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7th Heaven

The Detroit Red Wings got their 7th straight win tonight in Buffalo. Hot damn!

Hannah’s personal highlight: Mike Babcock’s shirt/tie combo.

1st Period Highlights:

  • Wings outshot Buffalo 18-8
  • Jakub Kindl got his first goal of the season (8:50, assists to Holmstrom and Abdelkader)
  • With Jason Pominville in the box, the Mule put the Wings up 2-0 (13:38, assisted by Lidstrom and Datsyuk)
  • 1:03 after the Franzen goal, “red hot” Valtteri Filppula put one in net (14:41, assisted by Henrik Zetterberg)

2nd Period Highlights:

  • Shots on goal 9-9
  • Abdelkader, Kronwall, and Filppula all spent time in the box — successful on the PK
  • Jimmy’s sick save made him look like a break dancer
  • Not much else…

3rd Period Highlights:

  • Buffalo outshot the Wings 11-9
  • Jochen Hecht made the score 3-1 (13:47, assisted by Pominville and Leino)
  • Pavel Datsyuk got an empty netter to make it 4-1 (18:43, unassisted)
  • Nathan Gerbe cut his upper lip and nostril toward the end of the period…looks pretty nast. Feel better boo boo.

Next game is against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday at 8:00pm. Jimmy for president.

Red Lines

Fresh Faces: Gustav Nyquist

Gustav Nyquist will make his NHL debut tonight vs The Minnesota Wild. The first year pro is only 22 years old, a rare young call up for the veteran Red Wings. He will start on the 2nd line with plenty of protection from sizable Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen. Fabian Brunnstrom cleared waivers, and will be heading down to Grand Rapids to make room.

Nyquist, a native of Sweden, was drafted in 2008 by the Red Wings in the 4th round. He starred in three seasons with the Maine Black Bears (NCAA). He was a Hobey Baker Finalist (NCAA MVP) in 2009-2010 scoring 19 goals and 42 assists in 39 games.

Nyquist has played in just 17 professional hockey games in his short career, but made an impression on coach Mike Babcock this preseason scoring five points in five games. “If you go back and read my quotes, I thought he was an NHL player in training camp,” Babcock said. “I think that’s what I said and I still think he is.”

After being re-assigned to Grand Rapids, Nyquist continued his point a game pace. With the injury to Jan Mursak and the lack of offensive production, Nyquist will be given his shot tonight, with plenty of minutes on the 2nd line.

And as you can see from the video, he’s got the Canadian “uhh” down.

Red Lines

  • Babcock is bitter about loss, Jimmy Howard is back from paternity leave (Helene St. James from the Detroit Free Press)
  •’s Ansar Khan says Mike Babcock is still shuffling
  • The Detroit Red Wings released their new hilarious commercial for the season. View it here
  • Detroit Hockey Report says the Wings need to pull out of their slump fast
  • Here is a clip from last night’s game — a gorgeous, legal hit by Pavel Datsyuk:

Later BJs… It’s time for some real competition.

Last night the Wings continued their winning streak and are still undefeated in the 2011-12 season.

1st Period Highlights:

  • Johan Franzen scored 2 power play goals, both assisted by Valtteri Filppula — Mike Babcock has been working to improve the PP and this demonstrates good progress. Wings are 4 for 6 on the PP in the last 2 games
  • Blue Jackets’ Brassard made it 2-1 with a few minutes left in the period

2nd Period Highlights:

  • Datsyuk finally got it in after a few attempts by other players at the end of the period (Holmer and Zetterberg with the assists)
  • Jonathan Ericsson kicked some BJ ass — it’s about fricken time. Can’t believe they let a fight go on for an entire minute…they break them up so quickly these days!

3rd Period Highlights:

  • BJ’s Johnson (heheh) scored a PPG at 1:42
  • Lidstrom with a PPG (assists went to Fil and Holmer)
  • Fil earned his 4th point of the night (wowzer) — an empty netter with 1:27 left in the game. He had originally given the puck to Franzen so he could get a hat trick but ended up being the one to put it in. What a sweetheart.

Preview of tonight’s game vs. the undefeated Washington Capitals:

Let’s Go Wings!!!

Red Lines

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Conklin, Wings Spoil Avs Celebration With 3-0 SO

Ty Conklin Denies The Avalanche - Chris Schneider/Associated Press

Ty Conklin was happy to be back in Detroit this season, where he recorded a career high 25 wins in 2008-09. In his first game back, the veteran recorded a 29 save shutout, with a couple of highlight reel saves in the first and second periods.

The Avalanche hoped to cap a wonderful celebration for former forward Peter Forsberg with a win, and came out firing in the first period. But Conklin was there to answer each test, making 11 stops in the opening frame. While no goals through the 37 minutes may not attract the casual fan, both teams had plenty of chances throughout a thrilling back and forth game.

Equally as impressive was Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who was perfect until Johan Franzen converted on a drop pass from Jiri Hudler. The play developed on a 4 on 2 rush, and Hudler made a perfect pass to the trailing Franzen who made no mistake putting the puck off the crossbar and in from just inside the blue line with three minutes to go in the 2nd.

The Wings came out flying in the third period, but Varlamov was terrific foiling a number of odd man rushes and power play chances. The Avalanche fought back and put serious pressure on Conklin midway thru the frame. But Coach Mike Babcock made a change, placing Pavel Datsyuk on a line with Dan Cleary and Henrik Zetterberg. The trio flew down the ice, with Datsyuk feeding Hank for another one-time rocket off the crossbar and in.

Datsyuk added a third goal on the empty net with assists from Cleary and Conklin. After their sluggish start (which can be attributed to their 3:30 am arrival at the Denver hotel), the Red Wings really showed some character in the third period. Conklin stood on his head, and the Red Wings are now sitting on top of the league with a couple wins on back to back nights.

Game Notes

Detroit was 0-4 on the PP…Niklas Kronwall led the team with 22:28 of ice time…Henrik Zetterberg recorded a game high seven shots on goal…Jakub Kindl is now +5 on the year after two games…The Red Wings struggled from the faceoff dot, Darren Helm was 1 of 9…Forwards Tomas Holmstrom and Fabian Brunnstrom were healthy scratches tonight.

Three Questions Facing The Red Wings This Season

This feature will take a look at three questions facing The Red Wings in the season ahead.

1) How will the Red Wings replace recently retired Brian Rafalski, especially on the power play?

Good question. The Red Wings will undoubtedly miss the Dearborn-native Rafalski, who captained the Red Wings power play with precision and calmness matched only by his counterpart, Nicklas Lidstrom. The Red Wings signed both Ian White and Mike Commodore to help bolster their blue line, but neither of these players has even 30 career power play points. Instead, it looks like it will be a power play by committee this season, with Stuart, Kronwall and White rotating to support Lidstrom. Coach Mike Babcock has experimented with forwards on the blue line before, and you have to wonder if his deep forward group may be able to ease the pain of losing Rafalski.
2) What can we expect from Jiri Hudler after last season’s performance?
There’s no denying it, last season was a bit of an embarrassment for Hudler. After a productive year away from the NHL (Hudler scored a point a game in the Russian KHL), he got off to a terribly slow start for the Wings. After rebounding in February (14 points in 14 games), Hudler drew boos from Red Wings fans during the playoffs, being held shotless and a -3 in his final three games.
That being said, it seems the fans may have jumped ship on Hudler a little early. How quickly they forget this is the same player who scored a combined 26 points in the 2008 and 2009 playoff runs. He’s scored 20+ goals in this league and is a career +26 player. At a salary of $2.8 million dollars a year, Wings GM Ken Holland has nothing to apologize for.
We did not see much of Hudler this preseason, registering one goal in four games. Let’s hope he can bounce back with 40 points this season–a good number which could come from the power play.
3) Which of the newest Wings will have the biggest impact?
Tough call here. There are plenty of candidates to choose from this season, with the influx of young talent to Detroit. My money is on Ian White, who I think could quickly become a fan favorite in Detroit. White is a perfect fit for this team, and should enjoy some extended minutes on the power play with partner Nicklas Lidstrom. White is a smart player, and although undersized can deliver big hits on unsuspecting forwards. White will give the Red Wings twenty steady minutes a night, and should provide highlights on both ends of the ice.

Fresh Faces: Cory Emmerton

Today’s edition of Fresh Faces will look at young Red Wing forward Cory Emmerton. The 23 year old from St. Thomas, Ontario is likely celebrating tonight after being named to the teams 23 man active roster yesterday. Emmerton has had three steady years in the AHL and played in two NHL games last season scoring once. Had the left winger/center not been chosen, he would have had to clear waivers and most certainly have been picked up by another team.

Emmerton had plenty to be nervous about early this preseason, with the emergence of Gustav Nyquist, the rebirth of Fabian Brunnstrom, and the stiff competition of Jan Mursak and NHL veterans Ryan Johnson and Chris Conner. However, Johnson and Conner failed to make an impression, Mursak fractured his ankle, and Nyquist (only a year out of college at Maine) was sent back to Grand Rapids for more polishing. Emmerton played in a team high seven games this preseason, but the Wings know what they are getting with the 6’0″ 190lbs forward.

Emmerton has averaged 11 goals and 25 assists in his three seasons in Grand Rapids. Coach Mike Babcock was happy with his effort this summer, “He won battles, really got stronger in the faceoff circle and played better,” Babcock said. “I played him four games in five nights to finish (the preseason), just to figure it all out, see what he was made of, and I thought he responded real well.”

Emmerton knew that his time to make the team was now or never. “I didn’t come into this season of the mind frame that I deserve that spot,” he said. “I’ve been kind of going through the system the last few years. I just knew coming in that this is a critical point in my career to take that next step.”

Knowing the nature of the treacherous 82 game NHL season, it is safe to assume that injury will propel Emmerton into the fourth line early and often this season. Until then, he’ll battle with Brunnstrom and veteran forwards Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller, and Jiri Hudler.

Fun fact: Emmerton is from the same hometown as San Jose Shark Joe Thorton and famous actress Rachel McAdams.