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Lidstrom enjoys successful return

Wings' captain assists on both of Franzen's power play tallies

Sunday, 03.09.2008 / 6:07 PM / News
Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT -- Captain Nicklas Lidstrom returned to the lineup Sunday afternoon as the Red Wings defeated the Nashville Predators 4-3 at Joe Louis Arena.

“I felt a little rusty," Lidstrom said. "I was caught standing still a few times and was not reacting as quick as I like. Once I got over that hump, I felt comfortable.”

Lidstrom contributed early in the first period, assisting on Johan Franzen’s power play goal.
“He’s the main reason,” said Dominik Hasek of Lidstrom. “He’s the quarterback of the power play. Even if he’s 70 or 80 percent he’s a big help.”

Lidstrom had missed six games with an MCL sprain suffered at Colorado on Feb. 18.
“It felt good to be back; the tempo is a little higher than practice and I still need to get used to that,” said Lidstrom, who is expected to play Tuesday against Chicago.

Lidstrom has played more games against the Predators (53) than anyone else in franchise history.

STONED: Dominik Hasek helped dig his defensemen out of a possible hole late in the first period Sunday. After Niklas Kronwall had a backhanded clearing pass intercepted at the blue line by Nashville center Jason Arnott, the Red Wings’ goalie made a spectacular sprawling save that preserved Detroit’s 2-0 lead.

DEE-TROIT COOKING: Nashville has had its difficulty playing the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Sunday’s 4-3 loss is the sixth straight for the Predators at JLA – tying a franchise record dating back to the 1998-99 season.

RECKLESSNESS: Nashville defenseman Dan Hamhuis collided with Hasek, sending the Red Wings’ goalie hard to the ice behind Detroit’s net. For his deed, Hamhuis was charged for interference, and moments later Johan Franzen gave the Wings a 4-0 lead when he scored his second power play goal of the night.

MIGHT POWERFUL: The Red Wings’ power play enjoyed a power surge Sunday against Nashville. For just the second time this season, Detroit tallied three goals with a man-advantage, doing so for the first time since Dec. 15. Sunday, Franzen scored two power play goals, and Jiri Hudler added another, snapping a 21-game streak without a goal. 

Franzen was also a part of the power play scoring brigade in December when the Wings defeated Florida, 5-2. Pavel Datsyuk and Brian Rafalski also scored power play goals in that game.

NIK OF TIME: Since returning from a clavicle injury that sidelined him for 13 games, Kronwall has been a huge offensive help from the blue line. He had two more assists Sunday, giving him six in four games since returning to the lineup. He had two assists in a loss to San Jose on Feb. 29, and a win over Buffalo on March 2.

DOG GONE GOOD: Dollar Days in March continued at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday, where the featured edible was dollar hot dogs. It was announced, late in the third period, that the crowd had devoured a JLA-record 11,917 wieners.

MISSED RETURN: Grosse Pointe Woods native David Legwand was on crutches, instead of skates, Sunday afternoon. The Predators center suffered a foot injury in Calgary on Friday. In 19 career games at JLA, Legwand has five goals and seven assists, and is a minus-10.

TRADING PLACES: The Red Wings and Predators made a swap of third-round draft picks that has panned out quite well for Detroit. The trade, prior to the amateur draft in 2002, saw the Wings give up their 2003 pick for the Predators’ in ’02.

The Wings used the Nashville pick to select Valtteri Filppula with the 95th overall selection. A year later, the Predators selected Russian center Grigory Shafigulin, who remains in Nashville’s system, but has not yet played an NHL game.

Bill Roose and Kevin Fitzhenry contributed to this report.


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