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Another milestone, another win for Chelios

by Brian Compton /
Chris Chelios celebrated the 1,550th game of his career with a first-period goal.
The oldest player in the National Hockey League is showing no signs of slowing down.
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios celebrated the 1,550th game of his NHL career by scoring a goal in the first period, helping his club earn a 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers at Joe Louis Arena on Monday night.
It was goal No. 183 in a career that has spanned 24 years. Chelios also moved into eighth place on the NHL’s all-time list for games played, and has a chance to move past both Raymond Bourque (1,612) and Larry Murphy (1,615) in that department before the end of this season.
After Mikael Samuelsson gave Detroit (2-0-1) a 1-0 lead 6:51 into the game, Chelios put the Wings up by a pair with his first regular-season goal since April 8, 2006 – a span of 77 games -- at the 14:10 mark of the opening period, when he had several whacks at a loose puck before finally getting it past Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson.
But Shawn Horcoff got the Oilers (2-1-0) on the board with his first goal of the season just 19 seconds later, when he took a pass from Ales Hemsky and fired a wrist shot past Dominik Hasek to make it 2-1.
The momentum shifted quickly in the second period, when Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom scored just 27 seconds into the frame. With the Wings on a power play, Holmstrom got to the front of the net and was able to poke in a loose puck for his third goal in as many games. Henrik Zetterberg, who had 68 points in 63 games last season, picked up his fifth assist of the new campaign on the play.
“It’s always nice to get some points on the board,” Zetterberg said. I’ve had some easy assists.”
Rookie Andrew Cogliano gave the Oilers some life with his first NHL goal with only 10 seconds remaining in the middle period, when he was able to tap Joni Pitkanen’s feed past Hasek.
“We were in pretty good shape after two periods,” Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said.
Cogliano’s late second-period tally frustrated Detroit coach Mike Babcock, especially because of the fact that the Red Wings allowed a similar goal during a shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.

“We gave up one exactly like that in Chicago where the ‘D’ pinches up in the neutral zone,” Babcock said. “We have a rule here that the ‘D’ doesn’t pinch up — they gap up. We’re not going to do that anymore. It puts you in a bad spot. It got them back in a game that I thought territorially was going our way.”

Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom agreed. Both of Edmonton’s goals came via the wide-open variety, where both of the Red Wings’ blueliners were on the same side of the ice.

“Defensively, we have to do a better job of sorting out our own end,” said Lidstrom, who chipped in offensively with two assists.

Things went the Red Wings’ way in the third period, as Hasek stopped all eight shots he faced, and Kris Draper secured the victory with an empty-net tally with 34 seconds to play.

“Against a team like that, that’s a puck control team, they’re going to possess the puck,” said Horcoff. “That’s okay with us as long as we keep them to the outside. When we got in trouble was when we let them inside.”

Material from wire services was used in this report.
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