Monday, February 23, 2004

Wings 1, Oilers 1

The final meeting this season between the Wings and Oilers certainly didn't disappoint, with a hard-fought game ending in a 1-1 tie. Marc Lamothe was solid in net, after some early first period jitters, and remains unbeaten in his 3 NHL starts. In the first period, the Wings were flat out outplayed by the Oilers, who are trying to sneak into the playoff picture in this final quarter of the season. There is a difference between playing well and playing hungry. Although the Wings may have executed plays well, the Oilers played with an extra level of hunger that set them above the Wings. At 6:58, Jason Chimera scored for the Oilers, assisted by Georges Laraque. On the play, Laraque passed the puck across the crease to a waiting Chimera, who tipped it in for a perfect-execution goal. Lamothe had no chance on the goal, and it really came down to the Wings failing to cover the guy on the backdoor. 1-0 Oilers. After allowing the goal, Lamothe had some jittery moments in net, having a hard time controlling the puck, but he regained his confidence as the game progressed. Shots in the period were 14-6 Edmonton. It was a fun period to watch not in terms of being a Wings fan, but a hockey fan in general. The Oilers are always a high-flying, speed skating team, and it's really fun to watch their transition game. In the second period, there was no scoring and yet there was. This is because slumping Brendan Shanahan's goal was not counted after Tomas Holmstrom was called for goaltender interference on Tommy Salo at 15:33. I can't imagine the frustration Shanny felt on the bench after the play. Shots in the period were 8-6 Detroit. The Wings slowed down the Oiler's offense after a first period of leaving Lamothe out to dry, but failed to generate much offense themselves. In the third period, the Wings really answered the call. After watching the Oilers play with playoff hockey strides for two periods, the Wings got themselves into that mode as well. It was an entertaining period. Shots on goal were very hard to come by, as the puck always seemed to deflect off a skate or body in front of the net. With less than 8 minutes left, the Wings finally cracked Salo. At 12:56, Nicklas Lidstrom scored on a beautiful wrist shot from the right circle, assisted by Steve Yzerman and Ray Whitney. On the play, Yzerman made a cross ice pass to Lidstrom, who handled a bouncing puck and got off a knuckle-ball wrist shot that beat Salo high. It was nice to see Edmonton native Whitney crack the scoring sheet as well, with the second assist. 1-1 tie. Shots in the period were 8-6 Detroit, the same as in the second. But the third was a much better effort for the Wings. Lamothe made some critical saves late to secure an overtime period. Going into overtime, it was an exciting atmosphere knowing the Oilers would be pressing hard for the extra point, with their playoff picture on the bubble. They weren't going to pull Salo though, because doing so in overtime means you forfeit the point guaranteed before overtime commences. It was a tight period, with shots even at 4 apiece. Final shots 30-26 Edmonton. It was a good pace of action tonight, especially in the third period with the Wings battling back for the equalizing goal. Hopefully they bring that kind of intensity tomorrow night against the Canucks. Notables: Scratches on the night were as follows. Boyd Devereaux with a facial laceration, and Jason Williams and Jason Woolley both listed as healthy scratches, though I know that Woolley still has a sore back....Ray Whitney's dad, who was a practice goalie for the Oilers decades ago, took some shots from the Wings coaching staff this afternoon. He was going to naturally join the Oiler's practice, but they didn't have a vacant net for him....Marc Lamothe, one of tonight's three stars, is the Wings' forth goaltender this season....Former Oiler's stickboy Ray Whitney had a great night, with an assist, +1, team-leading 4 shots on goal, and 20:43 of ice time. I wish the Wings could bottle up his energy and have him use it every game, because he really flew out there....Joe Louis Arena was voted as having the best ice, and Edmonton's Rexall Place (formerly known as Skyreach Centre) came in second. FSN Goofs: This is a new section where I'm going to detail all of the Fox Sports Net blunders of each game. Tonight was an ordinarily bad night for the FSN crew. For the entire first period, the game clock and period number that usually show up on the scoreboard were absent. In the second period, when the crew woke up and put the clock and period number on the scoreboard, they were on the money with the time but had "1st period" up for the first five minutes of the second. Way to go guys!! (Editor: Here are the lines from the game, courtesy GWB) Whitney-Datsyuk-Hull Shanahan-Zetterberg-Holmstrom Maltby-Draper-Yzerman Thomas-Mowers-McCarty Thomas-Datsyuk-McCarty Thomas-Zetterberg-Shanahan Zetterberg-Yzerman-McCarty Shanahan-Zetterberg-McCarty Fischer-Chelios Rivers-Dandenault Lidstrom-Schneider Schneider-Dandenault Lidstrom-Chelios Fischer-Rivers Lidstrom-Dandenault Schneider-Chelios PP- Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Hull Shanahan-Yzerman-Holmstrom Holmstrom-Datsyuk-Hull Whitney-Lidstrom Draper-Schneider Lidstrom-Schneider PK- Maltby-Draper Shanahan-Yzerman Lidstrom-Chelios Fischer-Schneider OT- Shanahan-Zetterberg Datsyuk-Hull Maltby-Draper Whitney-Yzerman Lidstrom-Chelios Fischer-Dandenault Lidstrom-Schneider Fischer-Chelios Net- Mark Lamothe


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