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>>caption: FILPPULA (L) AND HANK
(#40) CELEBRATE THE EMPTY-NET
@ JOE LOUIS ARENA:
Valtteri Filppula scored a pair of
3rd-Per goals to snap a 2-all tie and
give the Red Wings a 4-2 Wednesday night win over St. Louis.
Detroit's third straight victory restored the Wings' four point lead over idle
Calgary for the 8th and final NHL Western Conference playoff spot. Both teams
have nine games remaining.
The Red Wings are 9-2-1 since the Winter Olympics break including six wins in
their last seven outings.
Filppula also had an assist for a 3-pt night Wednesday. In Detroit's current
3-game win streak Filppula has 4-G & 4-A for 8-P. Filppula's linemates Henrik
Zetterberg and Todd Bertuzzi also scored Wednesday. Zetterberg has 4-G & 3-A
over the last three games and Bertuzzi 2-G & 3-A in the same span.
The Blues outshot Detroit 32-24, but Wings goalie Jimmy Howard made 30-SV
in his 30th win of the season.
Paul Kariya (#17) gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 5:39/1 as he got between Detroit
defenders on a solo rush to snapshot through Howard's 5-hole.
Detroit went ahead with a pair of early 2nd-Per goals. Zetterberg (#23) got
around Blues DEF Barrett Jackman for a one-handed, right-hand backhander past
former Detroit teammate Ty Conklin just 26-sec into the middle frame for a 1-all tie.
Then, Filppula fired from the circle, Zetterberg poked at the rebound and the puck
pinballed off the skate of Bertuzzi (#17) for a 2-1 lead at 4:35/2 on a play where
Bertuzzi was high-sticked and cut over his left eye (although no penalty was called).
St. Louis tied the contest 2-2 at 2:05/3. Jay McClement controlled a pass off his
back skate from David Perron and McClement (#10) snapped a shot through the legs
of Detroit DEF Brad Stuart and over Howard's catching glove.
Filppula atoned for two early 3rd-Per instances where he tried to overcomplicate
a pair of scoring chances when he jumped on a rebound for the game-winning goal at
13:11/3. Brian Rafalski sent a center-ice flip-shot at Conklin, who stopped the bouncing
puck but left a juicy rebound. Filppula (#10) got behind two Blues defenders and took
the disc to his backhand and flicked it to an open right side.
With Conklin pulled for an extra attacker, Filppula (#11) stole a loose puck, waited
until he had an open shooting lane and scored from along the left wall for an unassisted
ENG with 11.4-sec showing.
The Blues lost for the fourth time in six games and are all but mathematically eliminated
from playoff contention. St. Louis trails Detroit by 10 standings points and would have to
leapfrog both Calgary and Dallas even before challenging the Wings.
R-WINGS H-COACH MIKE BABCOCK: "“Howie is the guy that kept us in the game. Tonight was
probably the toughest game we’ve had in a while. We didn’t have much energy, mentally and
physically...Some wins aren't easy and this was one. They were battling for their playoff lives."
R-WINGS FWD VALTTERI FILPPULA: "Those bounces [like on Rafalski's flip-shot] are always tough.
Nobody really knows where the puck’s going. Luckily, I was able to be first. On those goals, you
always need a little luck, too...We been having a good run as a team...Hopefully we can keep that
going...We've been holding onto the puck a lot and getting chances that way...The whole team's
been playing really, really well...both offensively and defensively."
R-WINGS Rt-WING TODD BERTUZZI: "“I got high-sticked, so I was more worried about my
eye than what was going on. I was just standing there, trying to create some room and it
went off my back foot and in the net [for Detroit's 2nd goal]."
BLUES Rt-WING DAVID BACKES: "Those kind of [scoring] plays are the reason the Detroit Red
Wings are in the playoffs every year...Just frustrating."
BLUES GOALIE TY CONKLIN: "I thought we outplayed them for a good part of the game, especially
in the third period."
The Red Wings trail both Colorado and Nashville by two standings points (89-87) with
Detroit holding a game in hand on the 7th place Predators and are even in games played
with 6th place Colorado. The Wings are three points behind 5th place Los Angeles (90-87),
although the Kings have played one less game than the Red Wings.
The Red Wings are a perfect 26-for-26 in penalty kills over their last 10 games.
Howard became the first Detroit rookie goaltender to make 20 straight starts since Roy
Edwards in 1967-68.
Detroit's home win over Pittsburgh Monday drew the largest ever NHL rating on the VS
channel, a 0.7. Both team's cities gathered the highest cable ratings in their respective markets
that night with Pittsburgh drawing a 6.7 and Detroit a 4.7 rating.
The Red Wings wrap up a 5-day, 3-game homestand by hosting Minnesota Friday night.
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