Sunday, December 07, 2003

Wings 2, Leafs 5

Brett Hull maneuvers the puck around Leafs goalie Ed Belfour in the process of scoring his 731st career goal during the first period of last night's 5-2 loss to Toronto The Wings had their five-game unbeaten streak last night when the Leafs beat them 5-2 in Toronto. The game was much closer than the score indicates and could have gone either way until the third period when the Wings fell apart and the Leafs jumped ahead. The Leafs extended their winning streak to eight games with the win. Manny Legace made the start after all but he did not look as sharp as he has in his past four starts. Dominik Hasek was supposed to be backing up but was not ready to go when Lewis was looking to pull Legace. He did not have his equipment fully on and looked like he was there as a fan rather than a paid player of the Detroit Red Wings. It was pretty disturbing. More awful injury news for the Wings: Steve Yzerman left the game during the second period with some kind of a groin injury. That was around the time the Wings began to fall apart and being without The Captain for the whole third period made things even worse. I don't even want to think about how they'll be playing for the next few games as Yzerman gets better if they cannot even keep "it" up during such a close game as last night's was. The Captain is listed as day-to-day and now they have no right handed centerman and even less depth overall at that position. Wonderful. The Wings might as well bring up the whole Grand Rapids Griffins team what with all these injuries they're getting. I really would like to know what goes on during Wings' practices because groin injuries are usually direct results of poor stretching and light conditioning. They need to do whatever needs to be done to stop these injuries because there's only so many more players to call up. It's getting to be ridiculous. There should be some injury relief soon, however. Dave Lewis expects Ray Whitney to be ready to go for tomorrow's game against the Kings. He took part in the morning skate yesterday and scrimmaged with the scratches and coaches afterward. He has missed 10 straight games with a groin injury. Also, Ken Holland said to Ron MacLean of CBC before the game last night that Henrik Zetterberg will begin skating full-time tomorrow and should be back in the lineup within a week or two. That's really great news. The Schneider-Fischer pairing does not work, Mr. Lewis. You need to find someone else to pair those guys with because their screw ups last night led directly to the Leafs' first two goals. The fact that Bryan Marchment was able to skate in unmolested, cut across the net and roof a backhander is shameful. Fischer and Schneider pretty much just stood around and watched it all happen. It was much the same with Tie Domi's goal 11 minutes later. Those two don't seem to have very much cohesion and I think that because of their different styles of play, they should not be paired together very often, if at all. I say, put Schneider with Lidstrom and Fischer with Chelios because that seems to work best. Brett Hull scored his 731st goal last night which tied him with Marcel Dionne for third place all-time in goals scored. It wasn't a typical Hull-like goal, though, with Hull puckhandling across the crease and sending the puck over a prone Ed Belfour. The signing of Brett Hull by the Wings was one of the smartest things they've ever done. He's been awesome. Congratulations, Brett! The Wings need to get back to playing full games. On Thursday, they might as well have only played one period, the third. Last night it was the reverse. They played passably in the first two periods and poorly in the third. I'm surprised they've gone back to their old habits because they won those four games in a row playing much more complete games, with the exception of the St. Louis game last Saturday. I've noticed that the officiating has been much more lax in recent games. The refs are allowing much more to go on, both ways. There were many things that should have been called last night on both teams but were allowed to go on because of the nebular nature of the NHL rules. I knew they had stopped calling obstruction so tightly but it's gotten to be ridiculous. The Wings are just as guilty of it as any other team. There have been very few power plays recently for the Wings power play to work with but there have not been fewer penalty committed if not called. The Wings fell to third place in the conference last night when the Blues beat the Preds 4-1. The Wings, Blues and Canucks all have 33 points but the Wings have the most losses (10) of the three teams. Right now the Flyers are leading the league with 39 points and the Leafs are second with 37. The Wings have just one more point than the Thrashers, something that would have been embarrassing last year but is more acceptable now because of how well Atlanta has done so far. The Wings are 9-3-2 in their last 14 games and have outscored opponents 30-13 in their past six games with a record of 15-10-3-0. Next up: vs. LA, tomorrow, 7:30 EST News | ESPN | Box Score Lines- Shanahan-Yzerman-Devereaux Thomas-Datsyuk-Hull Maltby-Draper-Mowers Robinson-Williams-Bootland Robinson-Devereaux-Mowers Shanahan-Draper-Mowers Maltby-Williams-Devereaux Robinson-Datsyuk-Bootland Lidstrom-Chelios Fischer-Schneider Woolley-Dandenault Fischer-Chelios Lidstrom-Dandenault Woolley-Schneider Woolley-Chelios Fischer-Dandenault PP- Thomas-Datsyuk-Hull Shanahan-Yzerman-Draper Shanahan-Draper-Mowers Lidstrom-Schneider Woolley-Chelios Net- Manny Legace


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