Saturday, January 03, 2004

Wings beat Ducks 3-1

While it wasn't the December 3rd 7-2 trouncing, the Wings put up a strong effort, beating the Ducks 3-1 and taking a early 2-0 lead in the season series. Legace got the start, as expected, the second game of a back-to-back. The Joe Louis Arena crowd welcomed Sergei Fedorov home by booing him every time he touched the puck, strongest in the first, but still quite apparent later on. The message has definitely been sent that these fans are not happy about Sergei leaving and bashing the Wings afterward. In the first period, Brett Hull made a neat cross-ice, almost two-line, pass to Tomas Holmstrom. Homer had open ice all the way to the goal, and surprised most people, including Jean-Sebastien Giguere, when he got off a rocket of a slap shot that beat Jiggy over the shoulder, top-right corner. Kronvall, who has been getting in on the scoresheet lately, got the second assist. It was not only a hard shot by Homer, but a smart one, as Giguere has been most susceptible up-top. Wings 1-0. The Wings totally dominated the not-so-Mighty Ducks this period, putting up 16 shots to their 4. Draper put up 4 shots himself in the first. Pretty pathetic. What is also pathetic is that Shanahan, who has been pretty wild lately, got a interference call when he pushed Giguere's stick away from the crease after he dropped it. It's not the first time Shanny has been called for interference this season when pushing away a stick. In a controversial call earlier in the season, the Wings were on the powerplay and Shanny pushed away a seemingly broken stick that lay on the ice, not interfering with anyone and clearly in good will. Well, the refs called him on it, and he reviewed the rules of the such interference after that game as the Fox Sports Net crew read him the explicit rules. Apparently he hasn't learned yet. In the second period, the Ducks came out strong. Andy McDonald scored unassisted as the Ducks got the puck to the net and capitalized on a point-blank scrum on Legace. 1-1 tie. This period, the Wings got 15 shots to the Ducks' 14. It was definitely a closer game at this point. In the third period, Shanahan got in on the scoring with his 550th career goal. Ray Whitney made a quick pass to Shanahan from behind the net, and Brendan got off a wrist shot from inside the left circle, beating Giguere low. 2-1 Wings. Then Kirk Maltby got an important insurance goal with just under four minutes remaining. Yzerman fed the puck to Schneider, who got off a booming point shot, and Maltby was able to redirect it into the top shelf to seal the deal. 3-1 Wings. The Wings outshot the Ducks 41-32. While there were certainly a lot of shots, it wasn't as exciting of a game as it could've been due to the refs allowing the Ducks to interfere with our players a heck of a lot. Holmstrom hasn't missed a beat since coming off a 15-game absence. He has two goals in four games, and has created a lot of scoring chances with his presence in front of the net. Kudos to Hull for the neat cross-ice pass to Homer for the first goal, but his goal-less streak is still on. His last goal was December 8 against the LA Kings, the game-winning-goal in a 3-2 OT win. The goal put him at 732 career goals, and in sole possession of third place all time (he had been tied with Dionne), behind only to Gordie and Gretzky. A combinition of him not being as open and not getting many clean shots off latlely has kept the milestone-man at 16 goals since. Overall, I thought the Wings played pretty well tonight. Legace was sharp in net, and the Wings peppered Giguere with shots, which doesn't always equate to victory (last season's playoffs) but the Wings put a lot of their shots up-high on Jiggy tonight, so I guess they've learned since the playoff debacle. Next game is at the Joe, Monday night versus the Predators at 7:30. Then the Wings have a home-away with the Bruins, with the games separated by two days, the first being on Wednesday. The Wings are currently 1st in the NHL with 55 pts.


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