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Three Questions: Canadiens-Wings's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 21st game

Wednesday, 11.26.2008 / 10:06 PM ET / News
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Three Questions: Canadiens-Wings
How did Darren Helm look in his first game back with the Wings?

It’s no secret that Darren Helm would have an every-day spot on most NHL rosters. But with the depth of the Wings roster, he’s had to spend some time in Grand Rapids early on. He was called up today, and he wasted no time leaving an impact. Centering the third line with Valtteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler, Helm saw plenty of ice time, skating for 13:01. He fired two shots on goal, recorded three hits, and hustled the entire time. Helm’s line played hard down low in the Montreal zone, generating a lot of scoring chances and drawing the first penalty.

What was the best play of the night for the Red Wings?

With the Wings facing a possible home shutout for the first time since December 31, 2007, Johan Franzen took charge. With under six minutes left to play, he picked off a weak pass from defenseman Ryan O’Byrne, and went to work. Driving into the Montreal zone, he proceeded to embarrass O’Byrne again, putting a deke on the defenseman that actually made him fall over. He then cut to the net, and pulled the puck wide to the backhand. Franzen’s backhand shot beat goaltender Carey Price to the far post, his 10th goal of the season.

How did the Canadiens hold the Wings at bay?

Wednesday night’s game was a combination of jet lag and disciplined play by the Canadiens. Last time the Wings went on a west coast trip, they had five days to rest before their next home game. This time, they had only one, after playing Monday night in Vancouver. A trip through the grueling west coast of Canada (three games in five days) cannot be easy on any team. The Wings also didn’t get much help from Montreal, who avoided the routine march to the penalty box Detroit normally forces teams into. The Canadiens didn’t take a single penalty until halfway through the second period, but the Wings only had a minute of power play time because of a Marian Hossa penalty call down low. The next Wings’ opportunity didn’t come until the end of the second into the start of the third, and by that time they were staring at a 3-0 deficit.


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