DETROIT – It was old-timer’s night for the Detroit Red Wings.
Dominik Hasek made 19 saves for his second consecutive shutout, and 79th of his career, and Chris Chelios became the second-oldest player to appear in a NHL game in Detroit’s 1-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Pavel Datsyuk scored the only goal for league-leading Detroit, which has 18 wins in its last 21 games. Hasek, who’ll turn 43 on Jan. 29, has a 134-minute, 13-second scoreless streak
“Anytime you get a shutout, you have to thank your teammates,” Hasek said. “To get a shutout, of course everybody must play well. And when you hold the other team under 20 shots, it’s obvious that you have played well.”
Chelios, who’ll turn 46 on Jan. 25, passed Moe Roberts by playing in an NHL game at 45 years and 348 days old. Roberts played for the Chicago Blackhawks on Nov. 25, 1951, at 45 years, 347 days.
“I wouldn’t say celebrate,” Chelios said. “I guess it’s something to be pretty proud of. I guess I’m the oldest American-born ever to play.”
Only Gordie Howe, who was 52 years, 6 days, before he retired in 1980 with the Hartford Whalers, played at an older age than Chelios.
Chelios, a native of Chicago in his 24th season, said that being on a winning team, having great teammates and appreciative fans are the biggest reasons for his longevity. When the Red Wings acquired Chelios from the Blackhawks late in the 1998-99 season, he was one of Detroit fans’ most despised opposing players.
He has since become a crowd favourite and received a standing ovation when the milestone was announced during the first period while he was on the ice. He even jokingly grabbed his back.
“I had to smile when they announced it,” Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. “He grabbed his back like an old timer. I give him credit for that.”
Chelios even came to the aid of Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom late in the first period after Lidstrom was crosschecked by Colorado’s Cody McCormick after a stoppage in play. Chelios received a two-minute roughing penalty and McCormick, 24, got two minutes for slashing.
“That’s just Cheli in a nutshell,” Lidstrom said. “Stepping up for his teammates.”
Jose Theodore stopped 24 shots for the Avalanche.
The only one that eluded him came with 1:39 left in the second period when Datsyuk converted Tomas Holmstrom’s one-handed pass across the crease with his back turned for his 17th goal.
Despite their efforts, the evening belonged to the over-40 crew.
“It was a good night for the old guys,” said Lidstrom, a relatively youthful 37.
Notes: Lidstrom and forwards Henrik Zetterberg and Datsyuk were voted starters for the all-star game, which will be held Jan. 27, in Atlanta. The veteran defenceman led the Western Conference with 477,487 votes. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock will coach the team because Detroit had the Western Conference’s best record on Jan. 5. … Colorado C T.J. Hensick was born in Lansing, played youth hockey in Detroit and played college hockey at Michigan. His father, Tim, attended the game. … Holmstrom returned after missing eight games with a knee injury, and Detroit LW Kirk Maltby was back in the lineup after sitting out 19 games with a sore back.