Marc-Andre Fleury has always been known for his athletic ability. But this. This was something else.
Fleury made a spectacular desperation, sprawling save on Daniel Alfredsson in the shootout of Wednesday’s 4-3 win for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It looked like Alfredsson had Fleury beat and a wide open net to bury the puck. But Fleury rolled over onto his back and threw out the glove to make the save. We’ve seen this before in the past – from goaltending great Dominik Hasek.
The Detroit Red Wings’ 3-0 lead slipped to 3-2, but they managed to hold on to beat the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.
In the process, Detroit is now on a four-game winning streak, beefing up their lead on the East’s top wild card spot to three standings points.
Pavel Datsyuk made his return to the lineup, and while he was dominant in the faceoff circle (11-2), the returning veteran was unable to register a point. Daniel Alfredsson was able to shine offensively, however, collecting the game-winning goal and an assist.
The youngsters managed to keep the good times going in their own right, with Tomas Jurco also finding the net. (Buffalo was able to hold Gustavv Nyquist off the scoreboard, however.)
It was a positive night for the Red Wings overall, as second wild card team Columbus saw a chance to get at least one point slip away thanks to a stunning late Chicago goal. While the Toronto Maple Leafs remained idle (and gained a little optimism thanks to Columbus’ stumbles), the New Jersey Devils took the 10th spot and send the Washington Capitals down to 11th in the process.
In short, Detroit, Toronto and New Jersey were Friday’s big winners while Washington and Columbus slipped. Here’s a look at how the East playoff picture appears following tonight’s relevant games (including Montreal storming back against Ottawa):
Yesterday, Pavel Datsyuk hinted he might return from a 15-game absence for tonight’s rivalry night game against Boston.
Today, he confirmed he wouldn’t… and, just for good measure, Detroit lost another veteran presence in the process.
Neither Datsyuk nor Daniel Alfredsson will suit up tonight, per the Red Wings. The veteran Swede hasn’t skated for the past two days (which the club called “maintenance days”) and received under 10 minutes of ice time in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Tampa Bay, notching one assist.
Datsyuk, meanwhile, said conditioning was more of an issue as opposed to pain in his knee, which has been bothering him for most of the calendar year and appeared to get worse while he represented Russia at the Winter Olympics.
Without Datsyk and Alfredsson in the lineup, Detroit will once again be forced to juggle things up front. Gustav Nyquist will skate with David Legwand and Johan Franzen on the top line; Tomas Tatar will go with Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco on the second; Darren Helm will center Joakim Andersson and Justin Abdelakder on the third while Luke Glendening will go with Drew Miller and Todd Bertuzzi on the fourth.
Before the season started, many thought the Ottawa Senators were poised to be not only a playoff team, but a Stanley Cup contender. Instead, they’re essentially out of the playoff race with 74 points and left wondering what went wrong.
That’s just the question Senators GM Bryan Murray tried to answer when he spoke to TSN 1200’s Ian Mendes (as shared by TheScore).
“We thought this team was better. We thought we had enough skill here to offset a couple of little things we were missing last year – and it didn’t work out,” Murray said.
Ottawa is a decidedly average to below-average team this season. With a 30-29-14 record they’re eight points behind Detroit and Columbus for the wild card in the East.
Acquiring Bobby Ryan to replace Daniel Alfredsson was seen as a major upgrade, but Ryan suffering a sports hernia in November that he played through slowed him down. Setbacks on defense and Craig Anderson not standing on his head all season helped pile on the disappointment.
The next step for Murray will be to see how things change in the offseason. With rumors swirling around Jason Spezza’s future, it could be another busy time in Ottawa.
David Legwand’s first nine games in a Detroit uniform were pretty good — he scored two goals and five assists, and was getting top-line minutes at center.
The last three games? Not so good.
Legwand is pointless with an ugly minus-6 rating, and Detroit has lost all three while managing to secure just one of a possible six points. For a team in the thick of a playoff chase, that’s not good enough — and that’s partly why Legwand was dropped to the third line, getting just 12:36 of ice time in Thursday’s defeat to Montreal.
“So-so,” is how Legwand described his play with Detroit thus far, per the Macomb Daily. “There is room to improve and be better in certain areas in the game.”
Thursday’s minus-3 effort against was the straw that broke the camel’s back (or, more specifically, broke Legwand.) He’ll reportedly stay down on the third unit for Saturday’s big game against Toronto, skating alongside Daniel Alfredsson and Joakim Andersson.
“We didn’t play very good so we changed things during the game,” head coach Mike Babcock said. “We’re just staying with what we finished with.
“I didn’t think he was great [vs. Montreal] but he was in a club with some other veteran guys that weren’t very good either so you know we weren’t good enough any way you look at it.”
It’ll be interesting to see how Detroit and Legwand respond to this recent poor stretch, as the stakes are pretty high for both right now. The Wings are fighting to extend their postseason appearance streak to 23 seasons while Legwand, a pending UFA, is playing for a new contract.