Valteri Filppula got the Red Wings on the board early and they never let up, as Detroit cruised to a 6-0 win over the visiting Minnesota Wild on Friday night.
The goal was the first of a pair for Filppula, who – along with Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall – led the team in scoring with three points.
Just 35 seconds into the game, Zetterberg put a shot on Minnesota goalie Josh Harding from the top of the left circle. Harding made the initial stop but the rebound came right out to Filppula as he drove to the net, shifting over to his backhand to put the puck past Harding.
Rookie defenseman Brendan Smith, playing in his fifth game of the season and his first at Joe Louis Arena, scored his first career goal with 3:54 left in the opening period to make it 2-0. Danny Cleary stole the puck along the right wing boards and Todd Bertuzzi sent it back to him from the right corner to the near faceoff circle. Justin Abdelkader attempted to corral the rebound of Cleary’s shot at the edge of the crease, kicking the puck up to his stick but whiffing on the shot. Before Abdelkader could get another swat at it, Smith jumped in and batted it past Harding.
Another broken play gave the Red Wings their third goal. At 7:05 of the second, Darren Helm gained the Minnesota zone and cut to the high slot before attempting to pass the puck off. His pass deflected off a skate and came right back to him for a shot through a screen and past Harding.
Filppula’s second made it 4-0 with 3:25 left in the middle period. After 1:14 of Red Wings’ puck control in the Minnesota zone, Zetterberg tried to send a pass from behind the goal out front. The puck deflected out to Filppula in the slot to send back past Harding.
Just 1:07 later, Ian White‘s shot from the top of the right circle skipped off the ice and bounced over Harding’s shoulder to make it 5-0.
Zetterberg rounded out the scoring at 5:30 of the third period. When Harding and the Minnesota defense shifted to cover Filppula in the left circle, Zetterberg was left wide open at the top of the left circle to take a pass and slap the puck into the open net.
The Wild had appeared to get on the board late in the third period but it was rules that Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard was pushed into the net on the play.
Former Plymouth Whaler Matt Hackett replaced Harding after the sixth goal and went on to stop all six shots he faced. Harding made 23 saves on 29 shots while Howard made 19 saves in earning the shutout.
Neither team scored a power play goal on the night, with Detroit having five tries with the extra attacker to Minnesota’s two.
The Red Wings will look to make it a three-game winning streak when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.
Detroit lost forward Todd Bertuzzi to a lower-body injury in the second period… The Red Wings played without Pavel Datsyuk
(knee), Patrick Eaves
(concussion), Jonathan Ericsson
(wrist) and Nicklas Lidstrom