The Detroit Red Wings shut out the St. Louis Blues last night in a 5-0 victory. With the win, head coach Mike Babcock became the Western Conference coach for the All-Star game next month. No team in the conference can catch Detroit in terms of points by the cutoff date, January 5.
Fittingly, Nicklas Lidstrom scored the game's first goal after his contract extension was just announced earlier in the day. Lidstrom had brought the puck in from the blue line and took a slapshot that beat former Red Wing Manny Legace. Lidstrom scored a goal and notched an assist in just 14 minutes of ice time (he usually averages around 20 minutes). With back-to-back games, Babcock wanted to rest Lidstrom for the tough game against Colorado.
Five minutes later, Jiri Hudler got on the board. Another player in just his sophomore season, Valtteri Filppula, notched two goals and an assist in last night's effort. After his second goal in the second period, Legace was taken out of the game. Legace had allowed four goals on just 16 shots. Filppula has really stepped up with a point in eight of the last ten games. Fittingly, Filppula was named first star of the game.
Defenseman Brian Rafalski scored the fifth goal in the third goal while the team was on a power play after already notching two assists earlier.
Pavel Datsyuk did not score a goal last night, but he assisted on three of the five goals.
"They did a great job," Babcock said. "Cheli did a real good job battling and getting in lanes. Pav did a good job ... That was a big point in the game. That could have made it 4-1 going into the third with suddenly them getting some energy and the guys didn't let them get a sniff."
Despite missing Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Holmstrom, and Kirk Maltby, the Wings dominated the game thanks to a pickup from the secondary scoring.
It was the first game this season that St. Louis had completely sold out the arena and the fans weren't pleased with their team's effort. Unfortunately, the last time St. Louis had a full arena was when Brett Hull's jersey number was retired last season. The Wings also dominated the Blues that night as well.
The Wings continue their road trip with a game in Colorado tonight.