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Emmerton snipes first playoff goal

Wings' rookie helps Wings to Game 2 win over Nashville

Saturday, 04.14.2012 / 12:34 AM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Emmerton snipes first playoff goal
Cory Emmerton prepares to fire a shot over defenseman Roman Josi in the first period. The goal, Emmerton's first career playoff tally, gave the Wings a 2-0 lead. (Photo by Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Scoring in his NHL debut last season was so special for Cory Emmerton that he won’t ever forget the euphoric feeling that accompanied the moment.

However, Friday’s tally in Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals may have trumped his first landmark goal by leaps and bounds.

“It’s pretty hard to compare them,” said Emmerton, who scored on the only playoff shot of his career. “It’s a good relief, but the feeling was more that it was an important goal to go up 2-0, so I was happy with whoever scores, but whenever you can score and help out it’s a nice feeling.”

Emmerton made the most out of what little ice-time he got to score the biggest goal as a pro, which helped the Wings even their best-of-seven series at a game apiece with the Nashville Predators.

The Wings also got even-strength goals from Ian White and Johan Franzen, and goalie Jimmy Howard made 24 saves en route to a 3-2 victory at Bridgestone Arena. The series now shifts to Detroit with Game 3 Sunday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.

Emmerton’s hustle play late in the first period gave the Wings their first two-goal lead of the game. He started the play by first blocking Kevin Klein’s pass inside the Wings’ blue line. After he wrangled in the puck, Emmerton started a 2-on-1 rush through the neutral zone with fellow rookie Gustav Nyquist.

As Preds rookie Roman Josi dropped to the ice in an attempt to take away the pass option, it left the Ontario native all alone against Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne.

“I just tried to get out on the D first and get in the lane and it went off my toe there,” Emmerton said. “I got a fortunate bounce and (Klein) lost his footing so I knew there was a good chance for a 2-on-1. They had good back pressure and I saw the D-man just sliding over because he saw the pressure and I had to make a decision whether to shoot or pass, and usually shooting is a good option.”

Shooting was the best option, especially when Emmerton’s shot hit its intended target – beating Rinne low the blocker side at 15:33 of the opening period. The goal was a huge lift for the team because it came from a secondary forward line. The fourth line also contributed to White’s goal with Drew Miller and Tomas Holmstrom earning assists.

“I thought they did a good thing,” coach Mike Babcock said of the bottom six forwards. “They were on for our first two goals, which is real important.”

The overriding theme for the Wings before Game 2 was to get more of a net-front presence in front of the Predators’ crease to disrupt and screen the 6-foot-5 Finnish goaltender.

“I think to be honest our team’s always been about having a guy out in front of the net all the time,” Danny Cleary said. “We feel that we’ve got a guy built on each line to get there, stay there, hang around there and it’s no different. We’ve had this formula of having a guy out in front of the net for a long time here.”

The Wings certainly got guys in front of the net when White and Franzen scored. White’s goal gave Detroit a 1-0 lead. But Emmerton’s goal was a shot in the arm for the Wings, and real confidence boost for a guy who logged the least among of ice-time in the game.

“Yeah, after last game I didn’t get to play much with all of the penalties and what not and really didn’t get into much of a rhythm,” said Emmerton, who had 5:17 of ice-time n 10 shifts.

“Tonight, early we got to play a bit then the penalties took over again. The most important thing is when you’re out there to play simple and be hard to play against and do what you can. Just get into a groove and roll four lines.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose



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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