Sunday, December 14, 2003

Wings 5, Caps 1

The Wings got their revenge (and redemption) last night for their earlier loss to the Caps on November 24th. They just about completely dominated the game, scoring five unanswered goals, in a total reversal of that embarrassing loss about three weeks ago. Curtis Joseph played well, stopping 18 of 19 shots. He wasn't tested very much all night, however, and did not really play a big factor in the game. The goal he allowed on Jaromir Jagr was a goal-scorer's goal, plain and simple. He had no chance of stopping it. CuJo improved to 4-4-0 on the season with the win. Pavel Datsyuk continued his brilliance, scoring four more points to add to the six he already had over the previous three games. He made up for his a poor defensive play that led directly to the Jagr goal by assisting on the Wings' first two goals and scoring their third and fifth. He passed Vancouver's Markus Naslund and is now the NHL scoring leader with 37 points. His first goal was something of a fluke, with Washington's Jason Doig knocking Pavel's centering pass into the open net. His second goal was more conventional, a quick wrist shot from the top of the circles that beat Kolzig cleanly. Brett Hull can't stop singing Datsyuk's praises: "It's not by accident. (him being the NHL scoring leader) He's a wonderful, wonderful player." That's just another in a long string of comments by Hull that go back to last year. After Pavel scored his second goal, Hull told him on the bench: "....Don't get satisfied. Keep working. You could lead this league in scoring." I'm confident Pavel will keep working. That's one of the biggest reasons why I like him so much and probably the biggest difference between him and Sergei Fedorov. Datsyuk comes to play every night and it's very rare to see him take a play off. If he keeps this up, there is absolutely no reason why he should not be in the All-Star game. He's not on the ballot but he can be written in and he should at least be invited by the league since he probably won't be voted on to the roster. He's been amazing. Now, if he could just score a hat trick.... Brett Hull had two points in last night's game but easily could have had three. During the second period, there was a race for the puck at center ice and Hull got their first. As he broke in on Kolzig, the Caps defenseman caught up with him and as Brett was about to shoot, the defenseman gave him a little hook with his stick and he never got the shot off. I thought we'd just see a boring hooking penalty but miraculously, Bill McCreary pointed to center ice and Brett Hull got his fifth try at a penalty shot. It ended up being his fifth failure because his deke completely failed and he lost control of the puck, never getting a shot off. Pretty embarrassing but he was laughing about it afterwards. They showed a replay of him exchanging words with Kolzig on the bench later. Better luck next time, Brett. You're not really a penalty-shot type of player anyway. Draper continued his hot streak (which had grown cold over the past couple games) by scoring a surprising goal off a slap shot when streaking in on Kolzig 18 seconds after Jagr scored. Not a very good goal for Kolzig to give up. Jason Williams scored the Wings' other goal and looked good doing it. He received a good pass from Boyd Devereaux and showed great patience as he came in on goal before he backhanded it over Kolzig and into the net from a bad angle. It was just his 2nd goal of the year. Williams just needs to get some confidence and when he does, he'll be a much better player. That goal was an example of what he would be like with confidence and it's something I look forward to seeing more of from him. Niklas Kronwall looked good in his third game as a Red Wing, earning his first NHL point when he assisted on Datsyuk's goal and ending the game at a plus-1. He doesn't look like a rookie at all out there and plays a physical game. I don't know how the Wings were able to zone it out but that stupid Roman horn or whatever it was that they kept playing over the PA last night was extremely annoying, even on TV. I thought arenas weren't supposed to play things during play but maybe I'm wrong. The Wings improved to 18-10-3-1 and are 7-1-1-1 in their last 10 games. They have the most wins in the league and are trailing the Flyers by just three points for first place overall. They lead the Blues by one point for first place in the Central Division with 40 and are #1 in the Conference. Next up: vs. Florida, tomorrow, 7:30 EST News | ESPN | Box Score Lines- Shanahan-Mowers-Maltby Draper-Datsyuk-Hull Dandenault-Williams-Devereaux Miller-Hudler-Bootland Maltby-Draper-Dandenault Fischer-Schneider Lidstrom-Woolley Kronwall-Rivers Lidstrom-Schneider PP- Shanahan-Mowers-Draper Hudler-Datsyuk-Hull Shanahan-Datsyuk-Hull Maltby-Draper-Hudler Lidstrom-Schneider Kronwall-Woolley Lidstrom-Woolley PK- Maltby-Draper Datsyuk-Hull Lidstrom-Schneider Fischer-Woolley Net- Curtis Joseph


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