Archive for November, 2005

Wings 5, Kings 2

The Wings finished out their West Coast road trip with another win, beating the Kings 5-2 last night in LA. They played a very solid game defensively and were strong offensively, putting a nice cap on the trip and helping us forget their disastrous trip to Western Canada earlier in the month.

Jimmy Howard was strong in his debut and showed us that the hype surrounding him is well founded.

Jason Woolley made his return from his groin injury but the Wings traded him for Robert Lang, who went down in the second period with a groin injury of his own.

It worked out well in the end, however, as Steve Yzerman had one of his best outings of the season after taking some of Lang’s ice time in his absence.

Overall, a very entertaining game to watch, though I had a hard time concentrating on it since just about all of my friends chose last night to have a pizza/homework party in the lounge around the TV. They are very distracting. So, this summary will be more impressions than details.

First Period

The Wings came out of the gates with a fair amount of jump. They had a number of good chances pretty early on but didn’t finish on any of them. For example, Yzerman flubbed a shot down low after taking a pass from Holmstrom and Pavel Datsyuk hit the post after taking a pass from Henrik Zetterberg just a few minutes later.

The Kings weren’t just sitting back themselves. They played a physical game and skated hard. Dustin Brown welcomed Woolley back with a big hit in the corner about five minutes in, reminding us that the Wings don’t have anyone quite capable of laying on a big hit, with Jiri Fischer out. When the Kings generated pressure of their own, Howard was very steady and looked nothing like the rookie he is. I quickly gained confidence in him and forgot it was his first NHL start.

The Kings “scored” a goal before the half-way point of the period but it was quickly disallowed after replay showed the puck had gone in under the side of the net. Howard had the post covered and knew it wasn’t a goal and so did Datsyuk, who immediately went to the ref. The net was raised a bit off the ice but they fixed it at that point and the game continued.

The Wings’ PK unit was solid in the first and their power play got a couple of good chances on the one man-advantage they had.

Shots for the period were 12-9 Wings.

Second Period

The Wings got a power play early on in the period but it only lasted 6 seconds before Zetterberg got a penalty and made it 4-on-4. The teams traded good chances, with Lang getting a flurry down low in front of the net and Eric Belanger getting a full-blown breakaway. In both instances, the goalies made the necessary saves. For Howard, it was a real baptism by fire, facing his first NHL breakaway in his first start.

The game continued to have a fast pace, with the Wings getting the majority of the chances.

Chris Chelios finally opened the scoring at 4:03, stepping up and taking a blast from the blue line that beat LaBarbera “clean” (as color-commentator Pat Verbeek kept repeating). He was using one of Kirk Maltby’s sticks, which he said caused him to break three panes of glass at the Staples Center during practice. Apparently, his shot was up to 105 mph so he switched. It paid off pretty well, ending a 57 game scoring drought. 1-0 Wings.

Lang was sent to the box for hooking at 5:37 and though the Kings didn’t score on that power play, they did score as a direct result of events during that time. Kirk Maltby, trying to kill off the penalty, ended up on his stomach and swinging his stick out as a Kings player jumped over him. The stick, knocked out of Maltby’s hands by the skates of Joseph Corvo, went flying and the ref called Maltby for throwing his stick in the offensive zone. Pretty BS call, in my opinion. Anyway, as per NHL rules, Corvo was awarded a penalty shot. He ended up scoring after freezing Howard and creating a small gap at the post. Howard certainly got both barrels, with an out-right breakaway and a penalty shot in the same night. 1-1 tie.

The Wings regained the lead just under two minutes later when Mathieu Schneider scored once again. Tomas Holmstrom was out front and doing his usual good job of screening the goalie, who may have never seen it. 2-1 Wings.

Brendan Shanahan laid a borderline dirty hit on Sean Avery around 11:16 and was immediately attacked by Tim Gleason. Both players got fighting majors, though Shanahan was just defending himself. The refs also tacked on an extra two minutes for the initial hit. Dan Cleary had a nice breakaway chance while shorthanded and drew a penalty on the play. After a period 4-on-4 play, the Wings went to the power play. Steve Yzerman made it 3-1 when he tipped in a shot from Jason Williams at 13:43. That ended the power play they were on but because the Kings had been called for another penalty on the play, the Wings continued with the man advantage. They got some good sustained pressure going but didn’t get the puck in the net however.

The Wings had LA on their heels at this point and were really dominating play.

Shots were 12-8 Wings.

Third Period

The Kings rebounded a bit in the third and made a good effort at coming back for the first half of the period or so.

The game settled down a bit after that, however, and the Wings had it pretty well in hand.

Zetterberg scored at 15:19 to make it 4-1 after taking a nice pass from Samuelsson. He was stopped on his initial shot but scored on the rebound.

The Kings pulled their goalie with about 3:00 left and the Wings scored without a whole lot of effort. Lidstrom lobbed a bomb from his own blueline and made it 5-1 at 18:17.

The Kings made the score somewhat more respectable at 18:59 when Sean Avery scored on a tip in off a shot from the point. The puck beat Howard high and wasn’t really his fault.

Shots were 5-7 Kings and 29-24 Wings for the game.

Sorry for the lateness in getting this posted. It was too late last night and I had classes all day today. And now I have to go to work. May append this later.

Detroit Red Wings November Team Report

My second team report installment is up at FantasyHockey.com.

In other news: The Wings defeated the LA Kings last night, 5-2, with Jimmy Howard in net for his first NHL game. As much as I wanted to stay up and watch the whole game (it started at 10:30), I fell asleep after two periods. It was only 3-1 when I went to sleep, but the Wings looked better than they have in some recent games.

GameDay: @ LA (16-7-1, 33 Pts) 10:30 ET

Tonight is the third of four games between these two teams this season. The Wings won both of the previous two games, 5-2 on October 13 in LA and 5-4 in OT on November 9 at home.

Tonight is the final game in November for Detroit and will cap off a less-than-stellar month in which their record to this point has been 6-5-2 (after a 11-1-0 run in October). They are 2-1-0 in their last three games, with wins over Colorado and San Jose and a loss to Anaheim in between. The win over the Avs ended a four-game skid that was interrupted by the cancellation of the Predators game just one week ago because of Jiri Fischer’s seizure. This game will wrap up a three-game California trip for the Wings, who start December at home against Calgary before playing a run of Eastern Conference opponents at home and on the road until mid-month.

The Kings have had a much better month, skating to a 8-3-1 record to this point in November. Since losing to the Wings on the 9th, they have lost just twice (both times to Nashville) and have won six. They too are 2-1 in their last three games, with one loss to the Predators sandwiched between wins over St. Louis and Chicago. Tonight’s game will nearly wrap up a five-game series against Central Division teams. They will finish November on Wednesday in Chicago before heading out East to play a tough series against Northeast Division teams.

Because Manny Legace is on the IR for about a week with a sprained knee, Chris Osgood could start tonight for the Wings. However, the papers indicate that Babcock may start Jimmy Howard instead.

It looks like Yzerman’s role isn’t being reduced by anyone but himself. He asked to have the night off on Saturday, citing a sore knee and his age as reasons for needing a rest. (News, mLive)

I didn’t catch the game Saturday but it sounds like the Wings will have to be better defensively if they want to win tonight in LA. If they can put up that sort of offensive production and play tight defensively, they should have no problem beating the Kings. That’s a big “if” at this point, though. They at least owe Howard, if he starts, a decent show of support. A win tonight would go a long way in making up for their stinker of a road trip to Western Canada earlier in the month.

GameDay: @ Anaheim (8-11-4, 20 Pts) 4:00 ET

Today is the second of four games between these two teams this season and the first time head coach Mike Babcock will be on the bench in Anaheim as a visitor since leaving the Ducks this past off season. The Wings won the last meeting, 3-2, on October 21st with goals from Robert Lang, Mikael Samuelsson and Pavel Datsyuk.

The Wings snapped a four-game losing streak with a 7-3 win over Colorado Wednesday night. They ended up 1-1 on their short two-game homestand after going 0-2-1 on a Western Canada road trip the week before. Tonight’s game kicks off a three-game California trip that will end Monday in LA after a stop in San Jose tomorrow night. The game against the Kings will cap off the second month of the season for the Wings, which wasn’t as impressive as their first was. After going 11-1-0 in October, they have been 5-4-2 (with one cancellation) in November to this point, ending up 16-5-2 on the season.

The Ducks are 2-6-3 so far this month, with their wins coming on the first of the month and, following an eight-game losing streak, on the 22nd. Their most recent game was a loss to the Stars, a 3-1 decision in Dallas but they won the night before in Phoenix, 2-1. Tonight’s game kicks off a five-game home stretch for the Ducks, who are 6-5-2 at home (versus 2-6-2 on the road).

Manny Legace should get the start for the Wings while Ilya Bryzgalov will likely play for the Ducks, with JS Giguere out with a hamstring injury.

Babcock told the papers that newly-promoted defenseman Kyle Quincey may get some playing time against the Ducks or at least sometime on this trip. It sounds like the Wings would like to put him on the penalty kill. That shows the kind of confidence they have in him, I suppose.

Ted Kulfan says on his blog that Jiri Fischer has been advised to stay away from physical activity for 4-6 weeks.

We were denied the sight of Sergei Fedorov in the first game against the Ducks (he was out with a groin injury) and we’ll be denied it again — because he’s no longer on the team. So, the story will just be Babcock’s return to Anaheim.

The Ducks have been struggling and this should be a good opportunity for the Wings to continue what they started on Wednesday.