Thursday, January 29, 2004

Wings 5, Devils 2

Playing the defending Stanley Cup Champions on home ice was refreshing for the Wings. After a bad trip out West and a continuation of a relatively bad away record, the Wings returned home, where they play seven of the next nine games, against a upper echelon club in the Devils. Ah yes, home sweet home. It was a commanding 5-2 win over the defensive minded Devils. Cujo got the start. In the first period, Henrik Zetterberg won a faceoff against Igor Larionov and got the puck back to Jamie Rivers, who beat Brodeur with a shot that surprised everyone, at 11:01. 1-0 Wings. Then, Cujo gave up a weak goal to Erik Rasmussen at 13:48. 1-1 tie. Then, on the powerplay Shanahan fed Mathieu Schneider a good pass to between the circles, and Mathieu got off his trademark blast to make it 2-1 Wings at 16:04. Tomas Holmstrom got the second assist on the play. Shots in the period were 12-5 New Jersey. Cujo was particularly sharp in the first ten minutes, making 3-4 high quality saves on breaking Devils or point-blank opportunities. Kick save. Glove save. Clearly kept the Wings in the game for the first 10 minutes. In the second period, Brett Hull got a bouncing pass from Steve Thomas with a bouncing puck, but was able to get a wrist shot off that clearly surprised Brodeur at 0:46. 3-1 Wings. But Turner Stevenson scored at 3:31 to put the Devils within one. 3-2 Wings. Shots in the period were 11-7 New Jersey. In the third period, Tomas Holmstrom got a grinding power play goal assisted by Mathieu Schneider and Steve Yzerman at 8:30. 4-2 Wings, and an important insurance goal. Then, with the Jersey net pulled with their having the powerplay too, Kris Draper scored a career high 20th goal of the season at 18:58, shorthanded and empty netter. Maltby retrieved the puck. 5-2 Wings. Final shots were 33-20 Jersey, 10-8 in the third. Blaine Angus was one of the referees tonight, most notably the guy who failed to call the high stick on Roenick that set Jeremy off, leading to the infamous water bottle incident. He made a couple calls far away from the play tonight that had the crowd collectively groaning. The Wings were 2-2 on the powerplay, a far cry from the trend of bad powerplay execution they brought into tonight's game. Steve Yzerman's assist on the Holmstrom goal put him at 6th place all time in pts with 1,702, passing ailing Mario Lemieux, who is at 1,701. The Joe crowd acknowledged the feat when it was announced on the intercom. He now trails Marcel Dionne with 1,771 pts, which is pretty much not going to happen with the looming lockout and the Captain probably having only one more season left in the tank. Schneider had a strong night with 2 pts (1G 1A). He's really showing the league how big of a mistake they made by omitting him from the All Star Team. Hopefully, a well-placed injury will get Schneider a sneak-in, last second spot. It was truly a Datsyukian deke when Pavel went one-on-one with a Devil, totally undressed him, and got off a wicked wrist shot that beat Brodeur but went off the left post. I thought it was a goal, and jumped out of my chair. But I still appreciated the beauty of the move after closer look showed the score the same and the red light not triggered. It was likely Igor Larionov's last game in the Joe. Igor left to play for the Devils in the offseason after not coming to terms with the Wings on dollar amounts. When his daughters got a recording contract out East, he wanted to live in the New York area. So to repudiate a general feeling among Wings fans that Igor left bitter about dollar amounts, it was also a factor of living near his daughters' recording studio. I admit I was a detractor, but Igor wasn't very clear about why he left, so seeing his Devils salary a few numbers higher was the factor we all caught onto. Next game is Saturday at 7:00 PM versus Carolina. The Wings are currently nine pts ahead of the St Louis Blues in the Central Division, 67 to their 58. The Wings' record is second only to the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL. The Avs have really turned it on lately, going 8-1-1-0 in their last ten (compared to the Wings' 3-3-3-1). Hopefully this home stand will give the Wings a chance to pull ahead of the Avs and build a lead on them.


Post a Comment

Bookmark this post On the Wings

Search this site

<< Home

[Powered by Blogger]