for this game

Red Wings capture Central Division title

Apr 4, 2011 - 5:23 AM
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - The Detroit Red Wings are back where they belong as the Central Division champions thanks to a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.

Last season saw Chicago become the first team other than Detroit to win the Central Division since the 1999-2000 season, Sunday, though, saw the Red Wings claim the division crown for the 13th time in the past 17 seasons.

Nicklas Lidstrom, Darren Helm, Johan Franzen and Tomas Holmstrom all had goals for the Red Wings, who leaped one point ahead of San Jose for the second spot in the Western Conference. Jimmy Howard stopped 27 shots.

"It's nice, but our main focus was always to just make the playoffs," said Helm. "It's a long year and to have this is an accomplishment, but there's lots of work to do still."

San Jose, which has off on Sunday, has a game in hand on the Red Wings, who have a game in Carolina on Wednesday before closing their regular season with a home-and-home set against Chicago.

Brad Staubitz had a goal and an assist while Carson McMillan scored a goal in his first NHL game for the Wild, who have dropped their past two. Jose Theodore stopped 30 shots in the loss.

"I thought we competed and played hard today," said Minnesota head coach Todd Richards. "But against a good team like Detroit you need more than that to win."

The Red Wings got on the board 2:46 in when Helm sent the puck home on a wrister from the slot.

A faceoff win at the right circle in the Minnesota end gave Detroit possession of the puck and Lidstrom made it a 2-0 game with 19.1 ticks left on the first period clock when his big blast from the high slot went through a screen.

The Wild cut into their deficit 4:32 into the second when Staubitz jammed the puck home during a scrum in front, but Detroit got the goal back eight minutes later on the power play as Holmstrom made a nifty move in the slot to get clear for a low shot into the net.

Franzen made it a 4-1 game 6:11 into the third as Franzen slammed the puck in from the right side off a feed from Henrik Zetterberg.

McMillan's first career goal came off a wrist shot with 3:06 to play to account for the final score.

Game Notes

The Wild play games at Vancouver and Edmonton before closing their season at home against Dallas...Detroit took three of four from Minnesota for the sixth straight season...Detroit went 1-for-3 on the power play while Minnesota was 0-for-5.