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Spring has sprung with playoff feel

But Blues jump Red Wings in standings with 1-0 win

Sunday, 04.7.2013 / 4:22 PM ET / Recap
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Spring has sprung with playoff feel

Patrik Berglund and the rest of the St. Louis Blues, made life miserable for Red Wings like Justin Abdelkader and Henrik Zetterberg on Sunday at Joe Louis Arena. (Photo by Dave Reginek)

DETROIT – Opening Day in baseball and the Stanley Cup playoffs have long been synonymous with the first unofficial day of spring around Michigan.

While the playoffs don’t officially begin for another three weeks, for all intents and purposes, they started Sunday for the Red Wings and St. Louis Blues.

There weren’t a lot of scoring chances Sunday, but the Blues took advantage of one of the ones they did get when winger Chris Porter poked a loose puck underneath goalie Jimmy Howard for the game’s lone goal.

With the loss, the Red Wings fall one-point behind the Blues, who leaped into seventh-place in the Western Conference standings with 44 points. Detroit is in eighth with 43 points and nine games left in the regular-season.

“I thought our guys played hard enough. We had a few chances, but they got one goal in,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “You know what? The message in their goal was simply we had the puck. We went to shoot it in, it hit their guy in the leg and ended up changing direction and in a scrum in front of our net. That’s playoff hockey.”

The Wings definitely had chances, but were 0-for-3 on power-play chances, and Blues goalie Brian Elliott stopped a breakaway by Gustav Nyquist who tried to hit the top left corner.

“They played really tight 5-on-5 and on the PK,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “They really kept everything inside and were tight in front of their goalie and all of the rebounds they were there right a way. But it wasn’t a surprise for me. You’re used to the games that you play against them and this is how it is. It’s an ugly goal that wins it and they got one tonight.”

Elliott earned his first shutout of the season, stopping 28 shots. But the 27-year-old goalie also got plenty of help from the Blues’ defense, as they blocked 13 shots, including six shots from the point by Red Wings’ defensemen.

It was really tight, felt a little bit like a playoff game almost, not a lot of room out there, didn't feel like there were a lot of chances either way,” said defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who had three shot attempts blocked by the Blues. “I thought we had some good opportunities there in the third, but their goalie came up with some good saves.”

SEASON DEBUT: Forward Riley Sheahan, who was called up from Grand Rapids on Saturday was inserted into Sunday’s lineup, replacing Jordin Tootoo, who was a healthy scratch.

It was Sheahan’s second career game with the Red Wings and first this season.

Sheahan logged 6:47 minutes of ice-time on a line with center Cory Emmerton and forward Patrick Eaves. But Babcock indicted that the Wings’ first-round pick from the 2010 NHL draft, will be returned to the Griffins on Monday.

“He’s going to be a player for us, but he’s got to get quicker and he’s got to have more pace to his game,” Babcock said. “When you’re ready and you come here, you show you’re ready. When you’re not quite, then you’re going to get caught.”

THREE STARS: 3, Chris Porter, STL (1 goal); 2, Jimmy Howard, DET (24 saves, L); 1, Brian Elliott, STL, (28 saves, W).

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

SCHEDULE

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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 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80