Archive for January, 2010

Detroit at Pittsburgh (1/31/10)

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

The Red Wings were on the road this afternoon to play the Penguins at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh. Contrary to the rumors from a few days ago Holmstrom was not ready to play yet for this game. Now he’s expected to return on Tuesday and Franzen should be back a week later. Marc-Andre Fleury was in net for the Penguins and it was Jimmy Howard for the Red Wings.

There was no scoring in the first period but it wasn’t for lack of chances on the part of the Penguins. The Red Wings allowed 16 shots on goal in the first period so they were on pace again for a pretty poor defensive showing. Luckily, Jimmy Howard continued to be red hot and stopped every shot. As for offense, the Red Wings only had 6 shots on goal. It was not a good first period but fortunately no damage was done.

In the second period the Red Wings started playing a litte better. They were putting some good pressure on Pittsburgh and not giving up quite as many shots.

Late in the second period Detroit had just finished a power play so all their top line guys were on the bench. Bylsma put his top line out there to take advantage of the situation. Goligoski rifled the puck across the ice to a wide open Crosby. Howard quickly moved over to get into position but when he did Crosby went forehand to backhand around him and put it in the net. That gave the Penguins the one to nothing lead with about three minutes to go in the second period.

There were no other goals in the second. Although they seemed to have a little more energy in the second period the Red Wings still gave up 13 shots on goal and only had 5 themselves. It’s possible that the stats may have had a bit of a hometown skew.

In the third period the Red Wings stepped it up even more. They had some really good shifts and some extended pressure. With just under 9 minutes left in the game Brad Stuart got the puck at the point and nobody came after him. He had all day so he wound up and blasted one with Cleary in front of Fleury and Zetterberg right on the doorstep as well. Cleary made it hard for Fleury to see the puck and then he tipped it, redirecting it into the net for the game tying goal.

The tie held through the end of regulation time.

The pace of the overtime period was excellent. Both teams were playing really well.

During the overtime Kronwall collided with Staal and left the ice in pain and limping badly. It was hard to tell how serious it was. He didn’t leave the bench area so I’m hoping it was just a Charlie horse but it looked like it could be something serious. He never returned to the game but it was nearly over so that doesn’t necessarily mean much.

The Red Wings had a power play at the end of the OT but couldn’t score so the game went to the shootout.

The first shooter in the shootout was Letang. He made a good move but Howard stayed with him and stopped the puck. Datsyuk went next and he missed the net. Then Crosby was up and he roofed it over Howard’s outstretched pad for the goal. Jason Williams was up next for the Wings. He came in with speed and shot it but Fleury got it with the glove. Then it was Malkin. He came in slowly and put it around Howard’s skate and into the net. That gave the Penguins the win.

It took a while for the Red Wings to get going in this game. Once they did they looked pretty good. If they can start playing a full 60 minutes like they did in the third period and the overtime they’ll be doing alright.

This 1-2 overtime loss brings us to:
62 points

Nashville at Detroit (1/29/10)

Friday, January 29th, 2010

The Nashville Predators were in Detroit tonight to face the Red Wings. The goalies for this game were Jimmy Howard and Dan Ellis. Abdelkader was out of the lineup after being sent back to Grand Rapids thanks to the return of Jason Williams. Abdelkader played really well for the most part but still it was great to have Jason Williams back. Holmstrom is expected back on Sunday which it also wonderful news. Lebda was in the lineup tonight as Meech and Leino were both healthy scratches. Brad Stuart was apparently injured the other night in the game against Minnesota but he was okay to go tonight so it must not have been anything serious.

The first period was characterized by giveaways and sloppy defense on the part of the Red Wings and fantastic saves by Jimmy Howard.

As frustrating as the game had been through most of the first, the Red Wings had a chance to turn it around when they went on the power play late in the period. They had a few good chances including one where Miller shot at a mostly open net, but Filppula was in the way and it hit him instead. Later on the same shift Filppula shot and Miller tipped it. It continued through to Williams who was parked in front of the net and he tipped it in back door on Ellis. That made it one to nothing Red Wings which was really lucky considering they were being outplayed by the Predators.

About a minute later Zetterberg lost his stick in the defensive end and the Predators took full advantage. Dumont passed across the ice to Bouillon who one timed it into the net before Howard could get over. That tied it up at one each.

Surprisingly, the stats for shots and chances were fairly even. It certainly seemed quite a bit worse than the stats indicated. Mickey Redmond seemed skeptical of their accuracy.

In the second period the Red Wings took control a little bit and got the momentum swinging their way. They were on the power play and moving the puck really well. Lidstrom made a great to play to keep the puck in the zone and then circled back around to the slot. Zetterberg chipped it ahead to Datsyuk who made a perfect pass to Lidstrom. He one-timed it and scored to take the lead two to one on the power play goal.

A few minutes later the Wings were on the power play again. Just a few seconds after it had expired Stuart sent the puck from the point to the front of the net. Miller was there and redirected it but it ended up under Ellis. He moved a little bit and puck slid out from under his pads. Miller was still there and smacked it into the net to give the Red Wings a two goal lead three to one.

By the end of the second period the shots and chances stats were much more skewed in Nashville’s favor. Even though Detroit outscored the Predators two to nothing in the second period they were still being outplayed at least on paper. The most glaring stat was the 12 giveaways that Detroit had through two periods.

In the third period Weber had the puck along the boards and he just chucked it towards the net. It looked like it hit Stuart’s stick and deflected into the top corner of the net to pull the Predators to within a goal of tying it.

Later in the third Zetterberg shot from an angle that was so bad that he was actually below the goal line. The puck went under Ellis’ arm and into the net. Ellis pushed the net back when he moved into position so it was reviewed to see if the net was out of position when the puck crossed the line. The call on the ice was determined to be correct so it was a good goal.

With a 1:35 left in the game Nashville had pulled their goalie and then Rafalski was called for interference so it became a six on four advantage. Nashville had a lot of chances but the Wings kept them off the board for the rest of the game.

This was a big and lucky win for the Red Wings. Jimmy Howard faced 48 shots thanks to all the giveaways. He stopped 46 of them which was just incredible. It was a heck of a performance by him. I hate to think where the Wings would be this year if they’d had mediocre goaltending. With all the injuries, excellent goaltending has been a necessity and Jimmy Howard has been giving it to them on a routine basis.

This 2-4 win brings us to:
61 points

Detroit at Minnesota (1/27/10)

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Not even 24 hours after Detroit’s latest in a string of disappointing losses, they were in Minnesota to face the Wild. The Wild’s goalie was Josh Harding and Chris Osgood was in for the Wings.

Early in the first period the Wild went on the power play. Koivu got the puck next to the net and held it like he was waiting for a shot to open. Osgood was totally focused on him but instead of shooting he passed it to Miettinen in the slot who had no trouble hitting the mostly wide open net to take the quick lead one to nothing.

The Red Wings scored a few minutes later when Lidstrom fired from close to the point. It hit something, possibly Zetterberg, in front of Harding and changed direction. The puck bounced down and Datsyuk corralled it and put it in the net. That made it a one to one tie.

Approaching the end of the first period Miettinen scored again. It was a bad angle shot that beat Osgood cleanly.

Just a few seconds later Datsyuk answered again. This time Lidstrom shot from the other point and Datsyuk deflected it in front of the net. It was pretty crazy the way Miettinen and Datsyuk were trading goals.

A few seconds after that Zanon ripped one from the blue line and Ebbett deflected it into the net. The first period still had over two minutes left and the game was already three to two Wild.

After one period Detroit was outshooting the Wild but the Wild were out chancing Detroit. It was a strange game. It seemed that Detroit spent most of the period on their heels so I’d say they were lucky to only be down by a goal.

After the crazy first period there was no scoring in the second period.

In the third period Belanger made a nice move to ditch Bertuzzi then he passed diagonally to Latendresse who one-timed it by Osgood for the four to two lead.

Just a few seconds later Koivu passed through the crease to Havlat who had snuck in back door. Havlat released a sharp angle shot and put it in the net. That made it five to two Wild.

That was the end of the scoring as the Wild beat the Red Wings five to two.

This was another depressing game. I don’t know if the team feels as confident when Osgood is in the net, but maybe that’s just me. Most of the goals against weren’t Osgood’s fault in my opinion. He was just getting all turned around because the Wild had such an easy time moving the puck. I’d put this loss on poor defensive play in general more than goaltending. I’m sure that fatigue was another factor being on the second half of back to back games. Things have to start improving soon or they might end up watching the playoffs.

This 2-5 loss brings us to:
59 points

Phoenix at Detroit (1/26/10)

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Tonight the Red Wings faced the Phoenix Coyotes at Joe Louis Arena. Bryzgalov was in net for the Coyotes and for the Red Wings it was Jimmy Howard. In what can only be described as extremely fantastic news, Kronwall returned to the lineup tonight. That should really help things for the Red Wings. I’ve also heard rumors that Lilja may be close to returning from his concussion problem which started last season. This was another huge game for the Wings as the Coyotes were five points ahead in the standings.

Kronwall made his presence felt right off the bat. He was very active, hitting people and making plays. He looked pretty good for somebody who hasn’t played in so long.

Detroit got on the board first when Rafalski activated offensively to pick up a loose puck and pass it across to Zetterberg who then hit Datsyuk in the slot. Datsyuk buried it for the first goal of the game.

About halfway through the second period, the Coyotes were on the power play. The Red Wings had just about killed it off when Lombardi shot the puck. Howard stopped the initial shot but he was sprawled on the ice and Upshall found the rebound and poked it into the corner of the net to tie the game at one.

A few minutes later Vrbata got the puck down low and both defensemen went over to his side of the ice. He spotted Yandle all alone as he had separated from Filppula. Vrbata passed it to Yandle who one-timed it perfectly into the net giving the Coyotes the two to one lead. It was a beautifully set up goal.

Just 11 seconds later the grinders came out and tied it up. It was kind of a sloppy looking play but it worked! Helm passed ahead to Draper who had trouble handling it. He chipped it toward the net and it went up high on Bryzgalov. He knocked it down with his glove and Eaves came flying in to bang it home and re-tie the game.

In the third period the Coyotes went on the power play and the Wings had trouble clearing for an extended period. Jimmy Howard made one incredible save after another, even without his goal stick for while. He looked like a real superstar.

Then Lidstrom got the puck at the point and dished it ahead to Zetterberg. Zetterberg gave it back to him and he walked it towards the slot and fired a backhander with Cleary in front of the net causing trouble. The puck found its way through and into the net. That gave the Red Wings the three to two lead.

A few minutes later there was a big pile up in front of the Red Wings’ net and a bit of a scrum ensued after the whistle. Upshall was roughing it up with Datsyuk of all people. When it was all sorted out the Red Wings had a power play thanks to a roughing call on Shane Doan.

During the power play Filppula passed to Bertuzzi down low. He tried to pass it back but the puck hit a skate and bounced out to where Lidstrom was waiting all by himself. He popped it into the empty side of the net and gave Detroit a two goal cushion.

Later in the third Phoenix was on the power play and Yandle shot from the blue line. It looked like the puck hit Stuart or Maltby and deflected into the net. That made it a one goal game with about a minute and a half to go.

Soon after that the Coyotes pulled their goalie and turned up the pressure.

With 21.6 second left Stuart tried to clear and couldn’t. The Coyotes got the puck low and then it came to the front of the net where it hit Jovanovski in the skates. He swept it between Howard’s legs and tied the game sending it to overtime.

In the overtime Shane Doan took the puck to the net. Howard stretched out and Doan patiently held it until Howard was down. Then he chipped it up and over Howard’s glove for the win.

This was another example of the Red Wings playing a really good game and then collapsing at the end. It’s getting old. I just don’t understand it. They looked great through almost the entire game and then all of the sudden everything just evaporates.

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

Los Angeles at Detroit (1/23/10)

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Tonight the Red Wings played their most important game of the season to this point. The Los Angeles Kings were in town for a game at the Joe. The Kings are the team directly above Detroit in the standings; they’re they team the Red Wings have been chasing the last several games. If they earned two points cleanly against the Kings it would really help and put the Red Wings ahead of them in the standings. At the start of the game L.A. was in 7th place and Detroit was in 8th. The Western Conference is so tight however that every game is an important chance at two points. Tonight Jonathan Quick was the starting goalie for the Kings and Jimmy Howard started for the Red Wings.

In the first period Cleary and Filppula were working the puck along the boards in the Kings’ end. Filppula passed it to Cleary and moved towards the middle. Cleary passed it back and Filppula carried it into the slot. He came closer and closer to the net and nobody tried to stop him so he just kept moving into position and choosing his shot. He finally released it and burned Quick for a goal high on the short side. He had all the time in the world and he made the most of it. To quote Mickey Redmond, “He put THAT yo-yo to sleep!” It was one nothing Red Wings.

Later in the first period Helm was hit in the face with Frolov’s stick and the Red Wings went on the power play. During the power Meech crashed heavily into the boards with Simmonds right behind him. The closest referee, Chris Lee, was right on top of the play and didn’t call a penalty but Dan O’Halloran decided from center ice that it was a trip. On the replay it was clear that there was no trip; Meech simply lost an edge. I’m not sure why O’Halloran thought he knew better than the ref that was right there. The Red Wings have been on the other end of those kind of bad calls plenty of times this season so I guess this is one of those times were it evens out. That put the Wings on a 5 on 3 power play.

During the two man advantage Lidstrom got the puck at the point. He walked the line with it and passed it back to Rafalski for the right handed shot. Rafalski fired it with Bertuzzi in front. The puck hit Bertuzzi’s knee, changed direction and went into the net giving the Wings the two to nothing lead with almost a full two minutes of power play time still to go. I’m sure the Kings were pretty sour about the tripping call that led to the goal.

Early in the second period Kopitar shot from the face off dot. Howard stopped the puck but as he was about to dive on it to cover it up Richardson chipped it up and over him. It dropped down to the ice behind Howard and Kopitar came in and knocked it the rest of the way into the net. That gave the Kings their first goal of the game and made it two to one.

The Kings really took it to the Red Wings in the second period. After the first period the shots on goal were pretty even but in the second it seemed to be all Los Angeles. Luckily, the Red Wings kept them to just a single goal so they still had the lead two to one.

The Red Wings didn’t take control of the game like they wanted to in the third period. The Kings continued to play harder than the Wings and create more offense.

In the third period the puck got chipped up and over Howard and it hit the crossbar. It dropped down and was heading into the net when Brad Stuart, who was sprawled on the ice, swept it away with his stick just a split second before it would have crossed the line. That earned him a nice pat on the head from Jimmy Howard after the play ended. Great save by Stuart!

A few minutes later Kopitar brought the puck into the Red Wings end. He wiped out but swept the puck to Simmonds who passed to Harrold in the slot who was driving to the net. Harrold fired a wrister and beat Howard tying the game two.

Later in the third Kopitar had the puck deep in the Red Wings end. He circled with it and dished it to Parse. Parse saw Richardson all alone at the other side of the net and passed it to him. Richardson tapped it by Jimmy Howard to give the Kings the lead three to two with only about eight minutes left in the game.

With less than two minutes to go in the game the Wings were shorthanded because of a weak hooking call to Eaves. They pulled the goalie with just over a minute left to get back to even strength but they weren’t able to score.

This was a very disappointing loss for the Red Wings. It was a really important two points and they were in a great position to win after ending the first period up two to nothing. The problem is that the first period was pretty much the only one they played. They were just coasting after that and that’s not good enough. They gave up three unanswered goals and just didn’t seem to have any jump. Surprisingly, the shots on goal were even by the end of the game. It sure didn’t seem even. They didn’t look like a team that really wanted those two points although I know they did. I don’t know why but it just didn’t seem to click tonight.

This 3-2 loss brings us to:
58 points

Detroit at Minnesota (1/21/10)

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

The Red Wings and the Wild played tonight in Minnesota for their first meeting of the season. Jimmy Howard was back in net for the Wings and Josh Harding was in for the Wild. This was a very important game for the Wings to win in regulation since both teams are in the hunt for a playoff spot with the Wild trailing the Red Wings in the standings.

The Wings were looking good early in the game. They had a shorthanded breakaway with TWO quality chances. Harding stopped them both but it built some good momentum for the Wings.

In the first period Bertuzzi got in the way of a Wild pass and deflected it towards Datsyuk. As soon as he did that he took off to the other end. Datsyuk made a great pass up the middle to setup Bertuzzi on a breakaway. Bertuzzi fired a beauty and beat Harding for the early goal.

The Red Wings only allowed three shots in the first period. Detroit managed 11 shots on goal. It was definitely all Wings in the first period. They also out-chanced the Wild 5 to 1.

Niklas Backstrom came in to start the second period in place of Harding. There was a play in the first period where Harding seemed to be hurt. He stayed in at that point so I assumed he was fine but he may have been injured after all.

In the second period the puck hit the backboards behind Jimmy Howard and bounced over the net and back to the front. Earl was driving the net with Stuart right on him. The puck hit Earl and went in just as Stuart was riding him into the net and dislodging it. They spent several minutes reviewing it to see if Earl knocked it in with his hand or shoulder and to see if the net was on when the puck crossed the line. It was called a goal on the ice and ultimately that call was upheld. That tied the game at one each. Interestingly, one of the referees tonight was Mike Leggo. That’s the guy who decided from center ice the other night that Steve Ott’s shootout goal was in the net.

Early in the third period Helm was working hard in the corner and he came away with puck. He made a nice move and got it to the front of the net. He shot it but he was in really close and the puck just bounced back into the slot. Eaves was there and he banged it home to give the Wings the lead two to one.

Later in the third period Meech released a bomb from the point and Miller tipped it down and into the net. It was a sweet play and it gave the Wings a two goal lead for the first time in the game.

Later in the third Brodziak was falling down and he swept the puck through the slot towards the net. It bounced off Havlat’s skate and into the net bringing the Wild back to within a goal. The reviewed it to see if it was kicked in but it wasn’t.

Just a few seconds later a Hnidy shot from the blue line. The puck hit a Red Wing stick and bounced high in the air and dropped down in the slot. As soon as it landed Brunette ripped it. He took everyone by surprise and beat Howard tying the game at three.

The game stayed tied until the end of regulation so both teams got a point. Not what we really wanted but so be it.

In the overtime period Minnesota stepped it up. They outshot the Wings and spent most of the time in the Red Wings’ end. Jimmy Howard stayed hot though and the game went to a shootout.

Minnesota decided to shoot first. Their first shooter was Koivu.  He shot and Howard stayed with him and kicked it away. Datsyuk was up next. He went forehand to backhand and put it through Backstrom’s legs. Latendresse went next. He got in behind Howard but didn’t get it into the net. Then Zetterberg was up. He shot and Backstrom got it with his toe. Nolan went next for the Wild and scored to tie it up again. Bertuzzi came up next and Backstrom got it with his glove. Havlat came up and made some head fakes but Howard didn’t buy it and stopped him. Leino went next and tried to put it inside the post but Backstrom held his skate to it and didn’t budge. Burns was up next and he tried to wrap it around Howard but Howard got it. Cleary shot next and Backstrom stopped him. Miettinen was up next. It hit the post and it bounced out. Eaves came up and made a really nice head fake but his shot hit the crossbar. Zidlicky came in with speed, shot and beat Howard. It was up to Filppula to keep it going. He burned Backstrom to keep it tied. Belanger shot and Howard stopped him. It was Drew Miller with a chance to win it. He came up and ripped it by Backstrom giving the Wings the win and the extra point.

The Red Wings played very well in this game. A couple of bad bounces allowed the Wild to tie the game even though they had been pretty well dominated thoughout. It has to be frustrating for the Red Wings to not be earning points in line with how well they’ve been playing lately but at least tonight they got two. It would have been better not to give up the one to Minnesota but we’ll take it. As long as they keep playing well the points will come.

This 4-3 win brings us to:
58 points

Detroit at Washington (1/19/10)

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

The Red Wings were in Washington D.C. tonight to play the red hot Capitals. Osgood was the starter for the Red Wings and the Caps went with Jose Theodore.

The battle between Datsyuk and Ovechkin was highly anticipated. These two Olympic teammates are among the best players in the league and very competitive.

The Red Wings played very well in the first period. They had 15 shots on goal and they didn’t allow the Capitals to have ANY until almost 15 minutes into the game. The shot total ended up 15 to 3 in the first period. You can’t do much better than that against the Caps. The only problem is they didn’t score because Theodore was playing very well, too.

In the second period Cleary took it from the boards to the slot and dished it to Filppula. He shot it and the rebound came back to Cleary with a mostly open net but he couldn’t put it in. The second rebound came back towards Cleary as he was falling down and he turned around and swatted at it. It somehow found its way into the net and the Wings had the lead one to nothing. You gotta love the second effort and hard work by Dan Cleary; beautiful job!

Then later in the second period Green passed diagonally all the way across the neutral zone to Gordon. He passed it to Bradley coming through the slot. Bradley shot it and beat Osgood to tie the game.

The Red Wings continued to shut the Capitals down throughout the second period with the exception of the goal. The shots were 31 to 14 in favor of the Wings, and they had completely shut down the Caps power play. After the domination of the first two periods the Capitals were very lucky to be tied.

In the third period the Red Wings had a power play. They didn’t score but they continued the pressure after it ended. Filppula passed it to Rafalski two stepped up to the top of the circles and ripped one that burned Theodore and gave the lead back to Detroit with under ten minutes left.

A few minutes later Bertuzzi got tied up with Mike Green and ended up getting called for tripping. On the power play Backstrom brought it into the zone with speed. He made a move around Stuart, shot and beat Osgood. That tied the game again.

Then, less than a minute later Semin wound up and shot one that hit something in front of the net and bounced around. It ended up going off of Steckel and into the net to give the Caps the lead. It was just a crazy play and there was no way Osgood could have stopped it.

The Red Wings were not able to re-tie the game. After a fantastic effort in which they doubled the Capitals shot total 46 to 23 and held Ovechkin to zero shots on goal for the just the third time in his career, the Wings came away with nothing to show for it.

It was a huge disappointment. You can’t find too much fault in the way they played the game. There were very few mistakes. They shut the Caps down for the first two periods and just caught some bad breaks in the third. The Capitals have to feel very lucky to have won this game. The Red Wings should feel good about how they played but they have to be really let down by the results. What a bummer!

This 2-3 loss brings us to:
56 points

Chicago at Detroit (1/17/10)

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

The Red Wings had an especially quick turnaround for this particular back-to-back. Having just played in Dallas yesterday they hosted the Blackhawks today in Joe Louis Arena not even 24 hours later.

I expected the Red Wings to have a little extra grit in their game today after the disappointing finish of the game yesterday. I still cannot understand how they were able to call that a goal. It boggles the mind.

Anyway, on to today’s game against the red hot Hawks. Antti Niemi was in net for the Blackhawks and Jimmy Howard was in for the Wings.

Both teams looked ready to go for this one. The fans were also really into the game right from the start. They knew how important every game is for the Red Wings. It wasn’t that important to beat Chicago since the Wings really have no chance of catching them. They just really needed the two points in their quest to catch the Kings.

In the first period Detroit had a great chance at a goal with a couple of whacks at it but Niemi somehow stopped them. Then it went the other way and Brouwer took it in and shot it. It went off the inside of Howard’s leg, out the back and into the net. The Blackhawks had the early lead one to nothing.

Then Chicago went on the power play after an accidental high stick from Eaves. About half a minute into it Kane got the puck from Campbell and took it from the boards to the slot. He ripped one with Brouwer in front and beat Jimmy Howard to make it two to nothing Chicago.

With just under a minute to go in the period the Wings took the puck away from Chicago and started up ice. Zetterberg passed it across to Bertuzzi who brought into the zone and then gave it back to Zetterberg. He saw that Datsyuk was trailing and he just tipped it back to him. Datsyuk saw Lidstrom joining the rush so he sent it across to him. Lidstrom snapped a beautiful wrister off the post and in to bring the Wings to within a goal. That was a highlight reel goal and a great team effort.

Before the period ended Eaves and Versteeg had a great fight. Right off the faceoff they dropped the gloves and removed their helmets. Eaves got nailed several times right off the bat and was cut badly under the eye. He didn’t let that stop him though and he landed a bunch of solid punches before it was done. It was a very spirited battle and it pumped up the energy level of both teams.

The Red Wings ended up pretty close to the Blackhawks in shots on goal even though there was a long stretch, over ten minutes in fact, where the Wings didn’t have a single shot.

In the second period the Red Wings had a string of power plays. Even when they weren’t scoring the power play looked amazing. Bertuzzi, Zetterberg and Datsyuk were out there for most of it and they were moving the puck so well that it was fun to watch even when their shots were being stopped by Niemi.

Then on the third or fourth consecutive power play Rafalski sent it up the neutral zone to Datsyuk who brought into the Chicago end. Datsyuk passed to Zetterberg who made a brilliant play to handle the puck. The pass was behind him and he caught it with his skate, gathered it in on the backhand and then released a forehand shot that beat Niemi through the legs to tie the game at two. It was a beautiful display of hands by Zetterberg.

A few minutes later Chicago had the puck and Ladd passed from the point to Patrick Sharp who had snuck in unchallenged to the side of the net. He redirected it in behind Howard to give lead back to Chicago.

After two periods the Red Wings had a one goal deficit but they had pulled ahead in shots on goal and were way ahead in hits. The game felt pretty even at that point.

In the third period the Red Wings tied it up. It was right after a commercial break and, ironically, the NBC coverage was showing highlights of how well Niemi had played throughout the game. Apparently the game was going on while they were showing it so they missed the live broadcast of the goal. Draper had won the face off in the Blackhawks’ end and got it back to Lidstrom. He passed it Eaves along the boards. Eaves took the long shot with Helm screening Niemi. The puck had eyes and made it through everyone and into the net for the tying goal.

The tied score held until the end of regulation so it was on to overtime again.

The overtime period was just insane. It was pure end to end excitement. Both teams were playing really well and it felt like a playoff game. Neither team scored although they both had a lot of chances along with a lot of good defensive plays and incredible saves. For the second day in a row the Red Wings were going to a shootout.

Datsyuk went first in the shootout. He stopped, held the puck and then popped it up and over Niemi into the net. It was one of the coolest goals I’ve ever seen. Toews went next and ripped one through Howard’s legs. Then Zetterberg went and hit a post. Kane came up next and he was stoned by Howard who stood his ground. Bertuzzi came up for the Wings. He swung wide, did a spin-o-rama in front of Niemi and backhanded it into the net. That was even better than Datsyuk’s goal; just amazing! Hossa was last up for the Hawks. He caught the top corner and got it into the net to tie it up again. Cleary went next. He came in fast and shot but Niemi stopped him. It was all up to Patrick Sharp for the Hawks. He stick handled a little and beat Howard up high to win the game for Chicago.

This was just an amazing game. Detroit had one stretch in the first period where they seemed to be out matched but for pretty much the entire rest of the game it was just a legendary battle. Jimmy Howard was mad at himself after giving up the final goal. He smashed his stick on the crossbar. Part of the frustration was probably that it was the second day in a row the Wings have lost in a shootout after playing a great game. At least this time it wasn’t decided by a bad call. The Wings have nothing to be ashamed of. They’re playing well and the points are coming, just not as quickly as they’d like. Too bad there are no points for entertainment value or sweet, highlight reel goals because the Red Wings had them in spades today.

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

Detroit at Dallas (1/16/10)

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

The Red Wings were in Dallas today for an afternoon game against the Stars. Alex Auld was the goalie for the Stars and for the Red Wings Jimmy Howard continued his run as the number one goaltender.

This was an important game for the Wings. It was a conference game against a Stars team that is chasing Detroit in the standings. The Stars really need these points so that means the Wings need to get them instead. The Red Wings were still trailing the Kings by a point in the standings for the eighth playoff spot. I’m getting the feeling that every game for the rest of the season is going to be an important game.

Both teams got off to fast starts in this game. The pace was great and they were both skating hard.

In the first minute of the game Ott started trying to start a fight with Stuart. Stuart was having none of it but it was pretty clear he intended to fight with somebody in this game. Barch and May also were ready to go early. They like to fight in each game they play together.

Early on in the game Lidstrom made a nice outlet pass to Zetterberg who hit Bertuzzi streaking into the zone. Bertuzzi took it to the net and made a sweet move on Auld. He put the puck in the net and then followed it in himself. It was a beautiful goal and it gave the Wings the early lead one to nothing.

A few minutes later Modano went to the box for slashing. It was a call that Mickey Redmond and Mike Modano both thought was pretty weak but he did knock the stick out of the hands of Helm. On the power play Zetterberg passed to Bertuzzi in front of the net. It was in Bertuzzi’s feet and he didn’t get a shot away. However, the puck slipped through to the other side of the net where Rafalski had stepped up and he popped it home to take the two nothing lead. Modano was pretty hot about it and was really giving it to the referee.

The period ended with Wings leading two to nothing even though they were outshot eleven to seven. It didn’t really seem like the Stars had more shots because the Red Wings were so effective on the few shots they had. It’s starting to become common for the Wings to be outshot.

In the second period Richards brought the puck into the Red Wings end. He faked a shot and held on to it. Then when it was almost too late he ripped it. It hit Brad Stuart’s stick in front of the net and deflected in. That made it two to one Red Wings. There wasn’t anything Howard could have done about it.

After two periods the Wings were still being outshot by the Star but not by much. For the most part the game was even. Of course the Wings were leading in the most important category, two to one in goals.

In the third period the Stars scored on a play where Barch was basically sitting on Jimmy Howard but there was no call for goalie interference. Wandell brought the puck out from behind the net and sent it to the front. It hit something in front of the net and bounced out to Eriksson in the slot who shot it past Howard. There was really no chance for Howard on this one either considering he had Barch all over him. Regardless, the game was suddenly tied at two.

The third period was just crazy. There was all kinds of checking and bodies flying everywhere but no goals.

After three periods the score was still tied so the game went to overtime.

The craziness continued in the overtime period with no winner so the game went to a shootout.

The first shooter for the Star was Neal and Howard stopped him cold. Datsyuk went next and he made a nice move but missed the net. Richards was up next for the Stars. He made a move but Howard didn’t bite and stopped the shot. Next was Zetterberg. He tried to make a move but Auld poke checked the puck away. Eriksson was up next and he couldn’t beat Howard either. It came down to Bertuzzi as the last shooter for the Wings. He went wide left and Auld had none of it. He poked the puck away again.

Modano was up next. He shot and Howard stopped him. Then Filppula was up. He deked and shot but missed again as the goalie showcase continued. Robidas was up for the Stars. He came in fast but Howard stopped him, too. Then it was Cleary. He made some nice moves but still couldn’t score. Ott was up for the Stars. He came in with speed again and the referee waved it off but it looked like it might have crossed the line.  The referee was in perfect position to see the puck so it’s most likely that he made the right call but they still spent a lot of time reviewing it. Somehow, after the review they called it a goal. It was unbelievable since there was no replay where you could see it cross the line. I’ll be interested to hear how they made that decision. Eaves shot next for the Wings and missed so just like that Stars had won the game.

This was a very unsatisfying way for the game to end. It felt like a win but the Wings only got a point out of it and gave up two points to the Stars. Not great and very disappointing.

The Wings have the Blackhawks to contend with tomorrow. That will be a critical game for them.

I’d like to take this opportunity to point out how important Jimmy Howard has been to the Red Wings. He wasn’t in the top three for player of the game today and I think that’s just because people are quickly getting used to him being awesome. Considering how much the scoring and the shots on goal have dropped off lately, I’d say that if it weren’t for Howard the Red Wings would be in BIG trouble. Osgood is a great goalie, but in all fairness we have to admit that he’s probably past his prime. I don’t think he could have earned the Wings as many points as Jimmy Howard has.

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

Carolina at Detroit (1/14/10)

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

The Carolina Hurricanes made a rare appearance at Joe Louis Arena tonight. The goalies were Cam Ward and Jimmy Howard. Janik went back to Grand Rapids because Ericsson returned to the lineup. Janik did a great job filling in for him but it’s great to Ericsson back. Also, Brad May was in a Ville Leino was a healthy scratch.

This was Detroit’s first home game since last year. They’ve been on the road so much lately that their last home game was New Year’s Eve.

The game had a good quick pace to start out. Both teams had a lot of energy and the Red Wings were looking a lot more assertive than they did in the previous game.

In the first period Detroit went on the power play and Lidstrom blasted one from the blue line. Miller was in front of the net distracting Ward and making it difficult for him to see. The puck went right down the slot and got by Ward before he could pick it up. It was Lidstrom’s first goal in 43 games so it was great to see him getting active offensively. To be fair though the entire team has been much less offensive this year mainly because of injuries. Lidstrom has had to play more conservatively to help keep the games close because the team just isn’t scoring as much.

The Red Wings looked pretty good in the first period even though they were outshot by Carolina. They had the lead and they were skating hard so things were looking pretty promising.

In the second period the Wings got another power play goal. Cleary passed it to Filppula in the corner who quickly redirected it to the slot. It hit something on the way but it Miller still ended up with it and he shot it by Cam Ward to give the Wings a two nothing lead.

After two periods the shots were nearly even and Detroit had more quality chances than Carolina.

In the third period Sutter shot and Howard stopped it but allowed a rebound after the puck hit him up high in the chest. Kostopoulos shot the rebound and beat Howard to make it a one goal game.

Later in the third the Hurricanes gave the puck away and Bertuzzi took it. He threw it to the front of the net where Datsyuk and Zetterberg were converging. Zetterberg had his stick down and he redirected the puck into the net to give the Wings a two goal lead again.

That score held until the end of the game so the Red Wings won three to one.

This was a great bounce back game for the Red Wings after the terrible performance against the Islanders. It was nice to see Zetterberg and Lidstrom both score goals. Also, Drew Miller had a really good game and it was another solid performance by Jimmy Howard.

This was also a much needed two points. The slumping Kings are playing tonight out west. At the time of this writing the Red Wings had passed them for the 8th playoff spot. If the Kings win tonight that’ll change but for now things are looking up.

This 1-3 win brings us to:
54 points