Archive for April, 2009

Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 4 (4/23/09)

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

The Red Wings were in Columbus tonight for game four against the Blue Jackets. A win tonight would finalize a round one sweep and get the Wings some good rest before round two. As usual, the goalies for this game were Osgood and Mason.

Early in the first period the Red Wings ended up on the power play after the officials stopped a fight before it even started. Ericsson was going to go with Dorsett but the linesman stepped in before the fight began. Columbus ended up with two guys called for roughing and Detroit had only one. On the power play Lidstrom fired from the point. The rebound hit Tyutin in front of the net and went in to give the Wings the early lead. The play started when Tyutin failed to clear the puck on an easy play so it wasn’t a good shift for that poor guy. Hitchcock had said before the game that they absolutely needed to score first. If he was right about that then his team was out of the game in the first period.

A few minutes later in the period Maltby was called for interference and Huselius scored a power play goal for the Blue Jackets. He took a hard wrister and just flat out beat Osgood. In game three the Blue Jackets didn’t score until it was too late so there was a danger here that the goal could really give them some momentum. It was the first time their fans really had something cheer for.

The Red Wings answered back quickly to retake the lead. Hossa brought the puck around the back of the net and shot. The rebound squirted out to Stuart who shot with Holmstrom in front of the crease. That rebound dropped down in front of Mason and Holmstrom chipped it up and over him. That gave the lead back to the Wings two to one.

Just past the halfway point of the first period Kopecky released a shot and the rebound hit the back boards and trickled back towards the goal line. Cleary picked up the puck right next to the net and banked it into the goal off of Mason. The Jackets didn’t know what hit them at that point. Hitchcock called his timeout to regroup.

Early in the second period Rick Nash had a great shift. First he nailed Brad Stuart with a hard hit and then scored a goal. It was a bang bang play where Nash snuck in back door, received a quick pass and tipped it in behind Osgood. That brought the Blue Jackets back to within a goal with a lot of time left in the game.

A few minutes later Ericsson was called for holding on a questionable call. The fans all booed because even they thought the penalty was going against Columbus. On the power play Umberger made a nice move through all the Red Wings and shot the puck in to tie the game at three. Momentum had definitely swung towards Columbus.

Then Hossa decided it was time to take the lead back and just went nuts all over the ice. He shot and then picked up his own rebound and shot it in to take back the lead. It was a heck of shift by Hossa and the entire line. They just refused to give up.

The Wings then had a couple of power plays in a row. On the second one Holmstrom got the puck behind the net. He faked like he was going around but instead pulled up and passed it to Hossa in the slot. Hossa one timed it for another goal to put the Wings back up by two. That took a bite out of Columbus’ momentum.

With about five minutes to go in the second period Columbus went on the rush up ice two on two. Russell faked a pass across and took the shot instead. He burned Osgood on the glove side and scored bringing them back within a goal. Ken and Mick were commenting that they didn’t think Osgood was feeling 100% in this game. Ken pointed out that in the first three games Osgood was stopping those shots all night long. It was a good point. On the next save that he made you could tell that he was hurting. He kind of stumbled when he got up and it looked like he had tweaked something.

A few minutes later Modin scored on a rebound to tie the game at five. It was starting to look like they might need Conklin to come in and give Osgood a rest.

The second period ended with the scored still tied. The crowd was going bananas.

Osgood came back out to start the third so he must have felt that he was okay. He looked much better in the third. Maybe he had just lost his focus temporarily or something.

The third period was a crazy ride. The play went up and down the ice with insane intensity at both ends. With less than two minutes left in the game and the score still tied Columbus was called for too many men on the ice. They argued the call but there was no question about it. I think they were mad at themselves more so than the officials. With 46 seconds left in the game Franzen scored a power play goal to break the tie. Hudler crashed the net and while everybody was worried about him, the puck squirted out to Franzen who picked it up and popped it in. After that the fans showered the ice with cans and bottles. Apparently, they disagreed with the call. Again, it was unfortunate for the Blue Jackets but there was no choice but to make that call.

That was a back breaker for Columbus. They didn’t get the goalie pulled until the clock was down to around 20 seconds and they weren’t able to get any good scoring chances.

So the Red Wings wrapped up a four game sweep and earned some very valuable rest. All things considered this was a relatively easy way for the Wings to start the playoffs. No slight to the Blue Jackets, they played tough, but it was easy travel for the Wings. It seemed like the Red Wings dominated this entire series without really having to try very hard. They got out of this series with a pretty low physical toll. Nobody was injured, or overworked. It was a great series but I’m sure the next one will be much much tougher.

This 6-5 win finishes this Western Conference Quarterfinal series at 4-0 Red Wings.

Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 3 (4/21/09)

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Tonight the Red Wings were in Columbus to play game three of their first round series. This is the first time Columbus has ever hosted a playoff game so the fans and players there were really pumped. This game would also show us how important having last change is to the Red Wings. In this case I didn’t expect it to be that important because I think the Wings matchup very well against the Blue Jackets no matter what line is out there. Again, the starting goaltenders were Osgood and Mason.

It took just over a minute for the Red Wings to spoil the festivities for the Blue Jackets. Holmstrom came into the zone and took a shot that Mason stopped. The rebound came out to Hossa who shot it quickly. Mason might have got part of it with the knob of the stick and then it hit the crossbar and dropped down on the goal line. Meanwhile Holmstrom had moved to the front of the net and had wide open goalmouth in front of him. He tapped it in making it one to nothing very early in the game.

With less than a minute left in the first period Detroit struck again. Franzen threw the puck at the net. Cleary was in front and he picked up the rebound. He separated himself slightly from his defender and then spun with the puck and shot it. Mason didn’t know where to expect the shot to go and it got by him to give the Wings the two to nothing lead.

Osgood was superb in the first period. The Blue Jackets had some glorious chances and Osgood shut the door. He came up big with saves during the penalty kill and on several point blank chances. It was a great way to start a road game. Columbus had more shots on goal than Detroit did but that’s because they had a power play and Detroit didn’t. If not for the power play, shots they were even. Detroit out-hit Columbus 19 to 12 but Columbus had the edge in face-offs.

In the second period the Blue Jackets went on the power play again after Holmstrom was called for goaltender interference. This was a pure reputation call. He didn’t touch Mason at all. He was pushed into him by a Blue Jackets player but still managed to avoid hitting him. He did slap at the puck when it was up against Mason’s pads but I don’t recall anybody making THAT illegal. Detroit really shut them down on that power play. I don’t think they even had any shots.

Later in the second period Stuart creamed Umberger with a great hip check. Then Commodore tried to hit Cleary and ended up in the Red Wings bench. Then Franzen got taken down behind the Blue Jackets net and while that was going on Cleary passed the puck to Zetterberg in the slot. Zetterberg was standing all alone between the hash marks. He shot and scored and it seemed like nobody even noticed. They didn’t even show a replay of it because they were still talking about all the hits. Whatever, it was three to nothing Red Wings.

One stat that struck me was that through two periods the Blue Jackets had a total of only two shots on three power plays. That’s some good penalty killing by the Wings.

In the third period the Jackets went on the power play and the puck ended up on the goal line behind Osgood. He didn’t know it was there but Stuart alertly jumped in behind it and shoved it away.

Later in that same power play, with less than four minutes left in the game, the Blue Jackets scored to break Osgood’s shutout streak at just over 144 minutes. The penalty kill was a little squirrelly because the Wings had trouble clearing. They were getting control of the puck a lot but their clearing attempts were being cut off by Columbus. They kept throwing the puck to the net and finally Umberger, who was standing in front of Osgood, backhanded one that got by him.

The Blue Jackets pulled their goalie in the final minute and Zetterberg bagged the empty-netter with about 30 seconds left in the game.

Detroit played very well in this game. The only problem was that one penalty kill where Columbus scored. Osgood continued playing even better than he did last year in the playoffs. He’s playing like he’s already seen these games before. It looks like he knows where every shot is going. It’s just incredible to see.

The next game is Thursday and the Red Wings will be looking to put the Blue Jackets down for good in that one. Hopefully, they can keep up the great work and then get some rest before the next round.

This 4-1 win brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to 3-0 Red Wings.

Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 2 (4/18/09)

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

Tonight it was game two between the Red Wings and the Blue Jackets. The Red Wings looked awesome in game one and I expected Columbus to come out with something to prove and with a lot of energy. The goalies were once again, Osgood and Mason.

Cleary was called for interference within the first 10 seconds of the game. Osgood came up strong again on the penalty kill when the Blue Jackets had a great scoring chance and Osgood closed the door.

As it turned out the Red Wings had more jump than the Blue Jackets in the first period. They were throwing the body big time, especially Helm and Datsyuk.

The Wings opened the scoring in the first period with a power play goal. Lidstrom got the puck to Rafalski at the top of the circle. Holmstrom was in front of the net causing havoc with Tyutin guarding him. Rafalski released the shot and it deflected off Tyutin and into the net. That was the third goal out of five in this series to go in Columbus’ net off one of their own players. That made it one to nothing Red Wings.

That was the only goal in the first period. The Red Wings outshot the Blue Jackets 14 to 4 in the period. It was more of the same domination that we saw in game one.

In the second period Detroit scored another power play goal. This one was created by a beautiful pass from Hossa to Datsyuk who was standing just outside the crease. Mason was expecting a shot from Hossa so all Datsyuk had to do was tip the pass into the net. Mason was in position for the Hossa shot so the net on Datsyuk’s side was mostly wide open.

Later in the second Zetterberg got the puck from Franzen near the faceoff dot. He skated to the hash marks and released a pinpoint wrister that beat Mason over the glove to make it three to nothing Red Wings. It was a beautiful shot by Zetterberg.

The second period ended with the Red Wings in a flurry looking for their fourth goal. They had a power play and continued the pressure after it expired. They didn’t get it to go in but they had several good scoring chances and Columbus used their timeout to get a breather after they finally iced the puck.

Osgood looked great again in the second period and there were great plays by the Wings all over the ice. The line of Hudler, Filppula and Samuelsson continued to rack up the scoring chances. Brad Stuart made a great defensive play. The entire team was playing like a machine. There were lots of big hits and smart plays. It was just a pleasure to watch.

In the third period Detroit kept their power play rolling. Kronwall shot from the point and the rebound came to Hudler along the goal line. He took a shot and it hit the post. Then it bounced out and hit Mason and bounced back into the net. It was another crazy goal that you couldn’t really blame on Mason. This whole series so far has been proof that good things happen when you get the puck to the net.

That did it for this game. The Red Wings won four to nothing and Osgood got the shutout. It was another textbook performance by the Wings. Obviously, Osgood has found the best way to silence his critics. The crowd was really into it and cheering for him the entire game.

We’ll see on Tuesday what kind of difference it’ll make playing in Columbus. It’ll be easier for the Blue Jackets to get the matchups they want so they might do a little better there.

This 0-4 win brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to 2-0 Red Wings.

Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 1 (4/16/09)

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

The playoffs are finally here. Detroit started their defense of the Stanley Cup tonight at Joe Louis Arena against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Chris Osgood was our starting goalie and Steve Mason was the starter for Columbus. Hossa was back, Cleary was in (despite mid-week rumors), and Draper was out.

This is the first ever playoff appearance for the Columbus Blue Jackets so you can bet the team and their fans will be intense. On the other hand, this is old hat for the Wings and their fans.

There was no score in the first period thanks to some outstanding goaltending by Osgood. The intensity level was high for both teams and the action was fast. Detroit seemed to be killing penalties most of the period. We didn’t see much sustained offense by the Wings until about halfway through the period. They looked really good when they were able to apply some pressure. Defensively, I thought Columbus had way too many chances but that’s because Detroit was shorthanded so much. Luckily, Osgood was on top of his game. He was very sharp and seemed to be seeing everything. If he hadn’t been playing so well it could have been four or five to nothing. After seeing the first period I thought that the Wings and especially Osgood had answered the question of whether or not they would have the intensity level necessary for the playoffs. They looked confident but not over confident.

The first half of the second period was more of the same. There were lots of chances but nothing came together. Shortly after the halfway point of the period Filppula and Hudler ended up with a two on one. Filppula got the puck across to Hudler who shot it passed Mason to open the scoring.

Then just a few seconds later, Columbus answered. Kronwall stumbled and lost the puck deep in his own zone. Voracek took the puck and passed it to Umberger who shot it backwards into the net. I don’t think Osgood was expecting him to shoot it without turning around first. That tied it up again at one goal each.

Later in the second period Detroit scored again when Ericsson took a shot from the point. The shot was going well wide but Malhotra tried to swat it away and ended up redirecting it into the net. Mason didn’t have a chance on that one. It looked like Samuelsson might have tipped it before it got to Malhotra but Ericsson got credit for the goal so I guess he didn’t touch it.

A few seconds later Detroit went on the power play. Kronwall took a shot from the point and Franzen was standing in front of Mason. This time it looked like it went off of Hejda’s knee and into the net. I don’t think Franzen touched it but it did change direction and Mason couldn’t see anything with Franzen in front of him. That made it three to one Wings.

In the third period the Zetterberg shoveled the puck behind the net to Franzen who was waiting down low. Franzen took the puck on his forehand then moved it to the backhand and shot it in all in one motion. He got it up over Mason’s skate and snuck between the post and his arm. It was a very fast, athletic and smart play.

That was it for this game. The Red Wings looked fantastic. Osgood was brilliant and the rest of the team looked great, too. Detroit showed why they’re the defending champs. They made this one look pretty easy. I expect Columbus to come out with something to prove on Saturday.

This 1-4 win brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to 1-0 Red Wings.

Here Comes Round 1

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

The playoffs start tonight for the Red Wings, less than two hours from now. I can’t wait to see how the Wings look when they’re actually playing a game that matters. You really can’t gauge how good they are by the way they ended the season, but tonight we’ll know.

Draper will be out for the game because of a mysterious injury. There were rumors during the week that Cleary would also be out after taking a hit in practice. The latest is that he WILL be able to play. Hossa should be back as well.

Hopefully, Mason will show some nerves early on in the game and we’ll get an early lead. Once he gets passed the jitters he will likely be a rock.

You can find the game on Versus starting 7:00 PM.

Good luck to the Red Wings tonight!

Red Wings To Face Columbus In Round 1

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

The St. Louis Blues beat the Colorado Avalanche today so they moved all the way up to sixth place in the Western Conference. For the Red Wings that means that the Columbus Blue Jackets finish seventh and will face the Wings in round one of the playoffs.

The playoffs start on Wednesday but the specific schedules haven’t been announced yet. They will probably come out sometime tomorrow.

Columbus will be a tough team to play in the first round but let’s face it, they all will. The good news for the Wings is that you can’t beat the travel. The trip between Detroit and Columbus is one of the easiest we could have hoped for. For us Eastern Time zone viewers that’ll also ensure that we don’t have games that start at 10:30. Those always make it tough to function the next day.

So bring on the Blue Jackets and let’s go Red Wings!

Detroit at Chicago (4/12/09)

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

This afternoon Detroit was in Chicago to play the second half of back to back games against the Blackhawks and the final game of the season for both teams. The goalies for today’s game were Osgood for us and Khabibulin for them. Lidstrom was out for this game just getting some rest.

This was another meaningless game for the Wings. The more meaningful game was the Blues and the Avalanche. If the Blues win the Wings will play the Blue Jackets in the first round. If they lose we’ll get the Ducks. Either team will be tough to play but the travel involved playing Anaheim will be rough. Not to mention the late night games that are really tough for us East coast folks to stay away for and then get up for work the next morning. So, not slight to the Blue Jackets, but I’d rather see the Wings face them instead of the Ducks.

Each team hit a post early in the game so at least the bad luck was even (or good luck if you’re thinking of it from the goalie’s point of view).

Chicago got the first goal of the game and they made it look easy. Byfuglien had the puck and he circled behind the net with it. He came back out towards the point and eventually passed to Seabrook. Seabrook passed it through the slot to Ladd who was all alone with a wide open net. It was a pretty major defensive breakdown for the Wings. It looked like everybody was just standing around watching Byfuglien skate. That gave the Hawks the early one nothing lead. Osgood had no chance on that shot.

A bit later in the first period Chicago scored again when Toews took the puck through the crease and pushed it towards Osgood. It somehow made it right between Osgood’s legs and into the net.

A few minutes later Detroit went on the power play. The Blackhawks took a second penalty with 1:04 left on the first one so the Red Wings had a fairly long 5 on 3. Detroit had a lot of shots during the power play but couldn’t beat Khabibulin. The power play looked a little sloppy. They had a lot of chances but the passes weren’t quite crisp enough. Everybody seemed to be almost in the right place at the right time but not quite.

There was no more scoring in the first period so the Wings went to the dressing room down two goals to none.

There were no goals in the second period. Khabibulin was playing very well but Detroit really didn’t seem to have much urgency. There were few flurries where the intensity seemed to ramp up a little but nothing too serious. At the end of the period Kronwall was called for slashing so the Hawks would start the third on the power play.

The Wings killed of the penalty to start the third period but a few minutes later the Blackhawks went on the power play again. Chelios lost his stick and was unable to prevent a pass from the corner to Bolland moving up in the slot. He took a hard slap shot that beat Osgood to make it three to nothing Hawks. Byfuglien was in front of the net causing trouble and a few Red Wings were there as well.

That was the end of the scoring for this game. Khabibulin got the shut out. The Red Wings didn’t really care. They didn’t bother pulling the goalie and seemed to be running out the clock for the last couple of minutes. The goal for this game was to just get through it with no injuries and they did that.

Osgood played pretty well. He was sharp especially on a few occasions when Chicago had breakaways or shorthanded chances.

That does it for the regular season and what a great season it was. The slumps seemed to be a little bit worse this season that they were last season but the numbers don’t lie. This was a fantastic season. Now the real fun starts!

This 0-3 loss brings us to:
112 points

Chicago at Detroit (4/11/09)

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

The Chicago Blackhawks were in Detroit to play the Wings this afternoon for the first of a home and home series that concludes tomorrow. This is the second to last game of the season. Chicago has a playoff spot locked up so this was the first game in a while where the Wings were playing a team that wasn’t fighting for their lives.

The starting goalies were Cristobal Huet for the Hawks and Ty Conklin for the Wings. Oddly enough, Chris Chelios was playing forward in this game. He was on a line with Meech and Maltby. The Red Wings were sporting their Winter Classic jerseys for this game but the Blackhawks chose not to do so.

There were a couple of news items before the game started, and what great news it was. First, Hossa does NOT have a tear in his groin. It’s just a little sore. He’s expected to miss these last two games and be ready to go for the playoffs. Second, Franzen signed an ELEVEN YEAR DEAL with the Red Wings at less than four million per year! How great is that?!?! I’m giddy! Franzen probably could have made nearly six million per year on the open market. It sure is great to see players that are more concerned with winning and team loyalty than with money. That means we have Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and now Franzen all locked up for a long time. If we can somehow get Hossa signed as well it would the most impossible dream come true. If that happens then they should make a statue of Ken Holland and put it up with the rest of the Red Wings greats.

This game got off to a bit of rocky start. Just 16 seconds into the game the Blackhawks scored on a long shot from the point by Niklas Hjalmarsson. It was a rising shot but Conklin had a good look at it and there were no deflections. He just missed it. Conklin wanted that one back for sure. It was so early in the game that I don’t think he was really ready for a shot. It must have surprised him a little. Conklin had a couple of shaky saves after that but after a few more he seemed to settle down and get into a rhythm.

With about nine minutes left in the period Detroit scored a nice power play goal to tie the game. Hudler picked up the puck near the side of the net and passed it to Filppula at the bottom of the circle on the other side. He shot it quickly and beat Huet for the goal.

The first period ended with the score tied at one. The Wings were outshot by the Hawks 13 to 6 up to that point. The first period didn’t have nearly the intensity that we’ve seen in recent games. That was probably because the outcome of the game was not really important to either team.

There wasn’t much action in the second period. It almost felt like a preseason game. Neither team wanted to play too hard since the game’s outcome didn’t matter. Nobody wants to risk injury just before the playoffs in a meaningless game.

With 1:02 left in the second period Cleary took a shot and the rebound came off Huet straight back to the high slot area were Zetterberg was moving up. He cranked one that beat Huet to give the Wings the lead one to two. This was after a long stretch during which the Wings were in the Chicago zone and the Blackhawks couldn’t get a good clear. They had finally just got it out of the zone and then mistakenly passed it right back to Cleary.

With the third period about halfway done, the Hawks scored on what was their first shot of the period. Eager got the puck in the high slot and ripped a hard wrister that beat Conklin to tie it up at two.

With 27.6 seconds left in the game and the score still tied Byfuglien was awarded a penalty shot on a terrible call. Kronwall was called for hooking when there was no hook whatsoever. He simply lifted the stick. It was a perfect defensive play by Kronwall. On the penalty shot Byfuglien shot and scored on Conklin to give the Blackhawks the lead with very little time left.

Conklin went to the bench for the extra skater but the Wings weren’t able to score. Chicago scored an empty net goal to make it two to four.

For a meaningless game this one was fairly entertaining. It’s too bad about the crazy outcome but it doesn’t really matter and we get a rematch tomorrow.

This 2-4 loss brings us to:
112 points

Nashville at Detroit (4/9/09)

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Tonight the Red Wings faced the Nashville Predators at Joe Louis Arena. The Predators are another team fighting for a spot in the playoffs. They pretty much need a win tonight or they can forget about it. The Wings were hoping to foil their plans. The starting goaltenders were Chris Osgood for the Wings and Pekka Rinne for the Predators.

In the first period Detroit got a power play thanks to a delay of game by the Predators. Kronwall got the puck at the top of the slot and fired it on net. It changed direction after hitting the stick of a Nashville player and got by Rinne to give Detroit the one nothing lead.

That was the only goal in the first period but the Red Wings were out-shot 10 to 4 which is not good. The Predators also won 10 face-offs to the Wings 4. That’s very unusual.

In the second period Nichol scored for the Predators at even strength. Osgood was screened and nearly interfered with so he never had a chance to stop that one. That tied the game at one.

Hossa left the game in the second period. Of course, they said it was because of a “lower body” injury. Let’s hope that it’s nothing. They showed a replay where his foot got sort of caught on the skate of a Nashville player and it looked like his leg might have stretched out awkwardly. Hopefully, it’s not a gr0in injury.

Near the end of the second period Detroit scored a power play goal. The Wings were moving the puck well and Lidstrom shot it from the point. Holmstrom was in front of the net and then Datsyuk moved in with his stick to try for a redirection. It looked like Rinne got a piece of it but it got by him and into the net. Datsyuk didn’t touch the puck but he distracted Rinne with his stick. The power play was created because of a terrible penalty that Nichol took. It was a crosscheck that happened after the play. It was completely pointless and the Red Wings made him pay for it.

Early on in the third period Zetterberg won the faceoff but they lost it to Nashville. Cleary forechecked and knocked Arnott off the puck. Zetterberg took it and sent it to Franzen in the slot. He snapped a quick one that made it three to one Wings.

With 6:42 left in the game Arnott ended up with the puck in the slot. He shot once and it hit the post. It bounced right back to him and he shot it again and beat Osgood to pull within a goal of tying the game.

As time was winding down Nashville pulled their goalie plus Kronwall was in the box so it was six on four. With just under a minute left they scored to tie the game at three and send the game into overtime. Unfortunately, even the single point will be helpful to Nashville’s playoff hopes.

With about 45 seconds left in the overtime Zetterberg was called for a hook so the Predators went onto a four on three power play. The Wings killed off the penalty so the game went to a shootout.

Datsyuk shot first in the shootout but he was stopped by Rinne. Fiddler shot next for the Predators and missed the net. Then Zetterberg came up and Rinne stopped him as well. Sullivan shot and Osgood stopped it. Hudler was up next. He did a kick fake and beat Rinne for the first goal of the shootout. Koistinen went next and scored on Osgood. Then Cleary was up and he was stopped by Rinne. Finally it was Arnott who shot the puck into the net to win the game and earn two points for the Predators.

I thought the Red Wings played a pretty good game tonight but the Predators were just too desperate. If it weren’t for the six on four at the end of regulation they wouldn’t have even gotten a point and I’d have been a lot happier.

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

Detroit at Buffalo (4/6/09)

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Tonight the Red Wings played the second night of back to back games after beating the Wild yesterday. They traveled to Buffalo to take on the Sabres. Buffalo is another team fighting for every point to make the playoffs so the Red Wings expected to have their hands full once again. Miller was the goalie for the Sabres and Osgood was in for Detroit.

Early in the game both teams had some good scoring chances. Buffalo seemed to be doing a better job of puck possession and were getting more shots. Osgood looked sharp and made several awesome saves.

Late in the first period Franzen was hit with a high stick just below his eye and was badly cut during a scoring chance. The referees missed the high stick which cost the Red Wings four minutes of power play time.

Late in the second period Detroit finally got a power play. Osgood moved the puck up the ice quickly during a Buffalo change. The Red Wings went to work before the Sabres were set. The puck came to Stuart at the top of the slot. He released a shot with Holmstrom in front of the net blocking Miller’s view. The puck found its way through everyone and into the net to give the Red Wings the one nothing lead. It look like the puck redirected slightly off of Holmstrom’s knee but it was awarded to Stuart so it must not have touched him.

Not long after play continued there was a pretty good sized brawl. Filppula cleanly hit MacArthur and leveled him. Butler came in and started shoving Filppula and a crowd gathered. Samuelsson punched Roy to the ice and that really ticked him off so he got up and came after Samuelsson. Stafford grabbed Ericsson and nailed him with a few good ones. Then Ericsson wrestled Stafford to the ice and wailed on him with several punches to the face. When all was said and done, the Sabres had a two minute power play. However, right after the faceoff Connolly chopped Stuart’s stick in half and was called for slashing. That ended the power play after just two seconds.

After two periods the shots on goal were even at 21.

Early in the third period, still 4 on 4, Hossa forechecked hard and got control of the puck along the boards behind the net. He passed it to Zetterberg and Zetterberg passed it to Lidstrom at the point. Lidstrom took a shot and by that time Hossa was back to the front of the net. He picked up the rebound after Lidstrom’s shot, went skate to stick with it and shot it in. That gave the Wings a two nothing lead and it all started with a great job on the initial forecheck by Hossa. That was Hossa’s 40th goal of the season. He becomes only eighth player in league history to score 40 goals with three different teams.

Nearing the halfway point of the third period Datsyuk won a faceoff back to Ericsson who shot the puck into the zone from center ice. Holmstrom dug it out from the side boards and got it to Datsyuk. He made a move on his defender and took it to the slot. Then he dished it to Hossa who was approaching from the other side. Hossa dropped to one knee and one timed it into the back of the net. It was a beautiful play all around to give the Wings a three nothing lead.

A few second later Buffalo got one back. Osgood made the initial stop but the rebound dropped by the side of the open net. Osgood thought it was in his glove but it wasn’t. Cleary tried to clear the puck out of there but Gaustad was there and chipped it in before he could do so.

With about two minutes to go Buffalo pulled their goalie. The Sabres did their best to score but Lidstrom scored an empty net goal to make it four to one. That was it for this one.

Detroit played an excellent road game tonight. They’re really looking good right now. Osgood is playing well. To me they look playoff ready right now. Let’s keep it going for the next three games.

This 4-1 win brings us to:
111 points