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>>caption: WILD CAN'T TAME
@ JOE LOUIS ARENA:
Marian Hossa finished off a
3x2 rush with a wicked right
circle wrister for the game-winning goal with just 54.2-sec remaining in regulation
and the Red Wings edged Minnesota 3-2 in a Sunday matinee.
Detroit won its 50th game of the season in their fourth try, snapping a losing
skid of 0-3 on the now just-concluded 4-game homestand.
The Red Wings became only the third team in NHL history with 50 victories
in four consecutive seasons (Boston & Montreal) and Mike Babcock just the
second coach (Scotty Bowman with Les Canadiens) to have four straight 50-W
seasons. Babcock is the only coach to do it his first four years at the helm of
A Minnesota defender fell down in the neutral zone as Detroit rookie DEF
Jonathan Ericsson sent a long outlet pass up the ice. Three Wings forwards
broke in and Hossa (#38) finished off the winning play with Tomas Holmstrom &
Pavel Datsyuk drawing the counter-attack assists.
Jiri Hudler (#23) and Datsyuk (#32) had given Detroit a 2-0/1st-Per lead,
but Cal Clutterbuck (#10) at 18:34/1 and Marian Gaborik (#10) at 18:57/2
had tied it up for the Wild.
Hudler got a quick turn-in shot at 11:21/1 when a Minnesota clearing pass hit
the referee and Hernrik Zetterberg jumped on the loose puck in the right corner
for a fast feed. Datsyuk scored a beautiful goal just over a minute later at 12:25/1.
Datsyuk took a tip-drop pass from Hossa, moved around a defender, then waited,
waited until both a Wild defenseman and goalie Niklas Backstrom were faked to the
ice to give Datsyuk room to backhand from a wide right angle just over Backstrom
and just under the crossbar.
Clutterbuck's goal came when Detroit goalie Chris Osgood made a foolish clearing
pass and Clutterbuck took the one-bounce off the right sideboards to fire underneath
Ozzie for an unassisted goal. Minney's second goal came off a defensive zone turnover
by Brad Stuart and Osgood made a save on Gaborek, but Minnesota continued the
pressure. Gaborek made the most of his second chance when Osgood and Stuart
both flopped in the crease and Gaborek slid the pick along the ice.
Osgood made three big saves in the final 5-mins of regulation, one off another
Stuart turnover, to keep the contest tied and set the stage for Hossa's heroics.
Detroit outshot Minnesota in each period and 44-23 for the game.
Only four minor penalties were called, two on each team, none in the 3rd-Per.
R-WINGS H-COACH MIKE BABCOCK: "The part I like better is Scotty Bowman's the
only other guy who's ever done it (win 50 games four consecutive seasons). For me,
being as good a friend as I am with Scotty and holding him in such high regard, that's
very, very special for me...But all it means as a coach is you've got good players.
That's the facts. If you don't have real good players and real committed people,
you're not winning 50 games."
R-WINGS DEF/CAPT NICKLAS LIDSTROM: "I think the third period was the kind of
hockey you're going to have to play come playoff time...(Backstrom) had, I don't know
how many, big-time saves. But we were still patient when we didn't score on those
chances...Sometimes you start forcing things, so you've got three guys in and all of a
sudden they get a 2-on-1 break or something. Even though we were trying to take the
play to them, we were still patient without the puck."
R-WINGS Rt-WING MARIAN HOSSA: "We knew how desperate they are. They need to
win every game to get into the playoffs. We felt an urgency in the dressing room, too,
that this was a playoff game..."Pasha (Datsyuk) got the puck and he just chipped it to
Homer (Holmstrom), and Homer took the puck to the middle and he just serve it to me
perfectly (on the game-winning goal). I just tried to make sure the puck was stable on
my stick and tried to shoot it high glove and it worked."
R-WINGS GOALIE CHRIS OSGOOD: "Sometimes we tend to nitpick ourselves too much.
Our players tend to think they're not doing too well when they are. Fifty wins is 50 wins
no matter how you get there. That's a great accomplishment."
WILD GOALIE NIKLAS BACKSTROM: "We came here to play good and try and take two
points. We came close to getting one, but we didn't come out with anything."
Detroit DEF Brian Rafalski sat out a third consecutive game with a groin injury while
FWD Tomas Kopecky returned after missing one game with a sore back.
Gaborek has four goals in his last four games and 7-G with 3-A in eight games since
returning from a groin injury that idled him twice for a total of 65 games this season..
Minnesota DEF Nick Schultz left the game in the 2nd-Per with an eye injury.
The Wings make a one-game road trip to Buffalo Monday night.
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