Archive for October, 2010

Nashville at Detroit (10/30/10)

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

The Nashville Predators were in town this evening to play the Wings in an important divisional game.  The Predators got off to great start this year.  They came into this contest with a point in all but one of their games this year.  The goalies for tonight’s game were Osgood and Rinne.  Abdelkader returned to Wings’ lineup tonight and Jiri Hudler sat as a healthy scratch.  Babcock has not been happy with the Hudler, Cleary and Modano line and used this opportunity to shake it up a little.

The Red Wings got off to good start.  They played well in the first period.  Osgood was sharp from the beginning.  Datsyuk and Stuart both scored in the first, so it was two to nothing at the first intermission.

The Wings eased off a bit in the second period and started turning the puck over too much.  Luckily Osgood continued playing well and didn’t let things get out of hand.  The Predators did score a goal in the second, though.  Datsyuk also scored a beauty of a goal after being tied up along the boards.  He broke for the net and put it through the five hole.  He’s really been building up the highlight reel footage so far this year!

The Wings got back on track in the third period.  They scored two more goals.  Nashville managed to bag another goal as well but it was too little too late for them.  They didn’t even bother pulling the goalie at the end.

The Red Wings’ penalty kill was great in this game.  They killed off all five of the opportunities for the Nashville power play.  Although to be fair the Nashville power play has been awful this year.

This was a great recovery for the Wings after getting beat by Phoenix in the previous game.  It was also a nice way to set up the three game Western Canada road trip that starts in Calgary on Wednesday.

This 2-5 win brings us to:
6-2-1
13 points

Phoenix at Detroit (10/28/10)

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

The opponent for tonight’s home game was the Phoenix Coyotes.  Jimmy Howard had back spasms so Babcock decided to rest him as a precaution.  Osgood got the start and Joey MacDonald was called up as backup.  To do that they had to put Draper on long term IR and Rafalski on short term IR.  The Coyotes’ goalie was Ilya Bryzgalov.

The game got off to a rough start as Osgood let in a couple of stinkers.  Barely half way through the first period it was already three to nothing Phoenix.  Osgood settled down after that and played well but the damage was done.

It was a strange game.  It seemed like the Wings were doing a lot of good things but they just didn’t work.  They had some glorious scoring chances and weird crap kept happening to prevent them from scoring.  The puck was bouncing all over the place and never in the Red Wings’ favor.

Eventually the Red Wings did score a couple of nice goals and it was two to three in the late stages of the third period.  The Wings pulled the goalie and attempted to tie it up but, par for the course tonight, Kronwall fanned on a pass near his own end with the net empty and Korpikoski jumped on it for the insurance goal.

The Wings played well enough to have won this game if they weren’t already in a deep hole.  The early goals were just too much to overcome.

This 2-4 loss brings us to:
5-2-1
11 points

Anaheim at Detroit (10/23/10)

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

The Ducks were back in town tonight for a rematch of opening day. The goaltenders were Howard and McElhinney.

The Red Wings wanted to address their slow starts and they did so in this game. They got off to great start in the first period and absolutely dominated Anaheim all over the ice. The only real low point of the game for the Wings was the start of the second period. They took a few minutes to get going in that one but after Babcock called a timeout they pulled it together and got back on track.

Things got a bit fiery in the first period after Kronwall hit Selanne in the chin with his shoulder. It wasn’t a blindside hit but he did make contact with the head and Selanne was very slow getting up. The Ducks thought there should have been a penalty so they decided to take things into their own hands. Beleskey took a run at Franzen and tried to elbow him in the head as payback. Later Franzen collided with Perry and Perry was called for interference. Mickey Redmond thought that it should not have been a penalty because it looked more like an accidental collision than interference. I agreed that it wasn’t interference but I thought it was unsportsmanlike conduct because to me it looked like another attempted run at Franzen when he wasn’t looking.

The score went back and forth in this game and was also tied for long stretches. The Ducks tied it up the first time in the final seconds of the first period. Then they scored two unanswered goals in the second. The Wings scored two more to tie it up again then Selanne scored a beauty of a goal after stealing the puck and beating Kronwall up ice. Holmstrom got his first goal of the season with a classic Holmstrom redirect in front of the net.

The Wings had some great goals in this game but what was even more impressive were the plays where they didn’t score. They had a ton of incredible scoring chances. Datsyuk was a machine stealing the puck and setting up shots for his line mates. McElhinney made about a dozen incredible saves to keep the score close.

The score was tied at four as the clock was winding down but Datsyuk continued to work his magic. His line was out there controlling the puck in the attacking zone for what seemed like a full minute. They had the Ducks all turned around. Lidstrom passed it to Datsyuk as he moved towards the net. Datsyuk made a few moves around people and then roofed it into the corner of the net to take the lead with only 12 seconds left in regulation. Anaheim took one more stab at it but Datsyuk’s goal held up as the game winner.

This was a really exciting game to watch. The Wings played hard and looked great with the exception of one small stretch in the second period. Now they have some more time off with no games until Thursday night.

This 4-5 win brings us to:
5-1-1
11 points

Calgary at Detroit (10/21/10)

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

The Flames were in Detroit tonight to face the Red Wings. The goalies were Jimmy Howard and Miikka Kiprusoff. Franzen was back in the lineup after being medically cleared to play.

The Red Wings got off to a bit of a slow start but luckily Jimmy Howard was red hot from beginning to end. He only allowed two goals on 36 shots. That’s too many shots but few enough goals to give the Red Wings a chance to win. Howard stood on his head to stop the puck, making several incredible saves.

The Flames scored twice. Both goals came in the first period and both were scored by Backlund. Jimmy Howard wasn’t to blame on either goal.

The Red Wings were outshot by Calgary in the first and third periods but they made their shots count. The Wings’ first goal was a thing of beauty. Datsyuk stole the puck and made an outlet pass to Holmstrom. Then he jumped back into the play. Holmstrom passed it back to Datsyuk who by now was on the attack. Datsyuk served it up to Zetterberg on a platter and Hank buried a one-timer.

The Wings’ second goal came in the second period and it was another example of Datsyuk’s magic. He did some fancy stick handling and turned his defender inside out along the boards then passed it to Lidstrom who wound up and fired a slap shot from near the blue line. Kiprusoff had trouble seeing the puck because of traffic in front and it got by him.

In the third period Franzen scored an amazing goal. He didn’t have any room for a shot so he elevated the puck and banked it in off of Kiprusoff’s mask. The puck landed on his shoulder and he tried to balance it but it fell behind him into the net.

Then to seal the deal Bertuzzi scored a great goal unassisted. He stole the puck, took it up ice and threaded the needle over Kiprusoff’s shoulder.

It was a good win for the Wings after a sluggish start. Credit Howard for making it possible as the Flames played a solid road game. The Wings’ goals were fantastic, they just need to work on starting on time and making fewer mistakes early in the game.

This 2-4 win brings us to:
4-1-1
9 points

Detroit at Phoenix (10/16/10)

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

The Red Wings faced the Phoenix Coyotes tonight on the road. The Coyotes were in their home opener after having returned from Europe where they’d played in the NHL Premiere. Tonight’s goalies were Jimmy Howard and Ilya Bryzgalov.

Franzen had to sit out this game with a head injury sustained when he was hit in the face by Fistric in Dallas. He had an MRI and the results looked good so he’s just waiting as a precaution. He’s expected to play in the next game on Thursday.

The Red Wings’ offensive woes continued in this game as they struggled to score all night long. They had plenty of chances but it just wasn’t clicking. The only goal scored by the Wings in regulation was a bit of a lucky bounce off a Phoenix player, however if it hadn’t hit him, Eaves was right there with his stick down so I think they would have scored even without the lucky bounce.

Jimmy Howard was fantastic in net. There wasn’t anything he could have done about the one goal he allowed.

The story of the game though had to be the Red Wings’ ineffective power play. They had one chance after another and just could not score a power play goal. I had the feeling that Phoenix could have been shorthanded for the whole game and it wouldn’t have mattered. The Wings really need to get that power play cranking.

The game went to an overtime period since it was tied one to one at the end of regulation. The Coyotes continued taking penalties in the OT. At one point four Coyotes players ganged up on Holmstrom and Datsyuk. They all piled on and started punching them while they were down. That was not cool. They paid for it though as it put them a man down for the rest of the game. The power play finally worked for the game winning goal. It was a great shot by Kronwall that was set up by Zetterberg and Lidstrom.

The Wings got two points out of this game but they clearly have some improvements to make. They were drastically outshot in the first period and Babcock was not happy with their level of competition. After that period they played harder but they need to figure out how to get the power play going. Luckily, Jimmy Howard and the defense pulled their weight and kept the game close even though they weren’t scoring.

This 2-1 win brings us to:
3-1-1
7 points

Detroit at Dallas (10/14/10)

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

The Red Wings were in Dallas tonight for Mike Modano’s homecoming game against the Stars. The goalies were Osgood and Lehtonen.

Modano got a warm reception from the fans in Dallas but that was where the pleasantries ended. The Red Wings looked really sluggish in this game. I got the impression that the ice was bad because it looked like they were all laboring to get going and the puck was bouncing around a lot. If that was the case, though, both teams had to deal with it equally so it’s no excuse.

The one bright spot was that the Red Wings held the Stars to just 15 shots on goal. Unfortunately, four of them went in the net. I didn’t have the sense that Osgood was playing poorly though. It just seemed like a lot of bad breaks.

Offensively the Red Wings weren’t able to put much together. They turned the puck over a lot and often had trouble handling passes cleanly. When they did mount an attack Lehtonen was a brick wall.

The Wings did score one goal near the end of the game. It was a fast play from Hudler and Bertuzzi that found Kronwall on the doorstep with Lehtonen out of position. Kronwall was able to get the puck under Lehtonen’s arm before he moved over. It was a pretty goal, but it was too little too late.

Franzen was hit in the first period by Fistric. It happened very quickly and it was hard to tell what happened on the replay. It looked like Fistric might have hit Franzen in the face with his shoulder. Franzen went down and was slow getting up. He left the ice and did not return. We’ll have to wait for word on the injury and the nature of the hit.

Babcock wasn’t too upset with the play of his team so they must have been trying harder that it looked like they were on TV. To me they seemed lethargic for most of the first two periods. Maybe the Stars were just playing that well. Regardless it’s a four one loss for the Wings.

This 1-4 loss brings us to:
2-1-1
5 points

Colorado at Detroit (10/12/10)

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Tonight the Avalanche were in Detroit to play the Wings.  The Avs were playing the second night of back to back games and the Wings were rested.  The goalies were Howard and Budaj.

This was a pretty entertaining game but the Wings were inconsistent.  For stretches they looked really good but then they would ease off and Colorado would outwork them.  The Avs outshot the Wings and for the most part outplayed them.

Franzen scored twice in this game, once on an incredible pass from Filppula.  Datsyuk scored a nice tip-in power play goal and Eaves scored shorthanded on a great set up from Helm.  Janik had a fight with McLeod but was never able to get his hand free to swing.  He took a lot of punches but didn’t dish out very much.  The team seemed to appreciate the effort though.

Regulation ended with the game tied and there was a spirited overtime period.  After several good scoring chances both ways the OT ended with no resolution.

Howard and Budaj faced off in a pretty lengthy shootout battle.  The first one to score was Brandon Yip on the 12th shot of the shootout.  That won it for the Avs so the Wings had to settle for a single point.

At times the Red Wings looked excellent in this game but it was too inconsistent.  They missed a golden opportunity to squeeze an extra point out of a tired Colorado team.

This 5-4 overtime loss brings us to:
2-0-1
5 points

Maltby Retires

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Ken Holland called a press conference this afternoon during which Kirk Maltby announced his retirement. After being sent to Grand Rapids to make room for younger guys on the Wings roster, Maltby decided that it was a good time to call it a career. Ken Holland stated that Maltby probably still has some more hockey left in him but with so much young talent they couldn’t find room for Maltby.

Maltby had 107 goals and 115 assists in 908 games as a Red Wing. He was a part of all four of the recent Stanley Cup winning teams.

Maltby will continue on with the Red Wings as a scout.

It’ll be strange to see a Red Wings team without Kirk Maltby after all these years but I’m happy that he’s staying within the Red Wing family.

Detroit at Chicago (10/9/10)

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

The Wings were in Chicago tonight to take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks. It was their banner raising ceremony so the Red Wings had to work to keep their focus through all the hoopla.

The goalies were Osgood and Turco. This was the second of back to back games for the Wings so Howard got to rest.

The Red Wings looked a little bit more disheveled in this game than they did the previous night. I think that’s just because the Blackhawks are a better team and did a much better job of disrupting Detroit’s offense.

The Wings scored first when Bertuzzi dished it to Franzen who made a perfect pass to Filppula near the net. Filppula tipped it in to give the Wings the first period lead.

In the final seconds of first period the Blackhawks were on the power play. Hossa passed it to Seabrook who put it in the net to tie the game with about a second left on the clock.

Early in the second period Brad Stuart fired a hard shot intentionally wide, bouncing it off the back boards to Bertuzzi near the side of the net. Bertuzzi took it and shoved it into the net to get the lead back for the Wings.

Just a few seconds later Bickell fired a wrister from the high slot that beat Osgood to tie the game at two.

The tie held for the rest of the second period and into the third. Then Filppula was bringing the puck into Chicago’s zone when the guy covering him wiped out. Filppula went to the net and lost the puck before he was able to get a shot off. The puck slid towards the net and somehow it got underneath Turco and into the goal as Filppula fell down and slid into the boards. It wasn’t the prettiest of goals but who cares?

For the rest of the game the Blackhawks scrambled to tie it up but the Wings battled hard and were able to hold them off.

Osgood looked very good tonight. It’s quite a luxury to have two excellent goalies backing up your team.

Considering what a powerful team they were playing the Wings did a great job to get the lead and then hold them off through most of the third period.

This 3-2 win brings us to:
2-0-0
4 points

Anaheim at Detroit (10/8/10)

Friday, October 8th, 2010

The Ducks came to the Joe tonight for a contest with the Red Wings that was the opening game for both teams. The goalies were Hiller and Howard.

In the first period the Red Wings looked fantastic. It was apparent that they hadn’t missed a beat since last season and in fact seemed even more sharp and ready to go. Franzen scored a goal early on a nice setup by Filppula and Bertuzzi. Then just a few seconds later Modano bagged his first goal as Red Wings after he was fed by Cleary and Stuart. The Ducks looked really outclassed after one period.

In the second period Ericsson left the game with back spasms. Let’s hope it doesn’t become a long term problem this season.

The game started getting chippy in the second period. There was a big scrum in front of the benches and Salei fought with Sutton. Seeing that reminded me that I had forgotten to mention that the Red Wings picked up Salei during the off season. He’s a nice addition to the team. He’s another veteran defenseman to help shore up the blue line. After his scuffle with Sutton, Sutton left the game and did not return. There was no obvious injury so I’m not sure what happened. It looked pretty harmless to me.

Also in the second period Datsyuk had a great tip-in goal on a hard pass from Zetterberg. Then later Cleary scored with Datsyuk assisting. Cleary crashed into the net and it came off the moorings just as the puck was crossing the line. There was a pretty long review but the end result was that the puck crossed the line before the net was off completely so it was a good goal.

The rough stuff continued in the third period. There were several scrums. One of them came after the Wings had a beautiful scoring chance that was only thwarted by a brilliant save by Hiller. Afterwards a big scuffle ensued because the Ducks thought there should have been a penalty called on the play. Datsyuk actually paired up with Perry and they dropped the gloves. I was cringing and wishing that it would end quickly. I love a good hockey fight but I had fears of Datsyuk getting hurt in game one and missing half the season. He held his own though and he both took and delivered a few good shots. The fans were going nuts. It was good to see Datsyuk show that he can be tough when he has to and I’m really relieved that he didn’t get hurt.

In fact that fight cost Datsyuk a fighting major which, if you’re keeping score, earned him a Gordie Howe Hat Trick! He’s probably one the least likely candidates to pull that off but he did it. What a treat for the fans on opening night!

The Ducks lost control more and more after that and the Wings were on half-hearted power plays for most of the rest of the game.

The Wings ended up winning four to nothing. Jimmy Howard was fantastic in this game. He wasn’t tested too much but he was always sharp when called upon. He earned the shutout in game one. You can’t ask for a better start than that!

I’m really excited about the team this year. The line of Cleary, Modano and Hudler is amazing. That’s the third line and it’s probably better than most teams’ second line. Even the fourth line with Helm, Miller and Eaves is really feisty and probably better than most third lines. I know it’s only game one, but it was really encouraging to see them look as good on the ice as they do on paper.

This 0-4 win brings us to:
1-0-0
2 points