Archive for January, 2009

Detroit at Washington (1/31/09)

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Detroit went to Washington D.C. for this afternoon’s game against the Capitals.  Conklin was our goalie and Jose Theodore was in for the Caps.  The Red Wings were without Zetterberg and Holmstrom who are both nursing injuries.  Chelios was a late healthy scratch.  Leino and Abdelkader were in to fill the gaps.

The Red Wings looked pretty good in the first period.  There was a lot of energy on both sides.  There were a lot of good scoring chances but no goals until late in the period.  Towards the end of the period Ville Leino got his first NHL goal to open the scoring for the Wings.  And it was a beauty.  He skated in on the net and turn around backwards.  He waited a bit and backhanded the puck backwards into the net.  He sure didn’t waste any time making the most of his opportunity.

Shortly after Detroit scored Washington answered back with a goal of their own.  It was a long shot from the point that came through a lot of traffic and was deflected in front of Conklin.  There’s nothing he could have done about it.  That made it one to one at the end of the first period.

Again in the second period there wasn’t any scoring until the late stages.  This time it was the Capitals that got the jump.  A Caps player was tripped up by Filppula but he still got the pass away to Mike Green in the high slot area.  There was a delayed penalty on the play but Green wristed it by Conklin before they even got an extra skater out.

Then in the final minute of the period Detroit answered with their second goal.  It was a power play goal that started with a slap shot by Hudler from the point.  Theodore made the initial save but Franzen was right there to knock in the rebound.  That tied the game at two heading into the second intermission.

More than half off the third period passed without any goals.  With about seven minutes left Ovechkin scored.  He made a great move and a tricky shot that fooled Conklin and broke the tie.

A few seconds later Maltby was called for cross checking.  It took just six seconds of power play time for Ovechkin to score again.  Backstrom shot the puck and the rebound came back to him.  He tapped it to Ovechkin who was all alone near the net.  It was an easy goal that looked almost unchallenged by the Wings.  Ovechkin hadn’t had a shot since the first period and then in the third he scored on his next two shots.  He’s an explosive player but the Wings had some serious lapses of defense, too.  So, with five minutes to go the Wings were down by two.

With about a minute and a half left Washington was penalized for hooking and Detroit pulled their goalie so it was six on four.  Then Washington got another penalty call, this time for putting the puck over the glass.  Detroit put Conklin back in and went with five on three.  A few seconds later the Caps got another penalty for throwing the puck over the glass again.  That kept it five on three but it took Poti, who is one of the Caps best penalty killers, off the ice.  That all made it a little more exciting but the Wings still needed two goal in 53 seconds just to tie.  There was one shot that looked like it was in but it hit the post and came right back out.  Unfortunately they weren’t able to score.

This was Detroit’s fifth loss in a row.  I thought they played pretty well in this one overall but a few breakdowns can really cost you when the other team has somebody like Ovechkin.

This 2-4 loss brings us to:
69 points

Dallas at Detroit (1/29/09)

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

The Dallas Stars came to town tonight to face the Wings.  The goalies for this game were Osgood and Turco.  The Red Wings put Brad Stuart on IR because of the torn rib cartilage he suffered when he crashed head first into the boards in Phoenix.  Zetterberg was also still out with back spasms.  The Wings called up Ville Leino, and Aaron Downey to fill the gaps.  Downey was in tonight’s game and Leino will be in on Saturday.

Detroit got off to a sloppy start again in this game.  The Stars looked sharp and ready to play.

In the first period Detroit was penalized for a very questionable holding call.  On the ensuing power play Dallas scored.  Richards took the shot and it was tipped in by Ott.

Shortly after the goal, Chelios swung his stick around blindly as he was turning and caught a Stars player square in the teeth.  It drew blood so it was an automatic double minor.  On the first penalty the Stars scored again.  They moved the puck at will, got Osgood to one side and then shot it on on the other side.  That gave the Stars an early two nothing lead.

Near the end of the first period Draper was kicked out of the face off circle and Cleary took his place.  He lost the face off and the Stars put the puck right to the slot where Conner one-timed it for their third unanswered goal.

Babcock changed goalies to start the second period.  The goals weren’t really Osgood’s fault.  Babcock was hopping that putting in Conklin would give the team a spark.

Early in the second period Detroit took another penalty.  Eriksson went towards the net with the puck.  When Conklin committed he put it around him and into the net.  Four nothing Stars.

Then Detroit went on the power play and were finally able to get their first goal of the game.  Rafalski sent it from the point towards Hossa in the slot.  Hossa redirected it towards the net and Holmstrom tipped past Turco.  That made it four to one Dallas.

Detroit scored again late in the second.  Lilja shot the puck from the blue line.  It might have been redirected off of a Stars player in front of the net.  Either way it brought the Wings to within two.

The Red Wings came alive in the second period.  They started to play much more physically.  There were tons of big hits and scraps.  The crowd really got into it in the second as well.  The Wings actually should have had another goal at the end of the second period but it was waved off.  They said it was because Holmstrom made contact with Turco.  However, the replays showed the Turco first whacked him in the skate and then Holmstrom was pushed into Turco by a Stars player.

In the third period the Wings tried to come back and score but were never able to do so.  The game ended four to two.

This was a pretty entertaining game.  Unfortunately, the Red Wings had dug themselves such a big hole in the first period that when they started playing well it was too little too late.

This 4-2 loss brings us to:
69 points

Zetterberg Signs 12 Year Contract Extension

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Henrik Zetterberg has signed a new 12 year deal that will keep him in Detroit until he’s 40.  The Wings see him as their future captain.  Having him as a lifetime Red Wings is an amazing accomplishment for the Ken Holland and his staff.  It’s a testament to the greatness of the organization which starts with the ownership.  Thank goodness the Ilitch family is so great to work for because that’s the root of why the Red Wings are so consistently good.

Apparently, a conversation with Steve Yzerman helped Zetterberg make his decision to stay.  Over the next 12 years Zetterberg has the opportunity to build a legacy on par with that of Yzerman.  We’ll be watching Red Wings history in the making.

It’s great to see that even in the salary cap era you can still find a loyal franchise player.   Way to go, Hank!

Detroit at Columbus (1/27/09)

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

The Red Wings were in Columbus tonight to face the Blue Jackets.  This was the first game back after the All-Star break. Lidstrom and Datsyuk were out of the lineup because they sat out for the All-Star game.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.  See the previous post if you want a few more details.

Osgood was in net for the Wings and Mason was in for the Blue Jackets.

The Red Wings seemed a little rusty for the first five minutes or so.  Columbus was out-shooting them and out-chancing them.  Then near the halfway point of the period Detroit got a power play and Hossa scored.  Osgood made some fantastic saves early on and throughout the first period to give his team a chance to find their rhythm.

Early in the second period Zetterberg left the game with back spasms and did not return.  Later in the second Detroit went on the power play.  Nash intercepted a pass from Meech and took off toward the net.  He ended up all alone against Osgood.  His shot squeaked through the five hole for a shorthanded goal.

Before the Blue Jackets had even finished celebrating Lebda scored to re-take the lead.  After the face off everybody was fighting for the puck and it came back to Lebda.  He shot it through about four people.  Mason didn’t see it until it was right on top of him.  He didn’t have a chance on that one.  That made it two one Detroit.

A few minutes later the Blue Jackets went on the power play.  Nash threw the puck towards the front of the net and it went off Rafalski and into the net.

After two period Detroit was trailing in every category including shots, chances, face off wins and hits.  Suffice it to say that they were lucky to be tied.

There was no scoring in the third which left the score tied at the end of regulation.

In the overtime period Rick Nash scored the game winner for Columbus.  They shot the puck and it kind of bounced around in front of the net.  Osgood was in position for the shot but instead it ended up at the side of the net.  Nash came around from behind and popped it in before Osgood could get over there.  That was a game winning overtime goal and also gave Nash a hat trick so the crowd went bananas. The Columbus fans should go home and write a thank you note to Commissioner Bettman.

This didn’t seem like a very good performance by the Wings.  Of course they were missing some significant players to begin with and then lost Zetterberg.

This 2-3 overtime loss brings us to:
69 points

NHL Penalizes Red Wings

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

The NHL has decided to punish the Red Wings because Lidstrom and Datsyuk are injured.  Apparently, Commissioner Bettman thinks that they’re faking.  Since they pulled out of the All-Star game (due to injury), the league is forcing them to sit out their next game which is Tuesday against Columbus.

This seems quite ridiculous to me.  They seem to think that people are pretending to be hurt to purposely skip the game and have some time off.  I don’t think this is a real problem.  Most players would love to participate in the All-Star game.

That being said, I was a bit happy to see the Wings players skip the game.  I saw it as a bit of a slap in the face to the fans who voted in all Montreal players instead of players that were most deserving.  I don’t really think that was the intent but it didn’t bother me as a side effect.

I guess Commissioner Bettman saw it as a group boycott by the Wings.  Coach Babcock is still participating as assistant coach.  If he had also claimed injury then I might see it as a boycott.

Detroit at Phoenix (1/20/09)

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Tonight the Red Wings went to Phoenix for the final game of their long road trip and their final game before the all star break.  The net minders were Conklin for the Wings and Bryzgalov for the Coyotes.  Franzen was still out with the same hip strain that caused him to leave the game in San Jose.  He expects to be fully recovered after the all star break.

About halfway through the first period Brad Stuart went head first into the boards very heavily.  He was down on his knees and couldn’t get his hands up to slow himself down.  He went straight in and just tucked his head under.  It looked like he hit with the back of his neck right on the top of the spine.  When I saw the replay I was worried that he might have broken his neck.  Luckily, he was able to stand up and walk off the ice with some assistance. 

Detroit had a power play in the first period and Samuelsson got the puck in low around the bottom of the circle.  Bryzgalov gave him a puck-sized sliver of net over the short side shoulder and Samuelsson took the shot.  He placed it perfectly and scored to take the lead for the Wings.

Later in the first period the Coyotes evened the score.  Morris shot the puck from the top of the circle.  He got all of it and beat Conklin with the hard shot.  There was a delayed penalty coming to Detroit but Phoenix did not have an extra skater on the ice yet at the time of the goal.  It still negated the penalty of course but it was an even strength goal.

The Coyotes scored a power play goal in the second period.  It took just a few seconds of the power play time for them to do it.  Right off the faceoff the puck came back to Yandle.  He ripped one that beat Conklin for the goal.  That put Phoenix up by one.

Then Phoenix took two slashing penalties close enough together that Detroit had over a minute of 5 on 3 power play time.  Lidstrom scored with a blast from the point with one second left on the first penalty.  Apparently the penalty clock wasn’t quite accurate though.  The official ruling was that the first penalty had expired so the Wings did not stay on the power play.

Hossa was stripped of the puck and Coyotes started up ice.  Hossa was able to get back and cover the man with the puck but he passed it back and then it went across to Jokinen who scored to take the lead.

At the end of the second period Detroit had a power play after Lidstrom was high-sticked.  On the power play Lidstrom released a shot from the blue line.  It hit a stick in front of the net and went in.  That goal tied the game at three with just a few seconds left in the period.

Early in the third Phoenix had a power play.  They moved the puck well and Jovanovski scored to take back the lead.  Then, moments later Conklin, made a huge save to prevent things from getting any worse.  That showed some great concentration by him to not be rattled by the recent goal.

He was beat for another goal a few minutes later though.  It was a great individual effort by Lisin.  He chipped puck up past Lidstrom and went after it.  Then he brought it towards the middle after making a great move against Rafalski.  He released a hard shot that earned him the Coyotes fifth goal.

In the final few minutes Conklin went to the bench for and extra skater.  Lisin scored an empty net goal making the score six to three.

This is the first time this year that the Wings have had back to back regulation losses.  

At some point during the third period Datsyuk left the game.  It was unclear why at the time.  Later it was revealed that he had a hip flexor problem and was going to have to miss the all star game.  It was also announced that Lidstrom would be skipping the all star game because of an elbow problem.  Babcock will still be going as assistant coach to the Sharks Todd McClellan.  Brad Stuart was not seriously injured but has a sore neck.

This was not a very good game for the Wings.  It’s a good time for a week long break during which they can recover and regroup a little bit.  Franzen, Stuart, Datsyuk and Lidstrom are all have problems of varying severity so the break couldn’t come at a better time.

This 3-6 loss brings us to:
68 points

Detroit at San Jose (1/17/09)

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

The Red Wings rolled into San Jose for tonight’s game against the Sharks.  Interestingly enough, this game marked the latest point in the season that two teams with this high of a win percentage have ever played each other in the history of the NHL.  It’s kind of an obscure stat but still interesting.  Osgood was the goalie for Detroit and Nabokov was in for the Sharks.  Also, this game gives us another look at Todd McClellan’s awesome new team.  The Sharks are arguably our biggest rival in the Western Conference.  The victor in this game would claim the top spot in the West.

The Sharks scored first in this game.  Dan Boyle got puck right around the faceoff circle.  He ripped one that went over Osgood’s shoulder into the top shelf.  It was a heck of a shot to give the Sharks the early lead.  Osgood didn’t give him much room but Boyle threaded the needle perfectly.

Just a few seconds later Filppula entered the zone with the puck.  He released a shot that Nabokov got a piece of but not enough to stop it from going into the net.  So the Red Wings had a quick answer for Boyle’s goal.

Later in the first there was a delayed penalty call against the Red Wings so the Sharks had an extra man on the ice.  They moved the puck really well and got a pass from one side to Pavelski on the other side.  He one timed it into the net before Osgood could get over.

Early in the second period Hossa drew a penalty.  On the power play Datsyuk passed the puck from the boards to Hossa in the circle.  Hossa shot the puck immediately and burned Nabokov to tie the game at two.

Nearing the five minute mark of the second period Detroit took the lead.  Datsyuk threaded the needle through traffic in front of the net.  He got the puck to Franzen on the other side.  It was an easy tap in goal for Franzen to put the Wings up three to two.  This goal came after a very timely timeout call by Babcock that got some much needed rest for his guys.

Later in the second Detroit was shorthanded after Samuelsson hit Nabokov and then got involved in a scrum.  On the penalty kill Lilja slashed Thornton so the Wings were short two men for a minute and a half.  The Wings killed off the 5 on 3 but the Sharks scored with just three seconds left on the second penalty .  There was a shot and the rebound came to Ehrhoff.  He teed it up and launched it past Osgood to re-tie the game.

Then the Wings scored right off a faceoff win.  Zetterberg won the draw by kicking the puck back with his skate.  It ended up pinballing around in front of the net and Zetterberg popped it in.

Near the end of the second period the Sharks were on the power play.  There was a shot from the point that hit traffic in front of the net and bounced to Cheechoo.  He poked it in to tie the game at four.

There was a nasty edge to this game that built throughout the first two periods.  It definitely had a playoff feel to it.  In fact it had the feel of the old Colorado Detroit rivalry.  These two teams do not seem to like each other very much, no matter how good of a friend the Sharks coach is.

After two periods the Red Wings had been badly outshot by the Sharks.  That is very unusual for the Wings and even more unusual is that fact that the game was still even.  Based on the shot total I’d have expected to be losing at that point.

At the end of the second there was a rather large scrum.  Somehow Thornton ended up with an extra minor even though everything seemed pretty even.  That gave the Wings a power play to start the third period.  Franzen received a minor in that scrum but was not in the box reportedly because he was injured.  They announced that he was out with a lower body injury and would not return.  Very disturbing.  I later learned that the problem was a sore hip that had actually been bothering him throughout the day.  It was not anything that happened during the game.

Midway through the second period Michalek took the puck at center ice and entered the Red Wings zone with speed.  The Wings gave chase but it was too late to catch him.  He came in one on one against Osgood and took a shot that beat Ozzie to take the lead for the Sharks.

A few minutes later it happened again.  Patrick Marleau got the puck streaking into the Red Wings zone.  He split the defense, came in on Osgood and burned him for a goal.  That put the Sharks up six to four.

With only two minutes left in the third Detroit scored again to pull within one.  Zetterberg dropped the puck off for Rafalski.  He skated in hard a ripped it past Nabokov for the goal.

With Osgood on the bench in the final minute the Red Wings had several good chances to tie the game but the Sharks and Nabokov came up strong to prevent it.

Even though the Red Wings lost, this was a very entertaining game.  It was hotly contested from beginning to end and felt very much like a playoff game.  I can’t wait to see the two teams play again.

This 5-6 loss brings us to:
68 points

Detroit at Los Angeles (1/15/09)

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Tonight the Red Wings were in Los Angeles to play the Kings.  Ty Conklin was the starting goalie for the Wings and Jon Quick was in for the Kings.

Detroit drew first blood with a gravy goal scored by the fourth line.  The Kings turned the puck over behind their own net.  Draper took it and put it to the front where Maltby picked it up and sent it into the net.  After the goal Maltby was mugged by several Kings.  When the penalties were assessed Detroit ended up with a power play.

Conklin made at least two monstrous saves in the first period.  He was looking very sharp early on.  It’s a good thing because otherwise the Kings could have had an early lead instead of the other way around.

Later on in the first period Detroit scored a great power play goal.  They moved the puck very well from Hudler to Zetterberg and then to Franzen in front of the net for the tap in.  Tic tac goal.

In the second period Hudler set up a nice goal by Samuelsson.  Everybody thought that Hudler was going to shoot so they sort of lost track of Sameulsson.  Instead of shooting Hudler passed it to Sameulsson who was near the net on the opposite side of the goalie.  He got the pass and tipped it into the open side of the net.  

Later in the second period the Wings got another goal from their fourth line when Draper scored.  Kopecky took the pass from Maltby and sent it to the front of the net.  Draper was there to take the pass and ripped it into the net.  That made it four nothing Red Wings.

That was the end of the scoring for the game.  The third period came and went more or less uneventfully.  The Red Wings were able to move the puck well and the Kings weren’t able to do much besides take penalties.  It was a great shutout for Conklin who played brilliantly.  The Wings dominated the entire game.

This 4-0 win brings us to:
68 points

Detroit at Anaheim (1/14/09)

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Detroit continued their road trip tonight with a game at Anaheim.  Giguere was the goaltender for Anaheim and Osgood was in for the Wings.

Detroit scored first with a great play that featured Datsyuk finding Holmstrom in front of the net with a perfect pass.  Holmstrom tipped it by Giguere for the goal.

Anaheim also scored in the first period.  They had about three or four whacks at it.  Osgood was making save after save but wasn’t hanging on to the puck.  Eventually it came to Getzlaf right on the doorstep.  He got it in underneath Osgood for the goal.  Then at the end of the period the Ducks got a power play and scored again.  Getzlaf passed to Perry who shot and scored.  That made it two to one Anaheim with less than a minute left in the first period.

Early in the second Detroit scored a power play goal to tie it up again.  Kronwall threw the puck into the zone with what looked to be a hard around.  It took a strange bounce off the boards and came right back to the middle.  Hudler stepped into it and one-timed it in.

Montador scored a goal for the Ducks in the second period.  A Red Wings penalty had just expired so it was not a power play goal.  Montador ripped a hard shot that beat Ozzie.

Meech was hit in the second period.  He put his left leg behind him awkwardly and was injured on the play.  He may have overextended his thigh or as Larry Murphy mentioned it could have been a charlie horse or a twisted knee.  In any event he left the ice immediately and had to be helped down the tunnel.  He returned in the third so it must not have been too serious.

That was all the scoring in the second period so the Ducks ended up leading the Wings three to two.  The Wings did play better in the second period though.  They out shot the Ducks 14 to 4.

Right around the midway point of the third period the Red Wings exploded for two quick goals.  The first one was all Dan Cleary.  He had the puck along the boards and just turned with it and made a strong move to the net.  He ripped a shot that beat Giguere.  Then, just a few seconds later Datsyuk took a shot with Holmstrom and Franzen in front.  Franzen batted the puck out of mid air and into the net.  They reviewed it to see if it was a high stick but it was a good goal.  That made it four three Red Wings.

The Ducks pulled their goalie at the end.  They came close to tying it up but Osgood made some huge saves and they held on for the win.

The Wings played pretty well in this game.  They had a few lapses of defense but they overcame them and held on for the strong finish.

This 4-3 win brings us to:
66 points

Detroit at Dallas (1/12/09)

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Detroit started their six game road trip tonight in Dallas.  Osgood was the goalie for Detroit and Turco was in for the Stars.

In the first period Osgood was sharp and it’s a good thing because the Wings started out looking a little flat.  The Stars had an early power play so that made it tough for the Red Wings to get into their groove.  By the second half of the first period things started to shape up.  Holmstrom got the puck along the boards and sent it back to Rafalski at the blue line.  He shot it and it deflected into the net off of a Dallas player.  Then a few minutes later Datsyuk brought the puck into the zone, made a nice move and dished it back to Holmstrom in the slot.  Homer tipped it in and Detroit was up two to nothing.

A few minutes later Dallas scored a very unlikely goal.  Grossman, who’s never scored an NHL goal, shot the puck.  He got it to the net over two Red Wings that went down to block the shot and through two or three other people that were in front of the net.  Osgood never had much of a look at it because of all the traffic in front of him.  Grossman was originally credited with the goal but it was changed to Parrish so Grossman is still looking for his first.

Just a couple of minutes later the Red Wings got that one back.  Lidstrom shot from the point with Hossa on the doorstep.  Turco made the inital stop and Hossa scored on the rebound.

Less than a minute into the second period Robidas shot from close to the point.  The shot deflected off of Brad Stuart and into the net.

A few seconds later Osgood got into a pinch and played the puck outside of the trapezoid.  On the ensuing power play he made an incredible save.  He kept the puck out of the net even though he himself was shoved in.  After a lengthy review the call of no goal was upheld.  The Red Wings went on to kill off the rest of that penalty.  

Later in the second period Parrish scored again for Dallas.  He got the puck in the high slot and released it quickly.  There was traffic in front again.  It was probably hard for Osgood to see it coming until it was too late.  That goal tied the game at three.

In the final couple of minutes of the second period Osgood made some huge saves to keep the game tied.  However, he accidentally high-sticked one of the Stars as he skated by the net.  It ripped the guy’s lip open so it was a four minute penalty to Osgood.  Detroit got out of the period but would have a lengthy power play to kill in the third.

The Red Wings killed off the rest of the four minute penalty.  Then later in the third Datsyuk scored a great goal.  He muscled his way into the zone and burned Turco with a wrister to take back the lead.  It was one that Turco should have had but didn’t.

At the three minutes left mark Dallas tied the game with a power play goal that was scored by Ott.  They moved the puck very well and picked apart the Red Wings defense.

That goal held and regulation ended with a four to four tie.

The Stars scored the overtime goal for the win.  It got messy in front of the net and Daley came in cleaned it up.  Detroit was badly outshot by the Stars.  They were lucky to get a point out of this one.  Osgood was spectacular but I can’t say the same for most of the rest of the team.

This 5-4 overtime loss brings us to:
64 points