Red Wings Rout Jets in First-Ever Meeting

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.

Just 40 seconds later, Chris Conner scored his first as a Red Wing when his attempted pass to Danny Cleary deflected off of Winnipeg defenseman Randy Jones’ skate and into the net, making it 4-1.

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.

Postgame: Jets @ Red Wings – 12/10

That’s not the biggest rout I’ve ever been present for at the Joe, but the last time I saw Detroit beat a team by more than six goals, the original Winnipeg Jets were still in existence (a 7-0 Red Wings win over the Colorado Avalanche on March 22, 1996). If not for a bad goal early, tonight’s win over the new Winnipeg Jets could have matched that.

And I will throw Jimmy Howard under the bus on the one goal against – it was a bad goal. True, Bryan Little got in behind the defense but Howard had plenty of time to get square to him. The shot wasn’t so good that Howard could not be expected to stop it.

Thankfully, Howard had a much better game from there out and it ended up not mattering. I had been worried that the first goal would be a sign of what kind of game it would be, turns out that the second goal was much more of one.

Nicklas Lidstrom, long pass to Johan Franzen who goes into the corner to get it, pass back out front to Todd Bertuzzi to put home. Two things the Jets did wrong there that they just kept doing all night.

First, they let passes like that get through. Now it was a heads-up play by one of the top defensemen of all time, but Franzen had to race to get to that puck. Winnipeg had a chance to break things up right there.

Second, Bertuzzi was covered but not cancelled out in front of the net. Wings players were in high percentage areas all night tonight. Some of the goals that would come later were great shots but it’s a lot easier to make those shots happen when they’re uncontested.

Speaking of great shots, the wife pointed out midway through the game that the Wings must have gotten a memo about shooting high on Ondrej Pavelec. They seemed to be picking the corners on him with ease.

Detroit games against the Atlanta Thrashers always seemed to be a little crazy. This game was no exception.

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