Wings' home win streak ends at 23

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Wings' home win streak ends at 23

From Comcast SportsNet
DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Red Wings took advantage of the shootout to win three times during their NHL-record, 23-game home winning streak. Detroit's good fortune in the one-on-one duels ran out and its run ended against the Vancouver Canucks. Alex Burrows scored the only goal in a shootout, which was made possible when Daniel Sedin scored his second goal of the game with 15.4 seconds left in regulation, to lift Vancouver to a 4-3 win over the Red Wings to snap their streak that lasted three-plus months. "It's disappointing it had to end like this," Detroit's Justin Abdelkader said. Detroit hadn't lost at Joe Louis Arena since Nov. 3 against Calgary, breaking the previous single-season mark of 20 shared by the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers. "It's nice that we're the team that ended the streak," said Burrows, who lifted a backhander over Jimmy Howard when he went low. "It's remarkable to win that many games in a row on home ice." The Red Wings extended their run at home with three wins in shootouts -- a way to break ties that wasn't possible before the 2005-06 season -- but their coach said that didn't diminish the feat. "I don't care what era, it was just a real good run for the Red Wings that set us up in a good situation playoff-wise," Mike Babcock said. The NHL-leading Red Wings hold a one-point lead over Vancouver in the Western Conference. The Canucks have won a league-high 21 games on the road this season. A sold-out crowd stood during the shootout, which started with Roberto Luongo stopping Jiri Hudler's shot and Howard going low to smother David Booth's attempt. Henrik Zetterberg missed the net on Detroit's second attempt and Alexander Edler was denied on the ensuing opportunity. Todd Bertuzzi, who signed a two-year extension with the Red Wings earlier in the day, couldn't put his team ahead and Burrows took advantage of a chance to end the game -- and the streak. "It was an intense game with a playoff atmosphere," Luongo said. Luongo made 33 saves and Howard had 40. Detroit was 16 seconds from getting the win in regulation, but the Canucks pulled Luongo to have an extra skater in the Red Wings' end for a faceoff. On the next sequence, Sedin took a slap shot from the slot that Howard never saw after his teammates failed to clear the puck when it was behind the net. "We wanted to prove we could beat them on the road," Sedin said. "It was a good pass and a good screen in front of the goalie." Abdelkader scored with 6:14 left in the third period to give Detroit a 3-2 lead -- 20 seconds after Vancouver's Cody Hodgson tied the game. Newly acquired defenseman Kyle Quincey scored to put Detroit ahead 6:05 into the third period and Darren Helm had a goal 11:16 into the game to give the Red Wings a 1-0 lead. The Canucks refused to let the Red Wings get comfortable with the lead all night. Sedin tied it at 1 at 13:34 of the second and Hodgson tied it again, getting credit for a goal that went in off the right skate of Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall. Detroit led 1-0 after the first period despite being outplayed. Vancouver outshot the Red Wings 17-5 in the first, but defenseman Kevin Bieksa had the puck poked away by Helm and his fluttering wrist shot got past Luongo at 11:16. Detroit didn't do much with three power plays in the first, going scoreless and getting only one shot combined with an extra skater. "We got skated into the ground in the first period," Babcock said. "They played better for longer than us and they won the game." The Red Wings looked out of sync, missing playmaking center Pavel Datsyuk for a second game. Datsyuk, the team's leading scorer, is expected to be out for two weeks after having right knee surgery Tuesday. "The best player in the world, any time he goes out, you're going to miss him," Abdelkader said. "It's a big void." Sedin tied the game at 1 at 13:34 of the second. Detroit outshot the Canucks 15-8 in the second period, but had nothing to show for it. The Red Wings created more chances in the third period, especially when Abdelkader swiped at a puck in the crease that Luongo didn't cover, but they couldn't find a way to win again in the Motor City. "For us to come in here and play well and show that we can beat them means a lot," Burrows said. "But there's a lot of work ahead and if we face them in the playoffs, it will start 0-0." NOTES: Bertuzzi, a former Canucks forward, signed a two-year deal worth just more than 4 million. ... Vancouver tied the series at 2 in the final scheduled game against Detroit. ... Quincey played in the first game of his second stint with the Red Wings, who drafted him in 2003. They acquired Quincey for a first-round pick and prospect Sebastien Piche from Tampa Bay on Tuesday in a three-team trade with Colorado.

With Bumgarner sidelined, Blach 'taking full advantage' of opportunity

With Bumgarner sidelined, Blach 'taking full advantage' of opportunity

SAN FRANCISCO -- At some point over the next four days, Madison Bumgarner will pick up a baseball, stand a few feet across from a member of the training staff, and simply play catch. It'll be a huge step in Bumgarner's rehab, and should it go well, a boost to the psyche of a struggling team.

In the meantime, another lefty is making sure the Giants don't suffer too much without their ace, as improbable as that first seemed.

Ty Blach took a shutout into the eighth Saturday night and in true Bumgarner fashion, he added a pair of hits and an RBI. The Giants beat the Braves 6-3. They've won Blach's past three starts, and even with a 10-run outing in Cincinnati mixed in, he has a 3.71 ERA since taking the spot left open by a dirt bike accident.

"Because of what happened he's in the rotation," manager Bruce Bochy said, "And he's taking full advantage."

Blach has shown that long term, he might be a big part of this rotation. It's been years since the Giants locked a young, cost-controlled starter in, and Blach has backed up his big cameo last year. It's possible -- likely even -- that at some point the Giants will need to trade a veteran, perhaps Johnny Cueto, for young bats. Blach provides needed insurance. 

Short term, he's providing a huge boost to a team that doesn't have much going right. Blach has thrown at least seven innings in his past four starts. He has allowed just eight earned runs in four starts since the one in Cincinnati, throwing 28 2/3 innings. 

"I feel good," Blach said. "I've always been a starter, so it's been a pretty easy transition to make. I feel comfortable."

The Giants are comfortable behind him, as evidenced by a half-dozen strong defensive plays Saturday. 

"He's been consistent and he works quickly," first baseman Brandon Belt said. "He's just a great guy to play behind."

Blach even joined in at the plate. He had an RBI single in his first at-bat -- his first big league hit off Not Clayton Kershaw -- and later roped another single. Blach even showed off his wheels, busting it from first to third on Denard Span's ball to the corner before Phil Nevin held him up. 

"I worked into some good counts and I was able to get fastballs," Blach said of his night at the plate. "It's definitely a big confidence booster when your spot comes up and you're able to drive in runs."

The night was straight out of Bumgarner's playbook, and it was needed. The Giants had dropped five of six, but Blach was backed by homers from Nick Hundley and Brandon Belt. It got a little hairy late, but the bullpen held on, clinching Blach's third win of the season. He looks poised for many more, and Bochy is happy to keep running him out there.

"I'm not surprised by what he's doing," the manager said.

 

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — This spot in the rotation is the one reserved for the stopper, the pitcher who takes a game by the throat when his team really needs it. 

Ty Blach took the mound Saturday for a team that had lost five of six, and just as Madison Bumgarner often has, Blach ended the skid. The young lefty was dominant into the eighth and the bats finally provided enough support. The Giants won 6-3, tying this weekend series with the Braves.

Here are five things to know from a night we were reminded that Emilio Bonifacio is in the big leagues … 

--- Blach pitched 7 2/3 innings. He has thrown at least seven innings in his last four starts, and five of seven starts overall. Jeff Samardzija (6) is the only Giants starter who has gone that deep more often. Blach is tied with Johnny Cueto for second-most seven-inning starts on staff, and Cueto has made three additional starts. 

--- Blach’s RBI single in the fourth was -- at the time -- the fourth hit of his career, and the first against a pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw. The ball had an exit velocity of 101 mph. Blach tried to score from first on Denard Span’s double, but Phil Nevin held him. Still, the way he was moving, it makes you wonder if Samardzija really is Bruce Bochy’s best pitcher-pinch-running option. In the seventh, Blach picked up a second single. 

--- Blach’s only bad start has been the one he made in Cincinnati, where the Giants played like a Double-A team. If you take that one out, Blach has a 2.21 ERA since taking over Bumgarner’s rotation spot. 

--- Even though he gave up just two earned in 7 2/3, Blach’s home ERA actually went up. It’s 1.75, which ranks seventh in the National League. The sellout crowd gave Blach a standing ovation when he was pulled in the eighth. 

--- Blach had a season-high five strikeouts. When he got Nick Markakis to end the first, Blach ended a streak of 37 left-handers faced without a strikeout. He later struck out another lefty, Matt Adams. The new Braves first baseman came up as the tying run in the eighth but Derek Law got him to ground out to first. 

--- Bonus sixth “thing to know” ... on Blach of course: His first name is Tyson, not Tyler. It’s Tyson Michael Blach.