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Red Wings forwards step up in win

The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings' forwards had trouble finding the back of the net through three games of this shortened NHL season.

The group up front made up for it Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.

All five of the Wings' goals were scored by forwards as they skated past the Minnesota Wild, 5-3.

Todd Bertuzzi scored twice, while Damien Brunner, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk each added a single tally to lead the offense, while goalie Jimmy Howard made 23 saves for the win.

"That's what we have to have, I think over time, there's been more of those names," said Wings coach Mike Babcock, whose team improved to 2-2-0 on the season. "Now there are less of those names, so they've got a bigger job."

Detroit's forwards combined to score just two goals through the first three games.

The Wild (2-2-0) got two goals from Zach Parise and one from Tom Gilbert, while goalie Josh Harding made 22 saves.

"They've got plenty of skill, plenty of guys who are at the top of the league when it comes to scoring goals," Gilbert said. "Regardless of whether they were scoring goals or not, they were always a threat."

Two of the Wings' goals came on the power play, off five chances. They hadn't scored with the man advantage through the first three games of the season, going 0-for-15.

"I just thought in general we needed a goal," Babcock said.

Bertuzzi had missed the first three games of the season with a bad case of the flu, which was first diagnosed as mono.

"The first couple of shifts were a whirlwind," said Bertuzzi, who skated on a line with Datsyuk and Valtteri Filppula. "Everyone was flying around me pretty quick. It took a little bit to get adjusted. In the end I felt a lot better."

Filppula collected three assists, while Datsyuk had a pair. Niklas Kronwall also had two assists.

"It looks like we play on his line," Datsyuk said. "He's the oldest guy on our line and he controlled everything.

"We had a little bit of a tough start," Datsyuk continued. "We played a little bit better. It was one game, we have to do that every game, be more consistent and see what happens."

The Wild were 1-for-8 with the man advantage.

"We played well in spurts, but you can't do that against that team," Parise said. "Those are still the Red Wings, even if they don't have the same roster, and they are still a great team. You've got to play the whole game if you want to beat them. They've still got Datsyuk, Zetterberg and the rest of those guys."

Bertuzzi's second goal, which came after a nice feed from Datsyuk, put Detroit up 5-2.

Parise got the Wild back to within two goals, banking a shot off Zetterberg's hip as he made his way out from behind the Wings' goal.

Minnesota got its eighth power play of the game late in the third period and failed to capitalize, finishing with just one goal with the extra man.

After a scoreless first period, the teams combined for six goals in the middle frame, four scored by the Wings.

The first four goals, two by each team, were tallied before the 7-minute mark.

Just 13 seconds into a power play that carried over from the first period, Brunner snapped a wrist shot in the top corner for the Wings' first power play goal of the season on 18 tries.

Just 42 seconds later Bertuzzi deflected in a shot by Valtteri Filppula to give Detroit a 2-0 lead.

Minnesota got on the board by scoring with 15 seconds left on a 5-on-3 man advantage when Parise beat Howard.

Less than 4 minutes later, the Wild got the equalizer from Gilbert, scoring just as Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl stepped back on the ice after serving a penalty for interference.

Zetterberg gave Detroit the lead back before the period's end, getting Harding to commit before sliding the puck in the open net after a nice cross-ice backhanded pass from Datsyuk.

Datsyuk made it 4-2 just 26 seconds into Detroit's fifth power play of the game, beating Harding with another wrist shot.

The Wild dominated play in the first half of the opening period, not allowing Detroit out of its own zone. They were aided by two power play chances during that stretch and a third later in the period, but could not capitalize in the opening 20 minutes.

Detroit's power play continued to struggle in the first period.

The Wings had 1:30 of a 5-on-3 power play when Cal Clutterbuck was sent off for hooking and 30 seconds later Clayton Stoner was assessed the same penalty. However, Detroit failed to get a shot on goal.

The Wings had two shots over the final 30 seconds of the one-man advantage.

Notes: Detroit made a big play once free agency opened on July 4 for defenseman Ryan Suter and Parise, both of whom ended up with Minnesota. The pair, who received boos from Wings fans when the starters were announced, both got 13-year deals worth $98 million. "That was definitely one of the teams I was very interested in playing for," Parise said after the morning skate. "They're just a great organization. I have a lot of respect for them. That was a tough one, because it's a really good place to play." ... Defenseman Jonas Brodin made his NHL debut for the Wild. The 19-year-old won a gold medal with Sweden at the 2012 World Junior Championship. ... Detroit rookie defenseman Brendan Smith recorded his first NHL goal on March 2, 2012, against Minnesota at Joe Louis Arena. ... The Wings' scratches were defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (hip), goalie Jonas Gustavsson (groin) and right wing Patrick Eaves (healthy). Minnesota scratched left wing Matt Kassian (healthy), defenseman Mathew Dumba (healthy) and defenseman Jared Spurgeon (foot).
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