Archive for December, 2010

New York Islanders at Detroit (12/31/10)

Friday, December 31st, 2010

The New York Islanders were in town tonight to close out 2010 with the Red Wings. The goalies for this game were Howard and Roloson. Eaves was out of the lineup tonight with an upper body injury. Coach Babcock joked that he had hurt himself by raising his arms too much in the previous game when he had his first career hat trick. Tomas Tatar got the call up from Grand Rapids to fill in for him.

This game was a different sort of challenge for the Red Wings and Jimmy Howard. The Islanders play a very conservative, slow, grinding style of hockey. It makes it tough to stay sharp and to keep up the intensity level when playing against them. As Mickey Redmond put it, they lull you to sleep.

All of the Islanders’ goals in regulation were quick strikes after face off wins in the Red Wings’ end. The first one was actually knocked in by Lidstrom when it bounced off his stick in front of the net. It was a good demonstration of the importance of face offs, especially in the defensive zone.

Franzen scored first for the Wings, and then the Islanders scored the goal that went in off Lidstrom’s stick. The Islanders scored again with just three seconds left in the first period. That was a demoralizing goal since the Wings had been in complete control of the game. They just let their guard down for a second at the very end of the period and that was enough for the Islanders to strike.

In the second period the Islanders scored a third goal. It was a tip-in that Howard didn’t have much chance of stopping. Then at the end of the period the Red Wings scored with just nine seconds left. Bertuzzi got bumped into Roloson. He still made the save but gave up a rebound. The play continued while Roloson was lying on the ice trying to sell a penalty call to the refs. Filppula picked up the puck and put it in the wide open net. Roloson was really sour because he thought there should have been a goalie interference call. He must not have realized that Bertuzzi was shoved into him. Roloson pushed the net off the moorings and really gave an earful to the referee. That goal made it three to two Islanders at the end of the second.

In the third period Tomas Tatar got his first NHL goal. He skated through the slot as Helm released a shot. It wasn’t clear that Tatar even saw the puck but he tipped it in with his backhand. That was the game tying goal and really got the crowd revved up. It was a big moment for Tatar and I’m sure it’s one he’ll never forget. He was clearly excited about it and had quite an exuberant celebration.

The tied score held until the end of regulation so the game went to overtime. In the OT the Islanders took a penalty, and then before it was over, the Red Wings took one. So we had some 4 on 4, 4 on 3, 3 on 3 and then 4 on 3 the other way. That was a quite a variety of scenarios in just a few minute span. Unfortunately, the Islanders scored during their 4 on 3 power play to win the game. It was a good shot by Parenteau that beat Howard cleanly.

This was a frustrating game to lose because the Wings were the better team by far. They outshot the Islanders 41 to 23. The Red Wings dominated this game. It was just a fluky goal and some opportunistic quick strikes by the Islanders that cost the Red Wings the game. It was a bit of a bummer way to end the year but at least they got a point.

This 4-3 overtime loss brings us to:
24-9-5
53 points

Detroit at Dallas (12/29/10)

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

The Red Wings played the Stars in Dallas tonight. Jimmy Howard was the goalie for Detroit and Dallas went with Kari Lehtonen. Rafalski and Zetterberg had both been nursing sore backs but they were okay by game time so they were in the lineup. Mursak was also in again after being called up before the last game to help fill in for all the injured forwards.

The first period was kind of strange. Dallas badly outshot the Red Wings but it still seemed to me like the Wings were in control. Detroit scored the only goal of the period when Bertuzzi spotted Hudler on the other side of the slot and made a perfect pass to him. Hudler one-timed it into his half-open side of the net. Although the Wings were outshot, scoring chances were nearly even.

The second period was even crazier than the first. Dallas scored three goals in under a minute and half. The first one happened when Brad Richards got in behind the defense and beat Howard one on one. Then Fistric fired one after a face off win that was deflected on the way to the net.  Howard had no chance on that one. Then it was a rebound that popped out quickly to Benn who shot it in before Howard could reposition himself. Just like that the Stars were up three to one. It was tied again by the end of the period though as Lidstrom and Eaves both scored great goals.

The third period was all Detroit. Brad Stuart scored first, and then later Draper scored as well. Then Eaves scored his second of the night. In the final few minutes the Stars pulled their goalie and Eaves got an empty-netter. Although the net was empty, it wasn’t an easy goal. He shot it from his own zone under pressure after handling a bouncing puck. That gave Eaves his first career hat trick and the Red Wings fans in the building let their hats fly.

This was an excellent road game for the Red Wings. They played with a lot of energy and they really showed their depth as lots of guys continued to step it up in the scoring department in the absence of some of their top point getters. Hudler, Lidstrom, Franzen and Bertuzzi all had two point nights. Eaves had four points!

This 7-3 win brings us to:
24-9-4
52 points

Chris Osgood Earns 400th Career Victory

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Chris Osgood finally won his 400th game and he did it in spectacular fashion last night at the Pepsi Center in Colorado. The Red Wings looked tired and Osgood was shelled by the Avalanche especially in the second period. He stopped 46 out of 49 shots and many of the saves were ones for the highlight reel.

Osgood has been looking forward to this milestone since last November so it’s quite a relief to get it out of the way. This puts him in 10th place on the list of all time regular season wins and just four wins away from passing his idol Grant Fuhr.

Congratulations to Chris Osgood on this huge accomplishment!

Detroit at Colorado (12/27/10)

Monday, December 27th, 2010

The Red Wings were in Colorado tonight for the second half of back to back road games. Budaj was the goalie for the Avs. For the Red Wings it was Chris Osgood who was trying once again to bag his 400th career victory.

The first period went back and forth with each team scoring two goals. Jiri Hudler finally scored with a great power play goal. He attempted to pass the puck twice and it kept coming back to him. Finally, he shot it and it was a beauty that burned Budaj cleanly. Franzen also scored a power play goal for the Wings in the first period.

At the other end of the ice Colorado scored the first goal of the game after Osgood made the first stop and then Duchene picked up the rebound and popped it home. The Avs’ second goal was pretty soft. It went through Osgood’s legs. It looked like one that he should have stopped.

Luckily, Osgood is a professional and giving up that leaky goal didn’t do anything except motivate him. From that point on he was unbelievable. He made so many amazing saves. The team seemed a bit tired and they kept getting hemmed in their own end for long stretches in the second period. At times it seemed like Osgood was taking on the entire Colorado team by himself. He stood on his head all through the second period to keep the game tied at two.

In the third period Lidstrom scored after a nice pass from Hudler to give the Wings the lead. With just a few minutes left though, Colorado went on the power play and scored to tie it up again.

The game went to overtime and the Wings ended up with a power play. Kronwall got the game winning power play goal which was set up beautifully by Lidstrom and Zetterberg.

After the game winner was scored, Osgood was mobbed by his teammates who came charging off the bench to congratulate him on number 400. It’s an incredible milestone in what is sure to be a hall of fame career.

Some other items of note: all four of the Red Wings’ goals tonight were scored on the power play. Lidstrom had a four point night. Hudler and Kronwall each had two points. Holmstrom was hit in the face with a puck and left the game for a long time. He did return and was fine but his nose was stitched up and swollen. It’ll probably look pretty bad by tomorrow. Shattenkirk was also hit in the head by a slap shot that deflected upwards. He left the game and also returned later.

It was sure great to see Osgood get his 400th win and to do it the way he did was very fitting. The team really needed him to come up big for this one and that’s exactly what he did. He was so amazing in the second period that on at least two occasions the Colorado crowd could be clearly heard chanting Oz-ZIE, Oz-ZIE! It was almost like home. You know the Wings are tired when they give up 49 shots on goal like they did tonight. Osgood made 46 saves and absolutely stole this game from the Avs.

This 4-3 win brings us to:
23-9-4
50 points

Cleary Out With Broken Ankle

Monday, December 27th, 2010

The news was not good for Dan Cleary and the Red Wings. He was hit in the ankle by a Brad Stuart shot in last night’s game against the Wild. He didn’t leave the game at the time although he didn’t play much after that. The fact that he stayed on the bench gave a little hope that he might be alright. Unfortunately, it was just that his skate was tight enough to hold his ankle in place and prevent the swelling. Once he took the skate off after the game he knew something was wrong.

It’s a fracture of the ankle bone and it’ll probably take at least a month for him to return. So the Red Wings lose another forward with Datsyuk and Modano already out long term. They’ve been pretty lucky injury-wise so far this season but it seems like it’s starting to catch up with them. Let’s hope the rest of the team can stay healthy!

Detroit at Minnesota (12/26/10)

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Tonight the Red Wings played the first of back to back road games. They faced off against the Wild tonight with Howard in net. Minnesota went with Backstrom.

The Red Wings had great energy tonight. They had a lot of jump right from the start of the game. The weird thing about this one was that they scored the first two goals on really poor scoring chances from behind the goal line. Zetterberg banked the first one in off of Backstrom’s rear end. Cleary put the second one in with a shot along the goal line that somehow squeezed between Backstrom’s skate and the post.

In the second period Draper had a nice tip-in goal. Kronwall shot the puck and Draper hit it in mid-air. It made the puck start fluttering and it went right over Backstrom’s shoulder. Later in the second period Holmstrom scored a tough power play goal in which he had to contort his body and shoot the puck between his own legs. Not only that, but he was getting knocked down at the same time. He ended up landing on his own stick and breaking it as the puck went into the net. It was a great, hard-working goal.

Jimmy Howard was strong at the Wings’ end and made lots of incredible saves, but the Wild broke the shut-out with about three minutes left in the game. It was a power play goal scored by Brent Burns. Howard stopped the first shot but Burns popped in the rebound.

This seemed like a game where both teams were working hard but the puck was just bouncing right for Detroit. This makes up for one of the games where Detroit did everything right but just couldn’t get the puck in the net.

The only downside of the game was that Cleary was hit by a Brad Stuart slap shot. It was hard to tell on the replay but it looked like it hit right on the outside of his ankle bone. He had a tough time getting to the bench but he didn’t go to the dressing room. He played a little more after that but not much. Let’s hope it’s nothing too serious!

This 4-1 win brings us to:
22-9-4
48 points

Detroit at St. Louis (12/23/10)

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

The Red Wings were on the road tonight to face the St. Louis Blues. It was the second of back to back games for the Wings. Osgood got the start in net for Detroit and St. Louis went with Halak. Datsyuk was out of the lineup due to last night’s broken hand. He won’t be back for about four weeks.

This game was pretty similar to last night’s game except for the outcome. I thought Detroit had good energy and competed at a high level. St. Louis was up to the challenge though; they also played very well.

The goals that Osgood allowed were mostly redirections or screens. I don’t think he was ever just cleanly beaten. Halak was at the other end though. Franzen’s goal was in the net and back out by the time Halak got his glove in place. Lidstrom and Eaves also scored great goals for the Wings but it wasn’t enough.

They could have really used Datsyuk in this one, but that’ll probably be true for every game from now until he returns. They’ll have to find a way to win without him or it’ll be a long four weeks.

This 3-4 loss brings us to:
21-9-4
46 points

Datsyuk To Miss Four Weeks With Broken Hand

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

In last night’s game against the Canucks, Datsyuk tripped over Samuelsson’s glove and fell hard to the ice. It didn’t look like much but he left the game during the first intermission. Unfortunately, he has a broken hand and will be out for four weeks. He was in a cast before the end of the game.

This is a big blow to the Red Wings. Datsyuk was really cranking this season. Luckily the Red Wings have a lot of depth and will call up Jakub Kindl from Grand Rapids. This will be a good chance for some younger guys to make an impression.

Vancouver at Detroit (12/22/10)

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

The Canucks were in town tonight to play the Wings. The goalies were Luongo and Howard.

The Red Wings played really well tonight. They had great energy, made crisp passes and got the puck to the net a lot. But the Canucks played equally well. It made for an exciting game, but it made it tough on the Wings.

In the first period Datsyuk tripped over Samuelsson’s glove and landed awkwardly on his right hand. He finished the period but couldn’t take face offs. He left the game to go for tests during the first intermission and did not return.

The Red Wings had big goals by Cleary, Filppula, Zetterberg and Lidstrom. The Canucks had goals from each of the Sedins, Samuelsson and Tambellini. A few of the goals that Luongo gave up were softies. At the other end Howard did an incredible job of stopping the Canucks from putting the game out of reach. He had many amazing saves.

With the score tied at four at the end of regulation the game went to overtime. About three minutes into the OT Zetterberg scored the game winner.

It was good to see the Red Wings return to form. They had lots of energy right from the start and only got better as the game went on.

It was a solid game and a good two points, but it’s a little tarnished by concern about the Datsyuk injury.

This 4-5 win brings us to:
21-8-4
46 points

Dallas at Detroit (12/19/10)

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

The Red Wings played host to the Stars tonight. The game had an early start time of 5:00. The goalies were Osgood and Raycroft.

Detroit got off to a slow start in this game. Everybody was kind of sluggish, even Datsyuk. They all seemed lackadaisical and somewhat careless with the puck. Even so the Red Wings jumped out to a two to nothing lead in the first period.

The lead wouldn’t last long though as Dallas answered with two goals of their own later on in the period. Many of the goals were tipped or redirected so it wasn’t really a reflection of the goalies’ performances.

The Red Wings got better as the game progressed. They were better in the second and dominant in the third, although shots on goal were pretty even throughout.

Detroit was protecting a one goal lead as the game wound down but Dallas was able to tie it up.

The game ended up going to overtime and Loui Eriksson scored the game winner for the Stars.

I thought Eaves, Helm and Abdelkader played very well tonight. Abdelkader had a great fight with Ott midway through the second period. It took a little while to get going but Abdelkader nailed Ott with an uppercut and then landed one on the back of his head. Then Abdelkader took Ott to the ice. It was close but I’d give this one to Abdelkader.

I think the Wings didn’t get started early enough in this game but they played pretty well later. I wonder if the 5:00 start time threw off their routine enough to impact how ready they were at the start of the game.

Overall, the game was pretty even. The Stars played great but Detroit could have had two points out of this one. It’s a shame to have to settle for one.

This 4-3 overtime loss brings us to:
20-8-4
44 points