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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

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59