Saturday, January 17, 2004

Wings 3, Coyotes 3

The Wings came back from a 3-2 deficit with just under two minutes left to send the game to overtime last night against the Phoenix Coyotes. The game ended in a 3-3 tie, though it easily could have gone either way, both in the last minutes of regulation and in overtime, since both teams had some fairly glorious chances to end the game near the end. Curtis Joseph played another strong game for the Wings overall, though he did give up some unfortunate goals that weren't wholly his fault. It wasn't his best game in the Winged wheel but it wasn't his worst by a long shot. I would say, though, that he was outplayed by Brian Boucher, who did no give much up at all. The Wings had to rely on some lucky breaks for their first two goals and especially their third, when the play was a fraction of a second from being whistled down before Pavel Datsyuk got the puck free and sent to Henrik Zetterberg, who went to the backhand and just barely got it into the open net. Back to Joseph, he kept the Wings in the game for sure in the last minute of regulation when he made several key saves on a Coyotes flurry. Zetterberg's goal made up for a total fluke play which resulted in a Coyotes goal with about nine minutes left. Chris Chelios, from near the blue line, passed the puck back to Mathieu Dandenault, who was the last man in the zone. The puck took a bad bounce right over Dandenault's stick just as he tried to pass it up ice. He was then caught out of position and Fredrik Sjostrom skated in free on Joseph, who had no chance to stop the puck. Dandenault was relieved that Henrik tied the game up and said "... I owe him dinner for that." Steve Yzerman got his 1,700 point when he assisted on Kris Draper's goal 30 seconds into the second period. He reacted in his usual way and did not make a big deal out of becoming just the seventh player to reach that milestone in NHL history. He said "It's a nice number. But I don't know, I've played a long time, and things gradually add up over the years. I played in an era where there was a lot of scoring and I'm not a scorer anymore." Sure things add up do, Steve, but not like that, at least for the vast majority of NHL players. There are many players who played as long as you have and things never added up like that for them. So what if you played in when more goals were scored? Everyone ahead of you on the list (Gretzky, Messier, Howe, Francis, Dionne and Mario Lemieux) played in the same era, with the exception of Gordie and Dionne and they were on the powerhouses of their time. I still think it's amazing. His teammates and coach were far more outwardly excited about it than he was. Henrik Zetterberg had this to say: "It's a great honor just to be on the same team, and in the same locker room with him. He's been around for 21 years. I was 2 when he got here." Dave Lewis, showing a poor knowledge of pronoun usage (sorry Dave), said "I don't have a big enough vocabulary to describe Steve's career. You'd have to write a book to describe Steve's career." It certainly is a major achievement and as nice as it is to have such a humble captain, I sometimes wish Yzerman would be a little more demonstrative. Brett Hull continued his goal-less streak, though not through lack of trying. I'd say he had more chances to score last night than he's had throughout his drought. He hit the post once and was robbed by some very good saves by Boucher a few other times. Once, when he fanned on the puck near the blue line, he let the entire Joe Louis Arena and everyone watching on TV hear his frustration. I had the volume a little low so I didn't quite hear what he said but I can make a pretty good guess and if I'm right, it wasn't very family-friendly. I think it'd be pretty safe to say that something along those lines was going through just about every Wings fan's head each time Brett had a chance but wasn't able to slam it into the net. While he didn't get a goal, last night's game was encouraging because I think Brett is very close to breaking out again. Maybe that hit put on him by Ossi Vaananen last night (for which Vaananen got a boarding penalty) was enough to wake him up. Pavel Datsyuk has been cold lately as well. He hasn't been scoring as many points lately but he has still generated excitement. Last night he stood everyone up out of their seats with a great one-on-one move that almost resulted in a goal on a rush which should have resulted in a nothing chance. He had a few other moments during the game which had everyone gasping and the puck followed him around in its usual magnet-like way. I don't know how he does it but he has to have one of the best sets of hands in the NHL. I cannot wait to see him play in the All-Star game (assuming he is named to the roster on January 22, as he should be). It will be great to see him play in that kind of environment where goal scoring is encouraged for once and he'll actually have room to do his thing. It looks like the Mathieu Schneider suspension, as ridiculous as it was, may have served a good purpose. I think Nick Lidstrom needed something to wake him up and not having Schneider around for two games may have done that. He has played better over the past two games and has gotten in on the offense as well. Hopefully we'll see the Nicklas Lidstrom we know and love this half of the season. I will be glad to have Schneider back for Monday's game against the Sharks though. One of the Wings' announcers last night, Mickey Redmond I think it was though I'm not sure, accidentally called Henrik Zetterberg "Forsberg." Henrik has been predicted by some to be the next Forsberg but he still has a long way to go, I think. Not yet, guys, not yet. Next up: @ San Jose, Monday, 8 EST Freep | ESPN | Box Score Lines- (courtesy GWB Maltby-Draper-Yzerman Devereaux-Williams-Dandenault Shanahan-Datsyuk-Whitney Holmstrom-Zetterberg-Hull Maltby-Draper-Dandenault Shanahan-Yzerman-Hull Lidstrom-Woolley Fischer-Chelios Rivers-Kronwall PP- Shanahan-Datsyuk-Zetterberg Holmstrom-Yzerman-Hull Maltby-Yzerman-Holmstrom Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Hull Lidstrom-Whitney Rivers-Kronwall Woolley-Chelios PK- Draper-Maltby Zetterberg-Whitney Yzerman-Maltby Zetterberg-Datsyuk Lidstrom-Chelios Fischer-Woolley OT- Shanahan-Datsyuk Zetterberg-Hull Draper-Maltby Yzerman-Whitney Fischer-Chelios Lidstrom-Woolley Net- Curtis Joseph


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