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Abdelkader's timely goal lifts Red Wings

Saturday, 05.30.2009 / 11:01 PM ET / News
By Lindsey Ungar  - DetroitRedWings.com Special Writer
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Abdelkader\'s timely goal lifts Red Wings
DETROITJustin Abdelkader didn’t need a lot of time.

"I basically told Abby in the first period he might not play one shift," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Just be ready."

On just his fifth shift of the night, playing the least of any Red Wing s' player — just 3:11 minutes — Abdelkader, a Muskegon, Mich., native, scored the coffin-nailing goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Ville Leino worked the puck behind the net before Abdelkader threw a shot that hit the side of the cage and took a weird bounce. While Jordan Staal searched the sky for the puck, Abdelkader caught it, threw it to his stick, and beat Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to put the Red Wings up 3-1.

Less than three-minutes into the third period, Abdelkader had given Detroit a lead they never relinquish.

Not too shabby for a 22-year-old fourth liner who played just two games with the Wings in the regular-season and only eight in the playoffs after Tomas Kopecky was injured in Game 4 against Anaheim in the Western Conference semifinals. It was just his second point of the playoffs after an assist in his debut.

Abdelkader was a standout for Mona Shores High School and then Michigan State, where he scored the “other” biggest goal of his life — a national championship game-winner with 18.9 seconds left against Boston College in 2007.

“That would be a tough one to beat,” Abdelkader said. “But I think this one is right up there.”

He scored 24 goals and 52 points in 72 games with the Wings' AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids this season.

The Wings never flinched after Abdelkader’s tally. Wings goalie Chris Osgood made back-to-back saves on Kris Letang and Crosby on the following shift. Osgood made 31 saves on the night, including a stop on Evgeni Malkin's breakaway early in the second period.

Wings defenseman Brad Stuart opened the scoring 6:22 into the game, and Pittsburgh’s RuslanFedotenko tied the game five-minutes later.

Johan Franzen scored his team-leading 11th goal of the playoffs with 1:13 left in the second period to break the 1-1 tie. Picking up a Brian Rafalski shot behind the net, Franzen deflected a backhander off of a flailing Fleury.




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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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