ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- After a dominating performance against
the league's best penalty kill, the Detroit Red Wings look primed
and ready for a deep postseason run.
The Red Wings' top-ranked power play vastly outplayed
Minnesota's No. 1 penalty-killing unit in a 3-2 victory on Sunday.
"We've got a good power play and we want to have it good going
into the playoffs," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "We don't
want teams to screw around with us. We feel we can bury you on the
power play if you try to screw around against us."
The Red Wings scored two power-play goals in the second period,
both assisted by Steve Yzerman, to get their franchise-record 27th
road win of the season, one shy of the NHL record for road
victories in a season. New Jersey set the record in 1998-99.
"We're not as cute on the road," Babcock said. "We keep the
shifts really short and just roll everyone."
"There's a reason why that team is on top of the league,"
Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. "They have guys that move
the puck very well, guys that can shoot. They see the entire ice.
It's fun to watch, but not when you're behind the other bench."
The Wings won 11 games in March and are steamrolling toward the
playoffs while trying to put some distance between themselves and
second-seeded Dallas. Detroit, which clinched the Central Division
title with the win, now leads the Stars by 10 points in the race
for the best record in the West.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Marian Gaborik scored and Manny
Fernandez made 34 saves for the Wild, who had all sorts of problems
generating offense after a strong first period against the best
team in the league.
"We talked about playing really strong on special teams, and
this was a good test for us," Red Wings defenseman Niklas Lidstrom
said. "After the first period I thought we played really well,
moving the puck down low and opening up some chances."
The Wild wasted little time getting on the board, taking a 1-0
lead just 93 seconds into the game.
Mattias Weinhandl grabbed a loose puck on a 3-on-2 rush and
flipped an odd-angle wrist shot that fluttered over Manny Legace's
right shoulder and caught the upper corner of the net.
It was initially credited to Weinhandl, who would have had just
his third goal of the season and first since Dec. 30. But upon
review, scoring officials ruled that the puck glanced off of
Bouchard before hitting the net.
After Zetterberg tied it in the first on a nice feed from Tomas
Holmstrom, his 36th goal of the season, the Red Wings really got
going in the second period, outshooting the Wild 20-7 and flexing
their considerable muscle with the man advantage.
After a hooking penalty to Andrei Zyuzin, Lang took the puck
near the right circle and dished it to Yzerman behind the net. Lang
then broke hard to the right, and Yzerman fed him with a perfect
pass through the crease. Lang beat Fernandez with a wrist shot high
on the glove side for a 2-1 lead.
Shanahan made it 3-1 three minutes later after a questionable
tripping call on Mikko Koivu. Yzerman made another beautiful
centering pass with 6:32 to go in the second.
The Wild entered the game killing more than 87 percent of the
power plays, but Detroit was 2-for-4 on the game.
"Every power play they got, they really bared down," Fernandez
said. "They really got us."
Gaborik's 34th goal of the season cut the lead to 3-2 with just
over 3 minutes to go in the second, but the Wild managed just two
shots in the third period to lose for the fourth time in six
The Wild are allowing fans to send text messages through
their cell phones to post on the big screen. One read, "Yzerman,
thanks for the hockey memories." ... The Red Wings 34-0-2 when
leading after two periods, second only to Ottawa (41-0-2).
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Xcel Energy Center Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Referees: Tom Kowal, Bill McCreary Linesmen: Ryan Galloway, Pierre Racicot
Attendance: 18,568 (102.8% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Pierre-Marc Bouchard (16)
Assists: Mattias Weinhandl, Marc Chouinard
Henrik Zetterberg (36)
Assist: Tomas Holmstrom
Robert Lang (19)
(Power Play) Assists: Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom
Brendan Shanahan (34)
(Power Play) Assists: Steve Yzerman, Robert Lang
Marian Gaborik (33)
(Power Play) Assists: Martin Skoula, Manny Fernandez