for this game

Red Wings' special teams shine in triumph over Flames

Apr 22, 2007 - 5:10 AM
DETROIT (Ticker) -- The Detroit Red Wings showed the Calgary Flames that the best defense is good offense.

Daniel Cleary and defenseman Chris Chelios scored shorthanded goals and the Red Wings successfully killed all eight of the Flames' power plays en route to a 5-1 triumph and a three-games-to-two lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Henrik Zetterberg netted a pair of man-advantage tallies and captain Nicklas Lidstrom collected four assists for Detroit, which can advance to the conference semifinals with a victory in Game Six at Calgary on Sunday.

"It's going to be a tough game, of course," Zetterberg said. "Games Three and Four were two tough ones. The first thing is, we have to stay out of the box and keep working 5-on-5 because I think we have a real good chance then."

"The pressure is on them," Cleary added. "They play well at home. (But) if we play our game plan, we dictate the play, we believe strongly that we can come out with a win."

The Red Wings entered this one with the worst penalty-killing percentage (72.7) among the 16 playoff teams. Conversely, the Flames came in with the postseason's top power-play unit, clicking at a rate of 27.3 percent.

But Detroit extinguished two power plays for Calgary in the first period and five in the second, including a 5-on-3 advantage that lasted 89 seconds. The Red Wings also added insult to injury, tallying twice in the middle session while down a skater.

"I thought in Calgary, Games Three and Four, we were very undisciplined. We gave them some 5-on-3s that we didn't defend like we can," Cleary said. "It cost us the game in Game Four. Tonight, our mind set was to be good on the penalty kill."

The Flames, who faced 2-0 deficits after one period in each of the first two games of the series, managed to keep the Red Wings off the scoreboard for the first 20 minutes of Game Five. But Detroit began to take control just 3 1/2 minutes into the second, when Cleary was pulled down from behind by defenseman Roman Hamrlik during a shorthanded breakaway.

Cleary, who scored a career-high 20 goals during the regular season, was awarded the first penalty shot this postseason despite getting the puck on net on the play. Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff failed on an attempt to poke away the puck, and Cleary pulled it to his backhand before lifting it into a vacant net at 3:32 for a 1-0 lead.

"I was thinking all along, 'Just come in, fake him, get him down, then go on the backhand and get it above his pads,'" Cleary said. "He tried to pokecheck me late, and I saw it and I just got out of the way just in time."

"He's been really good, solid all series. Actually, the whole season," Zetterberg said. "Coming out with a lot of pressure, taking a penalty shot like that and puts it in the net. It's good to see. He earned it."

Detroit coach Mike Babcock and defenseman Mathieu Schneider also were impressed with Cleary's move.

"It was a great play," Babcock said. "Can you imagine how hard your heart would be beating if that was you?"

"It's an outstanding move," Schneider added. "There's not any more pressure in the game than shooting in that position. He's been great at breakaways and shootouts all year long."

The penalty shot was the first awarded to the Red Wings in the playoffs at home in their 81-year history and second overall in the postseason. Petr Klima converted the first against Toronto in Game Three of the 1988 Norris Division semifinals.

Zetterberg doubled the advantage at 8:50 with a power-play goal before the 45-year-old Chelios, who forged a tie with Claude Lemieux and Scott Stevens for third place on the all-time list by playing in his 233rd career playoff contest, made it 3-0 with a shorthander just over two minutes later.

"Their penalty kill was unbelievable," Calgary's Craig Conroy said. "They scored two goals. We always talked about special teams being the difference, and tonight it was the difference for them."

Chelios, who had gone 41 postseason games without a goal, became the second-oldest player in NHL history to score in the playoffs. Hall of Famer Gordie Howe was 52 when he tallied in 1980 for the Hartford Whalers.

Defenseman Andrei Zyuzin spoiled Dominik Hasek's shutout bid with a shorthanded tally midway through the third. But it was too little, too late for the Flames, who have lost all three games at Joe Louis Arena by a combined score of 12-3.

"They played great at home, and we have to answer the bell again coming home for Game Six," Conroy said. "There are no easy ways, but we have to do it at home and then have an opportunity to come back. But we've got to win one in this building at some point."

Pavel Datsyuk added a late power-play goal and Hasek made 23 saves for the Red Wings, who went 3-for-8 with the man advantage.

"We just kept working on it all the time," Zetterberg said of the power play. "The amount of skill we have in this locker room, we knew it was going to come eventually. Just keep working, keep shooting and keep traffic in front of the net."

"The power play was much better tonight, and at the end of the game, that was the difference," Schneider said. "Special teams made a big difference. We realize the importance."

With tempers flaring throughout the game, Calgary coach Jim Playfair elected to pull Kiprusoff with just over three minutes remaining in the third to avoid an injury.

"I think you're trying to win the hockey game, but at a point in time, you realize it's time to get him out," Playfair said.

But replacement Jamie McLennan had something else in mind, drawing a slashing penalty for repeatedly whacking Johan Franzen in front of the net before delivering a two-handed chop to the 27-year-old Swede moments later.

"They bumped the goalie consistently all night," Flames defenseman Rhett Warrener said. "A couple slashes to Kipper, bumping all night, guys got frustrated. (McLennan's) a goalie, he's watching it. He's been watching it all series. It boiled to overflowing. It's up to the refs. (McLennan) shouldn't have to respond like that."

McLennan received a five-minute major and game misconduct for his efforts and likely will be suspended by the league.

Shortly thereafter, Flames captain Jarome Iginla butt-ended Schneider, but the officials did not see the infraction and no call was made.

"It's not about playing nasty. We're just keeping our energy up into tomorrow, that's all," Iginla said. "It's 5-1 at that point, we don't like some of the whacks that were going on. ... We weren't happy with the way the game went and it was really about getting some fights going at that point to keep our energy up and carry some anger into the next game."

"It is what it is, what are you going to do?" Schneider said. "It happens in the playoffs. We saw it before from them. I don't think it's any surprise."

Calgary was whistled for 14 penalties overall totaling 42 minutes.

"I was really disappointed. Not a little, but a lot," Hasek said. "Their goalie, what he did, and Iginla. He's the captain of the team and should be in charge. ... Those last five or six minutes, if you were watching on TV, I think it was sort of disappointing."

"Late in the game like that when it's out of hand, players try to take liberties or whatever you may call it," Cleary added. "That's the way it's always been, really."

Kiprusoff stopped 33 shots for the Flames, who posted a league-high 30 wins at home during the regular season and won the first two contests of this series at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

The reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Kiprusoff kept Calgary's deficit at 1-0 by making a brilliant save on Zetterberg from alone on the right side of the net 5:58 into the second period. But the Swede came through for Detroit less than three minutes later, one-timing a cross-slot pass by Lidstrom past the Finnish netminder from the top of the right circle for a two-goal bulge.

Kiprusoff continued to keep the Flames in the game, stopping Todd Bertuzzi from alone in front midway through the session. However, Chelios beat the goalie to the glove side with a shot from high in the left faceoff circle at 10:54 for his 31st career playoff tally and a 3-0 cushion.

"He called it before the game," Schneider said. "He said he was going to get one tonight. He says that every game, though."

Zetterberg increased the lead at 5:12 of the third and, after Zyuzin was credited with tipping Matthew Lombardi's one-timer past Hasek at the midway point of the period, Datsyuk scored on a tap-in at the right goalpost with 4:18 left for the final margin.








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CALGARY 0 0 1 1
    DETROIT 0 3 2 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: DET - (SPS) DANIEL CLEARY 1 3:32
    DET - (PP) HENRIK ZETTERBERG 1 (NICKLAS LIDSTROM, MATHIEU
    SCHNEIDER) 8:10
    DET - (SH) CHRIS CHELIOS 1 (JOHAN FRANZEN, NICKLAS LIDSTROM)
    10:54
    3RD PRD: DET - (P

    Apr 21 6:04 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL CALGARY 1
    DETROIT 5
    3RD PRD: DET - (PP) PAVEL DATSYUK 3 (NICKLAS LIDSTROM, HENRIK
    ZETTERBERG) 15:42

    Flames vs. Red WingsApr 21 5:54 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL CALGARY 1
    DETROIT 4
    3RD PRD: CGY - (SH) ANDREI ZYUZIN 1 (MATTHEW LOMBARDI, CRAIG CONROY)
    10:03

    Flames vs. Red WingsApr 21 5:39 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL CALGARY 0
    DETROIT 4
    3RD PRD: DET - (PP) HENRIK ZETTERBERG 2 (PAVEL DATSYUK, NICKLAS
    LIDSTROM) 5:12

    Flames vs. Red WingsApr 21 5:26 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CALGARY 0 0 0
    DETROIT 0 3 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: DET - (SPS) DANIEL CLEARY 1 3:32
    DET - (PP) HENRIK ZETTERBERG 1 (NICKLAS LIDSTROM, MATHIEU
    SCHNEIDER) 8:10
    DET - (SH) CHRIS CHELIOS 1 (JOHAN FRANZEN, NICKLAS LIDSTROM)
    10:54
    SHOT

    Apr 21 5:00 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL CALGARY 0
    DETROIT 3
    2ND PRD: DET - (SH) CHRIS CHELIOS 1 (JOHAN FRANZEN, NICKLAS LIDSTROM)
    10:54

    Flames vs. Red WingsApr 21 4:44 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL CALGARY 0
    DETROIT 2
    2ND PRD: DET - (PP) HENRIK ZETTERBERG 1 (NICKLAS LIDSTROM, MATHIEU
    SCHNEIDER) 8:10

    Flames vs. Red WingsApr 21 4:36 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL CALGARY 0
    DETROIT 1
    2ND PRD: DET - (SPS) DANIEL CLEARY 1 3:32

    Flames vs. Red WingsApr 21 4:22 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CALGARY 0 0
    DETROIT 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CGY 11 11
    DET 14 14
    GOALIES: CGY - MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF
    DET - DOMINIK HASEK

    Apr 21 3:57 PM