1 Total Update since April 3, 2011
about 2 years ago Update 0 comments
All is right in the Central Division again.
Darren Helm, Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom and Johan Franzen each netted goals for the Wings, who needed a win in regulation or overtime to clinch the title. Jimmy Howard stopped 27 shots in net and picked up his 36th win, leaving him just one shy of his career-high total. The Red Wings can finish no worse than third in the Western Conference, and now sit one point ahead of San Jose for second, but the Sharks have a game in hand.
Carson McMillan scored his first NHL goal and Brad Staubitz added a goal and an assist for the Wild, who were officially eliminated from the Western Conference playoffs after losing yesterday. Jose Theodore stopped 30 shots in net.
Helm opened the scoring in the first period, picking up a loose puck in the slot and firing a wrist shot off the crossbar and in. Lidstrom added his 16th goal with just 20 seconds left in the frame, driving in a slapper from the point during a 4-on-4 situation.
Staubitz made it interesting in early in the second, banging home a loose puck through a sprawled Howard to slice the lead in half. Holmstrom restored the two-goal advantage later in the period, working his way around a Wild defender and slipping a shot through Theodore’s legs on the power-play.
Franzen added his team-leading 28th goal 6:11 into the third, banging home a rebound past Theodore. The goal was Franzen’s first since March 5 and just his second since scoring five goals against Ottawa on Feb. 2.
Brad Stuart appeared to make it 5-1 late in the third period, but the goal was waived off due to goaltender interference on Justin Abdelkader. Abdelkader was shoved into Theodore, but appeared to get out of the way before Stuart let his shot go.
The Red Wings will get a couple days off to enjoy their championship before going back to work on Wednesday at Carolina. San Jose hosts Los Angeles on Monday night, so keep an eye on that game too.
about 2 years ago Update 0 comments
Datsyuk has missed the last seven games after he was hit by Columbus' Rick Nash on March 17. It's certainly a welcome sight: Fox Sports Detroit showed a graphic during yesterday's game that revealed Detroit is just barely above a .500 record when Datsyuk is out of the lineup. Detroit struggled recently without him, culminating in a 10-3 loss against St. Louis on Thursday.
The Red Wings picked up a big win on Saturday however, erasing an early 3-0 deficit before overcoming the Nashville Predators in overtime. A Predators win would have pulled them within two points of Detroit for the Central Division lead and a regulation loss would have eliminated them from the race altogether. Because Detroit won in overtime, Nashville is not technically out of the division race but has just three games to make up five points. If the Red Wings win today they would clinch the division outright.
The Red Wings are also fighting with San Jose for the No. 2 seed in the West. Detroit was hanging onto the spot by a hair but was overtaken this week during their recent slump. San Jose has 101 points to Detroit's 100 and both teams have four games left.
Minnesota on the other hand will have nothing to gain today other than self-confidence. The Wild were officially eliminated from the playoff hunt after losing on Saturday to Steve Yzerman's Tampa Bay Lightning.
OUT—G Chris Osgood, groin
PROBABLE—F Pavel Datsyuk, lower-body; F Mike Modano, groin;
Niklas Kronwall missed yesterday's game in Nashville and his status for today is unknown.
Players to Watch
Pavel Datsyuk (if he plays that is), Red Wings: Datsyuk in, Red Wings win. It's as simple as that for Detroit, which has struggled on both sides of the red line when he's not playing.
Mikko Koivu, Wild: With the team out of the playoffs and sitting so many guys due to injury it's hard to pinpoint one player to watch, but Koivu was picking up a few points at the end of March before going scoreless in his last three.