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Wings put on West Michigan show

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The atmosphere Tuesday night inside Van Andel Arena was akin a Stanley Cup playoff game at Joe Louis Arena.

With 10,174 enthusiastic fans packed into the home of the Griffins – the Red Wings’ American Hockey League affiliate – the Red & White scrimmage, sponsored by Amway and Meijer, was wildly successful.

The teams were spilt into equal 20-player squads for the scrimmage that was managed like a real NHL game that consisted of three 20-minute periods. With eight different players – including five Red Wings’ regulars – scoring goals in the scrimmage, which gave Team Red a 6-4 win, what wasn’t to like?

Following a scoreless first period, the middle frame was a penalty-filled one, featuring 12 minor infractions and five power-play goals, including two by forward Valtteri Filppula, who also had an assist.

“We were working PK and power-play, and I thought it was fun with 10 goals, that’s what it’s all about,” said Jiri Hudler, who scored two third-period goals for Team Red. “At the same time we tried to work hard and do the system right, because it’s getting closer and closer to the season. So we have to get sharper.”

The scrimmage was tightly contested with the score tied four different times. But the final score wasn’t decided until the third period when Griffins forward Brent Raedeke and Hudler put Team Red up for good with consecutive goals. Pavel Datsyuk had two assists and Griffins forward Trevor Parkes had a goal and an assist in leading Team White. Defenseman Garnet Exelby had three assists for Team Red.

The two top Wings goaltenders – Jimmy Howard (Team Red) and Ty Conklin (Team White) – played 20-minutes each. However, Howard was the busier of the two, stopping 12 first-period shots – doubling those made by Conklin in the first 20-minutes of action.

“It was a lot of fun,” Howard said. “It’s good for us to get back to this side of the state and do some things like this because not only people in Detroit support us, but they also support us down here, too.”

Team Red goalie Thomas McCollum came up with the save of the scrimmage when he robbed defenseman Ian White at the door-step. White cut in off the right wing and Nicklas Lidstrom feathered a perfectly placed pass to his defensive partner at the right goal post. But McCollum, who was screened out in front, quickly recovered in time to make a sliding save on White’s redirection. McCollum made 16 saves on 20 shots in two periods of work.

With Henrik Zetterberg (high-sticking) and defenseman Travis Ehrhardt (slashing) serving minor penalties, Team Red had a two-man advantage for 24-seconds, but did not capitalize early in the second period.

McCollum made another fine sprawling second-period save when he stopped Parkes, who beat a defender en route to a quality scoring chance

With Niklas Kronwall serving a two-minute penalty for holding, Team White finally broke the stalemate with a power-play tally midway through the second frame. McCollum made an initial stop on Parkes, but the goalie left a big, juicy rebound out in front, and Tomas Tatar sent a laser into the back of the net at 8:09.

Moments later, Team Red had its second 5-on-3 opportunity, but unlike the first try, they managed to capitalize on this one, tying the score 1-1 when Todd Bertuzzi (goal, assist) found the back of the net at 10:13.

However, Team White got its crack at a two-man advantage and regained the lead, 2-1, when the Euro Twins combined on a pretty goal, which excited the Hockeytown West crowd. From below the goal line, Datsyuk sent a centering pass to Zetterberg, who fired a shot from the slot that beat McCollum high at 14:51. Nicklas Lidstrom also gained an assist. 

But the Team White lead was short-lived as Filppula scored consecutive goals 48-seconds apart from virtually the same spot to the left of the goal crease to give the Red squad a 3-2 lead heading into the second intermission. His first goal was set-up by a blast from the point by Kronwall that ricocheted off the boards behind goalie Jordan Pearce. Filppula’s second tally was also front the left side of the net, but set-up this time by a pass from behind the net by Bertuzzi at 18:56. Pearce made 20 saves on 26 shots faced.

White and Parkes added third-period goals for Team White, who had a 38-33 advantage in shots on goal.

Here is a look at the lines and pairings used in Tuesday's scrimmage:

Offensive Lines
Johan FranzenValtteri FilppulaTodd Bertuzzi
Jiri HudlerJoakim AnderssonGustav Nyquist
Chris ConnerFrancis PareBrent Raedeke
Landon Ferraro – Adam Estoclet – Joey Martin

Defensive Pairings
Niklas KronwallBrad Stuart
Garnet Exelby – Logan Pyett
Greg Amadio – Bryan Rufenach

Jimmy HowardThomas McCollum

Offensive Lines
Henrik ZetterbergPavel DatsyukTomas Holmstrom
Justin AbdelkaderTomas TatarWillie Coetzee
Trevor ParkesJamie JohnsonAndrej Nestrasil
Mitch Callahan – Louis-Marc Aubry – Nick Oslund

Defensive Pairings
Nicklas LidstromIan White
Gleason FournierSebastien Piche
Brian LashoffTravis Ehrhardt

Ty ConklinJordan Pearce

ASSIGNED TO GR: Prior to Tuesday’s scrimmage, the Red Wings assigned 15 players –
10 forwards, four defensemen and a goalie – to the Griffins, who begin their American Hockey League season on Oct. 8 at Rockford.

The forwards sent to Grand Rapids are Brent Raedeke, Francis Pare, Adam Estoclet, Jamie Johnson, Andrej Nestrasil, Louis-Marc Aubry, Nick Oslund, Trevor Parkes, Mitch Callahan, and Willie Coetzee. The defensemen are Bryan Rufenach, Greg Amadio, Sebastien Piche, and Gleason Fournier. Goalie Thomas McCollum was also assigned to the Griffins.

GRIFFINS’ ADDITION: Forward Joey Martin, who signed with the Toledo Walleye earlier this month, was assigned to a tryout with the Griffins Tuesday. The 5-foot-10 winger played in Tuesday’s scrimmage for Team Red.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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