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Up-to-the minute updates and insights from the Red Wings locker room at home and on the road. By Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wings lose to 'Hawks again

DETROIT -- The outcome of a hockey game can be as delicate as the shaft of a modern hockey stick.
The Detroit Red Wings had a two-goal lead over the Chicago Blackhawks, Friday, at Joe Louis Arena and controlled the flow of play through most of the first two periods. But a Chicago rally was capped by a power-play goal that gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 victory.
It was a power play that happened because Rene Bourque's stick snapped when Andreas Lilja laid his stick overtop of Bourque's. Lilja was called for slashing.
"His stick must have been broken before," said Lilja. "I just went to move it."
Five seconds shy of the penalty being killed, former Red Wing Robert Lang sent a shot from the boards and hit goalie Dominik Hasek in the head, then shoulder, then danced over the netminder for the winning goal.
Lang scored the tying goal six nights earlier in Chicago when the Blackhawks (2-2-0) took a shootout victory from the Red Wings (3-1-1). Last night was Lang's first game as a visitor at Joe Louis Arena since 2004.
"It was strange sitting on the other bench, but besides that I think the first game (against Detroit) got that out of me," said Lang. "I thought this game was a normal game."
Blackhawk down doesn't have much meaning in hockey. At least not against the Red Wings.
For the second time in six nights, the Red Wings held a two-goal lead over Chicago late in the second period only to wind up losing.
Henrik Zetterberg and Kris Draper scored before the game was 10 minutes old. Zetterberg deflected the puck in off defenseman Brent Sopel's skate as he tried to feed Pavel Datsyuk for a back-door slam. Draper wristed a shot from up high that trickled through goalie Nikolai Khabibulin's legs. It was Draper's third consecutive game with a goal.
Halfway through the game, the Red Wings held a 19-9 advantage in shots on goal.
"I thought we started the game (well) and played 13 minutes and then I didn't think we played after that," said Detroit coach Mike Babcock. "We lost puck races and puck battles. That's part of the reason you take penalties because you're second too much."
Chicago started this season without a goal in its first 15 power plays. It was the 16th man-advantage, however, that got the Blackhawks rolling in Detroit.
With Jiri Hudler in the penalty box for holding Bourque's stick in the offensive zone on a Detroit power play, Patrick Sharp swooped down on a rebound and banged it past Hasek.
That goal came with 2:27 left in the second period and cut Detroit's lead to 2-1.
One minute later, the Blackhawks tied the score when Brent Seabrook sent a shot through a screen in front of Hasek.
"We outplayed them for 40 minutes and then maybe felt comfortable," said Hasek. "They scored two quick goals. I don't know how it happened. All of a sudden, it's 2-0, then the game's 2-2."
The Red Wings outshot the Blackhawks, 13-9, in the third period, but Lang's goal with 10:41 to play was the only one of the stanza.
It came on Chicago's eighth power play of the game. Detroit finished with just five such opportunities. One Chicago power play negated a Tomas Holmstrom first-period goal that would have given Detroit a 3-0 lead. Holmstrom was called for pushing defenseman Andrei Zyuzin aside before banging the puck in.
"Obviously, you can't take penalties and we took a whole bunch of them," said Babcock, whose team had just four regulation losses at home all of last season. "The bottom line is any time you're going to the (penalty) box as we were tonight, you're not using enough people and you're using all your energy to kill penalties. Coming into the game, our specialty teams had been good, but we gave up two goals."


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