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Weiss, Wings surge to big win before break

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Stephen Weiss took this questionable third-period hit to the head by Sabres defenseman Nikita Zadorov. Weiss did not return to the game. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT Stephen Weiss doesn’t put much thought into frivolous statistics.

“I heard about that this morning, but I don’t take much stock into that,” said Weiss, who has 11 points in 12 games. “I’ve been around long enough to know that it’s not me, and I’m sure the more games I play that will even itself out.”

Regardless of what Weiss thinks, the Red Wings have been a far better team with him in the lineup than without him this season, which was evident in Tuesday’s 6-3 comeback victory over the Buffalo Sabres at Joe Louis Arena.

Weiss collected his fifth goal of the season and his first power-play goal since joining the Red Wings a season ago, sparking a special team’s surge that has happened for this team in nearly three years.

“When he’s been playing this year he’s been really productive and we’re really happy to see that,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said.

The Wings are 9-1-2 when Weiss is in the lineup and 9-7-7 without him. They average 3.58 goals per game (43 goals in 12 games) with Weiss playing and 2.48 goals per game without him (57 in 23).

Weiss certainly did deliver, scoring the first of four power-play goals for the Wings, who haven’t scored four in a game since Dec. 27, 2011 in a 4-3 overtime win at Colorado.

Detroit’s power play was 4-for-6 against the Sabres as Tomas Tatar (twice) and Johan Franzen helped finish the comeback in the third period. Defenseman Danny DeKeyser and Zetterberg scored even-strength goals for the Red Wings, who snapped a six-game winless streak.

The six goals is the Wings’ highest offensive output this season and the first time they scored more than two goals in and of the past seven games.

“We didn't want to end up every game with one goal. That’s not good,” said Tatar, who is tied with Gustav Nyquist for the team lead in goals (14). “That's not how we're gonna win the game. Our power play is working now. If the puck won't go in, you just have to shoot from everywhere and just try, try and eventually it will go in.”

Trailing 1-0 in the first, Weiss got the Red Wings on the board midway through the period.

Camped out in the slot, Weiss fought off Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta to get his stick blade on Jakub Kindl’s rising shot from the point. With Riley Sheahan screening the goaltender, the deflection sent the puck downward and between Michal Neuvirth’s pads at 10:50.

“It was a nice power play,” Weiss said. “We moved it around well. Kuba took a nice shot and I was able to get my stick on it. We work on it in practice and it was nice to see it pay off.”

It was Weiss’s first power-play goal since he scored the game-tying goal in a 3-2 shootout victory for the Florida Panthers in Philadelphia on Feb. 7, 2013.

“I didn’t realize that,” Weiss said. “I’ll take it. It’s nice to get power-play time and you’ve got to contribute if you’re going to continually get that type of ice time, so it’s nice.”

However, Weiss wasn’t around to see the Wings’ last three power-play goals.

He left the game after a questionable hit by Buffalo’s Nikita Zadorov. As Weiss skated the puck into the offensive zone, the Sabres’ 6-foot-5 defenseman delivered a shoulder hit to the side of Weiss’s face at 7:57 of the third. The Red Wings’ forward – whose past injury woes have been well documented – needed help skating off the ice from Jonathan Ericsson and team trainer Piet Van Zant.

“I didn’t really see (Zadorov),” said Weiss, who spent the rest of the game in the team’s quiet room. “Couldn’t tell you what happened, the hit. I was a little woozy there but I feel fine now.”

Niklas Kronwall also left Tuesday’s game early. The Wings’ defenseman absorbed a high hit from Buffalo center Tyler Ennis at 6:37 of the second period.

“Weiss seems to have bounced back,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Kronner I don’t know for sure.”

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