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Detroit's Robitaille climbs scoring list

12/31/2001

DETROIT (AP) -- Darren McCarty had the kind of game he's been
looking for a long time.

The Red Wings right wing had a goal and an assist as Detroit
defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Monday.

In one night, McCarty, who has played in 27 games, doubled his
goal, assist and point totals for the season.

"The way my numbers are," he said, "I've got to just keep
working in practice."

McCarty has been bothered by a variety of injuries throughout
his nine-season career and this one has been no different. He
sustained a shoulder injury in an exhibition game, which forced him
to miss the first two regular-season games.

He returned and injured his knee in his third game back and
missed 11 games.

"It took me longer than I thought to feel good again," McCarty
said. "Not only physically, but mentally"

Linemate Kirk Maltby added two assists for Detroit and the Red
Wings outshot the Wild 42-18.

"We came out against a team that was ready for the game,"
Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. "They were skating and
moving the puck well. And we were not at our best skating-wise and
with the puck."

But the Wild made a game of it. Down 3-0 in the third period,
Minnesota got a short-handed goal from Darby Hendrickson with 8:25
left and an even-strength goal from Marian Gaborik with 3:20
remaining to close to 3-2.

Kris Draper clinched it for the Red Wings with an empty-net goal
with 23.7 seconds left.

"We wanted to play a better third period and at least have a
chance," Hendrickson said. "We finally started to play the way we
normally can."

Letting teams back into games is nothing new for the Red Wings
this season. It has happened many times. The most recent came
Saturday night when the team blew a 2-0 third-period lead against
Nashville in the last five minutes and lost a 3-2 overtime
decision.

"It should have been a 3-0 game," Chris Chelios said. "But we
made a couple of mistakes. But we won the game."

McCarty gave Detroit a 1-0 lead with 2:51 left in the first
period when his wrist shot from the inside edge of the left circle
beat Minnesota goaltender Manny Fernandez high to the glove side,
after McCarty took a pass from Maltby.

"Well, it was a great play by Malts (Maltby) ... I opened up my
forehand, so that enabled me to get a quick shot off," McCarty
said. "I thought it went in. But the way things have been going
lately, I didn't want to put my hands up too early until I saw the
red light or heard the crowd."

His last goal was Nov. 25.

Luc Robitaille's power-play goal 5:52 into the second period
gave Detroit a 2-0 lead as Robitaille chipped his own rebound past
Fernandez. It was the 608th goal of Robitaille's career and it ties
him for 11th place all-time with former Red Wing Dino Ciccarelli.
Robitaille is two goals away from tying Bobby Hull, Red Wing
teammate Brett Hull's father, for the all-time record for most
goals by a left wing.

"It's amazing. It's weird how the world goes," Robitaille
said.

Steve Duchesne, who returned after missing five games with a
knee injury, made it 3-0 with 1:57 left when he put in a one-timer
from the inside edge of the left circle.

Game notes
Usually a center, Detroit's Sergei Fedorov played mostly
defense on Monday night. He only played forward when the Red Wings
were killing a penalty. He has played defense before a few times in
his 12-season career. The last time was late in the 1996-97 season.
"We wanted to get (Brent) Gilchrist in and didn't want to take any
forwards out," said Red Wing coach Scotty Bowman explaining the
move. "We thought he (Fedorov) could give us some offense from the
back end and we could play him more minutes." Said Fedorov: "I
played 22-23 minutes, nothing I can't do. I've done it before."
Fedorov had criticized Bowman's bench management at the end of
regulation time against Nashville on Saturday night. ... Red Wings
captain, center Steve Yzerman, missed his third game because of a
bruised ankle. ... The Red Wings' healthy scratches were defenseman
Fredrik Olausson and Maxim Kuznetsov. Scratched for Minnesota were
left wing and leading scorer Andrew Brunette (sore shoulder) and D
Brad Bombadir.