Saturday, April 08, 2006

Wings 4, Columbus 2

The Red Wings were away at Columbus tonight, facing the Blue Jackets for the second consecutive night. The Wings came into the game on a 9 game road winning streak, with an NHL record of 28 road wins of their total 53 wins. After the Wings victory in this game tonight, the Wings hold the record for most road wins in a season. Henrik Zetterberg was out of tonight’s game with an upper body injury from last night’s game, so the Wings recalled Valtteri Filppula to take his place as the strong forward. Filppula arrived at the Nationwide Arena this evening with a bag of sticks in his hand and clueless of how to enter the arena. The Arena security wouldn’t even let him in until some Wings staff found him and escorted him inside. We’re glad you could make it Filppula! In addition to Zetterberg’s absence, Pavel Datsyuk was out tonight with a lower body injury and Mathieu Schneider was out with a groin injury. Last night's game against the Blue Jackets in Detroit was proof that the Wings offensive lines are vulnerable when two key players, such as Schneider and Datsyuk, are out with injuries. This plague put the Wings at a major disadvantage coming into tonight’s game, with Zetterberg out as will. However, with the superb goaltending by the starting goalie Chris Osgood, and consistent pressure in the Blue Jacket territory, the Wings managed to crank out yet another victory on the road. First Period The first period began with Blue Jacket possession as Jan Hrdina won the faceoff against Kris Draper. At 27 seconds into the period, the Blue Jackets lost the puck, after Adam Foote’s shot on Osgood. Shanahan brought the puck down and set it up to Draper, who made a wristshot on Leclaire, but was knocked down. The Blue Jackets then brought the puck back into the Wings territory. Rick Nash took the puck to the right side and made an impressive shot on Osgood, but it was tipped away by Nicklas Lidstrom, accompanying Osgood. Manny Malhotra got the puck at the blue line and cracked the puck at Osgood, who froze the puck at 1:49. Dan Cleary won the faceoff against Mark Hartigan, and brought the puck back into the Blue Jacket territory. Kirk Maltby took the puck and made a shot from the left side, which went wide of Leclaire. The Blue Jackets came back into the Wings end and pressured Osgood with a few set up attempts. Finally, David Vyborne shot the puck toward Osgood, who knocked it back into play. Rick Nash jumped in and began to screen Osgood in front of the net. At 3:03, Jan Hrdina recovered the rebound and tipped it into the net from the right side, for a goal. The score is now 0-1, with the Blue Jackets in the lead. The Wings gained control of the puck, as it was given away by the Blue Jackets shortly following the faceoff. Robert Lang brought the puck into the other end, but was turned over by the Blue Jacket defense. Malhotra stormed into the Wings territory on the right side of the ice and made a wristshot on Osgood, who knocked the puck back into play. Following the shot, Malhotra tripped Nicklas Kronwall, and was sent to the penalty box on a tripping penalty at 4:11 into the period. In their power play, the Wings made a valiant attempt to place a significant amount of pressure on Leclaire. Kris Draper got the puck to Lidstrom off the faceoff. From the blue line, Lidstrom passed the puck to Samuelsson, who made a hard slapshot on Leclaire. In this play, Tomas Holmstrom was within the boundaries of the goal crease, near Leclaire. If Samuelsson had gotten a goal from his shot, Holmstrom’s intrusion into the crease would certainly have been taken into consideration. This power play soon expired with no gain yet made by the Wings. At 8:00, Rick Nash was caught with a hooking penalty for bringing his stick around Draper’s knee. So, the Wings were sent into yet another power play advantage. Later in this powerplay, Mikeal Samuelsson and Jason Williams both made major shots on Leclaire, but they went wide of the net. The Wings continue to implement pressure in the Blue Jacket territory after the power play expired. Several major wristshots were made by Steve Yzerman and Dan Cleary. The puck was soon turned over to Malhotra, who broke away from his zone and made a wide shot on Osgood. The puck was recovered to Andreas Lilja and sent to Mark Mowers, who then tipped it to Brendan Shanahan. At 12:06, Shanahan knocked the tipped puck past Leclaire, for a goal. 1-1 tie. Later in the period, Rick Nash centered the puck and hit it over to Trevor Letowski. Dan Cleary came on against Latowski, however he made a fair shot on Osgood, who knocked it away from the area. The Wings brought the puck back into the Blue Jacket territory, where Samuelsson and Kronwall set up a shot on Leclaire. After the puck was deflected of Leclaire’s glove, Holmstrom came up on the right side and made a textbook goal clear from the side bar, at 17:19. The Wings are now ahead in the game, with the score 2-1. The period ends in the Wings zone. Second Period The second period began with Wings possession as Draper claimed control of the puck in the opening faceoff against Jan Hrdina. Lidstrom established the puck into the puck in the Blue Jacket zone, and made a wide shot on Leclaire. The puck was then taken up by Malhotra and to the other end, where the Radoslev Suchy made a clear shot on Osgood. However, Chris Chelios quickly cleared the puck in the other direction. Samuelsson received the puck and quickly took a shot on Leclaire. Holmstrom tried to set the puck up again, but he ended up losing it to Alexandre Picard. Holmstrom swung around and hooked Picard from behind. At 2:33, Holmstrom received a hooking penalty and was sent to the box. This sent the Blue Jackets into their first power play of the game, and the Wings 5th ranked penalty killing into action. Draper won the power play against Hrdina, and sent the puck into the Blue Jacket zone, where an offside penalty was called at 2:55. Following the call, Hrdina won the faceoff against Dan Cleary in the Wings zone and got the puck to Ron Hainsey. He passed to puck from the right side of the ice to David Vyborny, stationed in front of the blue line. Vyborny made a hard wristshot on Osgood, but it was deflected to the side. Klesla received the set up puck and made a slapshot from the right side. At 4:04, the Blue Jackets set up the puck once more to Mark Hartigan, who was about ten feet from the blue line. His shot, however, was sent up high and over the net. The power play finally expired at 4:30 with no gains made by the Blue Jackets. At 5:09, Steve Yzerman won the puck off a faceoff but, the Blue Jackets were caught with an icing call as the puck was sent clear into the Wings end. Robert Lang took the puck out of the Wings territory, but lost it to Trevor Letowski just past center ice. The Wings defense intercepted his efforts and knocked the puck to Jason Williams. He took the puck down the side of the ice and passed it to Jason Woolley, who made a clear slapshot on goal. Intimidated by the Wings pressure, Leclaire covered the puck and stopped the play. Two minutes later, the Wings defenses stormed the Blue Jacket zone and put pressure on Leclaire once again. At 9:17, Dan Cleary made a wristshot on the goal, but was deflected wide. The loose puck was picked up by Malhotra, who broke away into the Wings territory. He followed the right side of the ice down and took a clean shot on Osgood, with the puck entering the goal just under the crossbar. The score at this point was tied at 2-2. Lang started with the Wings possession and slid the puck over to Mikael Samuelsson. He made a shot on Leclaire, but it ended up deflecting over the net. At 11:19, Lang set the puck up on the right side of the Blue Jacket territory. He made a hard shot across to the left side, where Yzerman tipped the puck to Williams, who stuffed it into the goal. The space between the defenders in this play was a key factor in the success of the goal. This marked Williams’ twentieth goal of the season. Consequentially, this goal also made Jason Williams the 8th Red Wings to make 20+ goals. This is a first time moment in Wings history. After this goal, the Wings once again brought the puck back down into the Blue Jacket zone. Cleary brought the puck to the right side of the net, and made a clean shot on Leclaire, which was covered by his glove. Following Cleary’s shot attempt by, Aaron Johnson picked a small fight with Cleary near the right boards. Both were sent to the penalty box on roughing penalties at 12:16. The player ratio on the ice is now 4 on 4. During this time, neither team held any major strength advantages. So both teams resorted to making various faulty set up attempt in the opposing zone. After some faint action in the Wings zone, the puck was recovered back into the Blue Jacket territory. Thomas Holmstrom made a major slapshot on Leclaire at 19:38. The period time finally ran out and ended with some action at center ice. Third Period The third period started out with Blue Jacket possession, as Malhotra won the opening faceoff against Kris Draper and forced the puck foreword. At 33 seconds into the periods an offside penalty was called on Mark Mowers. Robert Lang won the next faceoff and knocked the puck to Steve Yzerman, who brought it into the Wings zone. Wings veteran, Sergei Fedorov turned the puck over to the other end and made a slapshot on Osgood. The puck, however, was deflected wide. Robert Lang snagged the loose puck and brought it back to make a wrist shot on Leclaire, who freeze the play. After this play the Blue Jackets regained control of the puck and got it to Vyborny, who took a wristshot on Osgood, who also stopped the play. Duvie Westcott forced the puck back into the Wings territory, from Rostislav Klesla, and sent it to Johnson. His shot, however, went wide of the net. Balastik got the deflection and made a wrist shot on Osgood. In this action, Mulby was caught with a hooking penalty and was sent to the box. Kris Draper won the following faceoff, however the puck was quickly given away to Hrdina, who sent it into the Wings end. Nothing was accomplished in this power play, and it finally expired at 4:26. The puck remained in the Wings territory following the Blue Jackets power play advantage. At 5:45, Jason Chimera took the puck to the side and made a wristshot on Osgood, who stopped the play. After Malhotra won the faceoff against Yzerman, the puck was tipped to Johnson, who fired the puck within the Wings territory. His shot was knocked away to Klesla. He set up a wristshot on Osgood, but it went over the net. Jody Shelley got a piece of Osgood as well, but his shot attempt went wide of the net. The puck was cleared to the Blue Jacket territory, where an icing call was made at 7:50. The puck is established in the Blue Jacket territory with a Samuelsson wrist shot, at 11:06, which went wide of the net. The loose puck was picked up to Lidstrom, who made a slapshot which was deflected off of Leclaire. The puck was sent to Williams, who set the puck up to Corey Cross. He made a clear shot, but the puck was tipped away by Leclaire, and sent to the side Yzerman. The Blue Jacket defense contained the play and got the puck to Letowski, who made a wide shot on the run. When the puck was turned over to the Wings, Letowski swong around and hooked Corey Cross with his stick. Letowski was caught on this and was sent to the penalty box on a hooking call at 13:48. One minute later, Lidstrom was called out on an interference penalty. The player ratio is 4 on 4 at this point. Sergei Fedorov took the puck into the Wings territory and made a wristshot on Osgood, who froze the puck. Yzerman won the following faceoff, but was then tripped up by Adam Foote. Foote was sent to the penalty box for this tripping call. The player ratio was shortly 3 on 4, but after ten second it switches back to 4 on 4. These penalties quickly expired with no gains made for either side. With a minute left in the game, Blue Jackets coach Gerard Gallant pulled Leclaire from goal, for a one man advantage. At 19:56 into the period, with only four seconds left, Chris Chelios sent the puck from center ice toward the Blue Jacket end, and scored on the empty net. His goal was unassisted. The final score of the game is 4-2.


At 4/09/2006 01:59:00 PM, Blogger Brian List said...

Despite all that Babcock says, I really don't think Legace is cemented as #1. Ozzie puts up performances that make it a better argument in his favor. I'd start Legace in the first round, but not be afraid to put Ozzie in if things go south. It's like a Wild Fernandez/Roloson situation, interchangable parts.

At 4/09/2006 02:01:00 PM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

I think that must be Babcock's plan, just like Lewis did with Legace and Joseph last time around. He'll give Manny his chance and if he doesn't perform up to snuff, he'll be out, as he was in 2004.

You know Osgood will be ready for such an opportunity.

At 4/09/2006 11:48:00 PM, Anonymous Gabriel P said...

I think you're right Matt, although I really don't think they gave Manny much of a chance last time around. His first bad game and he was out...that doesn't really give him the confidence he's going to need to get through 4 rounds.

Even though Manny would be my pick, I would still love to see Osgood given the chance to bring another Cup to Detroit after the way he was shown the door with the Hasek situation.

At 4/10/2006 08:25:00 AM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

Unfortunately, the playoffs aren't the best time for a goalie to have to gain confidence. When they pulled Legace last playoffs, the Predators had just evened up the series 2-2 and giving him another chance would have been a little iffy with Curtis Joseph sitting on the bench.

This time around, it may be different. If he doesn't stand out immediately, though, Babcock may go with Osgood, given his playoff experience.


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