Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Yzerman Record and Wings Clinch

Yahoo Sports
Not surprisingly, Steve Yzerman was humble after he tied Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux with his 690th career goal. Yzerman tied Lemieux for eighth place on the career list and helped the NHL-leading. The Detroit Red Wings also clinched a playoff spot by beating the St. Louis Blues St. Louis Blues 4-1 on Monday night.

However, you won't hear Yzerman compare himself to the retired Penguins great.

"I don't really know the significance," Yzerman said. "If anything, it shows how good (Lemieux) is; he played almost five years less than I did."

The 40-year-old Yzerman scored midway through the second period off a scrum that started with Niklas Kronwall's shot from the slot. Blues goalie Patrick Lalime made the save on Kronwall, but the rebound ended up on Yzerman's stick just to the left of the goal, and the Detroit captain buried it for his 12th goal of the season.

Next up for Yzerman is Mark Messier, seventh with 694 goals.

"It's fantastic to be around," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "It shows you how much he loves the game. When you look at the leadership we have, that's why we win on a consistent basis."

Especially in March. The Red Wings are 10-1-2 this month and 89-31-17 in March since 1994-95.

Kirk Maltby, Johan Franzen and Tomas Holmstrom also scored for Detroit.

Manny Legace made 20 saves for the Red Wings. His bid for a second straight shutout was ruined when the Petr Cajanek scored of a faceoff with 57.3 seconds left on a slow-developing play.

"It's unfortunate it took an hour and a half to get to that puck," Legace said. "There were three guys in front of the net and they just touched it to Cajanek. My leg wasn't long enough to get there, but we got the win and that's the most important thing."

The Blues dropped all four games on their homestand and have lost seven in a row overall, marking the third time that St. Louis has lost at least seven straight. Heading into this season, the longest losing streak in Blues' history was seven games.

"This homestand is probably the most embarrassing in my career," Blues forward Keith Tkachuk said. "I don't like what I see. I know I always say I've got to be a lot better. Our better players have got to rise to the occasion and lead."

Maltby put the Blues behind early when he broke in on right wing and beat Lalime with a wrist shot from the right circle just 2:01 into the contest.

After Yzerman made it 2-0 at 9:45 of the second period, Franzen put the game away 47 seconds later when he scored off his own rebound.

"We had a game plan," Tkachuk said. "We just couldn't execute."

Detroit Notes: Detroit is the only team in the NHL that has not been shut out this season. Scott Young leads the Blues in scoring with 46 points and is the only St. Louis player with more than 40. Detroit has eight players with 50 or more points. The Red Wings are 33-0-2 when leading after two periods and the Blues are 0-28-4 when trailing after two.

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