The Detroit Red Wings routed the Winnipeg Jets, 7-1, Saturday night in the first meeting between the teams since the former Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg.
Barring a Stanley Cup Finals matchup, it will be the only meeting between the two teams this season. They’re slated to become conference rivals when the NHL realigns next year.
The Jets’ lone goal of the night came just 35 seconds in, when Bryan Little got behind the Detroit defense and skated in on goalie Jimmy Howard, sliding a backhander into the far side of the net.
Detroit would start their run of seven unanswered goals at 6:47 of the first period.
To open the scoring, Nicklas Lidstrom fired a long pass for Johan Franzen into the Winnipeg zone. Franzen went into the corner to pick up the puck and sent a pass back out front to Todd Bertuzzi. Bertuzzi, uncovered while cutting to the edge of the crease, put a wrister past Winnipeg netminder Ondrej Pavelec.
With 5:04 remaining in the opening period, Henrik Zetterberg made it 2-1. Rushing into the Winnipeg zone, Valtteri Filppula dropped a pass to the top of the left faceoff circle. Zetterberg caught up to the puck and blasted a high shot past Pavelec for what would be the game-winner.
Jiri Hudler scored the first of his pair of goals at 4:03 of the second period. Franzen had the puck behind the net again and sent it into the left circle for a speeding Hudler to pounce on and snap back past Pavelec.
At 9:31 of the middle frame, Pavel Datsyuk sent a no-look backhand pass from the right corner to the Filppula in the left faceoff circle. Filppula continued on to the slot and ripped a high shot past Pavelec.
With 7:19 left in the period, Drew Miller picked up a rebound in the left circle and put another high shot into the net.
Hudler finished off the game’s scoring – and Pavelec’s night – just 1:12 into the third period. Hudler picked off a pass from the Jets’ Dustin Byfuglien and sent it to Zetterberg at the top of the crease. Rather than shooting, Zetterberg sent it back to Hudler, who was driving in to put a shot into the open side of the net.
Pavelec finished the night with 19 saves on the 26 shots he faced. Chris Mason stopped all of the three shots Detroit put at him in relief while Howard stopped 29 of 30 Winnipeg chances.
Neither team scored a power play goal on the night, though Filppula’s tally came with the teams skating four-on-four. The Jets had two power play tries to the Red Wings’ three.
The Red Wings are now off until Tuesday when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall missed time in the game after taking a puck to the face, requiring stitches. He returned for the third period… The Red Wings’ healthy scratches were Cory Emmerton and Mike Commodore.