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Three Questions: Wings-Stars

by Michael Caples / Detroit Red Wings
What was the Wings’ performance of the game?

In the last moments of the first period, the Wings were staring down a five-on-three penalty kill, with Brett Lebda and Dan Cleary both in the box.  The penalty kill unit got quite a bit of help, however, in the form of Andreas Lilja.  The November winner of the Carhartt Trophy for hardest-working player of the month sacrificed the body not once, but twice, as he dove in front of Mike Modano shots from the point.  On Modano’s third try, Lilja went down in front of the moving puck once again, and forced Modano to shoot wide of the net.  Without Lilja’s effort on the penalty kill, the game could have gotten out of reach early for the Red Wings.  And make no mistake, it’s not a lot of fun to take a shot from Mike Modano, whether you are wearing pads or not.

What were the big changes?

With coach Mike Babcock looking to change things up, the Wings came out with some new forward combinations Friday night.  The top two lines looked drastically different, and very similar to last year’s line-up.  Henrik Zetterberg was back up with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom, while Marian Hossa was on the right wing with Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen.  Dan Cleary centered Jiri Hudler and Mikael Samuelsson, and Kris Draper played pivot for Tomas Kopecky and Kirk Maltby.

Babcock, however, changed things up during the contest like usual.  By the end of the game, Hossa was back on Datsyuk’s wing, and Zetterberg was back with Franzen.

What went wrong?

The Stars won the game by keeping the Wings off the scoreboard on the powerplay.  Detroit went 0-3 on the powerplay, which is a testament to Dallas coach Dave Tippett and his players.  Marty Turco also played well in goal for the Stars, stopping 37 of the 38 shots that the Wings fired at him.
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