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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.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Wings finally get secondary scoring

DETROIT -- If their season started at Game 67, then the Detroit Red Wings will be content.
What happened in Game 67 -- a 4-2 win in Buffalo, Sunday night -- is what needs to happen come playoff time. The Red Wings got significant offensive contributions from players other than Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.
The team is hoping that reversal becomes the norm, starting in Wednesday's home game against St. Louis (7:30 p.m., FSN).
"For this team to be successful, especially come playoff time, we need some production from the third and fourth lines," said Kirk Maltby. "Hopefully, this is just a start to finishing the season strong."
Maltby was a part of that scoring renaissance, Monday. The third-line winger scored his first goal since Oct. 26, ending a 36-game goal-less drought.
In addition, third-liner Dallas Drake netted his third goal of the season -- his first point since Jan. 10. Second-liner Johan Franzen scored as did first-liner Valtteri Filppula.
It all added up to a four-goal performance with all four coming from players not named Zetterberg or Datsyuk.
"We haven't been scoring at all," said Detroit coach Mike Babcock. "We haven't gotten any secondary scoring. We talked a lot about it. Just get to the net, shoot the puck."
Sunday's game was a stark contrast to what had been going on during the Red Wings' 1-8-2 slump.
(That was Detroit's worst 11-game slump since going 0-9-2 including two ties, Oct. 24-Nov. 16, 1989. That was the last season that the Red Wings didn't make the playoffs.)
During their recent slump, the Red Wings scored 20 goals in 11 games. Ten of those goals (50 percent) were scored by either Zetterberg or Datsyuk.
Before the slump (through the first 55 games), the Red Wings netted 180 goals with 49 scored by Zetterberg or Datsyuk (27 percent).
In other words, Detroit's scoring from players other than Zetterberg and Datsyuk dropped from 73 percent of the team's total before the slump to just 50 percent during the slump.
Before Drake scored in the first period, Sunday, Detroit had gone 10 games without a goal from its third or fourth lines. (Tomas Kopecky was the most recent, scoring Feb. 7.)
"We haven't played all that bad in this slump we've been in," said Maltby. "We just have been finding ways to lose. Whether it's not getting any scoring from our third and fourth lines, helping out Zetterberg and Datsyuk … We just weren't getting the job done."
Among the forwards who have been slumping are: Tomas Holmstrom, who has gone 15 games without a goal; Kris Draper who has gone 14 games without a goal; and Aaron Downey, who hasn't scored in his 44 games this season.
Filppula broke a 10-game goal-less drought recently and has netted three goals in the past six games.
"You try to do everything the same way," said Filppula of offensive slumps. "Sometimes pucks go in and sometimes they don't. The key is to just work same way, try to do the same thing."


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