Archive for January, 2009

Buffalo at Detroit (1/10/09)

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

The Buffalo Sabres rolled into Joe Louis Arena tonight to face the Wings after just having played the night before.  Kronwall was a scratch for this game apparently for a health issue not an injury.  Mickey made it sounds like he probably just had a cold or something.  Ryan Miller was the starting net minder for the Sabres and Conklin was in for Detroit.

Ken Daniels called this game from between the benches and carried a handheld camera to get footage from that vantage point.  Mickey Redmond was alone in the booth and Larry Murphy was wandering around on foot.

Buffalo opened the scoring in the first period.  Conklin initially made the stop but he was down on his knees and the puck ended up on the ice in front of him.  Derek Roy chipped it over his leg and in to give the Sabres the one nothing lead.

There was a lot of action in the first period but Detroit wasn’t able to answer the goal.  The pace was really fast.  There were very few whistles and lots of end to end action.  The Sabres obviously came to play and Miller was looking very sharp.  Detroit was better in all the stats after one period except for the most important one.  The Sabres were doing a great job of clogging up the neutral zone and not letting Detroit move the puck.  The Wings were still getting some good scoring chances but Miller was sharp each time.

Nearing the end of second period the Wings persistence finally paid off.  Lebda brought the puck into the zone with speed.  He passed it back to Hudler who beat Miller with a one timer.  That was the only goal in the second period so it was tied up after two.

Nearing the end of the third period Hudler fed Sauelsson perfectly in front of the net.  he pulled the puck in and moved to the other side of the crease.  Miller dove in that direction and laid out on the ice.  Samuelsson took his time and chipped it up and over him to give the Wings the lead.  Then just a few seconds later they did it again.  Zetterberg passed to Hossa in the slot.  He ripped it at Miller.  Miller made the initial stop but the puck looked like it got through under his arm.  He had it at first but it dropped out behind him inside the goal line.  Just like that the Wings had a two goal lead with less than two minutes to go.

The Red Wings hung on to win the game three to one.  They played very very well in this game against a Buffalo team that had a lot of energy.  The Wings had a season high 48 shots on goal which was more than twice what the Sabres had.

This 3-1 win brings us to:
63 points

Dallas at Detroit (1/8/09)

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Tonight’s opponent was the Dallas Stars.  Turco was in net for them and Osgood was in for us.  The Stars aren’t doing very well in the standings because they had a very slow start.  They’ve been playing better lately though.

Early in the first period Zetterberg won a faceoff in the Dallas end.  He got the puck to Brad Stuart who then passed it to Hossa near the point.  Hossa took the long shot and there was just enough traffic in the way that Turco didn’t see it until it was too late.  That gave the Wings the early one nothing lead.

Later in the first period Zetterberg made a pass from the hash marks near the boards to Kronwall at the blue line.  Kronwall shot the puck and it ended up dropping to the ice in front of the net near the post.  Cleary was right on the doorstep and he whacked it in.  This play was greatly facilitated by Hossa who got in the way of a defenseman which prevented him from intercepting Zetterberg’s pass.

In the second period the grinders got into the act.  Draper threw the puck from his own zone to center ice.  It bounced off one of the Stars and Kronwall picked it up and took off.  He entered the zone with speed and dished it to Kopecky who took the shot.  Turco stopped that shot but the rebound came right to Maltby who roofed it for the goal.  It was a beautiful goal, and a good team effort by the hard-working guys.

Later in the second the Red Wings scored a power play goal.  Datsyuk dumped the puck into the zone and it came around the boards towards Holmstrom.  A Dallas defenseman was again going for the puck and Hossa got in his way.  Holmstrom got the puck and slapped it past Turco.  By rule that should have been interference on Hossa because he hit the defenseman and neither of them ever had the puck.  Mickey Redmond pointed that out as well.  He wants the Wings to win but he wants the game to be fair and called consistently.  I agree 100%.

Tobias Stephan replaced Marty Turco to start the third period.

Within the first minute of the third period Dallas scored a goal.  Daley shot the puck and Osgood stopped it.  Then the clearing attempt came right back to him and he shot it again.  It was deflected in front by Eriksson and went past Osgood for the goal.  That made it four to one Wings.

On the next play Kronwall made a clean hit on Ribeiro.  It was a big hit, he pretty well leveled him.  Then, as soon as Kronwall turned around after the hit, Ott crosschecked him in the back.  One of the worst aspects of the NHL is the retaliation for a good clean hit.  Hitting is part of the game and the enforcers on every team should realize that a clean hit, no matter how hard, should not be cause for retaliation.  This was just discussed recently on NHL Live.  It’s a problem that’s getting worse and it probably needs to be addressed by the NHLPA, not the league.  It’s an internal problem that the players need to work out if they don’t want to kill the game.

A few minutes later Detroit ended up with a 4 on 3 power play.  Datsyuk took the faceoff against Steve Ott.  Datsyuk won it back to Lidstrom who made a perfect pass back to Datsyuk.  He wristed a laser beam shot to the top shelf making it five to one Wings.

Not long after that things got ridiculous.  Steve Ott continued to make an idiot of himself and put the Wings on another power play.  Zetterberg won another faceoff back to Kronwall.  He shot the puck and Zetterberg deflected it into the net.  That made the score six to one.

That did it for this game.  The Wings played extremely well.  I really like how they’re are now doing much better at hanging on to a lead and playing hard for the full 60 minutes.

This 6-1 win brings us to:
61 points

Columbus at Detroit (1/6/09)

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

The Columbus Blue Jackets took on the Wings tonight at Joe Louis Arena.  Conklin was the starter for Detroit and Mason was in for the Blue Jackets.  Mason came in on a hot streak.  He’s had three shutouts in a row which hasn’t been done by a rookie since the 1950′s.

In the first period Brad Stuart was high sticked but it wasn’t called.  He left the ice immediately to get stitches.  Apparently, the refs just missed it because it was a clear infraction.

Conklin had a huge save on a penalty kill when the pass came through the crease to Peca.  He had a wide open net but he hesitated.  That gave Conklin time to reach out with the glove and rob him of a slam dunk goal.

There was no scoring in the first period thanks to some big saves by Conklin.  The defense seemed a little sluggish.  They let the Blue Jackets in behind them too many times but luckily Conklin was sharp.  Also in the first period Rick Nash left the game after injuring his ankle when he went into the boards.  He did not return.

The second period was also characterized by some great saves.  Again there were no goals and again Conklin had to come up big with at least one amazing save.  The Wings had outshot Columbus pretty solidly through two periods but Mason was showing off his skills.

Detroit finally scored in the third period.  It was a power play goal with Holmstrom in front of the net.  The shot came from the middle of circle and Holmstrom deflected the puck.  It ended up getting knocked around the front of the net and then it squirted out to Datsyuk at the side of the goal.  He shot the puck in as Mason dove for it.  It was a great attempt by Mason but it would have taken a miracle to stop that one.

A few minutes later the puck came to Hossa at the top of the circle and again Holmstrom was in front of the net.  Hossa shot the puck and it went between Mason’s legs and in.  It looked like he couldn’t really see it thanks to Homer.

At the end of the game Columbus pulled their goalie.  Datsyuk had the puck along the boards right in front his bench.  He got tied up with a Blue Jackets player and lost his stick.  He kicked the puck ahead to Zetterberg who then scored the empty net goal.  The Wings on the bench all grabbed Datsyuk and were patting him on the back and hugging him .  It was pretty funny to see.  Everybody was excited to see him get an assist using his feet.

This game was a great goaltending battle.  Mason played very well but Detroit outshot Columbus pretty badly.  At his end Conklin had to make some big saves throughout the game but he wasn’t tested as much as Mason was.  It was another great shutout for a red hot Conklin.

This 3-0 win brings us to:
59 points

Detroit at Minnesota (1/3/09)

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

The Minnesota Wild hosted the Wings for tonight’s game.  Detroit was coming off of the Winter Classic game so there was the chance of a letdown after all fanfare and novelty.  This was just a regular old indoor game.  Osgood was back in net for the Red Wings and Harding was in for the Wild.  The Wild were without Gaborik who will be out for most of the rest of the season with hip surgery.

Through most of the first period Minnesota did a great job of clogging up the neutral zone and keeping the Wings from doing much damage.  Near the three minute remaining mark Zetterberg made a great individual play to steal the puck and skate it in deep.  He took it around the back of the net and dished it to Samuelsson who one-timed it into the net.  Shots on goal in the first period were 11 to 8 in favor of the Wings.  It seemed like the Red Wings completely dominated the period.  The Wild had most of their shots early and Ozzie was able to hold them off.  After the first few minutes it was all Wings.

The second period was pretty tight defensively.  No goals were scored and the Wild actually out-shot the Red Wings.  They had some power plays and the Wings did not so that was probably the reason for the shots on goal difference.  Osgood looked really sharp through the second period as he weathered the Wild’s shots.  

The Red Wings took a penalty with about a minute and half to go in the period.  As they were killing it off Lilja accidentally put the puck over the glass so he was called for delay of game.  That gave the Wild a two man advantage.  The Wings killed it off until the end of the period but they would have to contend with a 5 on 3 and a fresh sheet of ice to start the third.

They killed off all but one second of the first penalty.  The Wild won the faceoff deep in the Red Wings end and passed back to the high slot.  They shot the puck and it hit Kronwall’s stick and changed direction a little bit.  Because of the deflection Osgood had to reach for it and wasn’t able to control the rebound.  It came right back out in front and Nolan shot it into the net.

Just 16 seconds later Clutterbuck tipped the puck off of Kronwall’s stick in the Red Wings end as they were about to start up ice.  Mienttinen took it, turned and shot immediately.  Osgood wasn’t expecting it and it went right past him into the net.  Just like that the Wings were down two to one.

The Red Wings had two power plays in a row in the third period as they were trying to tie the game.  The Wild killed off the first penalty.  During the second one Franzen swatted the puck out of the air into the net right in front of the goal.  The referee called it no goal but after a lengthy video review they overturned the decision and awarded the goal to the Red Wings.  That tied the game with four and a half minutes left.

Osgood made a huge save in the final minute to hold the tie and send game headed to overtime.  The Red Wings played pretty well in this game.  The only reason the game was tied was because of a little bit of bad luck and one or two crucial mistakes.  

They made it through the overtime without a decision so the game went to a shootout.  The first shooter was Kolanos for the Wild.  He tried to go through the five hole but Osgood shut the door.  Datsyuk was up next.  He scored an amazing goal.  He waited for Harding to go down and then he dangled the puck all they way around the crease.  He basically flanked the goalie and then put it up over his outstretched pad.  That’ll be a highlight goal for sure.  Next up for the Wild was Burns.  He tried to get fancy and lost the puck so he didn’t get a shot off.  Zetterberg came up for the Wings.  Harding poked the puck away from him before he was able to take the shot.  Koivu was next.  He tried to go high on the glove side and Ozzie snatched the puck and the win.

This 3-2 win brings us to:
57 points

Detroit at Chicago, Winter Classic (1/1/09)

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

The long awaited day was finally here.  New Year’s Day.  The outdoor game.  The awesome event that is the Winter Classic.  The ice and weather conditions could not have been better.  The pregame shows that started in the morning on New Year’s Eve were great.  The NHL Network showed the practices of both teams as well as the family skates that each team was allowed after their practice.

The Blackhawks had a score to settle with the Red Wings after being sorely beaten two days earlier.

Ty Conklin was the starting goaltender for the Red Wings.  He’s the only player in the league who’s played in all three regular season NHL outdoor games.  Huet was the goalie for the Hawks.

The national anthems were really something special in this one.  Especially the US anthem during which they had rockets and bombs going off and an F-18 flyover at the conclusion.

There was a lot of strangeness to this game early on even besides being outdoors.  For one thing Pavel Datsyuk took the first penalty.  During the PK, Dan Cleary was hit along boards and went end over end into the Chicago bench.  It looked like he ended up on his head.  The Wings ended up with too many men on the ice during that exchange so the Hawks had a 5 on 3 power play.

The first penalty of the 5 on 3 was killed off but the Blackhawks scored on the second power play.  They entered the Red Wings zone and shot the puck.  Conklin gave up a juicy rebound that was put into the net by Versteeg.

A bit later in the first period Detroit joined in the fun when Samuelsson scored a power play goal on a nice feed from Zetterberg.

On the Blackhawks’ next penalty they scored another power play goal.  It was a great pass from behind the net to the front and they roofed it over Conklin into the net.

With less than a minute to go in the first period the Blackhawks scored again this time at even strength.  Lilja was battling Eager behind the net.  Eager went around Lilja and came back to the front of the net.  Conklin was expecting him to be forced around to the other side of the net so he was focusing on the wrong side.  Eager’s great move earned him a goal and put the Hawks up three to one.

That was the end of the first period scoring so the Wings had a big hole to claw their way out of.

Early in the second period Detroit got their own even strength goal.  There was a shot from the slot and Huet gave up a great rebound.  Hudler was near the side of the net.  He picked up the rebound and popped it in to bring the Wings within one.

Later in the second Detroit did it again.  Hudler was again near the net picking up the trash after a shot on the power play.  He had several whacks at the puck and finally was able to push it into the net to tie the game at three apiece.

Late in the second period Datsyuk took the puck from his own end and split the defense.  He took it in on net, made a few moves and put it between the legs of Huet.  That put the Wings up by one.

That was the end of the second period.  According to the broadcasters the wind was a big factor.  Each team scored three goals on the net in the end that had the wind in the goalie’s face.

Early in the third period Detroit had another power play opportunity.  Rafalski ended up with the puck in deep near the goal line.  He brought it to the front of the net, went forehand to backhand and somehow got it between Huet’s legs for the goal. 

Just 16 seconds later Lebda shot the puck and it looked like a goal but the referee waved it off.  On the replay it was pretty clear that it was in the top of the net.  After a replay review they awarded the goal which put the Wings up six to three.  After that goal Huet was replaced by Khabibulin.

Near the seven minute remaining mark in the third period the teams switched ends.  That was the first stoppage after the halfway point of the period.

In the final 10 seconds of the game Chicago scored a goal right off the faceoff.  It was a quick pass to the high slot for a one timer to make the scored six to four.

That was it for this game.  Because of how great the weather was and the perfect ice conditions, the fact that this was an outdoor game sort of wore off very quickly.  It became just another great hockey game between two rivals.  The Red Wings played very well in this one.  Let’s hope they can keep this streak rolling for a while.

This year’s Winter Classic was another huge success.  Everything about the event was first class.  Hopefully this is a tradition that will continue for years to come.

This 6-4 win brings us to:
55 points