DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Red Wings have more than one smooth-skating and
offensively talented defenseman named Nick.
Niklas Kronwall scored his first NHL goal, helping Detroit to a 4-2 victory
over the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night.
Jason Woolley, Ray Whitney and Nicklas Lidstrom also scored for the Red
Wings, who led 2-1 after the first period.
Nicklas Lidstrom has won the last three Norris Trophies as the NHL's top
defenseman, and was also the MVP of the 2002 playoffs.
Kronwall, like Lidstrom, is from Sweden and hasn't looked out of place in
his 17 NHL games since being recalled from Grand Rapids of the AHL.
"He's going to be a good, solid offensive-minded defenseman," fellow
defenseman Mathieu Dandenault said of the 23-year-old Kronwall. "He has shown
a lot of maturity this year. He's getting more comfortable."
Kyle Calder and Tyler Arnason scored for Chicago, winless in 15 road games
"Thanks for bringing that up!" goalie Steve Passmore said. "It doesn't
matter where you play. We're not stacking up a whole lot of wins no matter
where we're playing."
Woolley gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead 13:33 in when he scored on a one-timed
slap shot from the top of the right circle, after taking a pass from Brett
Hull. Whitney made it 2-0 on a power-play goal with 1:07 left in the period. He
beat Passmore with a wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle.
But Chicago closed within 2-1 with just 3.7 seconds left in the first when
Calder tipped Deron Quint's shot out of the air.
Kronwall restored Detroit's two-goal lead with 5:35 remaining in the second
period when he put in a wrist shot from the inside edge of the right circle
after taking a pass from Dandenault.
"The guys are really excited for him (Kronwall). He played well," Red
Wings coach Dave Lewis said. "He jumped into a spot and Dandenault made a nice
This is Kronwall's first season in North America after Detroit drafted him
29th overall in 2000.
"I don't know what I thought," Kronwall said about his goal. "I was just
glad to see the puck go in the net. It felt great."
Lidstrom scored on a slap shot from the point 7:30 into the third period.
Arnason added his goal, which came off a goal-mouth scramble, with 9:22
"We had no place to go," Chicago coach Brian Sutter said. "There wasn't a
lot of open ice for use."