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Wings come up short after Filppula injury

Veteran forward skated two shifts before leaving Game 7

Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 11:22 AM ET / News
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Wings come up short after Filppula injury
Valtteri Filppula suffered a left leg injury early in the first period of Wednesday's Game 7 at Chicago's United Center. (Photo by Getty Images)

CHICAGO -- Mike Babcock has a phrase he likes about the early part of a hockey game -- he wants his team to "start on time."

The Red Wings started on time against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals, but an injury to forward Valtteri Filppula early in the first period Wednesday night left them scrambling. Detroit was eliminated in a 2-1 overtime loss.

Filppula finished a shift and went to the bench, but Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw was there near the door. Shaw had already engaged with one of Filppula's teammates on the ice and at least one sitting on the bench before he turned and knocked Filppula to the ice at 3:43 of the first period.

The replay showed Shaw kicked Filppula's leg out from under him, or "slew-footed" him. Babcock's response to a question about the scrum was only, "You can see the video. You decide."

A team spokesman said Filppula has a high ankle sprain. Babcock said, "He's hurt. He'll be ready for camp."

"I was disappointed we lost [Filppula] early," Babcock said. "I thought we could have been a lot more dynamic. He's one of top-four forwards. I thought our guys hung in there and they battled hard just like they have all year long."

Filppula played only two shifts and 1:28 of ice time. He began the postseason as the team's No. 2 center, and shifted to wing alongside Henrik Zetterberg and Daniel Cleary for Game 7 of the opening round against the Anaheim Ducks and for this round against the Blackhawks.

He's earned a reputation for being a guy who plays well in this exact situation. Filppula had six points (one goal) in the first five Game 7s of his career before Wednesday. He had two points in the team's Game 7 win against the Ducks.

"He has been really good for us throughout the whole playoffs," defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. "To miss a player like that and to have to go short after that line had been playing so well we had to make adjustments, but that's part of the game."

After Filppula was lost, Babcock had to juggle 11 forwards for 12 spots. He kept the top line and the fourth lines mostly intact, and then players took turns either on the second line with Zetterberg and Cleary or on the third line with Gustav Nyquist pushed up to the second unit.

Nyquist made a beautiful pass to Zetterberg for the team's only goal. Filppula finished the postseason with two goals and six points in 14 games, and he can become an unrestricted free agent in July.

"Yeah, losing [Filppula] didn't help us, but I thought we found a way," Cleary said. "We had different guys moving up with me and [Zetterberg] obviously, with [Nyquist] making the play to tie the game. We played well."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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