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Three Questions: Wings-Wild's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 60th game

Saturday, 02.21.2009 / 10:44 PM ET / News
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Three Questions: Wings-Wild
What was the big line-up change Saturday night?

The Red Wings had a fresh face defending their goal Saturday night – Jimmy Howard.  The top goaltender for the Wings’ AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, Howard was called up to the NHL roster when it was announced that Chris Osgood would be unavailable for the next ten days.  Ty Conklin played last night, so to give him a rest, coach Mike Babcock tapped Howard to get between the posts in Minnesota.  The Detroit management wanted to get a look at their second round draft pick from 2003, but should give him another look before he gets sent back down.  The final score didn’t do Howard justice; he fell victim to bad breaks.  First, he had to try to stop former all-star Owen Nolan in prime scoring positions, then a few turnovers left him facing difficult shots throughout the contest.  Combine that with a Wild squad playing in front of their energetic home crowd while the Wings were operating on no rest, and it was a bad situation for the young netminder.  Howard did make 24 shots in his ninth career game, however, and he showed good rebound control and stickwork on dump-ins throughout the contest.  He should see more time before he gets sent back to Grand Rapids.

How did Tomas Kopecky celebrate?

It’s not often that a hockey player gets to celebrate something big by scoring a goal the next day.  Forward Tomas Kopecky and his wife Maria were celebrating the birth of his second child today, and to top it off, he scored his third goal of the season for new son Tobias.  Three minutes into the second period, Kopecky charged to the net as Ville Leino flew down the boards.  Leino tried to make a pass out in front, and Kopecky fought through a crowd to get his stick on the puck and fire it past goaltender Niklas Backstrom.  Kopecky’s stick might have had a little magic in it; his new labeling on the top of his stick read ‘JT’ along with his number, in honor of his sons Jakub, and newly-born Tobias.

What went wrong?

You’re not going to win a lot of hockey games if you can’t convert on the power play, and even the game’s best team on the man advantage are going to have games where the puck doesn’t go in.  The Red Wings went scoreless on five man-advantage opportunities Saturday as they battled against the NHL’s best penalty-killing team.  Credit goes to goaltender Backstrom, who turned away 35 Detroit shots throughout the contest.  The Wings may have been battling travel fatigue after playing a home game last night, but they will have time to rest before they square off against San Jose on Wednesday at home.


H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38 is the official Web site of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit Red Wings and are trademarks of the Detroit Red Wings. NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Original Six is a trademark of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.
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