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Penguins vs. Red Wings Scouting Report

Monday, 12.12.2011 / 8:30 PM ET / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Penguins vs. Red Wings Scouting Report
Pittsburgh Penguins
Home: 8-2-2-18
Road: 9-7-2-20

WHEN: Dec. 13, 2011 - 7:00 pm   |   WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
ROOT SPORTS  |  LISTEN: Penguins 24/7 Radio, 105.9 FM
Detroit Red Wings
Home: 12-2-1-25

  Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Detroit Red Wings 






Valtteri Filppula
LW  -  #51
  10 Goals
  15 Assists
  25 Points
• The first Finnish-born player in Red Wings history and sixth-year NHLer is on the best roll of his career, as he’s got seven goals and 10 points in his last 10 games.

• While he’s a hardworking, defensively responsible forward, he’s also got outstanding playmaking skills, speed and creativity – and finally seems to be putting up the numbers indicative of his impressive skillset.

• Versatile forward is listed as a center, but is currently playing left wing on a line with center Henrik Zetterberg and right wing Jiri Hudler.
Johan Franzen
RW -  #93
  13 Goals
  15 Assists
  28 Points
• Ranks second in the NHL (behind Pittsburgh’s James Neal) with eight power-play tallies, three of those coming in his last five games.

• Has recorded 17 points (9G-8A) in his last 21 games played while playing left wing on Detroit’s top line with Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi.

• The 6-foot-3, 223-pound Swede was nicknamed 'Mule' in his rookie season by then-teammate Steve Yzerman for his size, strength and ability to carry the load offensively for his team.
Ian White
D  -  #18
  4 Goals
  9 Assists
  13 Points
• Signed to a two-year deal worth $5.75 million on July 1 to help fill the void left by the unexpected retirement of top defenseman Brian Rafalski.

• Has fit right in with Detroit, skating on the top D pairing with Nicklas Lidstrom and ranking third (tied) in the NHL with a plus-17 rating.

Is a solid puck-moving defenseman with superior passing skills and above-average skating ability that’s averaging 3:24 power-play minutes per game.
After starting their season a perfect 5-0, the Detroit Red Wings went into a bit of a tailspin where they lost six straight games. But Detroit, a perennial Stanley Cup contender loaded with experience, figured it out and has improved to 13-4 since that dismal stretch, outscoring their opponents an impressive 65-33 in that span. They’re 9-2 in their last 11 games and sit fourth in the Western Conference.

The main reason for their recent success has been the play of goaltender Jimmy Howard. The 27-year-old netminder has been the Wings’ best player through the first quarter of the season, leading all NHL goalies with 17 wins and ranking second in goals-against average (1.85) and seventh (tied) in save percentage (.931). He’s been the epitome of consistency – even through his team’s shaky streaks – and has just raised his overall level of play in his third NHL season, giving his team a chance to win each night. Howard says his success has come as a result of increased maturity and confidence, as well as a newfound patience he didn’t possess before becoming a father for the first time earlier this year.
The Red Wings are as deep and versatile as ever up top, with their line of Valtteri Filppula, Henrik Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler performing particularly well as of late. Head coach Mike Babcock called that trio a “dominant” line, adding that they “have a dimension of skill and ability to hang on to the puck.”

Filppula is on the best roll of his career, as he’s got seven goals and 10 points in his last 10 games. Hudler has improved his level of play after a disappointing 2010-11 campaign, recording six goals and 12 assists through 27 games – including two tallies in Detroit’s last game, a 7-1 win over Winnipeg on Dec. 10. Last year at this time, Hudler had just one goal, five assists and was a minus-7.

But as Babcock likes to say, in order to have sustained success, “Your best players got to be your best players.” And that’s starting to be the case with Detroit, especially “Euro Twins” Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. The pair got off to slow starts this season, which led to Babcock separating the normally dynamic duo. And it seems to be working – after scoring just twice through the first 17 games, Datsyuk now has six goals and 17 points – including a number of highlight reel plays – through his last 11 games while Zetterberg scored just seven points through the first 18 games, but has since tallied 12 points (3G-9A) in his last 10 contests.

The ageless Nicklas Lidstrom, who won his seventh Norris Trophy last season, decided his summer he would return for his 20th season on Detroit’s blue line. The intelligent, effortless skater with superior instincts and rocket shot from the point continues to anchor both the defense and the power play. His usual D partner Brian Rafalski opted to retire in the offseason, and Lidstrom has since been paired with Ian White, and the skilled defenseman has been an asset on the power play. The versatile, physical Niklas Kronwall and rugged, shorthanded specialist Brad Stuart round out Detroit’s top four.
  • Pittsburgh won both games last season between the two teams and has won three of the last four meetings. The Penguins have won two straight home games against the Red Wings.
  • This marks the first year that the Penguins and Red Wings haven’t played each other twice since 2007-08, when they didn’t play one another.
  • The Penguins enter Tuesday’s game with a perfect 6-0-3 record against the Western Conference this season.
  • Dating back to a 2-1 overtime win against Los Angeles on Feb. 10 of last season, the Penguins are unbeaten in their last 15 games against Western Conference teams (10-0-5). Pittsburgh’s last regulation loss to a team from the West was a 4-1 setback against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Feb. 8, 2011 at CONSOL Energy Center.
  • Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury can earn his 200th win Tuesday against the Red Wings. Ironically, Fleury’s first career victory came against Detroit in a 4-3 victory on Oct. 18, 2003 at Mellon Arena. Fleury stopped 31 of 34 shots to outduel Detroit’s Dominik Hasek as Rico Fata led the Penguins with two goals and an assist
  • The Red Wings’ lineup that night included four future Hall of Famers –Brendan Shanahan, Brett Hull, Steve Yzerman and Chris Chelios –and four players who are still with Detroit today –Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom. Brooks Orpik is the lone Penguin from that night still with the team.
  • Should Fleury (27 years, 15 days) earn his 200th win Tuesday, he will become the fourth-youngest netminder to reach that mark in the Expansion Era (since 1967-68), trailing only Grant Fuhr (26 years, 122 days), Martin Brodeur (26 years, 343 days) and Tom Barrasso (26 years, 354 days).
  • Fleury enters Tuesday’s game with 15 wins, second-most in the NHL behind Detroit’s Jimmy Howard (17). With 15 wins in 23 games, Fleury is on pace to win a career-high 44 games (projected over 67 starts).
  • The Red Wings have outscored their opponents 65-33 over their last 17 games, going 13-4 in that span. Detroit is 63-3-4 the last 70 times they've scored four-plus goals in a game.
  • Over the last 10 games, the Wings have outscored their opponents a combined 17-1 after one period. They're 9-1-3 when leading after the first 20 minutes and 11-2-3 when scoring first.




2010-11 STAT CHART

C Sidney Crosby, undisclosed
F Dustin Jeffrey, knee
D Kris Letang, broken nose and concussion
D Ben Lovejoy, broken wrist
D Zbynek Michalek, concussion
F Richard Park, fractured foot
F Jordan Staal, lower-body
D Brian Strait, hyper-extended elbow
Neal (17) Franzen (13)
Malkin (18) Datsyuk (20)
Malkin/Neal (28)
Franzen/Datsyk (28)
Asham (33) Ericsson (27)
Niskanen (12) White (17)
Neal (9) Franzen (13)
Four with (1)
Stuart (1)
Fleury (15-6-0)
Howard (17-6-1)
Fleury (2.23) Howard (1.85)
Fleury (.919) Howard (.931)

F Patrick Eaves, broken jaw
D Jan Mursak, fractured ankle





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Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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