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Three Questions: Wings-Oilers's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 18th game

Thursday, 11.20.2008 / 11:41 PM ET / News
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Three Questions: Wings-Oilers
How hard is it to fill Tomas Holmstrom’s big shoes (or skates)?

Tomas Kopecky had quite the game Thursday night, filling the spot of the big guy in front of the opposition’s net on the powerplay.  Tomas Holmstrom was a late scratch due to back spasms, so coach Mike Babcock tapped Kopecky as his replacement for the night.  The young forward saw time with superstars Pavel Datsyuk and Marian Hossa, and he wasted no time making his mark.  For the second goal of the game, Kopecky was parked right out in front of the Edmonton net, and was originally credited with the goal.  It was later given to Datsyuk, who took the initial shot, but the shot would have never made it to the back of the net without the screen from Kopecky.  So he lost one goal, but it didn’t really matter, because two minutes after the Datsyuk tally, he scored again.  This one was unmistakably Kopecky’s, due to his terrific (and Holmstrom-like) waist-high tip.

Kopecky was the star of the FSN first-intermission interview with John Keating, where he discussed his new powerplay role.  “It was great,” Kopecky said.  “Too bad Homer couldn’t go, but I learned from the best.”  He did learn from the best, and he sure did look like Holmstrom Thursday night.

Who was the Red Wings star of the game?

I’m going with Jiri Hudler, who scored the Wings’ first and fourth goal.  Hudler skated for 12:51 and fired four shots on goal, while finishing plus-one.  But his second goal of the game was what made him stand out.  With the Red Wings on a powerplay, Derek Meech fired a slapshot from the point.  The shot missed the net, but hit the glass and bounced back out in front of the Edmonton goal.  Hudler waited at the right post, and as the puck came down, he swatted it into the net, in an impressive display of his hand-eye coordination skills.

What won the game for the Red Wings?

The Red Wings won the special teams battle against the Oilers, especially late in the game.  Detroit went 3-5 on 4:40 worth of powerplay time.  Edmonton, on the other hand, went 1-6 on the man advantage, and most importantly, failed to convert in the final minutes.  The Wings defensive corps, led by goaltender Chris Osgood, showed their grit and determination by keeping the Oilers off the score sheet with Valtteri Filppula serving a four-minute penalty for high-sticking.  Teams win games by facing down adversity late in games, and the Wings did just that to hold on for the 4-3 win.


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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