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Top line shines in Wings' 7-4 victory

Legwand, Nyquist, Franzen combine on four goals, 11 points in defeating Devils

Friday, 03.7.2014 / 11:07 PM ET / Recap
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor |
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Top line shines in Wings\' 7-4 victory
David Legwand scores his first goal in a red Wings' uniform, helping Detroit to a 7-4 win over the visiting Devils Friday night. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – Well, it was about a game and a half.

That’s how long it took the Red Wings’ new power line to flip the switch on the offense since David Legwand was acquired from Nashville at the trade deadline earlier in the week.

Legwand was plopped onto the top line with Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist, which was relatively silent in Thursday’s 3-2 overtime loss to Colorado. But Friday had a far different outcome.

The trio combined to score four goals and 11 points in a 7-4 victory over the New Jersey Devils Friday night at Joe Louis Arena. The seven goals is Detroit’s season-high and the most its scored since an 8-3 home win over Vancouver last season.

“Obviously two great players, world-class players and it’s an honor to play with them and we had the puck tonight, we were moving it and I think obviously when you can move and skate it’s going to create some chances and opportunities,” said Legwand, the game’s first star, who had a goal and two assists.

With back-to-back home games on the schedule since his arrival this week, Legwand hasn’t had the luxury of practicing with his new linemates. But the Detroit native as instantly found a comfort level with Franzen and Nyquist.

“They play a give-and-go game, it’s something you know it’s good,” Legwand said. “I played it before and it’s nice. Obviously Gus is a player that likes to skate and move his feet and Mule’s a huge body that can shoot the puck and he’s going to get in front of the net so they did a great job tonight and we got pucks to the net.”

The Red Wings are now 9-0-1 when they have scored five goals or more this season.

Detroit took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission on Brendan Smith’s first regular-season goal at The Joe in more than two years.

Franzen, who finished the night with four points, scored his first of two goals on the night when he deflected Nyquist’s wrist shot at 5:34 of the second period. The goal kicked started a flurry of goals to come as the teams combined to score seven times during an 11/ ½ minute stretch.

Since battling back from a concussion that he sustained in December, Franzen has been nearly unstoppable, producing 12 points in his past six games.

“The Mule’s been good, he didn’t get to play very much, that’s all,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Now that he’s playing it’s real obvious why he’s so important. Leadership-wise he has to be a huge factor for us. When you’re one of the best players in the league you have to play like that each and every night.”

Like Franzen, Nyquist had a four-point night. In all, six different Red Wings scored, and eight collected assists, including Todd Bertuzzi who had two.

The Red Wings managed to wade through a poor 2 ½ minute stretch in the second period when the Devils took a 3-2 lead on goals by Patrik Elias, Jaromir Jagr and Adam Henrique (two goals). Babcock used the Red Wings’ timeout after Jagr’s goal at 10:20 but it didn’t do much good, at least not immediately, as Henrique scored 1:24 later to give New Jersey its only lead of the game.

“Babs called a timeout, we settled down and we got back at ‘em,” Legwand said. “We got up 5-3, we got three quick ones ourselves and moved on and we did a good job of coming in here and locking it down in the third period.”

In little more than three minutes, Detroit got a power-play goal from Franzen and even-strength tallies from Nyquist and defenseman Kyle Quincey to take a 5-3 lead into the second intermission.

Legwand got his first goal as a Red Wing at 4:48 of the third, and Drew Miller scored just his second goal in the last 20 games to give Detroit a 7-3 cushion at 12:52.

It was the first time in 133 career starts that Devils goalie Cory Schneider allowed more than five goals in an NHL game.

Red Wings backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson stoped 21 shots to stretch his record to 15-4-3 this season.

With 71 points in the standings, Detroit is now two points ahead of Columbus for the second and final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

“The points are huge. So much of it is if we start the way we did and lose the game it’s the negative side,” Babcock said. “You don’t have to overcome anything and suddenly there’s energy in the room, you can hear it back there. The energy you get out of it is so good.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose




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


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
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
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