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Datsyuk unleashes shot

Wings' star center cranked eight shots in Game 1 win

Thursday, 04.14.2011 / 3:29 PM ET / News
By Dave Burke  - DetroitRedWings.com Intern
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Datsyuk unleashes shot
DETROIT – Even in his rookie season, the Red Wings knew they had something special in Pavel Datsyuk. It was during the 2001-02 season when the young Russian raised eyebrows skating between Brett Hull and Boyd Deveraux – a line known as Two Kids and a Goat.

The unflattering name was coined by Hull (The Goat), who tabbed the other two as the Kids. Even then coaches wanted Datsyuk to shoot the puck more.

And that’s what the Wings got out of their Russian super sniper on Wednesday. Datsyuk fired a season-high eight shots at Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, scoring once in the 4-2 victory that gave the Wings a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinals series.

Only five times – including twice in the playoffs – has Datsyuk registered eight or more shots in a game during his nine NHL seasons. But it's been more than two years since he fired as many shots in a game, last doing so in a 3-2 win over Philadelphia in March 2009. IN that game he had a goal and an assist.

Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom sees Datsyuk’s contributions as a big advantage.

“Pav taking a lot of shots is what we want, he’s got a good shot,” Lidstrom said. “It’s a lot harder to defend him when he’s shooting more and if you step-up on him he can stick handle through you.” 

Datsyuk’s numbers are telling. In 111 career playoff games, he has averaged 2.5 shots per game. During the regular-season, he has averaged 2.2 shots/game.   

“I just know that when Pav has the puck lots, we’re a better team, and when he has the puck we’re not playing defense, and we feel better about ourselves,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Any time a guy gets eight shots on net, he must have done something right. He’s an elite, elite player each and every night.”

Lidstrom, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy in Datsyuk’s rookie season, has admired his teammate’s development and seen him become more comfortable as a world-class player.

“I think he feels more comfortable now than when he first came into the league,” Lidstrom said. “He’s one of the leaders in the locker room as an assistant captain and he brings a lot to our team, not only on the ice, but off the ice as well.”

From the other end of the ice, goalie Jimmy Howard gets a different perspective each night of Datsyuk’s magic.

“He amazes us every single game,” Howard said. “I mean he does it in practice and in games. Like the game in Chicago where he stick-handled through four guys. … I’m just thankful he’s on my team.”

Asked if he ever felt sorry for opposing goalies tasked with stopping the Russian star, Lidstrom said, “I don’t think I feel sorry for them. It’s more of a fun thing for us when he’s on top of his game. It’s hard to take the puck away from him and he can take it hard to the net, too, like he showed last night. He’s not known for taking a lot of shots, but I think he had eight last night, so that’s encouraging to see. … He’s hard to play against when he plays like that.”


SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
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 51 18 19 25 37
H. Zetterberg 52 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 51 15 17 -2 32
G. Nyquist 52 14 15 -2 29
J. Abdelkader 52 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 37 6 20 11 26
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 38 5 10 6 15
D. DeKeyser 48 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 19 10 4 .932 2.03
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89