Red Wings Ride Three-goal First Period to 4-1 Win over Sabres

The Detroit Red Wings scored three times in the first period and never looked back, cruising to a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres Friday night.

Jakub Kindl, Johan Franzen, and Valtteri Filppula provided the offense in the game’s opening frame, continuing a trend that sees the Red Wings undefeated when either Franzen or Filppula scores.

Kindl opened the game’s scoring 8:50 in. After the Sabres failed to clear their zone, Kindl threw a shot from the left point on net, handcuffing Buffalo goalie Jhonas Enroth for his first goal of the season.

Franzen made it 2-0 with 6:22 left in the first. With Detroit on a power play, Franzen got the puck in the slot and put a wrister past Enroth.

Just 1:03 later, Henrik Zetterberg took the puck away from Jochen Hecht at the Buffalo blue line and fed a streaking Filppula, who jumped up into the slot and snapped a shot by Enroth to make it 3-0.

Hecht would eventually atone for his giveaway, getting the Sabres on the board with 6:13 left in regulation. Hecht raced down the ice with Jason Pominville on a two-on-one, taking a pass from Pominville to beat Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard stick-side.

Hecht’s goal would not be the start of a Buffalo comeback, however. Pavel Datsyuk rounded out the game’s scoring with an empty-net goal from center ice.

Franzen’s goal was the lone power play goal of the night. Detroit had five tries with the extra attacker while Buffalo had four.

Howard made 27 saves on 28 shots in earning the win. Enroth stopped 32 of the 35 shots he faced.

The Red Wings continue their three-game road trip on Monday when they visit the Colorado Avalanche.


Detroit forward Chris Conner made his first appearance of the season, skating on the third line with Darren Helm and Danny Cleary after having been called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday night… Fabian Brunnstrom is not travelling with the team, as they’ve allowed him to spend time with his wife and newborn son before he will be sent back to the Griffins… Cory Emmerton and Mike Commodore were healthy scratches… Justin Abdelkader left the game in the third period after taking a high hit but later said he would be fine.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Sabres – 12/2

The Wings’ win over the Sabres tonight wasn’t quite what it seemed. Based on the first period and the final score, you’d think Detroit dominated the game. In reality, Detroit controlled the first period and then – until the last five minutes or so – both teams pretty much just coasted.

Buffalo had fewer shots in the first period than either the second or third and the first was the only period in which the Red Wings outshot them. The Wings took as many shots in the first (18) as they did in the rest of the game combined.

What you end up with is a period that defined the scoreboard but not the game.

I’m not sure if Detroit got lazy after taking the 3-0 lead or Buffalo started playing better; probably a combination of the two. The latter you have to expect but the former is disappointing. The now-seven-game win streak the Wings are on has gotten them back to the top of the conference. It’s going to end someday but I’d hate to see that loss come because the Wings got sloppy.

Jimmy Howard is a fantastic goalie but the team can’t continue to ride him like they have at times during the streak.

One good bit of news to come out of the latter stages of the game is that Justin Abdelkader is fine after taking a high hit in the third period.

Also good: Chris Conner looked solid in his first game as a Red Wing. I have to think he’s officially ahead of Fabian Brunnstrom on the depth chart right now, but things are going to get interesting once Jan Mursak returns from injury.

Red Wings Reassign Brunnstrom to Grand Rapids

The Detroit Red Wings reassigned forward Fabian Brunnstrom to the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday.

Brunnstrom has been up and down between the two teams several times this season, playing in five games with the Red Wings and four with the Griffins.

Brunnstrom had been kept on the Detroit roster after the Red Wings called up Chris Conner on Wednesday to let him spend more time with his wife and newborn son.

With Brunnstrom having been sent back to Grand Rapids and both Jan Mursak (leg) and Patrick Eaves (jaw) on injured reserve, the Red Wings have 22 players (13 forwards, 7 defensemen, 2 goalies) on their active roster.

Red Wings’ Down Lightning for Sixth Consecutive Win

The Detroit Red Wings won their sixth consecutive game Wednesday night, a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lighting.

The game was the first in Detroit for the Steve Yzerman-led Lighting since Yzerman left the Red Wings organization to take over in Tampa Bay.

Pavel Datsyuk opened the game’s scoring at 4:58 of the first period. The Lightning failed to clear their zone off a faceoff win and the puck bounced from player to player, ending up near Todd Bertuzzi at the side of the crease. Bertuzzi poked it out to Datsyuk in the slot for a quick shot past goalie Dwayne Roloson.

Jonathan Ericsson‘s first goal of the season made it 2-0 Detroit with 8:56 left in the period. Ericsson jumped into the play and took a pass from Valtteri Filppula, flinging a shot from the high slot past Roloson.

The Lighting would rally in the second period.

At 9:35 of the period, Martin St. Louis beat Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard from the slot with Tampa Bay on a power play.

With just 14 seconds left in the middle frame, Steven Stamkos was left unguarded at the bottom of the left faceoff circle and took a pass from Matt Gilroy, beating Howard to tie things up.

Tomas Holmstrom scored a power play goal from the side of the net to put Detroit back out in front at 4:22 of the third period and Darren Helm scored while cutting through the middle with 6:46 left in regulation to give the Red Wings the win.

Howard made 21 saves on 23 shots, including a stop on a shorthanded breakaway by Gilroy in the third period. Roloson stopped 31 of 35 Detroit shots.

Each team scored one power play goal. The Red Wings had five chances with the extra attacker while the Lightning had four.

The Wings are back in action on Friday when the visit the Buffalo Sabres, the first game of a three-game road trip.


After the game, Detroit forward Patrick Eaves was placed on short-term injured reserve and Chris Conner was called up to fill his roster spot.

Postgame: Lightning @ Red Wings – 11/30

Well that was a crazy one. It reminded me a lot of last year’s matchup between the Red Wings and Lighting, in which Detroit took a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, Tampa Bay tied things up, and then Detroit went on to win.

Both goalies had strong nights. Tampa would never have been able to come back without Dwayne Roloson‘s stops at the end of the first (a fact that the Versus crew wouldn’t let up on) and Jimmy Howard came up with a big stop on Matt Gilroy in the third.

I don’t know what to make of Jonathan Ericsson‘s game. He’s been jumping into offensive chances for awhile now and getting some good shots off so it’s not a huge surprise to see him finally get a goal but it’s hard to be excited about it when he still makes some boneheaded plays.

Darren Helm is also one who rarely scores and it was fantastic to see him finally net one. The combination of him actually finishing and Ericsson scoring might be a sign of the apocalypse.

As I mentioned, I missed most of the third live while recording TP:60 with the guys from The Production Line, as well as Matt Saler from On the Wings. That’ll be posted soon, I’m sure, so keep an eye out. It was a lot of fun to do.

Wings to Host Upcoming Winter Classic?

Early this morning, MLive’s Ansar Khan broke the news that the Red Wings expect to host one of the next two Winter Classics.

The Wings have been in “deep discussions” with the league about hosting the event, something the team has said they’ve wanted to do since the first Winter Classic in Buffalo in 2008.

The Red Wings visited the Chicago Blackhawks at Wrigley Field for the 2009 event but made it clear that their goal was not just to participate but to host an outdoor game in Michigan.

Over at The Production Line, Michael Petrella thinks that Detroit will get the 2013 game, as the New York Rangers are the other team in the mix to host a game. The Rangers play in the upcoming 2012 Winter Classic and it would be unlikely that they’d play two years in a row.

With a Detroit-area Winter Classic, two venues are possible. The Red Wings organization it likely to push for the smaller, Ilitch-controlled Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. The NHL would likely be interested in the seating capacity of Ann Arbor’s Michigan Stadium, which hosted The Big Chill at the Big House almost a year ago and set a world record for attendance of a hockey game.

Though it lessens the likelihood that I could get tickets, I have to say that I lean towards supporting a Comerica Park game. I’m not a fan of Michigan Stadium, especially after The Big Chill. Maybe I’m just getting old but but it felt like that game was much more uncomfortable than the Wirgley Field game, even though the weather was comparable.