Stingy Firsts End
Saturday, 12.10.2011 / 8:58 PM ET
For the first time in more than a month, an opponent scored an even-strength goal against the Red Wings in the first period of a game.
Winnipeg center Bryan Little needed just 35-seconds at the start of Saturday’s game to score his 10th goal of the season, and put a halt to the Wings’ impressive streak.
It was the first time that the Wings surrendered a first-period goal in 10 games – dating to Mike Richards’ short-hander in Los Angeles on Nov. 19 – and the first even-strength tally in 17 games, going back to when Lee Stempniak gave the Calgary Flames a 1-0 lead on Nov. 3.
The Wings have allowed a league-low 13 first-period goals through 28 games. The New York Rangers are second with 15 goals in 26 games.
For the Jets, Little’s goal gave Winnipeg 34 first-period markers, which is second-most in the NHL, just one behind the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Wings’ first-periods performances is a remarkable turnaround from last season when they were among the worst defensive teams in the first period, giving up 84 goals in the opening 20-minutes – trailing just Columbus (86) and Colorado (91).