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>>caption: DRAPES CELEBRATES GWG<<
@ JOE LOUIS ARENA:
After going 0-for-Sweden vs the St.
Louis Blues last weekend, the Red Wings
returned for an "Original Six" home
opener at The Joe and edged the
Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 Thursday night.
The visitors outshot Detroit 33-23 and Wings netminder Chris Osgood couldn't be
faulted on either goal against. Detroit's defensemen helped Ozzie out with some
key shot blocks on a lengthy (1:53) early 2nd-Per 5-on-3 situation. Osgood and the
Detroit 5-man skating unit survived another 2-man disadvantage over the last 1:38
when Niklas Kronwall was in the penalty box for holding and Chicago pulled its goalie
for yet another extra attacker.
After a scoreless 1st-Per, the Blackhawks struck early in the 2nd-Per to go up
1-0. A quick cross-ice pass by Kris Versteeg found an uncovered Patrick Sharp (#3)
above the open right corner of the Detroit net for a tip-in goal past Osgood just
1:23 into the middle frame.
Chicago continued to force the play and control the tight action until a fluke
Detroit goal just past the game's mid-point changed momentum for the rest of the
With the Wings on the power play Nicklas Lidstrom (#1) zapped a pass attempt
from left wing. The puck hit the skate of Chicago's John Madden and deflected past
Hawks goaler Cristobal Huet to tie the game 1-all at 10:36/2.
The Red Wings then continued to press and soon scored twice within a span of 1:34.
Kris Draper (#1) broke in from the right wing and flicked a wrister just over the
crook of Huet's left/catching elbow and just under the crossbar. Huet had slid left to
cover the angle, but Draper found a small hole to put Detroit on top 2-1 at 16:15/2.
Detroit made it 3-1 just over a minute and a half later with the Wings on the power
play. A tic-tac-toe passing play saw Pavel Datsyuk fire a right wing slapshot that Huet
didn't see with Tomas Holmstrom in close blocking formation. The puck hit Huet and
continued toward the end red line and Johan Franzen (#1) jumped in from the left wing
to tip the disc into the net at 17:49/2.
The B'Hawks got within 3-2 with their own power play marker when Versteeg (#1)
potted a Sharp rebound at 10:24/3 on a play where one defender had lost his stick and
another was lame from a shot block.
Chicago outshot Detroit 15-4 in the 3rd-Per when Osgood made numerous picture
R-WINGS H-COACH MIKE BABCOCK: "They were quicker than us early and Ozzie was
really good...Our penalty killing turned the game for us, particularly [Brad] Stuart and
[Niklas] Kronwall in the 5-on-3...We had more blocked shots than we've had in a long
time...Chicago's a really good team...They're playin' really well right now."
R-WINGS DEF/CAPT NICKLAS LIDSTROM: "We were able to hang in there in the end."
R-WINGS FWD KRIS DRAPER: "Ozzie had to be too good...We gotta get better defensively.
I thought we just battled hard...If we can just get pucks deep, get pucks to the net, we can
score goals...We did do some good things, but we know we're gonna have to be better in
Lidstrom's goal gave him 998 career regular-season NHL points, two shy of
becoming the eighth defenseman and the first from Sweden to register 1,000-P.
Jonathan Ericsson drew the second assist on Draper's goal, but left the game
in the 3rd-Per with a shot block off his left foot. Ericsson was hobbled and ineffective
on Versteeg's PPG, then had to be helped to the dressing room. Ericsson missed most
of last Friday's season opener in Stockholm (after he'd scored the season's first goal)
when he took a puck off his left ankle.
The Red Wings announced they'd signed veteran L-Wing Brad May and assigned
FWD Justin Abdelkader to AHL Grand Rapids. The 37-year old May made an immediate
impact by getting into a mid-1st-Per fight with Chicago's Radek Smolenak. May got a
late look-see in training camp and was inked to a try-out contract with the Griffins.
After evaluation in the AHL, May received a one-year, $500-thousand Detroit deal.
Chicago defensemen are pressing the issue offensively. B'Hawks rearguards have
either a goal or an assist on all nine Chicago goals in their first three games this
Thursday the Hawks placed L-Wing Ben Eager on the injured reserve list with
the infamous upper-body injury.
The Blackhawks also opened the season overseas, going 1-0-1 vs the Florida
Panthers in Finland.
Detroit hosts Washington Saturday night.
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