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Three Questions: Wings-Avalanche

by Michael Caples / Detroit Red Wings
How did the Wings get the job done?

The Red Wings have been able to keep winning in the face of injuries because of scoring contributions from all four lines.  Yesterday, it was Tomas Kopecky having a three-point night.  Tonight, in the Wings’ 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche, it was Valtteri Filppula and Kris Draper.  Filppula, who cracked a 19-game scoring drought in the Wings’ 5-0 win over St. Louis yesterday, is now on a scoring streak.  The Finnish winger scored with 19 seconds left in the first period, finishing off a rebound from Kopecky.  It was an important goal for the Wings, as Filppula evened up the contest at one apiece and gave Detroit the momentum as they headed into the first intermission.

In the second period, it was Draper, finishing off a great play from the Wings’ checking line.  Aaron Downey started it all off by causing some havoc behind the Avalanche goal.  Derek Meech took the turnover, and hit Draper with a great backhand feed from the goal line.  Draper made no mistake finishing on the play, redirecting the puck to the far side of the goal before goaltender Andrew Raycroft could slide across the crease.

The Wings also got an impressive performance from goaltender Ty Conklin.  After a rough outing in Nashville Saturday night, Conklin returned to the Detroit crease, and showed that he had put his last start behind him.  The goaltender made 25 saves to move his record to 23-8-1 on the season.   His most impressive play came with 11 seconds remaining, when he was able to keep the puck out of the net with four Avalanche players digging in the crease.

What was the goal of the night?

The secondary scoring was important to the Wings’ success tonight, but it was still one of their proven scorers stealing the show.  Johan Franzen picked up his 26th goal of the season during the second period, and it was classic ‘Mule’.  Starting with the puck along the boards, he bulled his way to the front of the net, making a few small moves to escape coverage.  He then fired a hard, low snap towards goaltender Raycroft, who made the stop.  But Franzen didn’t stop there, grabbing the rebound and beating the Avs’ goalie on his second try.  The goal gave the Wings a 2-1 lead, and they never looked back.   

Franzen also came through in the closing minutes of the third period, when he stopped a rolling puck from crossing the goal line.  The Avs were charging, and a goal would have made it 3-2 with six minutes remaining.  Franzen sweeped the puck away just before it crossed the line – it may have been the game-winning play.

What was the biggest news surrounding the game?

Today was the NHL trade deadline day, which meant players were switching teams left and right.  Twenty-two trades were made, involving 47 NHL players.  The Red Wings, however, were inactive in the trade bonanza.  Last season, the Wings picked up defenseman Brad Stuart near the deadline, but this season general manager Ken Holland stayed put.  Earlier this week, Holland was quoted as saying that his trade deadline was in July, when he signed Marian Hossa in the biggest free agent accusation of the summer.  The Wings were right up against the salary cap, which meant that if they were to add anyone to the roster, they would have to lose something.  Holland showed today that he has faith in his current roster, and he should – the night’s win vaulted Detroit into the top spot in the Western Conference. 

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