The Red Wings picked an ideal time to end their season-long power-play drought. Johan Franzen scored during a four-on-three advantage in overtime Saturday, lifting Detroit to a 3-2 win over Minnesota.
Until then, the Red Wings’ power play had been surprisingly ineffective, failing to score on all 18 of its previous chances this season. And while failing to score is bad enough, Detroit wasn’t even mounting much pressure with the extra man.
The Wings weren’t getting enough pucks on the net, having registered only 26 shots in 3:50 of power-play time prior to overtime on Saturday.
“A lot of times it doesn’t have to be a bomb, we just have to make sure the puck gets there because we do have a great net presence and they’re taking a beating up front,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “So it’s up to the rest of the guys to make sure the puck gets there. (Don’t) try to look for any seams or backdoor passes. Just need to make it simple and shoot the puck on the net.”
Despite the slump, the Red Wings remain confident their power play, which ranked fifth in the NHL in 2010-11, will break through and be among the best in the league. They have too much firepower with the likes of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Dan Cleary and Franzen up front and Nicklas Lidstrom, Ian White and Kronwall at the points.
They will have a lot of practice time to work out the kinks, since their next game is Friday at home against Columbus.
Coach Mike Babcock said they need to do a better job on puck retrieval.
“Work ethic is a key,” Babcock said. “If your power play’s one and done all the time — you shoot it and never get it back — you’re not going to have much success. You got to wear the other team out, you got to shoot it and get it back.”
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