Red Wings right wing Jordin Tootoo checks Wild right wing Cal Clutterbuck

Carlos Osorio, Associated Press - Ap


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Red Wings top Wild 5-3, show demise just a rumor

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO
  • Star Tribune
  • January 26, 2013 - 8:38 AM

DETROIT - Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom may be history, but the Detroit Red Wings still had plenty of star power to expose the Wild's leaky defense Friday night.

Despite a strong start, the Wild couldn't capitalize on plenty of offensive chances in the first period before unraveling in the second during a 5-3 Red Wings victory at Joe Louis Arena.

With so much talk that the Red Wings, playoff participants since 1990, could be doomed due to the retirement of their inspirational leaders, a porous blue line and terrible special teams, they lit the lamp at will in a crazy middle period.

"We played well in spurts," said Zach Parise, who scored two goals for the Wild. "Against [Pavel] Datsyuk and [Henrik] Zetterberg, you give them a little extra space, they make it count. I thought we played a pretty solid game though. But not the full game."

Todd Bertuzzi scored twice, Datsyuk had a goal and two assists, Zetterberg scored a goal and assist and Valtteri Filppula had three assists for Detroit.

Tom Gilbert also scored for the Wild, which was doomed by scoring once on eight power plays -- seven in the first 30 minutes, 29 seconds of the game -- and saw its record fall at 2-2.

What was aggravating for the Wild is how it predominantly spent entire power plays working the puck flawlessly in Detroit's end.

"I don't want to overreact because there are a lot of positives I saw in the game," coach Mike Yeo said. "It's frustrating the fact we lost that game. But at the same time ... I bet you through 30 minutes in the game, there's not too many times you've seen the Minnesota Wild look like that [in Detroit]."

The Wild has won only three times in regulation in 23 all-time games at the Joe, but it wasted chances throughout the first period despite controlling play.

After that scoreless period, the second began with Damien Brunner and Bertuzzi scoring twice on two shots in the first 55 seconds.

The Wild responded with two goals in a 3:40 span by the 6:29 mark to tie it -- Parise scoring on a 5-on-3 off Ryan Suter's pass, then Gilbert whizzing his first goal of the season off a beautiful pass by Mikael Granlund.

Jonas Brodin, looking solid in his NHL debut, also got his first career point on the tally.

The Wild clamped down defensively and actually held the Red Wings without a shot for nine minutes after Detroit's quick strikes. But again, it couldn't take advantage.

"I thought we were right there with them," Parise said. "By no means did they blow us out of the water there. We had our chances. We had our chances to take the lead and just couldn't follow through with it."

Then the wheels came off, and it started with a Wild power play. In a short span, Devin Setoguchi lost the puck on a breakaway. The Wild gained the puck back, worked it down low, but Matt Cullen attempted a behind-the-back, goalmouth pass to Setoguchi.

It was picked off by Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith, who quickly countered. But on the retreat, Setoguchi idled back. Then, breakdowns occurred everywhere. Josh Harding slid too far out of his net and Zetterberg deflected a shot in off a sliding Granlund.

"We weren't good on that, there's no question," Yeo said.

That was compounded when captain Mikko Koivu hooked Zetterberg four minutes later. On the ensuing power play, Johan Franzen parked in front and Harding couldn't glove down Datsyuk's shot.

"It's funny how you're in control of the game and it can just slip away from you like that," Yeo said.

The Wild felt it deserved better.

"The bottom line is capitalizing on your chances," Setoguchi said. "You don't have to be a genius to see that."

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