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Penalty shots put Filppula in exclusive company

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Valtteri Filppula scored his first career penalty shot goal last Monday when he flipped a backhand shot over Nashville's Dan Ellis.
DETROIT – In only his second full season in the NHL, and Valtteri Filppula is already rubbing elbows with some pretty impressive company in the Red Wings’ record book.

On Saturday, Filppula scored his second penalty shot goal in less than a week, becoming only the fourth player to score multiple career penalty shot goals in franchise history.

The exclusive group that Filppula has been granted membership consists of hockey hall of famers Gordie Howe and Ebbie Goodfellow, and longtime captain and certain future hall-of-famer Steve Yzerman.

“Obviously, they are very big names, and they were great players,” said Filppula, who has eight goals and 10 assists this season. “I don’t think I’m there, not even close. But it’s weird for me to have two penalty shots already at this time of the season. ... It doesn’t happen too often.”

Filppula beat Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun in the third period last Saturday. The Wings center waited for Vokoun to commit before going to his backhand and lifting a shot over the Panthers’ goalie. The same move was successful for Filppula against Nashville goalie Dan Ellis last Monday.

“The first one in Nashville, I really want to shoot, I was thinking about shooting,” Filppula said, “but then the goalie was so far away from the net, so I changed my mind about halfway.

“Last game I wanted to go the same way because it worked earlier. It was a pretty simple move.”

Dan Cleary scored a penalty shot goal for the Wings last season, beating Calgary goalie Miikka Kirusoff in Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. It was just the second successful penalty shot in Wings’ playoff history.

Valtteri Filppula is congratulated by Wings' teammates after he scored his second penalty shot goal in six days.
But Filppula’s goal in Nashville broke a Wings’ string of nine unsuccessful, regular-season penalty shots. The previous successful penalty shot for the Wings occurred when Igor Larionov beat San Jose’s Arturs Irbe on Nov. 22, 1995.

Filppula’s teammates have been impressed with his composure.

“He’s got a lot of skill when it comes down to penalty shots,” left wing Henrik Zetterberg said. “The last two moves have been real nice, and he looks real calm and not nervous at all when he steps up to the puck.

Asked if opposing goalies will begin reading the scouting reports on Filppula’s backhand move, Zetterberg said, “It’s tough for the goalie to read though. He has another move where he goes to the forward too, so that’s not his only move, and if the goalie is going to read him he’s just going to do something else.”

The NHL instituted the penalty shot for the 1934-35 season. That year, the Red Wings were involved in 11 penalty shot situations, including six opportunities by Wings center Ebbie Goodfellow, who was denied on five of his chances. Wings goalie Norm Smith stopped all five penalty shots that he faced that season.

In all, 53 different Red Wings have had the chance to stare-down an opposing goalie on a penalty shot during the regular-season. Current Wings to do so include Tomas Holmstrom (0-for-2), Pavel Datsyuk (0-for-2) and Nicklas Lidstrom (0-for-1).
Here is a list of the 23 Red Wings who have scored at least one penalty shot since the 1934-35 season:

Player                        Goals     Attempts
Steve Yzerman             3               6
Gordie Howe                2               2
Valtteri Filppula            2               2
Ebbie Goodfellow        2               8
Ivan Hlinka                    1               1
Thomas Gradin           1               1
Gerard Gallant             1               1
Bob Probert                  1               1
Mel Bridgman              1               1
Joe Kocur                     1               1
Dwight Foster              1               1
Doug Barkley               1               1
Claude LaForge          1               1
Norm Ullman               1               1
Kevin Miller                   1               1
Paul Ysebaert              1               1
Igor Larionov                1               1
John Sorrell                  1               2
Syd Howe                      1               2
Sid Abel                         1               2
Mike Foligno                 1               2
Sergei Fedorov            1               2
Mud Bruneteau            1               3

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