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Wings, Lidstrom get PP back on track

by Michelle Crechiolo / Detroit Red Wings
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DETROIT – Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom ended his 42-game scoreless streak on Thursday by notching the first goal of the game in a 3-1 victory over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes.

The last time Lidstrom went scoreless for as long was during the 1992-93 campaign, when he went 48 consecutive games without a goal. While this season’s drought didn’t last as long, it certainly felt that way to the Wings defenseman.

“It was the longest in my career without scoring a goal, so it felt good,” Lidstrom said. “But I think it was more important that the power play got the goal, I think we got two power play goals last night. Hopefully that will help us, give us a little bit of a spark.”

This was the Wings’ first game with multiple power play goals since Dec. 11 in a 3-2 OT win over Anaheim. In the 14 games since, the Wings had been a mediocre 2-of-45 with the man-advantage.

Against the Hurricanes, the Wings were 2-for-7 on the power play. Drew Miller also scored on the power play for the Wings.

“A lot of these games come down to special teams,” goalie Jimmy Howard said. “Usually when you score a few power play goals that’ll get you going.”

Lidstrom was on the ice for both power play goals, and so were forwards Valtteri Filppula, Dan Cleary and Miller, who assisted on Lidstrom’s goal at the 11:30 mark of the first period, and added his own at 1:24 of the second period.

“Obviously Miller had himself a good game last night, we scored a couple power play goals with him out there. He’s a real good skater,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

Miller’s appearance on the power play may have surprised some, but Babcock had his reasons for putting him out on special teams.

“It’s not like we picked it out of a hat,” Babcock said. “It’s just we were talking on the bench and we didn’t like the way the power play had been going, he just went out there and did a good job.”

FIL HEATS UP: Thursday’s game against the Hurricanes was Filppula’s first multi-point game since Oct. 10. Filppula picked up assists on both power play goals.

Since returning to the lineup on Dec. 26 from a broken wrist, Filppula has a goal and five assists.

“I feel OK, the wrist feels OK,” he said. “Obviously, it takes a while to come back, but I’ve been able to skate the whole time, so I don’t think that’s a problem, but definitely I’m glad to get in more games and play more.”

Filppula was also responsible for both penalties assessed to the Wings on Thursday. He was whistled for tripping in the first period, and hooking in the third. The Wings’ forward only had four penalties heading into the game against the Hurricanes.

“I think doubled my penalties this year,” Filppula joked. “Obviously, it’s not a good thing, but it happens every once in a while. It’s a good thing that we did a very good job on the PK.”

FIRST GAME BACK: Jonathan Ericsson returned to the lineup Thursday, after missing 12 games with a knee injury. The Wings’ defenseman played more than 13-minutes, well below his average before the injury.

“I think I played a little less than I usually do, but that was probably good for me,” he said. “It was a good start here, and I’m going to go from there.

“It’s a little bit sore today, but nothing major, so it’s still positive.” intern Michael Caples contributed to this report.

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