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Strange night ends in record-style for Wings

by Matthew O'Day / Detroit Red Wings
Valtteri Filppula is congratulated by Wings' teammates after he scored his second penalty shot goal in six days.
DETROIT -- Dan Cleary scored the go-ahead goal for the Red Wings early in the third period and Detroit pulled away late for a 5-2 victory against the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.

The game marked coach Mike Babcock’s 200th career win as an NHL head coach, a feat which Babcock isn’t planning to dwell on.

“I’d like to get about five times that, so let’s just keep on keepin’ on,” he said.

It was a remarkably strange contest at Joe Louis Arena, which featured both Florida goals going in off Red Wing defensemen, a combined 81 shots, and two Detroit penalty shots tied an NHL record.

Never in their history had the Red Wings taken multiple penalty shots in one game.

Valtteri Filppula scored on his penalty shot, which was awarded after Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun threw his stick to stop Filppula’s shot in the middle of the third.

Filppula, who also scored on a penalty shot last Monday in Nashville, joins Hockey Hall of Famers Ebbie Goodfellow and Gordie Howe, and soon-to-be hall of famer Steve Yzerman, as the only players to score multiple penalty-shot goals during their Red Wings' careers.

Pavel Datsyuk’s penalty shot, taken less than four minutes earlier, was turned away by Vokoun.

The Wings tied the league record for the most penalty shots awarded in a game, which occurred last when Carolina's Erik Cole scored once on a pair of penalty shot opportunities against Buffalo on Nov. 9, 2005.

Saturday's final score doesn’t reflect how tough the game was for the Wings. The game was tied into the third period as Vokoun played a remarkable first two periods. He made 41 saves in his first game against the Wings since being acquired in the offseason by Florida.

“Really excellent goaltending by (Vokoun). He’s an excellent goaltender,” Babcock said. “He gives them an opportunity each and every night that he’s in there. We had some pressure on him from the power play and the penalty shot, and it was great to see it go in.”

But the Wings’ offensive juggernaut, which produced a season-high 46 shots, was too much to handle as two early third period goals put the game away.

Wings goalie Chris Osgood turned away 33 shots, running his record to 15-1-1 on the year.
“They’re a fast team. It was a fast game and they were skating fast, so we had to pick up our game,” Osgood said. “We would have liked to be a little stronger in our own end but we played well offensively in their zone, and it was a good win for us.”

Babcock agreed.

“I thought (Florida was) quicker than we expected," Babcock said, "and I was impressed with their talent level.”

On a night when the Wings were without left wing Tomas Holmstrom – one of the league’s best players when close to the net – second chance goals helped the team stay close to the Panthers.

Both Datsyuk and Johan Franzen stuffed pucks home while operating in Holmstrom’s office.

The Panthers also benefited from strong play down low, but unfortunate bounces ultimately led to both of their goals.

Olli Jokinen’s first period goal was deflected into the net by Nicklas Lidstrom, and Chris Chelios accidentally knocked a Radek Dvorak shot behind Osgood in the second.

“It happens so fast, and guys whip around and shoot pucks in the crease all the time,” Osgood said. “Really, we don’t even think about it after it happens. We just move onto the next play.”

The outcome of the game did allow the Wings’ goalie to joke about the uncommon occurance, however.

“(Chelios) hasn’t had a goal for a while. It takes a lot of talent to put it off your skate and your stick and inside the post like that. It was a great goal, really.”

With the victory, the Red Wings have now amassed 14 wins in 17 home games, and that dominance doesn’t surprise Detroit’s coach.

“I think when the other team gets off the flight, they’ve got to know that there’s no chance for points," he siad. "That’s how we want to be at home. We want to be dominant.”
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