroit turned the puck over around their own blue line and it was taken by Andy McDonald all the way to the net.  He made a nice deek around Osgood and burned him for the Blues only goal.

In third period Franzen got a nice working man’s goal by standing in Holmstrom’s office and cleaning up the rebound after a shot by Lidstrom.  Franzen continues to play well, let’s hope he rolls right into the playoffs like this.

The Blues pulled their goalie with about a minute and a half to go.  They generated some chances but weren’t able to tie the game.

This 2-1 win brings us to:
108 points

Detroit at Columbus (3/22/08)

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

The game started off with a pretty fast pace. Detroit looked great and got lots of shots on goal while holding the Blue Jackets to very few.  In fact, the Blue Jackets were down by two goals before registering their first shot. The Red Wings scored two power play goals in the first 10 minutes. Datsyuk showed great patience on the first goal.  He waited for the perfect opening to feed Lidstrom for the slap shot. Zetterberg got the second goal into a mostly wide open net thanks to a nice cross ice pass again from Datsyuk.

The Red Wings continued to dominate in the second period. They didn’t get any more goals, but they skated circles around Columbus. The Wings were first to almost every loose puck. They just seemed to have a lot more fire than the Blue Jackets.

Rick Nash scored for the Blue Jackets in the opening seconds of the third period.  That seem to give the team a little energy and they started playing a bit better.  It was short-lived however.  Franzen continued his hot streak with a goal set up by a nice fake shot by Chelios.   Then Datsyuk did some great work on a penalty kill, made nice move on Norrena and scored short handed.  That put out whatever spark the Jackets had left.

Overall it was an incredible performance by the Red Wings.  A complete 60 minute team effort.  Just the sort of game that you want to see going into the playoffs.

This 4-1 win brings us to:
106 points

Detroit at Nashville (3/20/08)

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Detroit had tons of chances in the first period but couldn’t capitalize. They even beat the goalie once but a Nashville player was on the goal line and slapped the puck out of the air away from the net as it was on its way in. Nashville managed to score on a lucky bounce that went off of somebody’s skate. There was nothing Hasek could have done about it.

The defensemen took matters into their own hands in the second as Kronwall, Chelios, and Rafalski all scored.  Nashville pulled their goalie after only the second goal.  Seemed a little harsh, but I can’t second guess Barry Trotz, he’s a phenomenal coach.  Hasek made some great saves on the few occasions he was called upon in the second.

It got a little chippy at the end of the period.  Nothing much came of it though.  Lilja and Fiddler looked more like they were about to make out than fight.

Nashville mounted a comeback in the third scoring two goals in quick succession.  Franzen answered with an awesome individual effort carrying the puck all around the offensive zone and then popping it in the net.

Hasek made some incredible saves as Nashville tried to come back.  Then Datsyuk took the puck on a breakaway and beat the goalie.  He added an empty netter for good measure and that put the Nashville Predators to bed.

This 6-3 win brings us to:
104 points

Columbus at Detroit (3/19/08)

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

The first period was relatively dull. The Red Wings didn’t get much going offensively since they were busy killing off penalties most of the time. There were a few defensive mistakes but Osgood was there to save their bacon as needed.

The second period was more of the same. The only difference was the Blue Jackets scored a power play goal. It was somewhat controversial because the refs sent Lidstrom to the box for high sticking but it was actually Rafalski who committed the foul. Not only that but the high stick happened after a Columbus player ran into Osgood. If that would have been called or if Lidstrom had been on the ice the goal might not have happened.

As dull as the first two periods were, the third period more than made up for it.  Zetterberg decided to take matters into his own hands.  He started with a goal on which he took the puck all the way through the zone, beating two defenders and the goalie to score by sheer force of will.  Then he scored a power play goal on a brilliant pass from Datsyuk to take the lead.  Only a few seconds later he stole puck near center ice and Norrena came out to challenge.  Zetterberg dipped around him and popped in it for a natural hat trick!

To the best of my recollection this is the first time that I’ve seen a true natural hat trick.  Way to go, Hank!

This 3-1 win brings us to:
102 points

Detroit at Columbus (3/16/08)

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

This game started with a great flow, hardly any whistles. Unfortunately, Hasek gave up a goal on the second shot on goal.

The first period was very physical. There were lots of big hits. Even Datsyuk was playing rough and took a penalty at the end of the period for hitting somebody who didn’t have the puck. I think he might be trying to avoid the Lady Byng this year.

Hasek didn’t have a good look at Columbus’ second goal because he was screened. He was still able to kick puck away from the net when he saw it at the last second but it hit Chelios and bounced back into the net.

Columbus’ third goal was batted out of the air in front of Hasek. It looked to me like it was a high stick but it was hard to tell for sure. They reviewed and found it to be good so I’ll have to take their word for it.

The Wings got on the board when two Blue Jackets collided causing an odd man rush. One of the Blue Jackets players apparently did some yapping after the goal and got a 2 minute unsportsmanlike penalty. The Red Wings were unable to even get a single shot on the power play.

After the power play ended the Jackets really started buzzing (no pun intended). They outworked the Red Wings and got another goal. That was the last straw for Babcock and he put Osgood in to replace Hasek.

Detroit’s got another goal on the power play when Datsyuk made a sick pass to Franzen. Even in slow motion it was hard to see what happened. It was like lighting.

Franzen got another power play goal late in the third by working hard in front of the net. It was a great for him.

Unfortunately, even though Ozzy didn’t allow anymore goals, the Wings weren’t able to score enough to catch up and ended up with another loss.

This 4-3 loss brings us to:
100 points

Nashville at Detroit (3/15/08)

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

This game got off to a bit of a slow start. Both teams made a lot of mistakes. They both looked somewhat lethargic which may have been a result of the early start time (1:00 PM).

In the first period there was a big pile up around Osgood as Nashville players came within inches of pushing the puck over the goal line. Ozzy made at least two great saves in the middle of the pile to keep the game even.

Nashville’s first goal was one that Osgood probably should have stopped. He gave up just a little bit of room on the short side and that’s where the puck went.

Detroit tied it up with a great play by Kronwall. A nice give and go and nobody covered him. He was left with a wide open net when he got the puck back. He really has a great offensive touch for a defensemen. I see a possible Norris trophy in his future if he can stay healthy.

In the second period Nashville scored on a giveaway that was caused by a miscommunication between Osgood and Kronwall. Ozzy dropped off the puck, but it was too far away from Kronwall for him to get it before the Nashville player did. He pulled it back and popped in the net before Osgood could get back. It was a strange play and a fluke, but that’s going to happen once in a while.

Detroit had a great opportunity to tie the game when Nashville was assessed a four minute high-sticking penalty for an unintentional stick to the face of Hudler, but the Wings failed to convert.

The Red Wings pulled the goalie with about a minute to go but were not able to score. Nashville bagged the empty netter and that was the end for Detroit.

This 3-1 loss brings us to:
100 points

Dallas at Detroit (3/13/08)

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

The Dallas Stars came to town tonight as Detroit’s biggest Western Conference rival. When the Wings were slumping, the Stars were on a tear. They were gaining ground the whole time, but never really got too close.

Darren Helm made his NHL debut filling in for Kris Draper who they say has a “slightly torn” groin. Helm is being billed as the next Kris Draper. Drapes is expected to miss only a few games.

Franzen got the first goal for the Red Wings on an absolutely incredible redirect in front of the net. It was a thing of beauty and it brings Franzen to 18 goals for the season as he climbs towards the 20 goal mark. He’s been amazing lately, and let’s hope he keeps it going straight through the playoffs.

Detroit’s second goal was another great one by Pavel Datsyuk. He just did his thing. Snatched the puck, made quick shot, then got his own rebound and scored.

Datsyuk also scored the third goal with a great slapshot, which is pretty rare for him.

Samuelsson got the fourth goal by working hard down low which came just a few seconds after the third goal.

After that the Red Wings shut things down. The Stars pulled the goalie and Filppula got the empty net goal to seal the deal.

Osgood made a stellar glove save to stop the Stars from tying the game after they pulled their goalie.

The Red Wings clinched their 8th straight 100 point season with this win. They also clinched a playoff spot for the 17th straight season which is the longest active streak in professional sports.

This 5-3 win brings us to:
100 points

Chicago at Detroit (3/11/08)

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

This Original Six match up was Dallas Drake’s 1000th game. Bud Lynch announced it in the arena and the crowd gave him a nice ovation. His family traveled from Traverse City to attend the game. Drake also picked up his 300th assist on Maltby’s goal so it was a good day for him all around.

Chelios returned to the lineup tonight after recovering from a chipped fibula. He appears to be back in form.

For the first two minutes of the game it looked like a power play for Chicago. Unfortunately, it wasn’t, the Wings were just having a bad start. They failed to clear a couple of times and ended getting stuck in their own zone on a long shift. Luckily, Osgood was great, as usual, and kept things under control. After that first shift things settled down and the played moved into the Hawks end for most of the rest of the game. By the end the shots on goal were really lopsided in favor of Detroit.

At one point there was scuffle along the boards and everybody’s sticks came up. Samuelsson ended up getting cross-checked in the face by Wisniewski. Sammy got 2 minutes for slashing and Wisniewski got a 5 minute major and a game misconduct. The league will review the play today and decide if he should be suspended. It did look like he did it on purpose, but it wasn’t really that hard of a cross-check, it just caught Sammy in a soft spot. It could have been a lot worse if he’d really wanted to hurt him.

There was an exciting moment when Robert Lang was awarded a penalty shot. Ozzy came up big and made the stop.

Franzen got the empty goal to clinch it the game.

The broadcast crew announced during the game that Dan Cleary signed a 5 year deal with the Wings today worth $14 million. That’s excellent news for the Wings. Cleary is expected to return March 25 after being out with a broken jaw. As a side note, I really wish all the players would wear face shields. If an injury like Cleary’s happens at the wrong time to the wrong player, it could mean the difference between winning the Stanley Cup and losing it. Is it really worth that kind of risk? I don’t think it should be mandatory, but I do think they should all choose to wear one.

This 3-1 win brings us to:
98 points