Minnesota's Nate Prosser (39) tangles with Detroit's Drew Miller (20).

Carlos Osorio, Associated Press


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Red Wings make Wild look like it doesn't belong

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO
  • Star Tribune
  • March 3, 2012 - 9:05 AM

DETROIT - At least Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk didn't play.

Then it might have been really ugly.

After striking on their first shift, the Detroit Red Wings skated circles around the Wild on Friday night, almost always had the puck, spent virtually the entire night in the offensive zone and basically toyed with the Wild to the point they made several players look downright silly.

The only thing that stopped the bleeding was that bighearted horn signifying game's end -- the same horn that bellowed six times during a 6-0 pasting of the Wild at Joe Louis Arena.

Shortly after the Wild announced that Niklas Backstrom will miss two to four weeks because of a strained groin, Josh Harding was lit up for six goals on 29 shots and was finally given the mercy pull for youngster Matt Hackett 5 1/2 minutes into the third period.

"Awful. Starts with me. Wasn't very good tonight," Harding said. "No excuses, no nothing. Not much to say here. I think everybody's seen the effort myself and the team put up here."

Lidstrom and Datsyuk were out because of injuries, but the Red Wings had plenty of firepower.

Valtteri Filppula scored two goals and one assist, Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and two assists and defensemen Niklas Kronwall and Ian White combined for a goal and four assists.

Jimmy Howard made 19 saves for the easy shutout as the Wild, which lost Cal Clutterbuck and Nick Palmieri to upper-body injuries, equaled its second-most-lopsided loss in history.

"It's one thing if we don't score a goal right now, but we were so bad defensively," coach Mike Yeo said. "Didn't have much in the way of our legs, and with it, I see that our heads, we lost those along the way as well."

Dany Heatley was a minus-4. Kurtis Foster, pasted to the bench other than two shifts in the third period, and Justin Falk were each minus-3. Matt Kassian and Palmieri were the only two Wild skaters not on the ice for a Detroit goal.

The Wild has been scored on first a league-high 40 times (17-18-5), but lately it's coming before players even have a chance to drip a bead of sweat.

Friday's came 35 seconds in when Harding coughed up a bad rebound and Filppula scored.

"I felt great in warmup and fell apart right away," Harding said.

Falk had a tough period, three times not moving the puck quick enough until finally giving it away. The last, he skated into traffic, fell and moments later, former Badger Brendan Smith, in the lineup for Lidstrom, scored his first NHL goal.

"We gave them the first two goals," Yeo said.

Things were worse in one of the most one-sided periods you can ever imagine. The Wild looked as if it was on a 20-minute penalty kill. The puck only came out when Wild players rushed for a line change to send the next five poor souls on the ice.

"Definitely frustrating to watch them skate around and pass the way they did," Foster said.

Helm made it 3-0 when Nick Johnson overskated a puck and essentially dropped it to him. Filppula then scored through Heatley's screen. Just 1:07 later, White skipped a fluttering puck off the ice by Harding like it was a rock on Lake Calhoun.

Finally, early in the third, Zetterberg charitably ended Harding's miserable evening.

"We didn't give Hards any help out there," Heatley said. "We just gave them too much respect right off the bat. We gave them too much room out there and let them do what they wanted to do."

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