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>>caption: DAN CLEARY HAD A
GOAL AND AN ASSIST @ MINNY<<
ST. PAUL, MN:
Minus injured first line forwards
Henrik Zetterberg & Tomas Holmstrom,
the Red Wings never trailed in a 4-1 Saturday night win at Minnesota.
Red Wing goaltender Dominik Hasek only had to make 18-SV, but several
were key when the game was still just 1-0 and Hasek also made a couple of late
poke-checks to disrupt the Wild offense. The Dominator stayed unbeaten at
9-0-&-2 lifetime vs the Wild, yielding only 11 goals in those 11 games.
Detroit is 11-1-&-1 in its last 13 games and an NHL-best 26-7-&-3 on the
season. The Wings are 2-&-0 vs the Wild, out-scoring Minny 9-1 in those
games, since a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED article claimed St. Paul had displaced
the Motor City as "Hockeytown." Saturday's decision stopped cold a four
game Minnesota winning streak.
Without usual linemates Zetterberg & Holmstrom, Pavel Datsyuk still
got the Red Wings on the scoreboard first. Just 9-sec into a power play,
Datsyuk (#14) converted off a faceoff win at 6:57/1 with assists to fill-in
mates Valtteri Filppula & Dan Cleary.
Detroit then struck twice only 45-sec apart late in the 2nd-Per. Johan Franzen
(#6) skated behind the Minneaota goal, emerged on the right wing side, froze
the defenseman, then found an opening on the short side between Wild goalie
Niklas Backstrom and the post at 15:14/2. Cleary (#120 then out-raced a tardy
Minnesota defender to beat Backstrom with a solo rush wrister off a flip clearing
pass from Nicklas Lidstrom at 15:59/2.
The Wings got three bad breaks when the Wild broke Hasek's shutout late
in the middle period. A dubious holding penalty call against Filppula, a failed clearing
attempt which struck the linesman and stayed in the Wings zone and a shot which
deflected off Detroit DEF Chris Chelios all combined to give Minny's Kim Johnsson (#1)
a PPG at 19:51/2 to make it a 3-1 score.
Tomas Kopecky (#3) restored Detroit's 3-goal bulge at 9:59/3 for the 4-1 final.
Backstrom faced 51 shots to make a career-high 47-SV, keeping the contest from
becoming a blowout.
Detroit was 1-for-7 and Minnesota 1-for-2 on the power play.
R-WINGS H-COACH MIKE BABCOCK: "Our energy, our execution (all good)...
Everybody had a pretty good night for us."
R-WINGS DEF/CAPT NICKLAS LIDSTROM: "It was a good win for us (after
Thursday's loss at St. Louis)."
WILD FWD BRIAN ROLSTON: "We're not close to that team right now. And
that's the bottom line...that team seems like Anaheim (the defending S-Cup
Champs) of last year."
Zetterberg (back spasms, day-to-day) and Holmstrom (knee bruise, 7--10
days) joined Kirk Maltby (back strain, January) on the Detroit injured list.
Lidstrom's assist on the Cleary goal was his 900th NHL point in 1212
regular season games.
Franzen has three goals in his last five games.
Marian Gaborik played in his 438th game to tie onetime Red Wing Wes Walz
for the Wild franchise career record.
So far 1-&-1 on their 5-game road trip, the Wings go back to St. Louis a
second time on this tour on Wednesday after spending the Christmas break
back home in Detroit.
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