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."
Brendan Shanahan, Henrik Zetterberg and Robert Lang scored for Detroit, which thoroughly dominated the final 40 minutes of action to bounce back from an eyebrow-raising home loss to lowly Chicago on Friday.
"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 games.
Notes: 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).
|Pierre-Marc Bouchard (16) ASST: Mattias Weinhandl (5), Marc Chouinard (15)|
1 - 0 MIN
|Henrik Zetterberg (36) ASST: Tomas Holmstrom (27)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Robert Lang (20) ASST: Steve Yzerman (17), Nicklas Lidstrom (60)|
2 - 1 DET
|PPG - Brendan Shanahan (34) ASST: Steve Yzerman (18), Robert Lang (39)|
3 - 1 DET
|PPG - Marian Gaborik (34) ASST: Martin Skoula (13), Manny Fernandez (3)|
3 - 2 DET
|Power Play %||16.7%||20.0%|
|% on Road||21.2%||16.7%|
|% at Home||12.8%||23.1%|
|Chris Chelios Hooking against Mattias Weinhandl|
|Brett Lebda Hooking against Kyle Wanvig|
|Mattias Weinhandl Tripping against Kirk Maltby|
|Stephane Veilleux Hi-sticking against Kirk Maltby|
|Andrei Zyuzin Hooking|
|Mikko Koivu Tripping against Henrik Zetterberg|
|Niklas Kronwall Hooking|
|Nicklas Lidstrom Holding against Marian Gaborik|