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Power-play drought comes to an end

Despite Filppula's goal, Red Wings collapse in the third

Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 3:31 AM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Power-play drought comes to an end

The Red Wings' Valtteri Filppula battles Flames winger Blake Comeau Wednesday at the Saddledome in Calgary. (Photo by Getty Images)

CALGARY – Finally!

The Red Wings ended one of the most improbable streaks in recent franchise history Wednesday night when Valtteri Filppula scored the team’s first road power-play goal of the season.

Filppula’s goal at 16:39 of the second period did more than tie the Calgary Flames at 2-2 on the scoreboard. It just may have given the Red Wings a mental lift moving forward as they continue on a stretch of seven of the next eight games on the road.

“The power play is one thing that hasn’t been working well, and it was nice to get a goal, but it didn’t really have an effect on the score today,” said Filppula, who returned to the lineup after missing seven games with a sprained left shoulder. “Hopefully our power play starts to play better and we can take that advantage to the next game.”

The Wings’ power play had gone more than 11 straight road games without registering a single goal. The powerless road stretch is the longest in the league to start a season since 1989-90, which is one more game than the first-year Minnesota Wild went without a road power-play goal to begin the 2000-01 campaign.

Unfortunately for the Wings, the Flames got three third-period goals by Lee Stempniak, Curtis Glencross and Blake Comeau to help hand the Red Wings a 5-2 loss at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Throughout the first 40-minutes, the Red Wings looked like they were skating with an extra man as they held a 27-11 advantage in shots on goal over the Flames in the first two periods. The Flames also blocked another 13 shot attempts. Detroit’s defenders were also outstanding, clearing pucks from the defensive zone and giving the forwards chances to go on the offensive. The only problem for the Wings, though, was they didn’t get more offense beyond goals by Niklas Kronwall and Filppula.

Detroit entered Wednesday’s game without a power-play goal on 51 shots in 36 road attempts. Futility reached 0-for-37 on 54 shots when the Wings came up empty on their only power-play chance of the first period.

But after former teammate Jiri Hudler received a minor penalty for goaltender interference – he bowled over Jonas Gustavsson – the Wings’ special team unit turned up the heat on their second power-play opportunity.

The Wings got three shots on Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, before Filppula, who was cruising around the right side of the Flames’ crease, wristed a shot over the fallen Kiprusoff.

Though Filppula missed 2 ½ weeks, captain Henrik Zetterberg said that his linemate looked sharp in his return.

“He skated well, made some nice plays,” Zetterberg said. “It was nice to see him get that first power-play goal on the road. It didn’t look like he missed a beat.”

The second-period power play looked like a clinic as Zetterberg and Kyle Quincey had chances before Filppula scored. But Kiprusoff came up big on stopping Zetterberg, Filppula hit the left post and Quincey got a shot through from the right point that was smothered by the Flames’ veteran netminder with 22-seconds left in the man-advantage.

It was after the face-off win that Quincey got the puck back at the point, glided backwards toward the middle of the ice and send a blast that Kiprusoff kicked out with his left leg. But the puck went right to Filppula, who quickly flipped the puck over the goalie. It was Filppula's first power-play goal in more than a year.

“We had some good chances there, and obviously that gives you a little bit of momentum as well,” Filppula said. “It was good to get a goal, and if we can take something from this game, maybe we can keep improving our power play.”

Unfortunately, the Wings weren’t able to benefit from the momentum they had built in the first 40-minutes, as the Flames charged back in the third to win their fifth straight at home.

“It was ridiculous,” coach Mike Babcock said. “We killed ourselves tonight. It had nothing to do with them whatsoever. We had the puck the whole time and we just gave it to them. … Those are self-inflicted wounds.”

THREE STARS: 3, Curtis Glencross, CGY (1 goal, 1 assist); 2, Jay Bouwmeester, CGY (1 goal); 1, Miikka Kiprusoff, CGY (36 saves, W).

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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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 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80