The Sharks didn't test Osgood much, but when they did he was up to the challenge as he when he stopped Joe Thornton (19).
DETROIT – Two Red Wings scored their first goals of the season and Henrik Zetterberg continued his torrid scoring streak, as Detroit completely dominated the San Jose Sharks on Friday.
The Wings out-skated, out-hustled, out-shot and out-scored the Sharks en route to an impressive 5-1 victory before an appreciative crowd at Joe Louis Arena.
Valtteri Filppula and Andreas Lilja scored their first goals of the season, both beating Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov low to the glove side.
Puck possession was the driving force for the Wings, who took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. The Wings held a 13-3 shots-on-goal advantage in the first. Detroit continued its domination in the second, out-shooting the Sharks 9-3 in the period.
For the game, the Wings held a 39-11 shot advantage.
“I thought we had the puck a lot and I thought we were on the attack a lot,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I don’t care if you’re coaching 12-year-old like my son plays or you’re coaching here, your best defense is when you play in the offensive zone. You don’t have to be very good in your zone when you’re good in their zone, and I thought we did a good job of that.”
The Wings (8-2-1) needed just 74-seconds to take a 1-0 lead in the first when Filppula and Mikael Samuelsson made a pretty play down the ice. The two forwards played tic-tac-toe up the ice before Filppula flipped a backhander past Nabokov.
Goalie Chris Osgood also assisted on Filppula’s first goal of the season. It was Osgood’s second assist of the season. He assisted on Henrik Zetterberg’s second period power-play goal in San Jose on Oct. 18.
Filppula teamed-up with Lilja on the Wings’ second goal in a similar fashion as the first tally. Filppula rushed in to the offensive zone and flipped a pass to Lilja, who fired a shot from between the circles that beat Nabokov at 15:31. It was also Filppula’s first assist of the season.
Lilja’s goal was his first since he scored in a Wings’ 3-2 win at Dallas on April 17, 2006.
“I’m happy to finally get that devil off my back,” Lilja said.
Filppula and Lilja joined left wing Matt Ellis, who a week ago, also scored his first goal of the season against the Sharks. Ellis’ tally was the game-winner in the Wings’ 4-2 victory at the HP Pavilion.
Aaron Downey excites the Wings' crowd during his second-period bout with the Sharks' Rob Davison on Friday.
Bad blood definitely slipped over in this game, perhaps a remnant of last week’s contest in San Jose. In that game, Wings forward Dallas Drake suffered a fractured cheeckbone when he collided with Sharks defenseman Kyle McLaren. Drake, who hasn’t play since the hit, was placed on injured reserve on Thursday and his expected to miss at least a week, which could include the Wings’ three-game Western Canada road-trip that starts Sunday in Vancouver.
Red Wings enforcer Aaron Downey and Sharks’ Rob Davison settled a score in the second period when they threw more shots during their fight than San Jose managed to sent at the net through 40 minutes.
Just 39-seconds in the third, Holmstrom gave the Wings a 3-0 edge with his team-leading eighth goal of the season. Nicklas Lidstrom stepped into the slot and sent a shot off a Sharks’ defender that ricocheted to Holmstrom, who swept the puck into the open side of the net.
“The way you win in this league is that you keep going after other teams,” Babcock said. “Anytime you get down three in the third, you don’t have the same kind of will, and that’s natural.”
Later on, Zetterberg tied Holmstrom for the team lead in goals when he took a nifty pass from Pavel Datsyuk at 8:12. The goal chased Nabokov, who was replaced by Dimitri Patzold.
The change in goalies didn’t matter much, as it took only 22-seconds for the Wings to solve Patzold and build a 5-0 lead on Kirk Maltby’s third of the season.
The Wings have now scored at least three goals in all but one contest – a 3-2 home loss to Chicago on Oct. 12 -- this season.
The Sharks finished the scoring when Alexei Semenov’s shot from the point managed to make it through traffic in front of Osgood, who ran his record to 11-0-5 in his last 16 regular-season games.
Asked if it’s difficult to stay focused when he doesn’t face a lot of shots, Osgood joked, “I have to wake-up the shot-clock guy; he’s ripping me off like four or five a game. I take pride and they judge me on this kind of stuff. I have to talk to him.”
Backhand shot -