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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.




SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80