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Up-to-the minute updates and insights from the Red Wings locker room at home and on the road. By Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Big line sparks Wings

DETROIT -- Whether Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom play together as a line is neither here nor there to Detroit Red Wings' opponents. That those three Red Wings are playing at all is the problem.
Zetterberg scored the game's first goal, Wednesday, and Holmstrom added his fourth goal in four games to help the Red Wings to a 4-2 victory over the Calgary Flames at Joe Louis Arena. The three Detroit power plays were created by penalties drawn by Zetterberg (two) or Datsyuk. Detroit scored on two of those opportunities.
Of Detroit's 13 goals in the team's 3-0-1 start to the season, either Zetterberg, Datsyuk or Holmstrom has had a hand in nine.
"Pav, Hank and Homer … they're on another planet right now the way they're playing," said Detroit Kris Draper. "They are so good. Every time they go out there, they're creating something. And they're doing it in both ends of the rink. Those guys are playing some unbelievable hockey right now."
The trio has played all four games this season as Detroit's top power-play unit. They've spent the past two games together as the team's top forward line with Zetterberg moving in to replace the injured Johan Franzen (sprained MCL).
Last night, it was Datsyuk, who created the opportunity that turned into the game's first goal with 8:08 gone by. Datsyuk fooled Calgary's Mikka Kiprusoff, picking off the goalie's pass and dropping a pass that Zetterberg one-timed for a 1-0 lead.
Datsyuk was the set-up man again for Detroit's second goal, sending a pass into the slot that went off defenseman Cory Sarich's skate to Holmstrom. The Swede back-handed the puck past Kiprusoff. Holmstrom has one goal in each of Detroit's four games, matching his career-high goal scoring streak that he set Nov. 3-9, 2005.
"They're good," said Detroit coach Mike Babcock of his top line. "We're real fortunate to have them obviously. Z and Pav and both real good centermen and Pav's a good winger too. Homer creates so much space for them by going to the net on a continual basis. They can play with such tempo that they make it hard on the opposition."
Kristian Huselius countered both of the Zetterberg line's goals to leave the score tied 2-2 early in the second period.
Huselius' first marker happened after Detroit defenseman Andreas Lilja was caught up ice, creating a 2-on-1. That odd-man rush turned into a breakaway when Brett Lebda overplayed the pass. Huselius scored on a deke to his backhand.
Huselius' second goal came after picking off Niklas Kronwall's defensive-zone pass. Huselius skated in alone and tucked the puck past Chris Osgood on the short side.
Before the second period was finished, however, the Red Wings had the lead for good. Draper netted his second goal of the season, deflecting a Lilja slap shot on a delayed penalty.
Detroit added an insurance marker with 4:27 left in the third period. Mikael Samuelsson wristed a power-play shot through a Dan Cleary screen for his second goal of the season.
Osgood had originally been scheduled to make his season debut this Sunday in Los Angeles, but was pressed into service when Dominik Hasek's knee still felt pain, yesterday, after being bruised by a shot in Monday's game.
"I thought he really battled for us," said Babcock of Osgood. "And that's why he can be here. He's been here a long time. He doesn't have nerves about it. He just goes out and plays and he's a real pro about it. He's a great support guy for Dom in that he knows what his job is."
Osgood made 19 saves, not including a slap shot by Adrian Aucoin that rang off the post halfway through the third period -- a shot that could have tied the score at 3-3. Osgood made a strong save with 2:22 to play, stopping Huselius as he banged away at a loose puck.
"I played some exhibition games, but the pace of the regular season is different," said Osgood. "Next game hopefully I'll play a lot better. It was a matter of battling and getting the win."


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