Hossa leads Red Wings over injury-plagued Devils

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DETROIT (Ticker) -- While the Detroit Red Wings evidently are

finding themselves, the New Jersey Devils' identity has been

wiped away.

Marian Hossa scored two goals as the surging Red Wings took

advantage of the injury-plagued Devils for a 3-1 victory on

Saturday.

"We're still finding ourselves," Osgood said. "It sounds weird

to say that because we won it last year. People expect us to

(pick) up right where we left off in the playoffs, but the

playoffs are totally different. We found out early we have to

be mentally ready for every game. We played poorly and won some

games we shouldn't have. ... It's been a progression."

Returning from a five-game road trip in which it went 3-1-1,

Detroit also received a goal from Kirk Maltby in its attack on

New Jersey goaltender Kevin Weekes.

"Everybody was expecting big things from this team," Hossa said.

"It's still early in the season, but we're getting better and

better. I think this was one of our best all-around games, but

we can get even better."

Starting his third straight game in the wake of Martin Brodeur's

elbow injury, Weekes turned aside 28 shots. However, the Devils

failed to notch their first win in Detroit since posting a 2-0

victory on November 6, 1996, dropping their eighth straight

visit to Joe Louis Arena.

Zach Parise scored the lone goal for the Devils just over four

minutes into the second period to forge a 1-1 tie, but Detroit

goaltender Chris Osgood was impenetrable the rest of the way.

"We're getting back to the way we usually play," Osgood said.

"We gave it away a few times, and we have to get away from that

on a regular basis. It was good for us to practice for a week

and get back to the basics. We did a lot better job (Saturday)

defensively than we have in the past."

Osgood made 24 saves in notching his 369th career win, tying him

with former teammate Dominik Hasek for 14th place on the

all-time list.

"I think about wins," Osgood said. "I want to get as high as I

can while I'm still playing here. I looked at it at the start

of the year, but not lately. My goal right now is to get to 400

and take it from there."

Before suffering a torn bicep tendon in his left elbow, Brodeur

was no stranger to collecting personal accolades. The four-time

Vezina Trophy winner notched his 544th career victory in the

contest in which he suffered the injury, putting him only seven

victories behind Hall of Famer Patrick Roy for first all time.

His brilliance has been missed, but it has been the offense that

has plagued the Devils of late. They have dropped five of their

last seven games after winning five of their first six.

"We all know what's going on, but we're not using it as an

excuse," Devils coach Brent Sutter said.

After being shut out by the Buffalo Sabres on Monday, New Jersey

barely got past the Tampa Bay Lightning two days later, posting

a 4-3 victory in a shootout. Sutter believed his team came up

with a good effort Saturday.

"We played hard here tonight. I know it was a 3-1 game, but we

did a lot of good things," he said. "I thought our work ethic

was good tonight."

Parise has been the only consistent force on offense for the

Devils, and it showed in this one.

Hossa netted his first tally of the game 3 1/2 minutes into the

first, but Parise pulled New Jersey even, snapping a three-game

goalless drought in the process. Stationed in the low slot,

Parise deflected defenseman Johnny Oduya's shot from above the

left faceoff circle between Osgood's legs at 4:15 of the middle

period for his 10th goal of the season.

Weekes admitted he regrets allowing Hossa's initial goal.

"I would've liked to have the first goal back," said Weekes, who

was denied his 100th career win. "Credit to him. That's why

players like that are superstars. They put the puck on the

net."

But Hossa notched his eighth of the season 6 1/2 minutes later,

beating Weekes between the pads with a wrist shot during a

2-on-1 rush with Tomas Holmstrom after taking a pass from Pavel

Datsyuk.

"Pavel gave me a nice pass from the neutral zone," Hossa said.

"I tried to see it as a 2-on-1, and (Holmstrom) did a fine job

of driving to the net, so I had a lot of room to focus on the

shot and I just tried to send it along the ice."

Weekes was exposed again early in the third as Maltby wristed a

loose puck past him from the bottom of the left circle at 4:11

to secure the victory.

Even though the Red Wings posted their first win by more than

one goal since a 5-3 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on

October 24, coach Mike Babcock still felt a need to clamp down

defensively.

"Hopefully, we've taken a step to tighten up our game," Babcock

said. "When I say defensively, it's not just the six

defensemen, but how we play as a team."

Weekes dropped to 0-7-1 lifetime against the Red Wings and has

yielded 18 goals in four starts at Joe Louis Arena.

One thing at which the Devils did succeed was keeping the Red

Wings scoreless on the power play. Detroit entered 17-for-51 (a

league-best 33.3 percent) with the man advantage but went

0-for-4.

"I liked that we didn't rely on the power play tonight," Babcock

said. "You always want it to be there, but it's nice to win a

game without it."

The Devils also may have lost another key contributor to injury.

Right wing Brian Gionta crashed into the boards in the right

corner after sustaining a hard hit from Red Wings defenseman

Derek Meech midway through the second period and did not return.

"He got the wind knocked out of him," Sutter said. "I guess

we'll see (how he is) tomorrow."

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