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November 4, 2002 - Wings get even on late goal by Williams, 3-3
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Wings get even on late goal by Williams, 3-3

Detroit 1-2-1 in past four games

November 4, 2002

BY NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

Sergei Fedorov streaked toward the net in overtime more than once Sunday, and what had been a dead crowd at Joe Louis Arena came to life. Was Fedorov going to climb even higher among the NHL's scoring leaders? Were the Red Wings going to rebound from a lopsided loss with a victory over the resurgent Stars?

No. Fedorov failed to score, and the Wings settled for a 3-3 tie with Dallas one night after a 5-2 loss at Ottawa. That's the way things are going for them these days. The defending Stanley Cup champions are 1-2-1 in their past four games, 2-2-2 in their past six and 6-4-2 overall.

"We had full control of the game basically until the last 10 minutes of the second period, then they started taking it to us," forward Jason Williams said. "Once we start playing the way we know how to play, then maybe we'll get on the roll we want to get on. We just haven't put together a good 60 minutes yet."

Williams scored the tying goal on a power play with 6:19 remaining, redirecting a feed from Brendan Shanahan in front. Nicklas Lidstrom also scored a power-play goal for the Wings, who have had at least one in every game this season, and Pavel Datsyuk scored at even strength. Ulf Dahlen scored twice and Mike Modano once for Dallas.

The Wings saw positive signs. Their penalty-killers allowed a goal, but they gave the Stars only two power plays. The Wings allowed a season-high 37 shots and were outshot for the second straight game, after being outshot once in their first 10 games, but they felt they were tighter defensively.

Goaltender Curtis Joseph allowed at least three goals for the eighth time in 10 starts, and his record went to 4-4-2, but he made some sharp saves.

"We had speed; we had passion; we had commitment," coach Dave Lewis said. "So that was good."

Lewis shuffled his lines. He put Henrik Zetterberg at left wing with Fedorov and Brett Hull, moving Shanahan to left wing with grinders Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby. The other lines were Boyd Devereaux-Datsyuk-Williams and Luc Robitaille-Sean Avery-Darren McCarty.

Lewis said McCarty had been suffering from flu as well as a broken toe on his left foot, and he wanted the Shanahan-Draper-Maltby line to match up against the Stars' top line. Although the Stars switched during the game, Lewis said, "That was still a very effective line, a hardworking line for us."

The highlight of the night -- if it wasn't Draper running into Maltby near the Dallas net and laughing about it on the bench -- was the goal that gave the Wings a 2-1 lead 2:56 into the second period. Datsyuk pushed the puck up in the neutral zone. Devereaux took it and stumbled crossing the blue line.

"I don't know what happened there," Devereaux said.

Maybe it was because Devereaux had new skates. Maybe it was a move to suck in a defender. No matter. Devereaux found his feet without losing the puck, whipped a pass down low and watched Datsyuk score.