Archive for February, 2009

Detroit at Nashville (2/10/09)

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Tonight the Red Wings went to Nashville to face the Predators. Conklin was the starter once again for the Red Wings and Pekka Rinne was the goalie for the Predators.

Detroit got the first goal early on. Off the face-off the puck came to Datsyuk at the point. He shot it and Rinne stopped it. The rebound came to Rafalski in the slot. He shot it and Rinne stopped that one, too. The second rebound came to Zetterberg at the bottom of the circle. Rinne was down at that point and Zetterberg roofed over the top of him to make it one to nothing.

A little while later Detroit scored a power play goal. Datsyuk shot from the top of the circle with Cleary in front of the net. Rinne couldn’t see the puck thanks to Cleary and the Red Wings were up by two.

That marked the end of scoring in a first period that was completely dominated by Detroit. The Wings out shot the Predators 27 to 8 in the first period.

In the second period Detroit scored again. Hossa took the shot and Rinne appeared to have it. Somehow it got through him and dropped into the net. Three nothing Wings.

Shortly after the goal Kopecky was called for goalie interference. He was driving the net and stumbled a little. He lost control and bowled over Rinne in a rather violent collision. On the Predators power play they scored a goal. Arnott shot the puck and Bonk tipped it in front of the net.

Just a few minutes later the Predators scored again to pull to within one. The shot came from the blue line and it was tipped in front by Ward. Just like that the Predators were right back in the game.

Nashville played better in second period scoring two unanswered goals. However the Wings were still out shooting them 41 to 14.

In the third period Zetterberg took a pass at the blue line, muscled his way around a defender, and backhanded the puck into the net. It was a great effort by Zetterberg and it put the Wings back up by two goals.

A few minutes later Ward scored another goal for the Predators. He made a nice move on Rafalski and went to the net. He went by Conklin, went forehand to backhand and scored. It was back to a one goal game.

At the end Nashville pulled the goalie and Datsyuk scored the empty net goal with a hard backhand. That gives Detroit five straight wins. They looked good in this game. I don’t really know why the Predators were able to hang around so long. They were badly out shot throughout the whole game.

This 5-3 win brings us to:
79 points

Detroit at Pittsburgh (2/8/09)

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Detroit was in Pittsburgh this afternoon to play the Penguins in a Stanley Cup Finals rematch. Fleury was in net for the Penguins and Conklin was in for the Wings. Detroit just played yesterday at 3:00 so they would have some fatigue issues to deal with. Franzen was not able to play today after injuring his hand in yesterday’s game. 

The first period of this game was a hard fought battle but there was no scoring by either team. There were a lot of close calls but that’s all. The Red Wings took too many penalties but they managed to kill them off.

The Pittsburgh fans booed whenever Hossa touched the puck and cheered whenever he was hit or stripped of the puck. They didn’t seem to have a problem with Conklin though. I understand their disappointment but not their bitterness. It’s not like he left out of greed. The Detroit fans booed Federov when he returned to Joe Louis Arena but that was a different situation. He left because of money. Hossa left Pittsburgh for sports reason, not financial ones. He wanted to play on the team that he thought had the best chance to win the cup and was willing to take less money in order to it. I think you really have to respect that decision. Not only that but it’s pretty obvious he made the right choice since the Penguins might not even make the playoffs this year.

Halfway through the second period Detroit scored the ice breaker on the power play. Zetterberg entered the zone along the boards and centered it near where Helm was streaking through the slot. It was out of Helm’s reach and Fleury kicked it back out to the slot again. Datsyuk was right there and slammed it into the net.

That was the only goal in the second period so we entered the third with the Red Wings leading one to nothing.

A bit past the halfway point of the third period Hossa scored a great goal. He entered the zone, circled around to avoid the defender and brought the puck into the slot. He backhanded a bullet that went in off the post and into the net.

As the end of the third period approached, Datsyuk took the puck into the Penguins zone. He shot the puck and the rebound came right back to him. He took it back and made a move around a defender to get to the front of the net. Fleury got a piece of his shot but it still trickled in over the goal line. That made it three nothing Wings.

That was it for this game. Conklin got the shutout against his old team and Hossa got a goal. Detroit played very very well in this one. You really can’t ask for much more especially when you consider it was a road game and the second half of a back to back in which the previous game was less than 24 hours prior. They seem to be hitting their stride now, let’s hope they can keep it going.

This 3-0 win brings us to:
77 points

Edmonton at Detroit (2/7/09)

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

This afternoon the Edmonton Oilers came to town to face the Red Wings. Roloson was in net for the Oilers and Conklin got the start for the Wings. Leino was back in for this game looking to keep his point per game streak alive. The Oilers were missing Horcoff, Gilbert and Visnovsky due to injuries. Of course Holmstrom is out long term for hernia surgery. He’s expected back sometime in March.

The game started out with a frantic pace. Then Roloson took one of the cheapest shots I’ve ever seen. Cleary was in front of the net with his back to Roloson waiting to try for a deflection. Roloson brought his stick up between Cleary’s legs and hit him right in the crotch. There’s no excuse for that. I hope he gets suspended and fined. There’s no way it was an accident, he knew exactly what he was doing. Obviously he wanted to send a message early on and make Cleary hesitant to work in front of the net. The good news is that the referee saw it and called a penalty. Half way through the power play the Red Wings made Roloson sorry for being such an ass. They were moving the puck well between Leino and Hudler. The puck came back to Rafalski at the point and he rifled it into the back of the net. Maybe that’ll help Roloson learn to keep his stick to himself.

Just 1:31 later Detroit scored one of the prettiest goals I’ve seen in a while. Draper entered the Edmonton zone with the puck and had Lebda just flying up the middle. Draper hit Lebda with a perfect pass right in front of the net. Lebda just had to deflect it into the corner. It was timed so well that he didn’t have to slow down or handle the puck or anything. It was not the most likely two to pair up for a pretty goal but they both have speed and they used it on that play. That’s a little more karma for Roloson.

Edmonton called their timeout after Detroit’s second goal. The timeout didn’t help the Oilers. A few minutes later Cleary got his own share of revenge on Roloson. It was right off the face-off and Datsyuk got the puck back to Kronwall at the point. He sent it to the front of the net. Roloson was way out at the top of the crease ready for the shot from Kronwall but instead he passed it to Cleary who came from the other side and got in behind Roloson. Cleary tapped the puck in for the Red Wings third goal in less than six minutes.

A bit later Detroit went on the power play again. Kronwall shot the puck from the blue line and Hossa redirected it in the middle of the slot. Roloson never had a chance. That made it four to nothing with about seven minutes left in the first.

With about two minutes left in the first Zetterberg stole the puck from one of the Oilers. He and Datsyuk started up ice. Zetterberg passed to Datsyuk in front of the net and Datsyuk tipped it in giving the Wings their fifth unanswered goal of the first period.

Franzen was hit in the hand by a shot in the first period. He came back and played after that but at some point he left the bench and went to the dressing room. They said his return was questionable.

Roloson was out after the first period although none of the goals were really his fault. I think they just replaced him out of mercy. The backup goaltender Deslauriers started the second period.

The second period was relatively uneventful. Through most of it there were no goals but with about six seconds left Lidstrom scored with a hard shot from the top of the circle. That made it six to nothing. The Red Wings had a lot of chances in the second but Deslauriers made some good saves. At the other end Conklin also made some really good saves to keep the Oilers off the scoreboard.

Early in the third period Edmonton broke the shutout. Stortini had the puck behind the net and he wrapped around with it. He took the shot which took a bad bounce and went in off Conklin’s arm.

A few minutes later Penner scored scored the second goal for the Oilers. He first kicked it so it wouldn’t have counted if it went straight in. However, Conklin got a piece of it and it bounced up into the air. Penner then hit it in with his stick so it was a good goal.

Later in the third Edmonton scored again. Pouliot picked the top corner where there wasn’t much room and roofed it perfectly knocking the water bottle to the ice.

Then a few minutes later Samuelsson stole the puck and caught the Oilers changing. He went one on one against the goalie and beat him. That made it seven to three Red Wings.

Fourteen seconds later Maltby wound up and shot one from the point. Leino tipped it in front of the net and scored. That continued Leino’s point per game pace and made it eight to three.

That was it for this game. The Red Wings looked awesome. They kind of let up a little bit in the third but I’m sure it’s hard to keep the intensity level high when you know you don’t really need to. It’s a good thing they had such a big lead because that gave them the chance to rest some of their key players. That’s important because they play in Pittsburgh Sunday at 12:30. That’s not much time to rest between games.

This 3-8 win brings us to:
75 points

Phoenix at Detroit (2/4/09)

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Tonight’s game was against the Phoenix Coyotes in Detroit. Bryzgalov was in net for Phoenix and Osgood was in for Detroit. Mike Babcock put Helm in instead of Leino tonight. The move was primarily just to get some playing time for Helm. Leino is expected to be back in for the game on Saturday. Zetterberg was back in for tonight’s game and Cleary was moved up to the top line with him and Datsyuk.

Detroit started this game playing really well. They had tons of scoring chances. At the other end Osgood made some spectacular saves. They pressured Phoenix for the first 15 minutes of the game. Then Datsyuk skated up the slot and left a drop pass for Hossa who was behind him at the top of the slot. Hossa shot the puck. It hit two defensemen and into the net. It was a lucky bounce but it was the result of some good hard work by the Wings.

Near the end of the first period Cleary was called for tripping. It was a really weak call that lead to a goal by the Coyotes. It was a long outlet pass that connected with Jovanoski at the Red Wings blue line. He got in behind the defense and beat Osgood with the shot. So the Red Wings penalty killing woes continue. I remember a stretch like this last season where it seemed like every penalty was an automatic goal against. I think it was earlier in the season last year; around the time of the first west coast road trip.

In the second period Hossa did it again. He beat his man one on one and shot the puck. Bryzgalov got a piece of it but it trickled by him and over the line.

A few minutes later the Coyotes tied it up. Boedker took the puck around the back of the Red Wings net and found Fedoruk in the circle. He one-timed it and scored.

The Red Wings took back the lead a few minutes later. Cleary got the puck in deep to Datsyuk. He found Zetterberg with a perfect pass to the top of the circle. Zetterberg released a hard wrister that beat Bryzgalov for the goal. It was great to see Zetterberg healthy. It also looked like a pretty good move putting Cleary on that line.

In the third period Detroit scored on the power play. Hudler made a long pass to Samuelsson down low. He shot the puck and Brzygalov just missed it. That gave the Wings a four to two lead.

Just a few minutes later Phoenix scored again with a shot from down low. It caught Osgood by surprise and he wasn’t ready for the shot.

With about five minutes to go Detroit took a penalty. Phoenix scored a power play goal to tie the game. It was a pinpoint shot that was one-timed from the top of the circle by Lindstrom.

With about 40 seconds left Phoenix got called for interference. Almost immediately on the power play Lidstrom shot from the point. It deflected off a defenseman’s stick and into the net to re-take the lead for Detroit. It may have also hit Cleary’s skate in front. Gretzky and his players were enraged by the call and the resulting goal.

Detroit looked a little better in this game than they have lately. They out-shot the Coyotes and seemed to dominate play. They still need to work penalty killing and holding on to the late lead.

This 4-5 win brings us to:
73 points

St. Louis at Detroit (2/2/09)

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

The St. Louis Blues came to Joe Louis Arena tonight to face the Wings.  Legace was in net for them and Osgood was in for us.  Tonight Kris Draper was playing in his 1000th game.  Mike Babcock put him out on the top line to start the game as a way of honoring his achievement.  Abdelkader and Leino were playing again tonight.  Leino came out for warm-ups wearing his red helmet instead of the white one.  Of course nobody told him why they were all laughing at him so it was pretty funny.

In the first period there was no scoring.  Detroit played pretty well but they were still out-shot by the Blues.  It seemed like the Wings were dominating play but they just didn’t get many quality chances.  In fact there were very few shots at either end.  Detroit had two shots on goal in the first and St. Louis had three.  Not the most exciting period I’ve seen.

Early in the first period Detroit had a two on one breakaway.  Kopecky skated it into the zone and passed it to Maltby in the slot.  Maltby shot the puck and beat Legace for the goal.  Kopecky then went down hard and crashed awkwardly into the post.  He seemed to be okay afterwards.  Draper also had an assist on the play.

St. Louis also got on the board in the second period.  They were on the power play and the puck got caught up in Lidstrom’s pads down near his own goal line.  The puck dropped to the ice right in front of Oshie.  He turned around and shot it before the Red Wings realized where it was.  It was a total fluke goal.

A few minutes later Hossa got his own low percentage goal.  He took the pass and entered the zone.  From above the top of the circle.  He shot the puck and squeaked it in above Legace’s stick side shoulder.  Legace barely moved.  It was probably the softest goal I’ve seen this season.

Shortly after that the Blues scored on the power play.  It was a cross ice pass to Berglund.  He one-timed it and beat Osgood to tie the game.

A few seconds later Hossa did it again.  He scored from the other side of the ice this time.  He brought the puck in, pulled it in a little, and wristed it by Legace.  That was the end of the game for Manny Legace.  Chris Mason came in to relieve him.

In the third period Lilja was called for boarding.  He was given a five minute major and a game misconduct.  It was a strange call but there wasn’t really a good camera to see what really happened.  Lilja seemed very upset with the call.  

The Red Wings killed off almost all of the five minute penalty but in the final seconds St. Louis got another power play goal.  There was some traffic in front but it didn’t look like the shot was tipped.  Up to that point in the penalty kill Osgood had made some great saves.  He even had the crowd chanting his name at one point.  That goal tied the game and the tie held until the end of regulation.

Nobody scored in the overtime so they headed to the shootout.

Datsyuk was the first shooter.  He made a move but Mason didn’t bite.  Oshie went next and Osgood stopped it.  Then came Hudler who made a huge move with his shoulder.  Mason bought it and Hudler scored.  Next was Boyes.  He faked with the backhand and scored on the forehand.  Hossa came up next and ripped a wrister by Mason.  Perron went last for the Blues and Osgood stopped him for the win.

Detroit was lucky to get two points in this game.  They had way to many penalties and were terrible on the penalty kill.  They have a lot to work on before the playoffs.

This 4-3 win brings us to:
71 points