Filppula Lifts Red Wings Past Oilers

Valtteri Filppula scored with just 25 seconds remaining Tuesday night, lifting the Red Wings to a 2-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers in the second game of Detroit’s three-game western Canada road trip.

Filppula took advantage of Edmonton defender Dick Tarnstrom getting caught flat-footed at the Oilers’ blue line. Taking a pass from Pavel Datsyuk, Filppula gained the Edmonton zone and raced around Tarnstrom on the right wing, then pulled the puck to the inside and wristed a shot over the shoulder of goaltender Dwayne Roloson to put the Red Wings out in front for the game’s final seconds.

The goal came after a stretch that saw the Oilers able to pin the Red Wings in their own zone but unable to get a serious scoring chance.

Detroit had the only leads of the game, neither lasting for long.

At 4:00 of the second period, Henrik Zetterberg scored his tenth goal of the season on a Detroit power play to put the Red Wings out in front. Zetterberg took a cross-ice pass from Nicklas Lidstrom in the right circle and one-timed a shot past Roloson.

Only 1:49 later, Steve Staios put the Oilers on the board with a blast from the blue line off a faceoff in the Detroit end. The screened Red Wings’ goalie had no chance on the shot to the far corner of the net.

It was the only goal Osgood would allow on 16 Edmonton shots. Roloson stopped 32 of Detroit’s 34 shots.

Zetterberg’s goal was the only power play goal of the night. Each team had three power play tries.

The Red Wings close their road trip on Thursday night when they visit the Calgary Flames.

Detroit was without defenseman Niklas Kronwall for the second-straight game… Zetterberg’s goal gives him a 13-game point-scoring streak to start the season, one shy of tying the Red Wings’ franchise record… Dallas Drake and Johan Franzen returned to the lineup.

Late Night Game Notes: Edmonton Edition

Game thoughts? But it’s so late… Okay…

Overall, a pretty boring game. Almost no hitting, not a lot of scoring. Not a lot of what I’d call quality scoring chances. I don’t recall any spectacular saves by either goalie. Combined with the late start, it was a little bit of a hard game to watch.

With the stalemate that the teams seemed locked in until the final moments, you kind of had to figure that the first team to capitalize on a mistake would be the team to win. In the end, that’s exactly what happened, with Filppula’s game-winner coming on a play where Oiler Dick Tarnstrom got caught flat-footed, allowing Fil to get in behind him.

Not to take anything away from Filppula, though, ’cause that was a beautiful shot.

Talk about a goaltending controversy will only heat up now, with Chris Osgood undefeated on the season, with six wins in six starts. His GAA is around 1.50 (over a full goal less than Dominik Hasek‘s) with a save percentage of .930.

The look Osgood has on a regular basis now reminds me of my all-time favorite save. That clip doesn’t show it, but right after that save there was a closeup of Osgood and he seemed completely unfazed by what he had just done. Completely in the zone.

Wings Keep it Simple, Get the Win

It sounded so easy, the way Sergei Fedorov describes it. “The way we’ve been playing lately gives us a lot of confidence against other teams. We can control the puck, move it quickly, and we’re not in a rush to give it back. That turned out to be a pretty good game plan.”

It certainly turned out that way for Fedorov, who led the team with two goals and an assist as the Red Wings added two more points in their bid to hold on to the top spot in the Western Conference and possibly even push for the President’s Trophy with a 5-1 win against the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Penguins came out to start the game with enough jump that it surprised the Red Wings a little, and Pittsburgh got the first goal of the game. Martin Straka slipped in to the zone ahead of the Detroit defense and put a pass from Tomas Surovy into the net past Manny Legace.

The lead was very short-lived, however. Just eleven seconds later, Darren McCarty tied the game up by tipping a shot by Nicklas Lidstrom past goaltender Johan Hedberg.

Brendan Shanahan and Sergei Fedorov gave the Red Wings the lead midway through the second period. They headed up the ice, two-on-one. Shanahan sent the puck to Fedorov, then got the return pass and shot the puck past Hedberg from close range for his 29th goal of the season.

Fedorov quickly overtook his linemate in goal scoring with his 29th and 30th goals of the season early in the third period. The first one was mostly an unlucky bounce for Pittsburgh. Steve Yzerman gave the puck to Fedorov in the corner of the Pittsburgh zone. Fedorov made a centering pass towards the front of the net, and the puck bounced off the skate of Dick Tarnstrom and between Hedberg’s leg pads.

Fedorov’s next goal came on the Red Wings’ only power play chance of the game. Tomas Holmstrom made a nice centering pass from the corner. Fedorov had come unseen into the high slot area, and he snapped a one-time shot past Hedberg.

Luc Robitaille added a goal to cap off the night midway through the third. He carried the puck across the line, then passed it across to Holmstrom. Igor Larionov followed Robitaille across the blue line, received the pass from Holmstrom, and then sent it back to Robitaille, who had moved to the front of the net. Robitaille then slapped the puck in past Hedberg.

“The lucky goal discouraged them a bit,” said head coach Dave Lewis. “It was a game at 2-1 and they had generated chances, especially in the first 30 minutes. I think we got emotionally into it. We weren’t as sharp as we should have been in the first period.”

Legace agreed. “We didn’t match their intensity early in the game. But we didn’t give them much in the second period, and we gave them absolutely nothing in the third.”

The final count of shots on net was 27 apiece. The Red Wings will play next on Saturday afternoon, when they travel to face the St. Louis Blues. Former Wing Chris Osgood will most likely be in net for the Blues.

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