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Stressful week turned positive for Emmerton

Wings' fourth-line center adds energy to 2-1 season-opening win

Wednesday, 10.2.2013 / 11:22 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Stressful week turned positive for Emmerton
Cory Emmerton had an assist in 12 shifts, including three-plus minutes of penalty-kill time, in Wednesday's season-opening win. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT –It’s been quite an odyssey for Cory Emmerton this week.

The Red Wings’ fourth-line center – who was placed on waivers Sunday, cleared and told to report to the minors Monday and practiced with his teammates Tuesday – played with a renewed energy Wednesday.

Emmerton’s stressful rollercoaster of a week continued as he collected an assist, missed on his first career penalty-shot chance and drew two Buffalo penalties in the Wings’ 2-1 season-opening win over the Sabres at Joe Louis Arena.

“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a little extra fire there, but that’s how you need to play every night,” Emmerton said.

Emmerton helped get the Wings on the scoreboard early in the game, but first, the Wings had to kill a 91-second Sabres’ 5-on-3 advantage after Henrik Zetterberg and Jonathan Ericsson followed one another to the penalty box.

The willingness of the penalty killers to get into the passing and shooting lanes, including Emmerton, helped out goalie Jimmy Howard, who faced seven Buffalo power plays, including a pair of two-man advantages. Howard made 19 saves in Wednesday’s opener.

“I didn't like killing as much as we did, obviously,” said Wings coach Mike Babcock. “They had two long 5-on-3s but I thought we were aggressive and didn't give them much zone time. They were under pressure when they were in our zone so that's a positive thing for us. We had lots of forwards contributing, obviously. Howie was good.”

With the Zetterberg and Ericsson penalties killed, Emmerton set-up the first goal of the season with a masterful play in the offensive zone. The 25-year-old whipped a backhand shot from the right circle, which was re-directed by Mikael Samuelsson passed the right shoulder of Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller.

“Tonight, I thought our line did a real good job and obviously Sammy made an unbelievable tip there,” Emmerton said. “As a fourth line your job is to be hard on teams, have the puck more than them and make it hard for them and when you score goals that just helps the team. I think we did a real good job tonight.”

Thirty-six seconds after Samuelsson goal, the Wings took a 2-0 lead when Pavel Datsyuk converted a Sabres’ giveaway into a backhand shot from the low slot at 12:41 of the first period.

Emmerton took the Wings’ first penalty shot in nearly three years after he was dragged down from behind by Buffalo forward Thomas Vanek. The Wings’ center cruised in alone on Miller before Vanek was whistled for tripping at 7:41 of the middle period. Emmerton tried to beat Miller between the pads, but the former Vezina Trophy winner made the easy save that kept it a two-goal game at the time.

“We know that he can play on pretty much any line here,” said Ericsson, of Emmerton. “It’s just unfortunate for him that we have so many good forwards right now. He kind of has the short straw, but luckily for us no one picked him up (on waivers) and he’s got the chance to prove himself again.

“I know the organization is really happy with him and how he’s been playing, so it was great to see him have a great game. I’m a big fan of Cory’s and I just want to see him succeed.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
4 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 50 17 18 23 35
H. Zetterberg 51 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 50 14 16 -3 30
G. Nyquist 51 14 13 -4 27
J. Abdelkader 51 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 36 6 18 10 24
M. Green 45 3 17 -8 20
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
D. DeKeyser 47 6 8 10 14
R. Sheahan 50 7 6 -15 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 18 10 4 .931 2.06
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89