Sunday, March 12, 2006

Wings 5, Hawks 3

Update (13. Mar 06, 10:52 PM): In anticipation for a high demand for a replay of Pavel Datsyuk's great goal on Nikolai Khabibulin in Chicago last night, I have found a video of it online and posted it. You can check it out here. (.mpg file) While you're at it, take another look at the replay of Pavel's famous goal against Dallas' Marty Turco on November 12th, 2003 here (.mpg) and this clip of his top ten goals from the 03-04 season here (.wmv). - Matt Tonight, the Wings were away at Chicago to face the Blackhawks for the second consecutive night. The Hawks home advantage at the United Center did not seem to help their cutting edge at all. The Wings arrived at this match holding 5 regular season victories against the Hawks, including the win just last night. So, it was not surprise that the Wings managed to pull through with another victory. At this game, the Red Wings welcomed Corey Cross as a new defenseman, replacing Jamie Rivers. Cross quickly took command of his position, and put the Wings in the lead within the first thirty seconds of his ice time. The Wings certainly couldn’t have asked for a better performance in his first game. Corey Cross definitely seems to be a valuable addition to the Detroit Red Wings. Whenever the Wings and Hawks take the ice, they are relentless competitors and play the game right through to the end. However the Hawks, being one of the most penalized team in the NHL, need to be careful to keep their defensive aggression in control. For example, Martin Lapointe made several unnecessary hits in the later part of the game, which led to a couple potentially costly penalties. Another was made by Michal Barinka, as well. If it weren’t for the Hawks strong penalty killing, which is ranked 9th in the NHL, they would have easily taken more shots from the Wings. In total, there were 33 shots made by the Wings, and only 23 made by the Hawks. 1st period The Hawks had a great opportunity to get ahead early in the 1st period. In the Wings territory, Milan Bartovic set the puck up to Mikael Holmqvist, who tipped it toward the net. However, Osgood saw the shot coming and made the save. At 1:40 into the period, Corey Cross took the ice for the first time as a Wings defenseman. Nine seconds later, at 1:49, Williams set the puck up to Lang, and knocked it to Cross, who tipped it past Khabibulin and into the goal. During the 1st period intermission, Cross comments: “I jumped into the right spot at the right time, and I was able to put it in.” The Wings strong defense maintained strength, and directed the puck back into the Hawk zone. Datsyuk got the puck and made a clean pass to Shanahan. The back pass was perfectly positioned from behind the net, so Shanahan was able to knock the shot into the goal from the left side. This marks Shanahan’s 2nd goal this season. These first two Wings goals caused the Hawks to lose their momentum a bit, by the middle of the 1st period. Although they attemped to bring the puck into the Wings zone, poor puck handling, and wide shots accounted for several of their offensive blunders. Eventually, the Wings gained back control of the puck and forced it into the Hawk territory. At 6:57, Datsyuk stormed into the Hawk end, on a breakaway, and fired the puck past Khabibulin, for a goal. Wings now hold a three point lead against the Hawks. Khabibulin had enough and was pulled from the Hawks goal, to be replaced by Craig Anderson. Perhaps Blackhawks coach, Trent Yawney, was cringing at the thought Khabibulin’s expensive $6.75 million/per year contract right about now. The Hawks finally got the puck into the Wings zone. At about 8:45, Matthew Barnaby got a fair shot on Osgood, but was blocked. During this play, Lilja was caught with a holding penalty and was sent to the box for two minutes. However, the Hawks did nothing with their power play advantage. The Wings continued to pressure Anderson with several set up maneuvers. Chelios and Mowers made a valiant attempt to get a piece of Anderson, however it was captured. The puck was soon sent back to the Wings territory. The Hawks hovered around the net pressuring Osgood, with set-up shots. Lilja tripped Mark Bell up between the legs, however no penalty was called. When knocking the puck back into play, Osgood played the puck from the back and accidentally got it into the stick of Milan Bartovic. He tipped the puck to Holmqvist, who knocked the puck past Osgood’s left side, and into the goal, at 15:00 into the period. The Wings woke up and put more pressure in the Hawk zone. The Hawks defense continued to clear to puck, despite several set ups by Williams and Lang. The period finally came to an end in the Wings territory. 2nd period The second period began with Hawk possession. At thirty seconds into the period, Barnaby made a slap-shot on Osgood, who covered on an amazing save and froze the play. The Wings brought the puck back around to the Hawk zone, as Yzerman got control of the puck from the faceoff. Draper slid the puck to Datsyuk, who cranked out a hard slap-shot on Anderson. Cross later brought the puck to the left end and tipped it, on a failed shot attempt. At 2:11, Lilja was penalized for tripping Kyle Calder, and is sent to the box. The Hawks used this power play advantage to make some fair shots on Osgood. In particular, Dustin Byfuglien made a decent slap shot towards Calder, positioned in front of the goal. Calder almost had a chance to tip the puck into the net, but Osgood’s glove got it first. At 5:26, Keith got the puck to Sharp, who made a backhand goal, his 10th goal of the season. When the going gets tough, Martin Lapointe goes checking and slashing. There simply is no other way he can therapeutically take out his aggression on his former Wings than giving out dirty hits. At around 5:50, Lapointe shoved Cross into the boards from behind, however no penalty was given. Twelve seconds later, he was finally caught on a slashing penalty, when he gave Zetterberg a good whack with his stick. This put the Wings into power play position at 6:02. The Wings, however, failed to take command of this power play. Cullen won the face-off for the Hawks and sent it to Keath, who made a powerful slap shot on Osgood. The Hawks play their defense well in their zone, as the Wings set up their offense. Shanahan and Lidstrom made fair shots on Anderson, but both were knocked wide of the net. At 8:57, Brandon Bochenski was caught with a holding penalty on Zetterberg. This gave the Wings another hopeful power play opportunity. The Wings offense stormed into the Hawk zone and placed constant pressure on Anderson. During this time, Yzerman, and Schneider particularly made some major shots on goal. At 14:42, Curtis Brown received a hooking call. In the following Wings power play, the Hawks managed to keep the Wings from pressuring their goal too much, by simply clearing it. Four minutes later, Kris Draper was also called on a hooking penalty for hooking Keith. The second period came to a close, with one minute left in the Hawks power play to carry over into the third. 3rd period The third period started off a bit slow, with both teams building up momentum against each other. At 3:36, Michal Barinka was caught with a cross checking penalty for checking Maltby against the boards from behind. This maneuver by Barkinka was completely uncalled-for and unnecessary, since the play was within the Hawks own territory. This sent the Wings into another power play. Four seconds later, at 3:40, Datsyuk gave an amazing tip to Zetterberg, who blasted the puck past Anderson, for a goal. At this point, the score read 4-2, with the Wings in the lead. With the power play terminated, the Hawks brought the puck back into the Wing zone. Bochenski took a shot on Osgood, which ended up going wide of the net. The puck was soon given away to Draper, who skated it to the other end of the ice. A set up was made as Mowers passed the puck to Lidstrom, who slapped it towards the net. The puck was then tipped by Cleary, but saved by Anderson. The Hawks cleared the puck into the Wings territory, however, Draper regained control of the puck and weaved past the Hawk’s defense. Datsyuk shot the puck in front of the net, but it was deflected by Anderson once again. At 10:36, Cullen won a face off against Draper, and made a goal from a slap shot opportunity before the net. The Hawks tried to pressure the Wings zone more, but they eventually gave the puck away the Wings. Zetterberg grabbed the puck and skated behind the back door of the Hawks net. He then tipped it to Schneider, who got it past Anderson for a goal. This marks Schneider’s 20th goal of the season. The Hawks gave the Wings one last burst of momentum, even though all hope was lost. Patrick Sharp took the puck and made a snapshot maneuver on Osgood. It appeared as if Cross knocked into Sharp after his shot on goal. This incident sparked a small fight between Sharp and Cross. Both were sent to the penalty box on roughing penalties. This made the player ratio 4 on 4. Neither team accomplished anything during this time. At 17:42, Kronwall was caught with a tripping penalty, for tripping up Rene Bourque. With the one-man advantage, the Hawks tried to pressure Osgood one last time. Lapointe and Bell both made shots on goal, however they ended up going wide of the net. The game ended in the Wings zone. Abel to Yzerman game report


At 3/13/2006 10:25:00 PM, Blogger Brian List said...

It's good the Wings picked up those 4 easy points. Could come in handy when it comes to #1 in the conference - and take less pressure of the final game of the Wings versus Dallas.

At 3/13/2006 11:13:00 PM, Anonymous Gabriel P. said...

Agreed, Brian, although I didn't really like what I saw yesterday in terms of passion. I'm wondering how they're going to do in the post-season against far more talented teams who play that hard for 60 minutes. No question the Wings are one of the more talented teams out there right now, but they just looked like they were on their heels for quite a bit of the game.

At 3/14/2006 03:40:00 PM, Anonymous WI Wing Nut said...

I agree...the Wings get an awful lot of "gimmee" games vs. the central division, while the Northwest teams are scratching and clawing for every singel point every single night. I hope they can ramp it up come playoffs, and aren't too tired to do so. Did anyone notice they are scheduled for 4 games in 6 nights right before the playoff run? Inexcusable scheduling, particularly for a team that will likely have to play three rounds two or more time zones away if they want to reach the finals.

At 3/14/2006 04:21:00 PM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

Did anyone notice they are scheduled for 4 games in 6 nights right before the playoff run?

Another example of the Wings getting shafted by the NHL schedulers. Just like their schedule immediately following the Olympics.

I think the Wings have acquited themselves pretty well against non-Central Division teams all year. That criticism doesn't hold much water, in my opinion, any more. They can play with the best in the league, at at least an even level. How will that play out over a playoff series? That's something we won't know until the postseason actually begins.

My biggest concern is the Western Canadian teams. The Wings can go to California and win but they seem to have trouble on the road against Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, all of whom are likely playoff opponents.

One good thing about playing the Central Division teams is they won't be nearly as worn out/beat up as teams from, say, the Northwest Division, who have been involved in a continual battle all year. For a team with so many veterans, that could prove to be invaluble for the playoffs. Fewer nagging injuries should mean more endurance for the long road.

Of course, that could be negated by the terrible scheduling at the end of the year but perhaps not.


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