Archive for March, 2009

Nashville at Detroit (3/29/09)

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

This afternoon the Predators were at Joe Louis Arena to face the Red Wings. Nashville was coming off a game the night before. This game had an early 5:00 P.M. start which for the folks from Nashville felt like 4:00 P.M. so they had to be careful to keep their shifts short in this game.

Pekka Rinne was the goalie for the Predators and Osgood was the starter for the Red Wings for the second game in a row. Filppula, Cleary and Samuelsson were the starting line. Kronwall and Ericsson were the starting defensive pair.

Early in the first period Chelios took a penalty. On the ensuing power play Sullivan walked in with the puck. He passed it off, skated through the defense and got the pass back. He made a move around Osgood and scored. It was a classic give and go. That gave the Predators the early one nothing lead.

The Red Wings looked to be having some bad luck early on in this one. The puck was jumping over sticks and Datsyuk even missed the net by a wide margin on one shot.

It didn’t take long for the luck to change though. After the Red Wings took another penalty, Lidstrom sprung Zetterberg for a shorthanded breakaway. He skated in and blasted one that beat Rinne to tie the game. That gave Zetterberg 30 goals on the season joining the ranks of Franzen, Datsyuk and Hossa.

Osgood had a couple of great saves early on in this one. It looked like he was in the zone.

Late in the first period there was a big scrum in front the Nashville net and Detroit banged the puck in. However, it went in off of Franzen’s skate and he clearly used a kicking motion. The issue was whether it went in off of anything else after the kick. The ruling was that it was indeed kicked in so the goal was waived off.

In the second period Detroit ended up with a 5 on 3 power play. After a faceoff win Datsyuk made a perfect pass through traffic to Samuelsson who one-timed it for a goal. There was one second left on the 5 on 3 so the Red Wings stayed on the power play but didn’t score again.

In the third period Ericsson got crossed up with Kopecky and turned the puck over to Dumont. He got it back to Klein at the point. Klein shot the puck into a big scrum in front of the net. The puck bounced around in front and Ward poked it in to tie the game.

Then, while they were still announcing the goal, Nashville scored again to take the lead. The puck was hit with a high stick which might have caused the Wings to let up a little expecting a whistle. There was no whistle because Stuart played it. He didn’t control it though and Nashville got it back. It came to Smithson who took the shot. It went between Osgood’s legs to give the Predators the lead. The Red Wings took their time out at that point. They had about eight minutes left in the game.

With about five minutes left Detroit tied the game. Datsyuk brought the puck into the zone and passed across to Franzen in the high slot. Franzen shot it between the defenseman’s legs which made it hard to Rinne to see. That made it three to three.

A few seconds after that Chelios was called for crosschecking. The penalty was both obvious and pointless and cost the Red Wings a goal and, in my opinion, the game. On the power play Sullivan got the puck to Suter. He shot from the point and beat Osgood. There was some traffic in front but it didn’t look like it changed direction at all. I would blame this one on Chelios. His penalty erased the great goal by Franzen. It also stopped the Red Wings momentum and ultimately, cost them the game. Two of the Predators goals in this game, including the game-winner, were scored on power plays created by Chelios’ penalties. Talk about the walk of shame back to the bench!

This was their second loss in a row, both at home. We need to turn this around quickly if we want to enter the playoffs on a hot streak. Like Babcock said, it’s impossible to manufacture the kind of intensity that Nashville is playing with. No matter how much they try to talk themselves into getting up for the game the Wings know that these games don’t really matter. It’s a bad habit to get into though at this point of the season because I’m sure it’s hard to turn it back on again when the time comes.

This 4-3 loss brings us to:
107 points

New York Islanders at Detroit (3/27/09)

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Tonight the Islanders were in Detroit to face the Wings. We don’t get to see the Islanders very often so the Red Wings didn’t really know what to expect from this game. Even Mike Babcock admitted that he knows very little about the Islanders because he never watches Eastern Conference games.

The goaltender for the Islanders was ex-Red Wing Joey MacDonald and for the Wings it was Chris Osgood.

The first period was pretty exciting. Detroit had some good scoring chances and good energy but weren’t able to score. The Wings were out-shot, out-chanced and out-hit in the first period so those weren’t good signs. Osgood looked pretty sharp in the first period. He seemed to have shaken off the poor showing in his previous start. Like all good goalies he has a short memory.

In the second period Detroit had some great scoring chances again. Hossa got a crossbar, and Samuelsson was robbed thanks to a diving save by MacDonald. It was starting to seem like one of those nights where nothing goes into the net.

With the Red Wings on the power play in the second period they got burned for a shorthanded goal. Okposo took the puck up the ice and passed it through Samuelsson to Nielsen. He faked to the left and Osgood bit leaving the right side of the net wide open. Nielsen chipped it into the net for the shortie.

With about five minutes to go in the second period, the Islanders had the puck behind the Red Wings net. Jackman tried a wrap-around shot. Osgood was there but the puck when through his legs to other side of the net which was wide open. Bailey jumped on it and popped it in to give the last place Islanders a two to nothing lead over the mighty Red Wings.

Detroit came out in the third period with their tails on fire. They were in Islanders end taking shot after shot for most of the first three minutes. Filppula had a great chance that hit another goal post and came right back out. Unfortunately, the only thing to show for all the pressure they applied was a goaltender interference call on Cleary.

They killed off the penalty and went back to work. The Wings earned a power play during which Datsyuk and Franzen each hit goal posts but nothing went in. Detroit pulled their goalie and turned up the heat a little more but they weren’t able to score.

It was Joey MacDonald’s first shutout of his career and he earned it. He and his three irons should be charged with burglary after this game. He robbed Samuelsson a few times and Datsyuk at the end. When he wasn’t in position to make the save the goal posts or crossbar had his back.

This was not a good performance by the Wings. They didn’t really start pressuring until the third period and by then it was too late. It was pretty clear that they didn’t care much about this game at first. Or, more precisely, I think they thought they could win without having to try very hard and that’s never going to be the case. Every team shows the Red Wings their best game. Any team in the league can beat any other team on any given day. As they say, that’s why they play the games.

The Red Wings should learn a lesson from this one and then just shake it off and move on. It has no bearing on their season overall.

This 2-0 loss brings us to:
107 points

Detroit at Edmonton (3/24/09)

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Detroit was in Edmonton for tonight’s game. They were coming off a disappointing loss to Calgary last night in which they played pretty well but gave up too many soft goals. Holmstrom rejoined the lineup for tonight’s game. Conklin was in net for us and Roloson was in for the Oilers. This game also featured the same stingy referees from last night’s game who only called one penalty on the Flames all night.

This first period started pretty uneventfully. The two teams traded power plays without converting. Then near the end of the period the Red Wings ended up two men short for almost a minute after Cleary and then Zetterberg each took penalties. The Oilers took their timeout before the first faceoff of the 2 man advantage.

Detroit killed off the first penalty but the Oilers scored before the second one expired. Grebeshkov took the shot from the high slot area. Penner was in front of the net but it looked like Conklin could still see the puck. It was a good hard shot over the glove hand.

There was no more scoring in the first period so the Wings went into the dressing room down one to nothing.

The second period came and went without any goals.  There was some good end to end action and the Red Wings had their chances but just couldn’t close the deal. So heading into the third period the Red Wings were still down one to nothing.

In the third period Ericsson shot from the point with Franzen in front of the goal. The puck was going high so Roloson was up, but at the last second it was redirected downwards. It looked like it hit the defenseman which caused it to change direction. That finally tied the game at one.

With about three minutes left in the third period Franzen drove to the net and shot. He hit the post and it was like he smelled blood. The puck went back down to the Red Wings end and then he got the outlet pass again. Once more he drove to the net and dipped his shoulder, but this time he dished to Hossa at the last second. Hossa blasted one that beat Roloson to take the lead with only two minutes left in the game.

Just a few seconds later Detroit put the icing on the cake. Datsyuk won a faceoff back to Lidstrom at the point who took the shot. Roloson made the stop but the rebound came right to Filppula next to the net and he smacked it in.

Then the Oilers scored another goal with the clock down to one minute left. Wilson found Kotalik in the slot and he shot one that beat Conklin up high. That made it three to two Red Wings.

The Oilers pulled the goalie and put forth a strong effort but the Wings were able to hold on.

This was a great win. Even though the Red Wings played pretty well it felt like they stole this game because they went so long without scoring. They sure made up for it at the end though. Conklin had a strong game and so did Franzen among others. All in all, it was a good bounce-back game after the tough loss last night.

This 3-2 win brings us to:
107 points

Detroit at Calgary (3/23/09)

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Detroit travelled to Calgary for tonight’s road game against Flames. Osgood was our goalie and Kiprusoff was in for the Flames.

The Flames opened the scoring in the first period. Osgood was beaten by a shot from Dion Phaneuf. Osgood was in position, and had a good view of the puck but he just missed it with the glove hand. He got a piece of it but not enough.

The first period ended with Detroit behind one to nothing. They had some good chances but just couldn’t get it to go in.

In the second period Lundmark took a shot from the goal line. Osgood pulled slightly away from the post and the puck dropped in front of the goal line behind him. He reached back and pushed it into the net giving Calgary their second goal.

A few minutes later Samuelsson nearly scored on a breakaway. He hit the post with his shot and it slid across the goal mouth right on the line.

Then the Flames scored again by getting the puck in the corner of the net behind his skate. It clearly wasn’t Osgood’s night so Mike Babcock pulled him and put Conklin in. All three of the goals allowed were ones that Osgood probably should have stopped. It was just one of those days.

Later in the period the Flames also had a puck that sat on our goal line and nobody could put it in. I guess that evened up the bad luck a little bit.

A few minutes later the Wings were buzzing and getting a lot of shots. The puck came out to Datsyuk at the bottom of the circle. He pounced on it, turned and scored. It was a great play and a great shift all around for that line.

In the third period Conroy dug the puck out from along the back boards and passed it to Glencross in the slot. He shot quickly and beat Conklin. That extended the Flames lead to three goals again.

At about the halfway point of the third period Franzen scored a great goal to pull back within two. Franzen brought the puck into the zone, made a few moves on the defenders and ripped one by Kiprusoff. It was another awesome individual effort by Franzen.

A few minutes later Rafalski sprung Hudler with an incredible outlet pass. Then Hudler made a sweet move tapping the puck around the defenseman and then getting it back. He shot and scored to pull within a goal.

The Red Wings tried to tie the game but Calgary scored the empty net goal with about 30 seconds left. This one ended three to five. The Wings actually played pretty well in this game but they just gave up too many easy goals. It’s hard enough to score on Kiprusoff without needing four just break even. Also, the officials were almost invisible in this game. Usually, that would be a good thing but it seemed like they missed a lot of calls. The Red Wings only had one power play the entire game. There were also a few goals that didn’t count because of quick whistles. Oh well, time to forget about it and think about Edmonton.

This 3-5 loss brings us to:
105 points

Detroit at Atlanta (3/20/09)

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Detroit headed into Atlanta tonight to face the Thrashers. We had Osgood starting for us again tonight. He’s been playing pretty well lately. Filppula returned from injury in this game and it was also his 25th birthday. Holmstrom was still out. He didn’t go on the road trip so he’ll be out for at least the next two games as well. Hopefully, that time off will help him get back to 100% before the playoffs. Lehtonen was the starting goaltender for the Thrashers.

Detroit had some good scoring chances early in the game. It seemed like they had a lot of jump. You got the sense that it would be only a matter of time until they cracked Lehtonen. Atlanta had a power play early on. Osgood made several key saves to keep them off the board.

Later in the first Detroit got a power play because Atlanta had too many men on the ice. The Wings did great on the power play. They kept the puck in the Atlanta end for a long time and cycled it well. Just after the power play ended the puck came to Rafalski and he snapped it home for the first goal of the game. Technically it wasn’t a power play goal but Detroit still had a man advantage at the time because the Atlanta player hadn’t rejoined the play yet.

Atlanta had another power play close to the end of the first period. Osgood made an incredible save during the kill. The Atlanta crowd, which was apparently loaded with Red Wings fans, started the Ozzie chant. I don’t think I remember ever hearing that in a road game before. It happened again in the second period after another particularly awesome save. The crowd was also doing the let’s go Red Wings chant. That must REALLY annoy the home team.

In the second period there was some 4 on 4 play. Kronwall passed to Franzen who dished it to Datsyuk at the top of the circle on the rush. He fired a laser beam that beat Lehtonen making it two to nothing Detroit.

A few minutes later Detroit was really jumping. First Stuart laid a big hit in neutral ice along the boards, then Lebda sprung Hudler with a breakaway pass. Hudler split the D, and charged the net all alone. He took the shot and burned the goalie for Detroit’s third goal.

In the third period the Red Wings scored on the power play. Lidstrom took the shot and Lehtonen stopped it. The rebound dropped in front and Franzen poked it between Lehtonen’s legs. It trickled towards the goal line and probably wouldn’t have crossed but Franzen stayed with it and poked it again to get their fourth goal of the night.

Later in the third Atlanta scored a power play breaking the shutout. They had the puck down low and got it to Little in the slot. Stuart was guarding him and also apparently trying to prevent a shot from the guy on the goal line. Little backed away from the net and Stuart gave him the separation. That was enough room for him and he one timed it into the net.

A few minutes later Zetterberg entered the zone with the puck and passed it to the crossing Hossa. He skated in and shot one that beat Lehtonen making it five to one Red Wings.

Just a few seconds later the Thrashers scored on the power play. Kozlov ripped the shot over Osgood’s shoulder before he had a chance to react. I think the crowd cheered much more loudly when the Red Wings scored than when the Thrashers did.

With about three and a half minutes left in the third period Zetterberg got the puck to Cleary in the slot. Cleary shot it quickly and scored to make it six to two Wings.

A short time later Samuelsson started pushing and shoving with Oystrick. It quickly escalated into a fight and Samuelsson got the crap beat out of him. Oystrick got him in a headlock right away and hit him several times in the face and then in the head after pulling off his helmet. I don’t think Samuelsson even landed a punch. It was a bit of a bummer but at least he tried. He should have some nice shiners to show for it.

Just to screw up his numbers, Osgood gave up another goal with about 30 seconds left in the game. He ended up way over to the left side of the net and the puck came out to the other side. It was an easy goal for Stuart who had a mostly wide open net.

This was a great road win for the Wings. Osgood played very well although his numbers probably won’t show it because of the late goals that weren’t really his fault.

This 6-3 win brings us to:
105 points

Philadelphia at Detroit (3/17/09)

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Tonight the Red Wings faced the Philadelphia Flyers in Detroit. Osgood was our goaltender and theirs was Biron. Holmstrom and Filppula were both out for this game. Holmstrom with a knee problem and Filppula was still nursing his back.

It wasn’t shown on Versus, but the Red Wings honored Kirk Maltby before the game for playing 1000 games in the NHL. They had a ceremony similar to the one they had for Draper a few weeks ago.

This game started with a lot of energy and scrappiness. Early on the Red Wings had some good power play chances including a lengthy 5 on 3 but they weren’t able to convert.

Then, with 3:26 left in the first period The Flyers got the puck on a breakaway. Hartnell ended up in ahead of Hossa. Hossa was dogging him and pretty much doing all he could do without taking a penalty. Hartnell shot the puck and beat Osgood to give the Flyers the one nothing lead.

Less than five minutes into the second period, The Flyers brought the puck into the Red Wings zone. Carter passed to Lupul who scored on Osgood. Brad Stuart was there taking away the pass back to Carter. Kronwall was also there next Carter. This was one that Osgood has to stop. It was a good shot but he just didn’t react quickly enough with the glove hand.

Nearing the end of the second period Datsyuk got the puck at center ice. He a made a few great moves to beat some defenders then snapped one that beat Biron through a tiny sliver of net that he left open. It was an amazing shot. That cut the lead in half and made one to two Flyers. That score held until the end of the period.

During the intermission Versus cut away to follow Marty Brodeur’s historic 552nd win to become winningest goalie in NHL history. It was an amazing moment, although I would have preferred to watch it later and see the Red Wings game live. They rejoined the game about three and a half minutes into the third period. The score was unchanged so hopefully we didn’t miss too much action. Seeing that made me wonder how many cups the Red Wings would have won if they’d had Marty Brodeur. All of them I suppose. :-)

Not long after they returned to coverage it looked like Datsyuk’s stick got caught in Hartnell’s skate. Hartnell went down very heavily. It’s a good thing he was wearing a helmet. It was not intentional, but I’m really surprised they didn’t call a trip anyway. If I was a Philly fan I would have been livid. As a fan of the game it probably should have been a penalty.

Halfway through the third period Datsyuk made an absolutely brilliant play. He made a move around the defender to get the puck and immediately passed it across the ice to Franzen who nailed it home to tie the game. It was truly a thing of beauty.

Then just a few minutes later Ericsson dished to Samuelsson who hit Zetterberg as he was nearing the net on the rush. Zetterberg took his time, ripped one and beat Biron. Suddenly the Red Wings were leading two to three.

Detroit held on to win even though Philadelphia had quite a push at the end. This was a great win for the Wings. Overall I’d say they played very well.

Detroit had tons of great chances but Biron made some incredible saves. The Flyers had fewer chances but they made the most of them. Detroit approximately doubled Philly’s shots on goal. We needed 100% more shots to score 50% more goals. This tells me that our goaltending doesn’t even have to be as good as the opposition’s. If they’re just half as good that’ll be enough to win on most nights. For the most part I thought Osgood played well tonight. There are just those few mistakes that can cost you the game a lot of the time. It was a great comeback win though, no complaints. We got to hear the Irish jig three times tonight. Too bad Shanny wasn’t there to hear it.

This 2-3 win brings us to:
103 points

Detroit at Columbus (3/15/09)

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

For today’s game Detroit was in Columbus to face the Blue Jackets. Osgood was in net for the Wings and Steve Mason was in for the Blue Jackets. Filppula was still out for this game so apparently he’s still dealing with his back spasms. Let’s hope that won’t be a nagging problem throughout the playoffs.

Just 30 seconds into the game Detroit scored, or so it seemed. Stuart ripped one from the point with Holmstrom in front of the net. It was redirected by a Columbus player. The goal was waived off even though Holmstrom had no effect on the play, didn’t touch the goaltender and was barely on the line of the crease. Even the Columbus announcers said it was a “reputation call”. Pretty weak. They didn’t call a penalty on Holmstrom which makes no sense at all since he clearly wasn’t pushed by anybody. Either it was goaltender interference or nothing, so if there was no penalty why did they wave off the goal?

Later in the first period Hossa flat out willed himself a goal. He chipped the puck into the Columbus zone and then accelerated past the defenders. He shot the puck and Mason stopped it but Hossa didn’t let up. He took another whack at it and pushed it by Mason. This is a perfect example of why I love Hossa. He’s a force unto himself no matter how the rest of the team is doing. Not that the rest of the team was playing badly tonight, but I’ve noticed that Hossa is always good, even when nobody else is. This just shows what he can do on his own when he has to. I think Hossa is as much of an on-ice leader of this team as Lidstrom is. He really should have an ‘A’ on his jersey or at least share one.

With 12:11 to go in the first period Columbus got two penalties at the same time. The Wings had a 5 on 3 for a full two minutes. Early on in power play Columbus held strong thanks to some great saves by Mason. Then Hudler got the puck to Kronwall in the slot and he ripped one by Mason. Franzen was in front of the net causing trouble. That made it two to nothing Red Wings. The Wings still had almost 50 seconds of power play time after that goal but they weren’t able to score again.

The pace throughout the rest of the first period was somewhat frantic. There was a lot of end-to-end action and very few whistles.

Near the end of the first period Commodore was called for cross-checking Zetterberg. I know I’m biased but I just have to say that the Columbus announcers were unbelievable. To paraphrase, they basically said that Commodore was forced into crosschecking Zetterberg in the neck even though there was no one around him and that Zetterberg was faking his reaction to it. Insanity! I long for the day when you can see whichever feed you choose for any game in the NHL. I would have loved to have heard Ken and Mick’s take on that call.

As the second period was winding down Samuelsson took the puck away from the Jackets and was off to the races. He took it into their zone and wristed one from the top of the faceoff circle. His shot beat Mason and gave the Red Wings a three to nothing lead.

Through two periods Osgood looked very good. He was tracking the puck well. He was making some pretty tough saves and looked confident in the net.

The Blue Jackets took a hooking penalty with just six seconds left in the second period. The period ended so Detroit would start the third with nearly a full two minutes of power play time.

In the third period Datsyuk made a great move in the neutral zone to gain control of the puck and enter the Columbus zone. He passed it ahead to Franzen who made a move around Mason and scored Detroit’s fourth unanswered goal.

That was the end of the scoring for this game. Osgood earned a shutout and the Wings in general played very well.

One thing I want to point out about this game and the last several games is that Ericsson just flat out FIITS on this team. He belongs here. I don’t want to say that we should lose Chelios or Lilja or whoever, but we definitely should have Ericsson in the lineup every night. Cleary also deserves credit as he ALWAYS has a good game. Similar to Hossa, Cleary is just plain reliable. Game in, game out, you can count on him to play well regardless of the rest of the team.

With this game Detroit became the first team in NHL history to reach 100 points in nine consecutive seasons. They were previously tied with Montreal at eight in a row. No question this is a modern dynasty.

This 4-0 win brings us to:
101 points

Detroit at St. Louis (3/14/09)

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

The Red Wings travelled to St. Louis for this afternoon’s game against the Blues. Osgood was our goalie and for St. Louis it was Chris Mason. The best news of last few weeks was that Hossa was back in the lineup for today’s game. Maybe that will help the Red Wings get their focus back.

The Red Wings seemed to have some jump at the start of this game. Hossa looked just as good as ever. Osgood looked pretty confident in net. He was tracking the puck well even through crazy bounces and traffic in his face. On the down side there was a sequence or two where they couldn’t clear the puck from their own end. The Blues were fighting for a playoff spot so their motivation is high and it showed in their energy level.

St. Louis opened the scoring when Oshie shot from the slot area. The Blues were moving the puck around our zone with ease and the Red Wings were chasing them. The pass came to Oshie from behind the net. It went right by Brad Stuart who didn’t even reach for it. I guess he didn’t notice it in time to intercept the pass. Oshie ripped one that burned Osgood.

Early in the second period Detroit tied the game with a trademark goal. Datsyuk made a beautiful move to ditch his defender and then shot it. Holmstrom was in front of the net with his butt in Mason’s face. Mason wasn’t happy about it but there was no call.

Just 10 seconds of game time later Kopecky took a pass in deep and scored another one for the Wings. Filppula kept the puck in at the blue line then passed it Hudler. He immediately sent it to Kopecky and he put the puck through his defender and through Mason. The Blues took their timeout after that goal.

Just a few seconds after they came back from the timeout Lebda beat Mason over his glove hand. He barely even reacted. It looked like he was really rattled. That was the third goal in 46 seconds.

A few minutes later in the second period Woywitka scored to give the Blues their second goal. Osgood didn’t have much chance to stop the puck because he was in the process of being tackled by Backes. He took Ozzie’s legs out from under him and they all crashed into the net and knocked it off the moorings. The puck had crossed the line before the net came off but Osgood was hit before the puck arrived. I guess they didn’t call interference because they must have thought Backes was pushed.

Later Osgood was crashed into for the third time in a few minutes and he was hot about it. He was on top of somebody afterwards and wouldn’t let him up. He gave him an earful and was roughing him up a little bit under the pile. It almost looked like he was throwing some jabs. Osgood had a valid argument; they were running him like crazy and not getting called for it.

Very late in second period Datsyuk had the puck in the Blues end and there was a big crowd in front of the net. He waited for a hole to open and ripped one through all the traffic and the goaltender. That made it 4 to 2 in favor of the Wings and the scored held until the end of the period.

After the second period Mason got the hook. The backup Ben Bishop came in to take over the goaltending duties for the Blues.

Filppula also left the game after the second period and would not return. The announced reason was back spasms.

The Blues pressured hard especially for the final five minutes and Osgood made a ton of great saves. The Wings killed off a penalty during which the Blues changed goalies again. They put Mason back in. The theory was that they did that to buy some time for their power play unit to catch their breath. 

In the final two minutes the Blues pulled the goalie and almost immediately thereafter Zetterberg scored the empty net goal. That made it 5 to 2.

For some reason the Blues pulled the goalie again even though they were down by three with only a minute left. The Wings held them off to clinch a great win.

Well, this game showed what a big difference good goaltending can make. Osgood was probably the difference in this one. There were some defensive miscues but Osgood was there backing them up whenever needed. This was Ozzie’s 300th win as a Red Wing which puts him second all time behind Terry Sawchuck.

This 5-2 win brings us to:
99 points

Calgary at Detroit (3/12/09)

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

The guests of honor for tonight’s game were the Calgary Flames. Kiprusoff was the goalie for the them and Conklin was in for us for the second game in a row. This was supposed to be Osgood’s night to start but Babcock decided that it would be better to start him in the next game instead since that’s a road game.

A bit past the five minute mark Calgary scored first from a really unlikely angle. Jokinen got the puck way down below the goal line and swept it towards Conklin. Somehow the puck got between the post and Conklin’s skate and ended up in the net. I’m sure Conklin would want that one back.

Later in the first period Detroit went on the power play. Datsyuk took a great shot that got up over Kiprusoff but it hit the crossbar and dropped down. Zetterberg jumped on it and pushed it in behind the goalie to tie the game at one.

A few minutes later Phaneuf hit Cleary in the lower back as he was heading into the boards. Cleary lost his balance and crashed heavily. He had to be helped off the ice. Phaneuf got a five minute major on the play. It wasn’t a hard hit but it was just enough to throw off Cleary’s balance and make him lose an edge.

With 3:52 left in the major, Leopold shot the puck over the glass from his own zone so the Wings had a 5 on 3 for a full two minutes. During the 5 on 3 Sarich took a penalty for crosschecking. His penalty couldn’t start until the second one ended so it ended up being nearly four minutes of 5 on 3. At that point the game turned ugly. There was a big scrum in front of the net and Franzen and Aucoin started pushing and shoving in front of the net; they both were getting penalties. Then Vandermeer came in and started exchanging punches with Franzen. He nailed Franzen in the back of the head with an elbow and Franzen went down hard. Ken, Mick, and Larry didn’t notice that it was an elbow but it really looked like it was. Vandermeer got a 10 minute misconduct so I’m pretty sure it was an elbow.

Kiprusoff made brilliant save after brilliant save throughout the 5 on 3. Finally, when the 5 on 4 was down to a minute and change Samuelsson got a quick pass and roofed it before Kiprusoff could get over. That made it two to one Red Wings. It was an incredible performance by Kiprusoff to allow just one goal through all of that power play time.

Cleary returned in the second period. That was a big relief.

Also in the second period Detroit ended up with a 4 on 3 power play. On top of that, one of their players had a broken stick. Rafalski and Lidstrom were trading passes and eventually Lidstrom ripped one that got by Kiprusoff. Holmstrom was in front of the net making life miserable for Kiprusoff. That goal made it three to one Red Wings.

Halfway through the second period they announced the shot totals were 35 to 7 in favor of the Wings and that’s not counting the three or four posts and crossbars. Part of the reason that it was so lopsided was that the Wings had so much power play time.

Later in the second period there was some 4 on 4 play. Lidstrom sprung Filppula who took it into the zone and shot one that got between Kiprusoff’s legs. That gave the Red Wings a four to one lead. Mike Keenan was livid because before the goal he thought the Wings should have been called for tripping.

A few seconds later, still 4 on 4, Calgary scored. Aucoin shot the puck and Langkow redirected it right in front of the net. Conklin didn’t have a chance of stopping that one. That made it two to four.

With only 3:22 left in the third period Calgary scored to come within a goal of tying the game.  Vandermeer shot it and the puck bounced around in front of the net. Lundmark was there to pick up the bounce and put it in the net. At that point Detroit had not had a single shot on goal in the third period.

Less than a minute later the Flames scored to tie the game. Glencross shot from the faceoff circle. The puck hit Jokinen and then went between Conklin’s legs. He got a piece of it but it still got through. It bounced between his skates and into the net. Once again the Wings had blown a lead. At that point the shots on goal in the period were 14 to nothing in favor of the Flames.

About a minute after that goal the Flames took the lead scoring their third goal in 3 minutes and 22 seconds. Lundmark wrapped around the net and put the puck past Conklin. This was looking like another epic collapse by the Wings.

With 42 seconds left Datsyuk shot and the puck and it hung on the goal line. Cleary was there to poke it in and tie the game up again. That goal sent the game into overtime on their first shot of the period.

After two periods Detroit thought they had won the game. But after the third period they were lucky to have salvaged a tie. It was still quite an epic collapse even though they managed to tie it up.

Nobody scored in the overtime.

In the shootout Datsyuk went first and made it look easy. He went to his backhand and put it up high on Kiprusoff. Cammalleri came out next and did almost the same thing. His move was more pronounced than Datsyuk’s but it had the same effect. He froze the goalie and scored up high. Zetterberg was the next shooter. He made a move but Kiprusoff stayed with it and stopped the puck. Iginla went next and hit the post. Then came Hudler. Kiprusoff stopped him. Jokinen came out next for the Flames. He scored the winner.

The Red Wings played a great two periods tonight. Unfortunately this type of play isn’t going to get them very deep in the playoffs. At some point of the goaltenders need to be able to steal a game. Maybe it’s time to call up Jimmy Howard.

This 6-5 overtime loss brings us to:
97 points

Phoenix at Detroit (3/10/09)

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

The Phoenix Coyotes were in Detroit tonight to play the Red Wings. Conklin was Detroit’s goalie and Bryzgalov was in for Phoenix. Holmstrom was back in the lineup earlier than expected. Chelios was back in tonight, too. Lebda was sitting to make room for him and Ericsson was in.

The Red Wings had an embarrassment to recover from after the eight to two loss against Columbus on Saturday.

The Red Wings didn’t waste any time flexing their muscle. Just 1:18 into the game Franzen took the pass from Filppula and then gave it back. Hudler was in the middle charging the net. Filppula snapped a wrister into the top of the net.

Towards the end of the first period Hanzal scored to tie the game for Phoenix. Conklin had the initial save but the rebound came out to Hanzal in front of the net and he poked it in.

There was no scoring in the second period. Through two the Red Wings were playing very well. The stats looked much more typical of the Wings. They were badly outshooting the Coyotes and they had eight takeaways to the Coyotes’ one. However, the score was tied at one each.

It was past the halfway point in the third period when Detroit finally got their first power play of the game. Rafalski shot the puck from deep in the faceoff circle. Bryzgalov got a piece of it but not enough and went into the net. That gave the Wings the lead by one.

A few minutes later the Coyotes went on the power play. The puck took a strange bounce and the Wings failed to clear. They got it back to Jovanovski at the blue line. He ripped it from there and Doan redirected it down and into the net to tie the game up again.

The game ended tied at two so they headed to overtime. With 1:25 left in overtime, Franzen put this one to bed. Filppula won the faceoff and got the puck to Franzen. He took it toward the center of the ice and fired from the slot area. He picked a corner and beat Bryzgalov to win the game.

Ericsson had a strong game for the Wings, as did Datsyuk. In general they were much better defensively. They looked much better in this game than in the previous one. Let’s hope they can build on this and keep it going into the playoffs.

This 2-3 win brings us to:
96 points