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Red Wings snap slide; Islanders sailing along

by Brian Compton

The Red WIngs defeated the Avalanche 4-0 yesterday. Watch Red Wings-Avalanche highlights
Some random thoughts before I switch Dan Rosen’s return flight from the GM Meetings to Buffalo:

Manic Monday – After dropping six consecutive games, the Detroit Red Wings made a statement at the Pepsi Center on Monday night.

Enough is enough.

The Wings held the Colorado Avalanche to just 18 shots on goal, and Chris Osgood recorded his 47th career shutout in a 4-0 victory. The win also gave Detroit its first season sweep of the Avs since they moved from Quebec in 1995.

However, not all is joyous in Motown. Future Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom went down in the first period with what is being termed as a sprained right knee. He will be re-evaluated on Tuesday in Detroit.

Red Wings spokesman John Hahn said after the team’s first win since Feb. 5 that the injury doesn’t appear to be serious. Until we know for sure, though, it’s a safe gamble that Barbra Streisand’s The Way We Were will be blasted via stereos across Michigan.


Like the corners of my mind

Misty water-colored memories …

Sorry, I’ll stop now.

Comeback Kids – The New York Islanders are banged up, but they continue to find ways to win.

Ted Nolan’s club erased a 2-0 deficit on Monday afternoon, scoring three times in the third period in a hard-fought, 3-2 win over the visiting San Jose Sharks. The Isles are riding a four-game winning streak and have pulled to within one point of an Eastern Conference playoff spot.


It wasn’t too long ago when the Isles appeared to be in a complete freefall, having lost seven straight games and falling near the bottom of the conference. But, just like last season, Nolan’s team refuses to throw in the towel.

“We dug ourselves in a hole the previous couple of weeks,” Isles center Mike Comrie said. “We know what’s at stake. Every game is so important. It seems like we’ve been watching the standings for a couple of months now, but every game is crucial.”

Three’s Company – It looks like the race for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference is going to go right down to the wire.

Monday’s 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes put the New Jersey Devils in a three-way tie for first in the East with the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens. The Devils are 6-1-2 in their last nine games and have gained sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division.

"We're not satisfied," New Jersey coach Brent Sutter said. "We have to plug away here. Every game is a big game. We need to be focused on the task at hand. The standings will take care of themselves as long as we stay focused as a team."

It was a tough loss for Carolina, which was playing without Rod Brind’Amour, who is done for the season due to a knee injury. The Hurricanes also were missing Ray Whitney (groin) and Erik Cole (flu), which eliminated three of their top five scorers.

Gee whiz. I haven’t seen anyone asked to do more with less since Steven Spielberg was asked to direct War of the Worlds.

Wayne’s World – Congratulations to Wayne Gretzky, who picked up his 100th coaching victory in the Phoenix Coyotes’ 4-0 win at Los Angeles on Monday night.

''I don't really worry about that kind of stuff,'' said Gretzky, who became the League’s all-time leading scorer during his eight seasons in Hollywood. ''We're doing a lot better than anybody anticipated. ''Part of it is luck and right now we are lucky.''


The victory also put the Coyotes into playoff position, with 66 points. While the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames also have 66 points, Phoenix has two more wins (31) than the aforementioned clubs, but they’ve done it by playing one more game (60).

“It’s nice, but we understand we’ve got a long way to go,” Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski said. “The standings are so tight. Given a couple of wins, you can really move up, and a couple of losses and you can move the other way. Having said that, we’re playing good hockey right now.”

Their coach certainly knows a thing or two about how to do that.

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