The Detroit Red Wings took an early four-goal lead over the Minnesota Wild Monday night but had to fend off a second-period comeback to earn a 5-4 win.
Andreas Lilja’s goal on a one-timer from the high slot with 8:07 remaining in the third period – his first goal as a Red Wing – stood up as the game-winner. Detroit took a 5-3 lead with the goal.
Filip Kuba pulled Minnesota to within one with 5:49 remaining in the game, scoring on a slap shot from the point that got past Detroit goalie Manny Legace despite Legace having a clear view of the shot.
The Red Wings had opened the scoring at 4:19 of the first period, when Steve Yzerman scored his 200th career power play goal. Jason Williams sent a shot from the point on net that was knocked aside by Minnesota goaltender Manny Fernandez. Yzerman picked up the rebound at the top of the crease and banged it back into the net for the Red Wings’ ninth-straight power play goal.
Detroit’s first even-strength goal since January 21 gave the Red Wings a two-goal lead just 53 seconds later. On a pass from Williams, Robert Lang put a one-timer from the slot between Fernandez’s pads.
Another 4:47 after that, Mikael Samuelsson scored Detroit’s third goal, backhanding the rebound of a Henrik Zetterberg chance past the Minnesota netminder.
Zetterberg himself scored Detroit’s final goal of the period, outwaiting the Wild defense and goalie while moving from one faceoff circle to the other before lifting a shot over Fernandez.
With Fernandez replaced in the Minnesota net by Dwayne Roloson to start the second period, the Wild came alive to cut Detroit’s lead to one.
A long outlet pass sprung Marian Gaborik free for a break in on Detroit netminder Chris Osgood, with Gaborik scoring at 3:53 to get the Wild on the board.
With 3:07 remaining in the period, Todd White got behind the Detroit defense on an end-to-end rush and Brian Rolston hit him with a pass, giving White an opening to rifle a shot past Osgood to pull the Wild within two goals.
Minnesota cut Detroit’s lead to one goal just 58 seconds later, when Andrei Zyuzin was left wide open on the left wing to blast a shot past Osgood.
Legace replaced Osgood in the Detroit net to start the third period.
Detroit finished the game one-for-three on the power play and held Minnesota scoreless on five power play chances.
Osgood made seven saves on ten shots through the first two periods, with Legace stopping one of six shots against in the third for the Red Wings. Fernandez made ten saves on 14 shots against Minnesota in the first period while Roloson went 12-for-13 in the final two frames.
The Red Wings will be back in action when the return home to Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday to host the St. Louis Blues.