Red Wings shut out for first time this season
Just a couple of hours before the good people of Detroit rang in the new year with those lyrics, the Red Wings were wishing that one particular old acquaintance had never been brought to mind on this New Year's Eve.
Manny Legace -- a Red Wing for six seasons, who was part of the 2002 championship team -- shut out Detroit, Monday night, leading the St. Louis Blues to a 2-0 victory.
"The years I was here, the fans were just phenomenal to me and the press was good to me," said Legace, who left Detroit as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2006. "I made a lot of good friends here. We spend the summers here. I know all the guys over there. They're always ribbing me and stuff like that. It's fun to play against them."
How unusual is it for the Red Wings to be shut out?
This was just the second time that the Red Wings have been blanked in the past three seasons with Legace sharing in the other with Blues teammate Curtis Sanford, Feb. 8. Thus a streak of 65 shutout-less games was ended. The last time that the Red Wings were shut out at home was Jan. 7, 2004, by Boston's Andrew Raycroft, meaning that a streak of 120 home games without being shut out was ended last night. And the last time that St. Louis shut out the Red Wings in Detroit was Jan. 11, 1993, with Guy Hebert in net.
Not only hadn't the Red Wings been shut out this season, they hadn't gone the first two periods without a goal in their previous 39 games.
Detroit's power play alone has scored in 29 of the first 39 games this season, averaging more than a goal a game.
"Mule (Johan Franzen) had some good chances; Huds (Jiri Hudler) had some chances," said Detroit's Kris Draper. "But I don't think we had sustained chances for enough of the game to win. It's over. It's done with. We have to regroup here. We have Dallas coming in (Wednesday) that's playing great hockey right now, so we've got to make sure we get right at it."
Hudler had a partial breakaway (Ryan Johnson was on his back) with 8:05 left in the game, but his attempt was stopped by Legace.
"Hit me right in the chest, thank goodness," said the netminder with a grin.
For Legace, the game included a portion of redemption after being in net five days earlier at home for a 5-0 loss to the Red Wings.
"You have to bring your A game or they're going to bury you," said Legace. "They showed us that the day after Christmas."
The outcome of the game turned on a slap shot from the blue line by rookie defenseman Erik Johnson. He let his shot fly six minutes into the third period. The puck found its way through Valtteri Filppula up high and David Backes and Pavel Datsyuk down low before sailing past a screened Dominik Hasek.
That was the lone goal in the contest until Lee Stempniak removed all doubt with 21.2 seconds on the game clock.
"The previous game we won handily," said Detroit coach Mike Babcock. "Tonight, they were better than us. They competed hard and won more of the races."
The loss also ended a four-game winning streak for the Red Wings, who are now 16-3-2 in their past 21 games. Detroit was undefeated in its previous 10 home games, going 9-0-1 since losing to Chicago, Nov. 17.
Hasek, who stopped 21 shots, was 7-0-1 in his previous eight games.
Detroit maintains the top spot in the NHL's overall standings, but is 6-7-2 against Central Division competition. The Red Wings are 23-1-1 against all other foes.