Archive for November, 2003

Wings 2, Blues 1

Boyd Devereaux scores a rare goal late in the 3rd period, which turned out to be the game winner for the Wings last night in St. Louis

The Wings earned an important victory last night, beating the St. Louis Blues 2-1 off a goal from Boyd Devereaux with 2:23 left in the game. The win put the Wings in the top spot of the Central Division where the Wings can now work to keep rather than work to get there.

The Wings stuck with what was working and played Manny Legace, who had 21 saves in his third consecutive start.

Brett Hull scored the other Wings goal and tied the game at 1 late in the second period.

It was nice to see Boyd Devereaux actually do something to justify his being on the ice for once. He finally scored a goal after blowing it on so many slam dunk chances that just about anyone else would convert into goals. He might have been the luckiest player on the team for how many times he had a real chance to score but that’s where the luck stopped. I had really started considering him to be the most worthless player on the team because it had become a given that he wouldn’t score if given the chance. It’s not that he doesn’t work hard, it’s just that he’s been in a terrible rut. It was good to see him score finally, especially such an important goal. Thanks, Boyd!

I unable to watch much of the game and so I was a little shocked when I turned it on and saw that it was in St. Louis. I had a friend who was supposed to go to “the game this weekend” and for some reason I assumed it was last night’s game though now I realize it was Friday’s game. One of those embarrassing brain farts, I guess. I feel like an idiot……..

The Wings are now 14-9-2-0, have won 8 of their last 11 and are on a 3-game winning streak.

Next up: vs. Anaheim, Wednesday, 7:00 EST

News | ESPN | Box Score

Lines-
Shanahan-Yzerman-Devereaux
Maltby-Draper-Mowers
Thomas-Datsyuk-Hull
Robinson-Williams-Bootland
Maltby-Mowers-Devereaux
Shanahan-Yzerman-Draper

Schneider-Dandenault
Fischer-Woolley
Lidstrom-Chelios
Woolley-Dandenault

PP-
Shanahan-Yzerman-Draper
Thomas-Datysuk-Hull

Lidstrom-Schneider
Woolley-Chelios

PK-
Maltby-Draper
Shanahan-Yzerman
Datsyuk-Hull

Lidstrom-Chelios
Schneider-Dandenault
Fischer-Dandenault
LIdstrom-Schneider

Net-
Manny Legace

Wings win in Defensive Battle

In what was a tight defensive battle against the Central Division leading St Louis Blues, the Wings dug down deep and found the heart to win 2-1 at the Savvis Center. And an unlikely player turned out to be the ultimate hero of the night. With Legace playing on top of his game, it was pretty certain that the game would go to overtime if the Wings didn’t score. And then we saw Boyd Devereaux score the game winner with little more than two minutes left in regulation. For a guy that plays really hard every night, but never seems to get his due, it was a great site to see Boyd with the glory of a game winner that put the Wings past the Blues in the Central Division. The goal marked his 100th NHL point, on the same night that Chris Chelios became the 11th defenseman to get 900 points. With his history of serious concussion problems, I’m sure many doubters are surprised he’s got this far. On the play, Mathieu Dandenault made a quick centering pass to Boyd, who was left alone in front of the net. On the Wings’ other goal, Brett Hull scored on a funky snap-shot from way back near the blue line. On the play, Chelios took a shot that was blocked by Dallas Drake, and Hull took the puck with his back to the goal, and turned around, whipping the puck towards the net in a low-percentage scoring opportunity. But the traffic in front of the net, as well as Ozzie’s disbelief that anyone would take such a wild shot, led to the goal. It was a playoff-type goal, just throwing the puck at the net and creating traffic in front.

Petr Cajanek scored for the Blues on what was one of the Wings’ few defensive lapses of the game. On the play, which came off the faceoff to the right of Legace, the Wings players moved towards the blue line and let Cajanek sneak in towards Legace. So when the Blues gained the puck, they made a quick pass towards the net, and that was all she wrote.

Hopefully the Wings crack down on these defensive lapses in the future, because, in a defensive showdown, that could be the difference between winning and losing. So the Wings now have 8 wins in 11 games, and have three wins in a row. And that’s with many of our top players injured, including Hasek, Holmstrom, Zetterberg, Whitney, McCarty, and Hatcher. With half those guys on the roster, I believe the Wings could be a formidable force now that they seem to be on the same page, playing sound defense and beginning to find consistent offense. The Wings have 15 goals in the past three games, and have only allowed 2. But the next three games probably won’t be a continuation of those numbers, as we have Anaheim and St Louis in back-to-back games on Wednesday and Thursday, and Toronto on Saturday. I look for the Wings to start shutting teams down defensively, in the style of Saturday’s game versus St Louis.

GameDay: @ St. Louis (13-5-1-1), 8:00 EST

Tonight is the second of six meetings between these two Central Division rivals. The Blues won the first game, 6-5, on October 29th off three goals from Doug Weight. The Blues have gone 7-2-1 in their last ten games and are coming off a 2-2 tie with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Wings have won three of their last four games and are coming off a blow-out win over New York.

The Wings will again be without Dominik Hasek. I expect the Wings to stick with what’s working and start Manny Legace again tonight. Tomas Holmstrom is apparently out for a month if not more so Nathan Robinson will play tonight and for a while. Ray Whitney is still out with a groin injury and McCarty is still out with his back injury. The Blues will most importantly be without Barret Jackman (shoulder) and Al MacInnis (eye).

The Wings need this win. It’s their chance to pull ahead of the Blues in the standings and get out of the lower Western Conference. They will be tired from last night’s game and their injuries will make it that much tougher but they need to play well tonight and get another win. They have the momentum they need and I’m confident they’ll do what they have to do.

Wings 6, Isles 0

Manny Legace makes one of his 30 saves for the Wings in last night’s shut out win over the New York Islanders

The Wings skated to another easy win last night, shutting out the New York Islanders 6-0. The Isles hardly put up a fight all night and made it very easy for the Wings. It was about as good a game as I’ve seen the Wings play all year, though there wasn’t much competition. They were very efficient offensively and fairly tight defensively, though they were outshot 30-27.

Manny Legace got the start after all for the Wings. He earned his first shutout of the year and the fourth of his career. He wasn’t really tested too often but made key saves when he had to.

Pavel Datsyuk had a great night. His assist on Thomas’ first goal was amazing as was his set up to Brett Hull for Hull’s goal. It’s kinda cheap that Chelios gets credit for the Wings’ fourth goal when Pavel had the presence of mind to scoop up the loose puck and roof it but that’s how it goes, I guess.

Steve Thomas also had a great night. He scored the Wings’ first two goals, the second unassisted and after stealing the puck in the offensive zone. He came very close to getting a hat trick a couple times and I was pretty disappointed when he didn’t get it. He’s looking to be a great addition to the Wings, that’s for sure.

Shanahan and Draper, who are both on a scoring tear, scored the other Wings goals.

Nathan Robinson was called up from the Griffins to replace Tomas Holmstrom. He wore #38 and impressed me with his good passes and decent puck control. He certainly did nothing to hurt the Wings and played a very steady first NHL game. He had a semi-breakaway in the third period but was hauled down as he neared the net. It was a situation where I would have like to have seen a penalty shot but the current rules require the player to be a step ahead, which Robinson was not. I wish the league would loosen the rule up, though. Why not have more penalty shots?

It’s too bad for Darryl Bootland that last night was the only time the Wings play the Islanders this year because he’ll have to wait until next season to have his revenge on Eric Cairns. Bootland and Cairns had been talking trash and taking little shots at each other all night. Cairns finally lost it in the second period when Bootland went in to defend Jason Williams who had gone in to defend Mathieu Dandenault who had been run into the boards from behind by Jason Blake. Cairns came up behind Bootland and started beating the back of his head. Bootland was tied up with another Isles player and couldn’t do anything to defend himself. Cairns got two minutes for roughing, another two minutes for roughing, a game misconduct (for starting a fight when another was already going on) and a ten minute misconduct. Bootland got two minutes for roughing Cairns and robbed of his chance to get back at that goon.

The Wings needed a win last night and they got it. They put forth a decent effort and made it a good game to watch. They are now 13-9-2-0 and tied with the Blues, who tied the Lightning 2-2 last night, for first place in the Central Division. The Wings have won two blow-outs in a row, albeit against lesser teams, and should have a lot of momentum going into tonight’s game injures or not.

Next up: vs. St. Louis, tonight, 8:00 EST

Freep | ESPN | Box Score

Lines-
Shanahan-Yzerman-Devereaux
Thomas-Datsyuk-Hull
Maltby-Draper-Mowers
Robinson-Williams-Bootland
Maltby-Draper-Devereaux

Lidstrom-Schneider
Fischer-Dandenault
Woolley-Chelios
Schneider-Chelios
Schneider-Dandenault
Woolley-Dandenault
Lidstrom-Dandenault
Fischer-Schneider

4 on 4-
Williams-Devereaux

Fischer-Woolley

PP-
Shanahan-Yzerman-Draper
Thomas-Datsyuk-Hull
Shanahan-Yzerman-Devereaux

Lidstrom-Schneider
Woolley-Chelios

PK-
Draper-Maltby
Shanahan-Yzerman
Datsyuk-Hull

Lidstrom-Schneider
Fischer-Dandenault
Lidstrom-Chelios

Net-
Manny Legace

GameDay: vs. NYI (9-9-2-0), 7:30 EST

Tonight is the first and only game this season between these two teams. The Islanders are coming off a shutout loss to the ‘Canes and will look to snap a three game losing streak. The Wings blew out Edmonton on Wednesday and should be carrying momentum into this game. New York is 2-6-2 on the road while the Wings are 7-3-0 at home.

Dominik Hasek will miss at least two more games with the same groin injury so either Legace or Joseph will be in net tonight. Since Manny started on Wednesday, I’d be surprised if Joseph didn’t get the start. Tomas Holmstrom will be out for “a while,” according to head coach Dave Lewis, with a separated shoulder. The Wings will promote a player from Grand Rapids (possibly as soon as today) to replace him. Possible candidates include center Kevin Miller, left wing Michel Picard, left wing Derek King or center Jiri Hudler. The Wings have defenseman Jamie Rivers on the active roster who can also play wing, if needed. Ray Whitney is expected to skate today but won’t be back at least until next week. Darren McCarty is now out for several weeks with back spasms. He’s in a “non-exercise mode right now,” says Lewis.

The Islanders have been struggling this year, going 2-6-0 since beating the Stars on November 6th. They are exactly .500 so the Wings’ record against under- and above-.500 teams doesn’t mean anything here. The Wings should be able to build off the game they played on Wednesday and get another win. They’ll need to play tight defense because those struggling Isles stars can always turn it on and creative offense because Rick DiPietro has a decent 1.99 GAA and .918 save percentage. The Wings have a high number of injuries but they should still have all the depth they need to win tonight, at least.

The Blues are playing tonight as well (in Tampa Bay) so the Wings need this win to at least stay one point back of St. Louis.

Wings 7, Oilers 1

Darryl Bootland celebrates his first career goal during the first period of the Wings 7-1 win over the Oilers

The Wings earned an easy win last night over Edmonton down at the Joe. They outshot the Oilers 43-16 and went 4-for-8 on the power play. The Oilers didn’t out up much of a fight, playing a very sloppy game and pretty much handing the win to the Wings. Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish had this to say about the game “I realized it was going to be a long night in the middle of the second shift.” Gee, that’s a great attitude to have for a whole game. The Wings pretty much dominated all three periods, though they did not have a perfect game by any means.

Manny Legace got the start but did not get much work and only had to make one or two tough saves. He looked like a fool on the one Oilers goal when he flubbed a centering shot from the corner. It was deflected a little but he still should have had it. The Wings were already up by three so it didn’t have much impact on the game.

Though they won 7-1, the Wings still looked a little sloppy on offense and somewhat iffy on defense. Still too many lazy passes and too much half-hearted puck pursuit. Defensively, they are still giving up chances though last night was a big improvement over other nights.

Bonehead play of the night: Tomas Holmstrom, after breaking his stick near the blueline on a shot, flew into the corner and attempted to lay a hit on an Oilers player. Of course, the Oiler saw it coming and side stepped the flying Holmstrom, who went flying into the boards shoulder first. Homer returned to the Red Wings bench and soon after, left for the locker room and never came back. Apparently, he separated his shoulder and will be evaluated in a couple days when the swelling goes down. Dave Lewis says “Homer is going to be out for a while. Weeks more than days.” Wonderful. Just what the Wings needed, another forward injury. They already have McCarty, Whitney and Zetterberg out. Now they have one of their key players on the power play gone. The Wings are thinking about bringing another player up from Grand Rapids but I think it’s time for a trade of some kind.

The Captain scored his 670th goal in his 1,400th game and it’s looking like he may be able to hit 700 goals after all.

Brett Hull scored his 726th goal and is now within five goals of Marcel Dionne for third place on the all-time list.

Steve Thomas scored a beautiful goal off an amazing feed from Pavel Datsyuk, who had just stolen the puck near the blue line, to make it 7-1. Datsyuk was down on the ice as he dished off the puck to Thomas who deked around Stephen Valiquette (who replaced Ty Conklin in the third period) and backhanded it into an open net. It was a beautiful thing.

Kris Draper had two goals last night and is having a career start. He demonstrated a rare set of hands on his second goal when he shot it into the top-left corner, threading the needle between Valiquette’s shoulder and the post. I never would have expected such a shot from Draper, who may have some of the worst hands in the league (he can’t score on a breakaway to save his life) but that was a goal-scorer’s goal, for sure. He’s had a great year so far and is a close second to Steve Yzerman for team MVP to this point. His nine goals are a reward for all the hard work he has put in.

Darryl Bootland scored his first NHL goal last night with 18.8 seconds remaining in the first period. Draper got the puck from Conklin, making up for cutting Bootland’s nose in the celebration. Congratulations, Booter! I’m wondering if Dave Lewis got to Bootland (either that or shaving off his tough guy goatee had an effect) because he had at least two opportunities to have a fight last night but he backed down and instead drew a penalty. That’s a good thing but I found myself feeling disappointed when there wasn’t a fight. Bootland restrained himself until the where period where he fought Steve Staios and drew another penalty in the process. He had a good game, in my opinion. He almost had a Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, an assist and a fight) but didn’t get an assist.

Brendan Shanahan scored the other Wings goal. He still seems to be AWOL, however, and only checks in with a goal every once and a while. Come on, Shanny, get it together.

Boyd Devereaux has got to go. I feel bad for him but he’s pretty much useless on the ice. He whiffs on slam-dunk chances and in the rare instances where he gets points it’s only because he was alive on the ice at the time. He has done very little to justify his existence on the team so far this season which is too bad because a couple years ago, he was pretty valuable. I wish the Wings could trade him somewhere and get someone who will do something on the ice in return. Sorry, Boyd.

It was a much needed win for the Wings and something they’ll need to build on for the next week or so. Hopefully, they’ll hold on to this momentum going into Friday and Saturday and pull off wins in those two games as well. They have to if they want to get out of the knot that is the Western Conference. They are now 12-9-2-0 and are trailing the Blues by 1 point.

Next up: vs. NYI, tomorrow, 7:30 EST

Freep | ESPN | Box Score

Lines-(courtesy GWB)
Shanahan-Yzerman-Devereaux
Thomas-Datsyuk-Hull
Mowers-Williams-Bootland
Maltby-Draper-Holmstrom(Holmstrom lost, shoulder injury)
Maltby-Draper-Bootland
Mowers-Datsuk-Hull
Mowers-Datsyuk-Williams
Maltby-Draper-Mowers
Devereaux-Williams-Mowers
Maltby-Draper-Devereaux

Lidstrom-Chelios
Fischer-Schneider
Woolley-Dandenault
Fischer-Woolley
Fischer-Dandenault

PP-
Shanahan-Yzerman-Thomas
Shanahan-Yzerman-Holmstrom
Mowers-Datsyuk-Hull
Shanahan-Datsyuk-Hull

Lidstrom-Schneider
Wooley-Chelios

PK-
Shanahan-Yzerman
Draper-Maltby
Datsyuk-Hull
Devereaux-Mowers

Lidstrom-Chelios
Schneider-Dandenault
Schenider-Chelios
Fischer-Dandenault
Fischer-Schneider

Net-
Manny Legace

GameDay: vs. Edmonton (10-8-2-0), 7:30 EST

Tonight is the second of four games this season between these two teams. The Wings are looking to bounce back from their second loss to a struggling team in three games and the Oilers are coming off a 3-3 tie with the Blue Jackets yesterday. Their last loss was to the Habs in the Heritage Classic on Saturday, 4-3. The first game between these two clubs, in which the Wings led 4-2 after forty, ended in a 4-4 tie in Edmonton

Dominik Hasek will be out at least three more games so either Curtis Joseph or Manny Legace will get the start in goal tonight. Hasek has been skating without pain in practice but apparently the splits and other things goalies do continue to bother him. Ray Whitney is questionable for tonight with a continuing groin problem.

The Wings need this win. This upcoming week is very important with regard to the standings and a win would start them off well with what they need to do. They are trailing the Blues, who beat the Bruins last night 4-3 in OT, for first place in the Central Division by 3 points and they play St. Louis Saturday and December 4 (twice in one week). Based on the Wings’ record against teams that are above .500, I expect the Wings to play a good game and hopefully, they’ll earn a win.