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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 - 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