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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 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 53 31 16 6 143 118 68
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 TBL 52 29 19 4 138 123 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
8 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
9 NJD 54 26 21 7 120 122 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 52 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 53 9 27 3 36
T. Tatar 52 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 53 14 15 -2 29
P. Datsyuk 38 8 20 12 28
J. Abdelkader 53 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 39 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 49 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 20 10 4 .933 1.97
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89