Archive | January 2012

What’s To Come This Week- Offline Time

I owe Jimmy Howard an apology.

I didn’t vote for him in WRIF’s Vote For Jimmy campaign to get him into the All-Star Game, thinking it would be better for him to have the weekend off. As it turned out, he absolutely wanted to be there and had a great time.

So, James Tiberius Howard III, I apologize! If I ever meet you I’ll apologize in person. (I also owe you an apology for thinking before the 09-10 season started that you didn’t have what it takes to be an NHL goalie. Shows what I know. On the bright side, I’ve never before been so very glad to have been so very wrong.)

Now that the All-Star break is over, the Red Wings are off for a Western Canada road trip. They’ll be facing the Calgary Flames Tuesday at 9:00, the Vancouver Canucks Thursday at 10:00, and the Edmonton Oilers Saturday at 10:00.

However, I won’t be online to cover any of these games. It’s vacation time! I tried to schedule my vacation to overlap with the All-Star break, partly so I wouldn’t miss any blogging, and partly because, really, how cool would it be to happen to see one of the non-All-Star guys wandering around Disney World or on the beach with his family? (Note: I would probably NOT disturb the guy on vacation, unless it was in line for a ride or something where it’s somewhat natural for people to strike up conversations with strangers.) But for some reason those wacky accountants I work for think I need to be there at the end of the month to do my month-end work.

So, anyway, you’re on your own for a week. Special Guest Blogger Fake Todd Bertuzzi is coming on vacation with me, so I can’t leave the blog in his hands while I’m gone. I’ll have my phone with me, so I can keep up with any possible trade news via Twitter, but posting a blog that way just doesn’t seem possible. I’ll be back with you in time for next Monday’s game against the Coyotes in Glendale. Be good while I’m gone!

Game Live Blog, Red Wings at Canadiens, Statler and Waldorf Edition (L 2-7)

Pregame: With Nick Lidstrom out of the lineup tonight (flu), his streak of 213 straight games is coming to an end. It just doesn’t seem right that Captain Nick should be susceptible to flu viruses like a normal human would be. Our starting D-pairing will be Ian White and Jonathan Ericsson. (!!!!) Although I admit I have been curious to see how Mike Commodore and Jakub Kindl will do as a pair.

1st period:

14:52 Goal for Rene Bourque. Crashing to the net, deflects a pass by Scott Gomez with his skate. Play is being reviewed to make sure it wasn’t kicked in, and it wasn’t.

14:15 Montreal penalty to Lars Eller, two minutes for tripping.

9:04 Goal for Alexei Emelin. Andrei Kostitsyn makes a pass from behind the net (while falling), and Emelin gets the wrist shot through for his first career goal.

5:56 Montreal penalty to Hal Gill, two minutes for hooking.

3:48 Detroit penalty to Kindl for hooking– trying to recover from a bad turnover at the Detroit blue line.

3:30 Montreal penalty to P.K. Subban for elbowing.

2:02 Goal for David Desharnais. He gets in on a semi-breakaway and Jimmy Howard just plain misses the save.

0:55 Goal for Tomas Plekanec.

I’m thinking we’ll probably see Ty Conklin starting the second period. This is just not a good night for James Tiberius. Shots 12-6 in favor of the Habs. Obviously not a good night for the Wings’ defense either.

I’m experiencing technical difficulties and neither my netbook nor my husband’s old laptop are working now. So I’m on my desktop trying to piece together a blog from Tweets, box scores, and the Wings’ radio broadcast. Yeesh.

2nd period:

Conk in net.

18:08 Goal for Max Pacioretty.

16:42 Power play goal for Desharnais with Ericsson in the box for tripping.

13:27 Montreal penalty to Emelin for cross checking.

I tell you guys what, I love listening to Ken Kal and Paul Woods, but it is way harder to describe a game when I can’t see what’s happening!

Babs has put the Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Holmstrom line back together.

Well, the Wings outshot the Canadiens 12-5 in the second, but Ken Kal barely got excited about anything, so presumably there were very few quality scoring chances.

The gang over on Twitter seems to be mostly blaming this fiasco on Lidstrom’s absence. I disagree. It certainly doesn’t HELP to have Captain Nick out of the lineup, but I’m getting more of an impression that they’re all mentally on vacation already, going into the All-Star break after a fairly grueling stretch of schedule.

3rd period, because I may as well finish up:

19:39 GOAL for Jiri Hudler! Pass from Darren Helm and Hudler wrists a high shot right under the crossbar. It’s a start.

13:53 Hey, Hudler scored again! If Jiri Hudler brings the team back… I just cannot comprehend this. Danny Cleary was screening Carey Price.

11:49 Ericsson penalty for tripping. Ah, Ericsson. You know, my friend Michelle has suggested that when E retires from playing, he can work as the penalty timekeeper who sits in the box, because he’ll be so familiar with the setting. Maybe it’s like crate training for a dog, and E needs to go in the box when he feels insecure?

I think Statler and Waldorf must be in a suite somewhere in the Bell Centre making bad jokes about the game.

Statler: Wake up you old fool. You slept through the game.
Waldorf: Who’s a fool? You watched it.

1:23 Goal for Erik Cole. Eller makes a backhand pass and Cole taps it past Conk.

Oh good, it’s over. Final shot count 27-25 Detroit, final score 7-2 Montreal. Blargh. Let’s go have an All-Star break, shall we? Shake it off, rest up, and get ready to start the home stretch by laying some wrath on the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.

I’ll let Statler and Waldorf sum this one up.

Waldorf: Seeing a game like that always makes me nostalgic.
Statler: Oh, yeah? Nostalgic for what?
Waldorf: D.D.T.

Special Guest Blogger Game Preview: Red Wings at Canadiens, 7:30 PM

Blogger’s note: I JUST got home from work. So knowing how late I would be, I asked Special Guest Blogger Fake Todd Bertuzzi (@fakebertuzzi44 on Twitter) to fill in with the game preview. I’ll have my head back on straight in time to do the live blog a little later! 

Guest blogger Fake Todd Bertuzzi here, reporting in with today’s game preview.

Tonight, the Habs. I’m fairly sure that’s French for “The Haves”, but they way things are going, I’m changing their name to the Habnots. They’re 4th in the Northeast, 12th in conference, and riding a princely 1-game winning streak.  The men of Detroit are first in division, conference, NHL, possibly world at the moment, 7 straight wins.

Lineup for the Canadiens is a bit on the depleted side, with Moen out with an upper body injury, and Nokelainen, Gionta, Bishop, B. Nash, Ryan White and Markov all sitting on IR. Cole and Pacioretty are doing reasonably well this year, over 30 points each for the season. Drops off quickly, though- Cole, Pacioretty, Plekanec and Desharnais are over 30, fifth is Cammalleri with 22, then a host of sub-20 guys.

Detroit’s lineup has Kindl in for Commodore, possibly so he can catch another nap on the plane, or work on that impressive ‘fro.  Stuart’s in after a missed practice yesterday.  Lids might be out- minor flu symptoms, but it looks likely he will play. (Blogger’s note: It’s been confirmed that Captain Nick will be out tonight.) Commie’s in otherwise. No word yet on the lines, but I’ll probably be alongside Dats and Mule, which works for me. Now if only Mule would learn the Maytag…

Starters look like James Tiberius Howard III to improve on his Vezina campaign, and Carey “Shoot it into his chest to build his confidence” Price.

I’m sitting at 299 goals. I would have liked it to be Monday with the home crowd, but the Bell Centre will do!

Now, if I may step on my soapbox…

Montreal, I expect better. Trading Cammalleri during the Bruins game? That’s just classless, and even this reforming goon knows it! At least man up enough to do the trade after the game.

Didn’t get the fight I wanted during the Blues game, but I’m thinking of one tonight. Need let off the leash a bit. Goal, fight, maybe I can join Pavs with the Gordie Howe Hat Trick.

Now to keep Scott Gomez’s scoreless streak going!

He’s 0 for his last 54 games. 353 days, 20 hours, 53 minutes as of this writing. 948 minutes of ice time.   He’s even depriving Montrealers of free booze- there’s a pool hall in Montreal that offers free shots when Gomez scores.

I didn’t know Gomez was Carrie Nation in disguise.

What I Learned In Grand Rapids (Americans 4, Griffins 3, SO)

1. Downtown Grand Rapids is really pretty.

2. The Van Andel Arena is very shiny.

3. People are allowed through the turnstiles an hour before puck drop, but they’re allowed to line up in the lobby to wait so they don’t all freeze.

4. People waiting in line take their place in line VERY seriously.

5. The Griffins don’t warm up at the end of the rink you’d expect them to if you’d only been to Wings games.

6. Children are allowed to run utterly rampant in Van Andel Arena.

7. During warmups, there was a dude yelling at the Rochester Americans players that their skates looked old and cheap and they should buy better ones. The dude then told his kid that “you have to get in their heads.” This may actually be the worst taunting of an opponent I have ever heard. It’s even worse than me yelling “Yandle is a candle!” when the Wings play the Coyotes.

8. There’s a terrifying woman, whom I believe to be either a school librarian or a lunch lady, who attempts to wrangle the rampant children back to their parents. This woman was a Griffins fan, not an arena employee. The sternness of her expression had ME terrified, and I graduated high school in 1995! Oh god, don’t let her send me to the principal!

9. The speakers in Van Andel Arena are REALLY LOUD. Maybe it was just the acoustics of where I was sitting, but it seemed far louder in there than anything I’ve ever experienced at the Joe or at Toledo’s Huntington Center.

10. The Griffins put on a good spectacle of a show for their entry.

11. Defensive scouting (you know, my main observational objective!): Brendan Smith was the most noticeable guy on the ice, both for energy and for a few costly mistakes. He did have an assist on Francis Pare’s goal in the first period and was trusted to be the last Griffin in the shootout, but overall he kind of gave me the impression of an excited, overgrown puppy who is too eager to please and makes turnovers or misses coverage as a result. This is not at all the impression I had of him when he was up with Detroit for a couple of games, so I’m thinking it was probably just a bad night for him. Veterans Doug Janik and Garnet Exelby seemed dependably solid for the most part, and young Brian Lashoff seemed to do a good job with the puck possession and with scooping up any rebounds Joey MacDonald let get away. Lashoff also had the Griffins’ only power play goal. I don’t recall actually seeing Travis Ehrhardt on the ice, but the box score tells me he had 5 shots on goal and finished the game with a -2 rating.

12. Offensive scouting: Chris Conner finished the game with a -3, but he works as hard for the Griffins as he does for the Wings. I love his speed and his willingness to go in and muck things up in the corners to get the puck away from his opponents. Gustav Nyquist shows flashes of developing into a Datsyuk/Filppula type of finesse player and could be brilliant if he develops correctly. He and Tomas Tatar are basically NHL-ready NOW. Joakim Andersson is also very close to ready. Francis Pare (pah-ray, not pear) made some excellent plays, but his size could be an issue  if he doesn’t work on his strength (5’10”, 190#). (Nyquist and Tatar are listed at 5’11” 185# and 5’10” 186# respectively, but they seemed much better at protecting the puck and not letting themselves be shoved around than Pare did.) Mitch Callahan is developing into a good solid energy type of player. He played a defensively responsible game for the most part and also dropped the gloves with Rochester’s Shawn Szydlowski to get everyone stirred up in the second period.

13. Goaltending scouting: It… wasn’t exactly Joey MacDonald’s night. In fairness, his defense left him hanging out to dry more than once, and this was the second night of back to back games for him. (He posted a shutout against the Lake Erie Monsters the night before.)

14. Leaving the parking garage really wasn’t too bad, but getting back to the freeway was a little confusing. (The one way downtown streets don’t help, and apparently as you’re heading north on Ionia Avenue to get back to I-196, you have to be on the west (left) side of the street if you want the on ramp for I-196 East. Oops.

Overall, it was a pretty nice experience, but I’d have obviously preferred a Griffins win. Maybe next time…

No game posts today…

I won’t be covering the Red Wings vs. Blue Jackets game for you this evening (although I can report in advance that former Wing Brett Lebda will actually NOT be playing for the Jackets tonight). I’m going on a very important scouting mission– heading up to Grand Rapids to see my very first Griffins game. I’m hoping to do a little scouting of the Wings’ defensive prospects and see what sort of guys Niklas Kronwall will be whipping in to shape next season (if the unthinkable should happen and Nicklas Lidstrom actually retires). I’ll check in with my findings tomorrow!

Game Live Blog, Red Wings at Coyotes

Pregame: No! Bad TiVo! Hockey outranks all other programs so stop trying to change the channel!

The crowd shots FSD is showing of the crowd walking around on the Jobing.com Arena concourse is actually from a Phoenix vs Pittsburgh game. Just thought I would point that out.

Captain Nick is praising Jiri Hudler’s offseason conditioning and determination to re-prove himself.

Jimmy Howard and Mike Smith confirmed as our starting goalies.

1st period:

17:37 Goal for Raffi Torres. Jimmy Howard is watching to prevent a wraparound by Kyle Chipchura, and doesn’t see that Torres is in position to do the same thing.

15:59 Phoenix penalty for too many men on the ice. Served by Torres.

9:01 Phoenix penalty to Radim Vrbata for delay of game (puck over glass).

7:07 Hudler’s shot rings off the post.

6:32 Detroit penalty to Brad Stuart for slashing. Coyotes’ power play is 29th in NHL.

3:28 Another Phoenix penalty for too many men on the ice. I’m thinking the coaching staff is going to be a bit irked.

1:15 Darren Helm has a good scoring chance, but the shot rings off the post.

Not the most interesting period I’ve seen, even with plenty of shots– 13-12 Phoenix.

2nd period:

18:24 GOAL for Ian White! Shot from the right circle, Mike Smith is out of position due to Todd Bertuzzi skating around in front of the net.

13:09 Ken and Murph reporting that Daymond Langkow is out for the rest of the game with an upper body injury.

11:03 Offsetting roughing minors to Chipchura and Justin Abdelkader.

8:47 GOAL for The Todd! Nice shot from the left circle, up and over Smith. It’s Bertuzzi’s 299th career goal.

8:06 A scrum by the Wings’ net leads to a roughing penalty to Gilbert Brule.

5:52 Goal for Brule. Gets in ahead of the Wings’ defenders and dekes to put the puck low past Howard’s left leg pad.

0:01 Detroit penalty to Henrik Zetterberg for a play against Lauri Korpikoski along the boards. Phoenix will start the third period with a power play.

Shots 14-10 Detroit in the second.

3rd period:

15:27 ANOTHER too many men on the ice penalty for Phoenix, served again by Torres.  Coach Tippett looks kind of disgusted.

10:13 Looks like Mule might be hurt from blocking a Derek Morris shot. He had some trouble getting to the bench and the trainers are taking him down to the room.

5:45 And Mule is back on the ice and seems fine.

A couple of shots off the posts, but no scoring. Going to overtime.

OT:

Pavel Datsyuk has played over a minute without his stick, still getting in Coyotes’ way and kicking the puck away from them.

3:19 Detroit penalty to Datsyuk for tripping. It was actually Ian White, on replay, but Pasha gets the penalty. 4 on 3 power play.

Babs calls timeout to rest his guys before the penalty kill.

Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata have good scoring chances on the power play, but Howard comes up with the saves.

Just as the OT is ending, Valtteri Filppula gets his best shot of the game, but it wouldn’t have gotten in before the buzzer. So it seems we are going to another shootout.

SO:

1. Doan goes in but Howard stays right with him for the pad save.

2. Datsyuk makes a tricky shot and Smith falls for the deke, but somehow makes the glove save.

3. Vrbata kind of runs out of real estate and doesn’t quite get the shot away.

4. Jiri Hudler shoots into Smith’s chest.

5. Brule loses the puck before he can shoot it.

6. THE TODD with a spin and a backhand goal for the win!

The win tonight brings Detroit to .500 in their road record. A good start in improving it. Furthermore, the two points again put the Wings on top of the Western Conference, one point against St. Louis. Do I have to say that Monday’s game against the Blues might be kind of important when spring comes around?

Up next: The Red Wings will head home in the morning and get ready to host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night at 7:00. Incidentally, the Blue Jackets discovered today that defenseman Radek Martinek will be out for the rest of the season with concussion symptoms, so they signed former Wing Brett Lebda to a contract. Lebda had been playing with the Jackets’ AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons.

Game Preview, Red Wings at Coyotes, 9:00 PM

We may be seeing some sunburned Swedes on the ice tonight. This writer, a Scots-Irish-Swedish-American, sympathizes.

After a day off yesterday, the Red Wings will attempt to continue improving their road record against the Coyotes at the Jobing.com Arena. The Wings lead the season series 2-0; both previous games were in Detroit.

The only lineup change to report is the standard swap– Cory Emmerton and Jakub Kindl will be back in the lineup in place of Jan Mursak and Mike Commodore. Jimmy Howard will be starting. Mike Babcock wants the boys to focus on playing as well on the road as they have at home. “You got to play good without the puck if you’re going to be successful. Then you have the puck all the time and you have lots of offense. We’ve been able to do that at home and committed to doing that. We haven’t been on the road.”

At the Phoenix end of the rink, MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that Mike Smith will be in net this evening. This surprises me, actually– the Coyotes dropped a 6-2 decision to Anaheim last night with Smith in net. Coach Dave Tippett is apparently going with the “if you fall off the horse get right back on again” philosophy of goaltending. Center Martin Hanzal, who has been on injured reserve with an upper body injury, may play tonight; he’s listed as a game time decision.

Otherwise, we know Phoenix pretty well, don’t we? Watch for Shane Doan to throw his weight around and Keith Yandle to be a scoring threat from the blue line, and do not look past them to the next game. After an embarrassing loss last night, the Coyotes are likely to want to send a message. On the other hand, this is the second of back to back games for them. If the Wings press hard early to take advantage of any Coyote sluggishness and play a steady, slightly gritty defensive road game throughout, they should be heading home with a win and another two points.

Let’s go, Red Wings! *clap clap clapclapclap*

Game Live Blog, Red Wings at Stars

Pregame: Ken and Murph pointed out that Todd Bertuzzi is +22 in the +/- stat this season. And to think The Todd is considered defensively irresponsible.

Murph also cautions to expect a tough, grinding game from the Stars. With Mike Ribeiro and Jamie Benn, who have 73 points between them, out of the lineup, the Stars are led by their hard-hitters like Steve Ott.

1st period:

14:19 GOAL for Tomas Holmstrom! After Ty Conklin makes a nice save on Radek Dvorak at the other end, the Wings get the puck down the ice. Jan Mursak makes a nice pass from behind the net and Homer taps it past Richard Bachman. It was Homer’s first even strength goal this season and Mursak’s first assist ever.

10:30 Detroit penalty to Ian White for tripping.

9:01 Dallas goal for Alex Goligoski. No one blocking the shooting lane, Brenden Morrow directly in front screening Conk, and the shot zooms through low.

4:45 Looks like Jiri Hudler’s been hurt by a hit by Mark Fistric. He’s slow to get off the ice and being tended by Piet Van Zant.

3:32 Dallas goal for Loui Eriksson– gets a rebound from Sheldon Souray’s shot which is so hard it actually shatters Eriksson’s stick.

1:03 Dallas penalty to Tom Wandell for holding on Pavel Datsyuk.

Shots 11-5 in favor of Dallas in the first. What happened to the 21 shots on net they had in the first period against Chicago the other day?

2nd period:

18:17 GOAL for Hudler! Looked like it was supposed to be a centering pass, but it bounced off Goligoski’s skate and past Bachman. I guess Hudler’s feeling better, then?

You know, one of the issues with doing a live blog is that sometimes you get an entire period with almost no action. Sigh. Dallas has kind of gone into trap mode, which seems a little ridiculous for a team that isn’t leading. Anyway, shots were 12-6 in favor of Detroit in the second, but they were mostly unscreened, one-and-done shots that weren’t all that great as scoring chances.

3rd period:

19:30 Nice solid pad save by Conk. Let’s hope it’s a sign of how the period will go!

16:12 Detroit penalty for too many men on the ice, served by The Todd.

15:56 Dallas penalty to Wandell for hooking on Datsyuk.

12:31 Dallas penalty to Fistric for interference.

11:51 Mule tries to bank a shot off Bachman, but Bachman makes the glove save.

0:10.3 Wings get an icing call in their favor, and Babs calls a timeout to make plans.

Shots 11-8 Detroit in the third.

And… overtime.

OT:

0:17.3 Dallas penalty to Stephane Robidas for tripping Franzen after a bad Dallas turnover. The Stars win the faceoff and get the puck down the ice. Which means… shootout.

SO:

This is Bachman’s first NHL shootout, by the way. And his first opponent? Pavel Datsyuk. Whoa.

1. Pavel goes in and rings one off the post.

2. Loui Eriksson hits the post!

3. Jiri Hudler scores! He pretty much copied Henrik Zetterberg’s drag and slide goal from the other night.

4. Michael Ryder goes in and Conk makes the save!

5. Todd Bertuzzi is stopped by Bachman. Not enough lift on the

6. Conk stops Trevor Daley.

WIN!!!

(I still hate the shootout.)

So now the standings have taken on their proper form: Detroit is on top of the Central Division AND the Western Conference. Ahhhhh. It’s so comforting. Granted, the leapfrogging and flipflopping is bound to continue until the last day of the season, but it’s a nice place to be for tonight.

Up next: The Wings continue on to Phoenix to face the Coyotes Thursday night at 9:00.

Game Preview, Red Wings at Stars, 8:30 PM

After a late night flight from Detroit to Dallas, the Wings are primed to take on the Stars this evening.

The team arrived in Dallas at 1:20 AM local time, meaning their bodies thought it was 2:20 AM. The Stars had a similar travel issue (although without the time zone difference), having lost a 1-0 decision to St. Louis last night.

Detroit held an optional morning skate today, and there are a few lineup changes to report. Cory Emmerton and Jakub Kindl are out, and Jan Mursak and Mike Commodore are in. Mike Babcock was quick to say it was no knock on Emmerton’s or Kindl’s play. “They played real well,” he said, explaining that he wants the team to have a little bit of a different look on back to back nights. Ty Conklin will be starting in goal, and Babs really wants him to make the most of the opportunity. “Things didn’t go the way he wanted (last game). When you’re the goalie, your job is to win the game. It’s not about goals-against, it’s about winning the game. That’s his opportunity tonight.”

Dallas will be starting rookie netminder Richard Bachman (who, as far as I know, is not actually the youthful Stephen King, although it would be a King-worthy story if a writer’s pseudonym took on a life of its own). Bachman has a 6-2-0 career NHL record and has never faced the Red Wings. The Stars will be missing centers Jamie Benn (appendectomy) and Mike Ribeiro (MCL). Right wing Thomas Vincour (knee) has been activated from injured reserve and will be in the lineup tonight.

Tonight’s going to be a battle for points. That’s the simple truth of it. The Red Wings currently sit third in the Central behind St. Louis and Dallas, fifth in the conference, but can leapfrog into first in the Central and the Western Conference with two points tonight, since the Blackhawks and Blues both have the night off. The Stars, meanwhile, currently sit in tenth, but only two points behind eighth seed Minnesota. Furthermore, the Red Wings will continue to be looking for the road success which has so mysteriously eluded them this season while home success comes seemingly just by willing it. I’m expecting a close, hard-fought game by both sides.

Let’s go, Red Wings! *clap clap clapclapclap*

Game Live Blog, Sabres at Red Wings

Pregame: I apologize for the lack of a game preview today. It was kind of a stressful day.

The Wings go for their 15th straight home win tonight with the same lineup they used for their 14th on Saturday, including Jimmy Howard in net.

The Sabres, who are in an eight game road loss streak, will be starting goalie Ryan Miller. This will  be the first time in 2 seasons that brothers Ryan and Drew Miller have played against each other; in the Wings’ and Sabres’ one meeting last season, Drew was a healthy scratch, and in the game at Buffalo in December, Ryan was out with a concussion.

1st period:

Darren Helm, Danny Cleary, and Drew Miller our starting forward line.

17:27 Buffalo penalty to Marc-Andre Gragnani for holding on Henrik Zetterberg.

The Sabres had the only shot on net during the Wings’ power play.

14:40 GOAL for Hank! Buffalo turns the puck over to Jiri Hudler in their own zone, Hank picks it up and his shot deflects off a defenseman’s stick past Ryan Miller.

14:10 Detroit penalty to Niklas Kronwall for holding.

Drew Miller came *this* close to buzzing his brother in the crease! Ryan got the goalie paddle up. Their mom is going to ground them.

Pavel Datsyuk has 697 career points in 706 games.

4:40 Icing call leads to a mad scramble in front of the Wings’ net but Howard comes up with some great saves!

1:49 Goal for Johan Franzen! Datsyuk with the perfect outlet pass, and Franzen zooms into the zone and puts it right past Ryan Miller.

0:17.0 GOAL for Nick Lidstrom! Datsyuk passes to Todd Bertuzzi, and Lidstrom sneaks up all alone and puts the rebound into the empty net.

Shots tied at 11 through the first.

2nd period:

15:41 GOAL for The Todd! Sabres turn over the puck to Datsyuk behind the net, Pavel makes the pass to Bertuzzi. Ryan Miller makes the first save, but The Todd gets his own rebound, spins around, and backhands it in.

And just like that, Pavel has 700 points! No waiting around on milestones for him!

15:28 GOAL for Darren Helm! Goes in on a 2 on 3 with Drew Miller. Miller makes the pass across to Helm and Ryan Miller can’t slide across in time.

Sabres pull Ryan for Jhonas Enroth. Ryan Miller has gone down the tunnel instead of to the bench.

2:11 Buffalo penalty to Ville Leino for slashing.

Shots 8-7 Detroit in the second.

3rd period:

16:28 It’s a scrum! Looks like it was started by Paul Gaustad going after Cleary. Both get roughing penalties out of it, but Cleary gets an extra two (for retaliating). Bertuzzi in the box to serve the extra penalty.

13:32 Buffalo penalty to Matt Ellis for tripping.

Miller, Helm, and Jakub Kindl getting some power play time with such a big lead.

13:10 Detroit penalty to Kindl for interference.

11:29 Shots are 8-0 for the Sabres so far in the third, but the shots aren’t of the particularly good scoring chance variety, and Howard makes the saves look easy.

9:00 Cleary gets a semi-breakaway off a turnover by Buffalo at center ice, but Enroth makes the save.

2:40 Buffalo penalty to Leino for high-sticking.

Our 3rd and 4th liners getting some power play time. The crowd at the Joe is quite happily singing “Build Me Up, Buttercup” during a stop in play. I’m thinking “Don’t Stop Believin'” is coming up.

0:54.9 Journey cued up!

Shots in the third period 9-7 Buffalo.

So… 15 consecutive home wins for a new franchise record. Pasha’s 700th career point. Howard’s 10th career shutout (5th this season).

I’d call this a convincing win, even though the Sabres really weren’t putting in much of an effort after Ryan Miller was pulled. It’s nice to see the Wings keep steady and not get sloppy with a big lead.

Up next: The Wings leave for the airport as soon as they get cleaned up and cooled down from this game, heading for Dallas to face the Stars tomorrow night at 8:30.