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First-Period Power

Sunday, 12.04.2011 / 7:25 PM
By Bill Roose - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com / The Wheel Deal
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The Wheel Deal
First-Period Power

Niklas Kronwall and the Red Wings have things rolling, particularly in the first period where they have out-scored the last seven opponents, 10-1.
DENVER, Colo. – One particular battle cry for coach Mike Babcock this season has been the importance of jumping on opponents with plenty of energy and tenacity from the opening face-off.

The commitment has never been more evident than now for the Red Wings who take a seven-game winning streak into the Pepsi Center where they’ll face the Colorado Avalanche tonight. 

Detroit has outscored its last seven opponents 10-1 in the first period. The Wings have allowed a league-low 12 first-period goals this season.

“Even though we haven’t played our best level yet, we’ve still been able to come up with wins,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “Same thing against Buffalo the other night when the first 20 (minutes) were really good then we let up a little bit.”

The last time the Wings allowed a first-period goal came in Los Angeles when Mike Richards scored shorthanded at 6:37 on Nov. 19. The Wings have trailed only twice for a total of six minutes, 7 seconds during this streak. The other time was when they were down 1-0 vs. Calgary.

It’s interesting to note that a month ago some in the media were ready to kick dirt on the Wings’ grave after a 0-5-1 stretch while being out-scored 22-6.

“The biggest pressure that anyone puts on this team comes from right here in this locker room,” Kronwall said. “We feel that we have something good going here. Obviously going without winning in six games in a row, it’s tough when you’re not used to it. But at the same time I feel that we did a pretty good job of sticking with the game plan, and we stuck together. There was no pointing fingers, whatsoever. We just knew that everyone in here had to be a little bit better.

“We had made some mistakes that cost us, big time. We knew that eventually, if we kept creating chances, the puck was going to go in, and it was nice to get that Los Angeles game to get us back to winning again.”

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