Monkey's off back as Kindl scores
Wings' defensemen continue to add goals to league lead
Why the perplexed look on the bench?
“I didn’t give a high-five to our forwards so Fil asked me, ‘Oh, you don’t give the forwards a high-five?’ said Kindl, referring to Valtteri Filppula’s question. “At first I didn’t understand what he was saying. But usually whoever scores you go through the whole bench, and I wasn’t sure that I scored so I just went through our D and not the forwards. That’s what pretty much happened.”
To make it official, Kindl was credited with starting the Wings’ first-period barrage, which ended in a 4-1 victory before a sold-out First Niagara Center.
Kindl scored when his blast from the left point beat Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth at 8:50 of the opening period. The goal was Kindl’s first since last April and just the third of his young NHL career. His previous goals both came in 4-3 road victories last season against Nashville’s Pekka Rinne and St. Louis’ Jaroslav Halak.
But Kindl’s goal jumpstarted a three-goal outburst as the Wings took advantage of the Sabres’ young defense that featured one player making his NHL debut (Joe Finley) and another playing in his third career contest (Brayden McNabb). Forwards Johan Franzen and Filppula also scored for the Wings, who won their seventh straight game, and now have won 11 of the last 13.
Pavel Datsyuk capped the Wings’ scoring when he added an unassisted empty-net goal late.
Kindl wasn’t sure if his blast from the left point was tipped by either Justin Abdelkader or Sabres defenseman Andrej Sekera as the two battled for position in front in Enroth.
The Wings continue to lead the league in defensemen scoring with 21 goals, and Kindl, who was the last of the six regulars to finally add to the scoring list this season, is glad he finally got that monkey off his back. The Vancouver Canucks are second in the league with 16 goals.
“Of course it’s always nice to get the first one,” Kindl said, “but I need to shoot the puck even more whenever I have the chance, like today I just got it and I closed my eyes and it went through.”
Nicklas Lidstrom and Niklas Kronwall led the Wings’ defense with six goals each, followed by Ian White (four), Brad Stuart (three) and Jonathan Ericsson (one).
While the Wings have had very strong starts to games this season, they averaged less than a goal a game in first-period action heading into Friday – their lowest scoring total in any of the three periods this season. Friday was the first three-goal first period of the season for Detroit.
“That surprised me because usually starting out 3-0 doesn’t happen very often for us,” Kindl said.
Coach Mike Babcock was happy with the team’s energy in the first period, but would have liked to have seen the Wings continue that tempo throughout the final two periods.
“We did a lot of good things, especially early, and got ourselves a big lead,” Babcock said. “We took penalties in the second and even though we had some big kill we lost the momentum and I thought we were quite as good in the third period. You’re up 3-0, but I would like to see us continue to play the same way.”
The Wings built a 2-0 edge when Franzen scored a power-play goal at 6:22. The play started when Lidstrom faked a shot from the point then quickly made a pass to the power forward in the slot. Franzen then beat Enroth with a wrist shot to the short side.
Filppula finished the first-period scoring when he capitalized on a Sabres’ turnover and then skated in alone on the Buffalo net before firing in his eighth goal of the season at 14:41.
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