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Three Questions: Wings-Hurricanes

by Michael Caples / Detroit Red Wings
How did Ty Conklin look in his first real start?

Terrific could possibly be an understatement when describing how new goaltender Ty Conklin looked between the pipes.  He made 27 stops in the 3-1 win, but the way he made those saves is what counts.  Conklin showed that he can handle the difficulties presented while playing in goal with the Red Wings – meaning that he can keep focused when he doesn’t see shots for several minutes, and then face a flurry in an instant.  And let’s face it, to play goal for the Red Wings is as much a battle of mental strength as it is physical, because of the lack of activity for most of the game.

Conklin had multiple saves worthy of the ‘save of the game’ label, but two really stood out.  In the second period, Conklin faced a two-on-one, with Brandon Sutter and Rod Brind’amour flying in on him.  Brind’amour made a cross-crease feed to set up Sutter for a wide-open net, only to watch Conklin slide across the pipes and kick out a leg pad to absolutely rob the Hurricanes.  In the third, Conklin met back up with Brind’amour, when he crept in behind the play to get a backdoor feed from the Hurricanes defense, only to watch Conklin yet again slide post to post and reject another scoring chance.

What’s the best new rule change?

As demonstrated tonight, I really like the rule pertaining to television timeouts.  This year, stations can’t call for a timeout after an icing, which means teams will truly reap the benefit of the line change ban on the team that iced the puck.  During a time when the next whistle would result in a timeout, the Red Wings pinned the Hurricanes in their own end early in the first period, and the Hurricanes iced the puck.  No timeout.  Play picked back up, and more Detroit pressure resulted in another icing by the Hurricanes.  No timeout.  After the next face-off, the Wings generated more pressure, and ended up drawing a penalty on Carolina forward Ryan Whitney.  Twenty seconds later, the Red Wings took the lead with Nicklas Lidstrom’s first goal.

Who was the star of the game?

Excluding Conklin (since he was the focus of the first question), Lidstrom gets the nod for star of the game.  He scored the first goal of the game with a rocket from the point, but it was his defensive play that reminded his audience why he wins the Norris Trophy year after year.  On a 5-on-3, Lidstrom interrupted the Hurricanes drive into the Detroit end three times in a row, stealing pucks and interrupting dump-ins, and on the third attempt actually drew a penalty on Brind’amour, thus negating the powerplay.  Plays like that are commonplace with the Red Wings captain, but they are never overlooked.

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