Friday, March 12, 2004

Wings 4, Blue Jackets 2

The Wings skated to a 4-2 win over the Blue Jackets last night at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. The Jackets put up a fight as expected but the Wings played a solid game overall and didn't have a whole lot of trouble winning. Curtis Joseph made the start. The Return: Part II In the first period, Curtis Joseph looked like he hadn't played in a month as he was shaky on most of the saves he had to make. He looked bad on the first goal when he lost track of the puck and allowed Trevor Letowski to take it around the back of the net for a wrap-around goal but he was much more solid in the second period where he stuffed the Jackets on a power play-filled first five minutes. He made some very sharp saves on the two successive 5-on-3's during that time and didn't disappoint. The goal he allowed on Nikolai Zherdev was more the fault of his defense than of himself because Zherdev was able to momentarily freeze Jiri Fischer and step around him to get off a shot from close in. I don't blame him at all for that. Jiri shouldn't have fallen for the move, that's all. Overall, a good night for CuJo and hopefully a preview of what's to come from the Wings definite #1 goalie. Using his Time Wisely Jason Williams was impressive in his first game back since sitting out the past 20 games. He laid a big hit on Columbus tough guy Jody Shelley in the first period and had two goals. To score the first, he took a pass from Shanahan, skated in alone along the left wing, weaved through the defense and waited out Marc Denis before backhanding the puck into the net. His second goal was even prettier. It was the result of a great defensive play by Nick Lidstrom at the line when he knocked the puck off the Columbus player's stick while they were making a change. It went right to Mathieu Schneider who sent it straight to Ray Whitney who in turn passed it up to a streaking Williams. He came in all alone from the right and cut to the left as he backhanded the puck over Denis. It was beautiful to see and was made even better by the fact that he showed some of the promise Wings fans have been hoping for with those two goals, his third and fourth of the year. Misc. Henrik Zetterberg had a great game for the Wings. He was always involved in the play and was rewarded with an empty netter at the end of regulation. Brett Hull finally scored after what seemed like forever when he took the feed from Lidstrom on an odd-man rush that resulted from a brilliant poke check on Rick Nash by Curtis Joseph at the other end. The goal was classic Brett Hull and one Denis had zero chance on except to hope it hit him. Hopefully that will be something Brett can build on because he's been quiet lately. UPDATE: I have been informed that "...Hull has scored 3 goals and has 5 assists in the last 7 games." I did not realize that last night when I was writting this summary pretty much off the top of my head (with some help from a box score). Thanks to Sherill for reminding me that Brett has been playing well lately. Derian Hatcher wasn't all that noticeable tonight but didn't play horribly. He looks a little slow but that might be normal for him. I don't know, not having seen him play regularly before now. The shots were 9-10 Columbus in the first, 7-10 Columbus in the second and 19-13 Detroit in the third for a total of 35-33 Detroit. The Wings penalty kill was perfect tonight as it has been for the previous 34 or so kills. The Wings will play Dallas at home on Saturday at 3:00 EST on ABC. They now have 92 points, just one fewer than Tampa Bay, the league leaders. Lines Courtesy GWB Whitney-Yzerman-Hull Shanahan-Mowers-Holmstrom Devereaux-Williams-Thomas Maltby-Zetterberg-McCarty Lidstrom-Schneider Fischer-Chelios Hatcher-Rivers Schneider-Chelios Fischer-Hatcher 4 on 4 Shanahan-Yzerman Whitney-Zetterberg Lidstrom-Schneider Fischer-Chelios PP Shanahan-Yzerman-Holmstrom Thomas-Mowers-Holmstrom Thomas-Zetterberg-Hull Lidstrom-Schneider Whitney-Schneider Lidstrom-Hatcher 5 on 3PP Shanahan-Yzerman-Holmstrom Shanahan-Zetterberg-Holmstrom Hull-Lidstrom PK Shanahan-Yzerman Yzerman-McCarty Shanahan-Zetterberg Whitney-Maltby Whitney-Zetterberg McCarty-Mowers Whitney-McCarty Lidstrom-Chelios Hatcher-Schneider Fischer-Rivers 5 on 3PK Yzerman Maltby Lidstrom-Chelios Hatcher-Schneider Net Curtis Joseph


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