DETROIT – In desperate need of two-points in the standings, the Red Wings’ senior leadership was clutch as Daniel Alfredsson and Pavel Datsyuk each paved the way with three-point efforts Thursday night.
Alfredsson scored two goals and collected career assist No. 700, and Datsyuk added three helpers in the Red Wings’ 3-2 overtime win over the Calgary Flames at Joe Louis Arena.
The win snapped an overall six-game winless skid, and five straight losses at home, for the Red Wings who improved to 6-9-6 on home ice this season.
Alfredsson is the fourth active player to reach the 700 assist milestone, joining the New Jersey forward Jaromir Jagr (1,024), San Jose center Joe Thornton (818) and Anaheim forward Teemu Selanne (760).
Datsyuk’s three assists was his second multi-point game since coming back from a concussion that sidelined the Wings’ center for seven games, He now has a goal and four assists in six games since returning on Dec. 10.
Veteran agitator Jordin Tootoo supplied plenty of energy for the Wings Thursday. Just called up on Wednesday, Tootoo was among six Wings’ players who registered three hits each against the Flames. Tootoo collected all three of his hits in the first period.
The Red Wings had 29 hits overall as Joakim Andersson, Luke Glendening, Todd Bertuzzi, Jonathan Ericsson and Daniel Cleary also had three hits each.
Quotes after Thursday’s win:
Right Wing - DET
Goals: 2 | Assists: 1 | Pts: 3
Shots: 5 | +/-: 1
On breaking the five-game home losing skid:
“It’s huge for us I mean we’re hanging in games and we’re playing some good hockey and then all of a sudden we have some lapses where we give the other team way too many chances, we did that at times today too but we grinded throughout the whole time, 60 minutes today and obviously Pavel’s play there at the end of regulation to draw the penalty turns out to be huge.”
On the game-winning goal in overtime:
“Well we found a one-timer from Pav on the right side, got the puck back and caught them a little spread out and he find a perfect seam for me there and it was just you know get it off the ice and had an open net pretty much.”
On ending the team’s 0-9 overtime losing streak:
“I mean we’re not playing our best. I don’t think we did either but we have to have the effort I think we gotta build from that. It’s great to see everybody working hard but you know it’s one game and we got two more here before Christmas and like to really finish strong before the little break we have.”
On tonight’s gritty win:
“Of course we did, I mean, we got the lead two times, up 2-1 and we were playing well. I think we scored 3-1 and then they called that back and then we got in penalty trouble and they get the tied up and I thought we regrouped well going into the third and played a solid third. Obviously you know the power play got better as the game went on and that turns out to be the difference.”
On feeling like more than a regular win:
“I’m sure it’s just it’s nice when you put so much effort into it now and you know we’re struggling and there’s a lot of pressure on us and it takes more energy than normal so take winning tonight make practice tomorrow a lot easier and then travel on the road.”
On collecting career assist No. 700 in the second period:
“The win tonight is huge for us and it always feels better to score goals than to have assists but it’s a nice milestone but it’s not something that I hope I get, you play long enough you get to some point I guess and it’s one of those things when it’s all said and done and you’ve hung up the skates it’s something to reflect on and probably be part of.”
On feeling like you needed to have big game:
“I mean you always try every game. I don’t think you do much different. I scored on my first shift today it makes you feel a little bit better. I thought I had my legs a little bit more than I’ve had lately which helps create chances and be strong on the puck and also being on the receiving end of some unbelievable passes helps too.”
On whether the line changes help:
“I thought it did. I thought both lines picked it up from that point and thought that helped us, no question.”
NIKLAS KRONWALLDatsyuk seemed to have his legs under him more tonight?
Defense - DET
Goals: 0 | Assists: 2 | Pts: 2
Shots: 3 | +/-: 1
“Absolutely, Pavel was outstanding tonight and all over the puck in both zones, offensively and defensively. He was all over the place.”
How about fighting back each time Calgary tied the game?
“I thought that was something that we did a lot better tonight than we haven’t done in a bit. We just kept grinding, regardless of what the score was we just kept digging away and tonight we just found a way.”
How much energy did you guys get from Calgary’s last-minute penalty in the third?
“Of course you always try to score on the 5-on-4, no doubt about that. But we had a good talk there with the little break we had and went through a few things that we wanted to do and it worked out.”
How about Alfredsson picking up career assist No. 700?
“Yeah that was awesome. Alfie has been huge for us. To be able to play like that is pretty remarkable and the leadership that he brings and just the person that he is, very happy for him. Very happy that he’s on our side.”
That shot from the point was a canon, wasn’t it?
“I think he’s got a great shot, we’ve always known that. And that was a bomb. Even if the goalie would have seen it he wouldn’t have had a chance. That’s how good the shot was.”
Especially with Zetterberg out have you guys looked toward Alfredsson to lead more?
“I think all of the older guys we’ve been looking to lead. It’s been so-so, and obviously we’ve talked about that, about just being better every single guy in here. I thought the effort was there tonight and we found a way.”
Did you see some extra pep in Datsyuk tonight?
“Pavel was all over the puck tonight, all over the ice tonight both offensively and defensively. Stripping guys of pucks and getting it back and carrying through the neutral zone and making some really good plays, he could have had a couple (goals) himself tonight.”
How much of a relief was it to score the winner on the power play?
“Yeah, it was a relief in a lot of ways tonight. Of course, more important was we got two points and found away to win. That’s something that we haven’t done a lot of, so that felt good. Again, the power-play goal, that’s something that we’ve been struggling with. We almost had one there in the second, but we found a way and that’s what it’s all about.”
Can one win like this turn the tide for this team?
“Well, it’s not that easy. We have to stick to the program. We know if we have a good effort every night, work for a full game we’re going to have a good chance of winning games. If we do what we’re supposed to do out there it doesn’t matter who’s in the lineup we should be able to find a way to win. Tonight that was the case.”
Was it also nice to win at home?
“No doubt, the fans deserve it. Fans were outstanding tonight and I think when we scored the last one I don’t know if I heard it louder in this building in quite awhile. I’m happy for the team, I’m happy for the fans, they really deserve it.
“They’ve been sticking with us. Things haven’t always gone our way but we feel like we have them behind us and they’re always sticking with us and they’re very loyal, and I think the least we can do is applaud them for coming here and still supporting us.”
JOAKIM ANDERSSONOn tonight’s win:
Center - DET
Goals: 1 | Assists: 0 | Pts: 1
Shots: 4 | +/-: 1
“It was a huge win. We feel good about ourselves again and hopefully we can keep getting some wins here.”
On the play of Daniel Alfredsson and Pavel Datsyuk:
“They’re two great players. They’ve been playing well for us all year. Alfie’s coming in here and being a leader. He was the captain in Ottawa for so long. You can see why.”
On scoring his fifth goal of the season:
“It just touched my skate and in. It was a lucky bounce, a big goal.”
On Alfredsson’s shot from the point, which he tipped:
“He has a great shot. The power play with him and Pavel and Kronner and those guys is a real good power play.”
On getting the goal for Alfredsson’s milestone assist:
“That’s a fun thing to be scoring the goal – or at least touching the puck – on his 700th assist.”
On the relief of getting a win:
“That’s just how it felt after the game, a relief. Finally we got a win. Hopefully we can get some confidence back and some energy, so we can start playing well again.”
On whether Wednesday’s outdoor practice broke up monotony for team:
“Yeah, maybe it was like that. We had some fun out there. It was a break, something different. We did a lot of good things out there today.”
On Datsyuk’s three-assist performance tonight:
“He’s unbelievable out there. When he has the puck it’s hard to take it from him. He does some moves that you never seen before. It’s impressive what he does out there.”
JONAS GUSTAVSSONOn Thursday’s win:
Goalie - DET
GA: 2 | Sv%: .909
“It was great, obviously. It was a good feeling seeing the puck go in and get the win here. I think that's good for our group and I think we played well today.”
On the Red Wings’ five penalties in the game:
“They had a few power plays, especially when they scored that goal. But I think even though they scored, the guys did a great job blocking shots and did everything they could to kill that penalty. But they got one there. But that doesn't really matter. What matters is how you go from there and we kept going and we pushed for the win. It was good to see.”
On the overtime:
“I haven't been playing that many shootouts this year, it's only been two. So for myself, I just saw as the game kept going and just tried to do my job if something happened. It was a short one this time.
“It's good for our group, for our confidence. I feel like if we do the right things, we have a good chance to win the games. But we can't be too happy with this, too. We gotta keep pushing before the little Christmas break, try to get some more wins. It was a while since we won here so that was good for our team.”
On whether outdoor practice at Comerica Park on Wednesday helped team:
“It was something different. I think when you're on the losing streak, it's always good to do something different so everything's not going same, same, same all the time. If you do something else, it maybe gives the group some energy. That's never a bad thing. I think it helped us.”
On whether the upcoming Winter Classic is on his mind:
“Maybe a little. I'm pretty excited to go to Toronto (Friday) because that's where I played before. I never faced a team where I played before. First of all, I'm looking forward to that game. That being said, I don't know if I'm starting yet but no matter what it's going to be fun to go there and try to get a win in Toronto.
“Maybe it gives you a little confidence. I don't try to think too much about that. I see every game is a new game, no matter if you won a few in a row or you lost a few in a row, you gotta believe in what you're doing and stick to what you're working on in practices. That's how I approached this game today and that's how I'm gonna go next game I start.”
On stopping Mikael Backlund’s breakaway attempt in the first period:
“I know he's a skilled player. If you're not patient, he's going to make you look silly. So I just tried to stay patient, come out and be big, just tried to follow his movements and this time it went well.”
On Daniel Alfredsson’s big night:
“Huge. Obviously we have a lot of injuries and a lot of young guys who's playing great but it's always good to have that kind of leadership on and off the ice, especially with Hank being out. But I feel like we have a few other leaders, too, in this group so we should be good no matter who's in the lineup. We always have a few veteran guys that can get the guys going when we need to.”
COACH MIKE BABCOCK
General thoughts on the game:
“I thought we worked real hard. I thought we had structure and I thought we competed, gave ourselves a chance. It’s not easy to win especially when you haven’t done a whole lot of winning and you’re playing against yourself a little bit as well mentally. I thought we stuck with the process. The game started the same way the last game started, we scored and they scored right away. Instead of folding we kept playing.
“There was a lot of good play from a lot of our young guys. Sheahan and Jurco were real strong. And obviously, Pavel with the three helpers and Alfie having a big night was very important for us.”
On Datsyuk’s contributions:
“I thought part way through the second he got going. I thought their line had the toughest time through the first period. We kind of split them up in the second and then I thought he got going as did Alfredsson as well. You need your big guys, especially when you’re shorthanded, especially offensively for us because of the players we dressing. Our team competed.”
On the leadership that team got from those players in the lineup:
“That’s what you need. You need guys not to talk necessarily, but lead by example on the ice. Make a play when you need one. Then everyone settles down and relaxes. Our captain Zetterberg is a hard headed guy. He’s got stick-to-itiveness and we miss that part of his game so other guys have to step up.”
On picking up the extra point in overtime:
“Just winning the game was important for us. I never thought about the extra point, just about winning the game.”
On the net front presence by guys like Daniel Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi:
“And we had lots of rubber and lots of second chances tonight. The other night we had one second chance and you can’t score against these goalies like that.”
MIKE CAMMALLERIOn Datsyuk’s three-assist night and general observations of the game:
Left Wing - CGY
Goals: 0 | Assists: 2 | Pts: 2
Shots: 3 | +/-: 1
“We all know what he's capable of. We all have a tremendous amount of respect for him and deservedly so. I think what you saw out of him and some of their other guys tonight was ... they had a little bit of desperation, a little bit of hunger in their game coming down the stretch. I think they understood the importance of a tight game like that and we need a little bit more of that. We need to understand that and have that hunger and desperation when we have a chance to win a tight game like that. That's what I saw.
“Down the stretch, I think you saw them with more puck time than us. We've still got to understand the difference between making smart, conservative hockey plays and not making plays. Just because we want to play smart and play the right side of the puck in a tight game, we still need to take the puck out with speed and create speed through the neutral zone and get a forecheck going to make it hard on the other team.
“Our power play's needed to give our team momentum, whether we score or not. And we were finally able to tonight. That was vital.”
On being in the box at the end of overtime:
“It’s not a good feeling. It's something that's definitely preventable, but at the same time we got a point. It definitely could be worse.”
On the hooking penalty against Datsyuk and whether he had to do it:
“I was just trying to go change and he came in with a full head of steam. Obviously taking a penalty there was better than letting him go in and score. At the same time, I'm sort of glad I did that.”
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