You know your team had a good night when the guy with a pair of goals has to settle for second star of the game.
Johan Franzen's sixth and seventh of the season fell behind Henrik Zetterberg's goal and two assists as the Detroit Red Wings played a full sixty minutes to get a 5-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild.
The Wings had a 3-0 lead after 10:15, but didn't let up as they've been wont to do lately, and it showed. Zetterberg, who seemed to be struggling over the past few games, played strong over his 19:46 on the ice. Drew Miller picked up his first career short-handed goal. And Tomas Holmstrom scored from 50 feet away.
After a pair of third-period letdowns, the Red Wings kept the intensity going into the third, outshooting the Wild 8-5.
The Red Wings also kept their home power play goal streak going: it's now at 12 straight home games.
Jimmy Howard made 21 saves to further his Calder Trophy campaign. Josh Harding, who got the start after Niklas Backstrom sat out with what the Wild reported as a lower body injury.
To add injury to insult, Guillaume Latendresse was taken to a hospital for observation after Brian Rafalski hit him with a high-stick just underneath the bottom of the helmet. Latendresse fell to the ground in pain, but was able to leave the ice under his own power with assistance from a Wild trainer.
The Red Wings jumped out early. On a passing series that made it look like a power play, the puck ended up on Franzen's stick. His hard shot hit Holmstrom and trickled into the net. Brett Lebda and Holmstrom picked up assists.
With Mikko Koivu serving his second penalty of the period, the Wings scored what may be their oddest goal of the year. Zetterberg made a setup pass to Holmstrom, who was out by the faceoff dot. Holmstrom made what appeared to be a dump in, but his "shot" went off Nick Schultz's foot, and Harding wasn't expecting the change of direction. Holmstrom's 19th of the season was a 50-footer, with assists to Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom.
Fifty-six seconds later, the Wings would strike again. This time it was Kris Draper who fired a shot in that Harding handled, but Patrick Eaves managed to grab the rebound and skate around the back of the net, where he found a wide open Zetterberg with three Wild players near him, but not covering him. Zetterberg buried it to earn his 19th of the season.
With only 11 seconds left in the period, the Wild got on the board. Former University of Michigan player Andrew Ebbett's shot towards the crease deflected off of Brad Stuart's foot and past Howard for his 24th of the year. Martin Havlat and Marek Zidlicky each picked up a point.
In the second period, the Red Wings took advantage of a Miller takeaway on Cam Barker in the Wild offensive zone to create a two-on-none with Rafalski serving a penalty. Valtteri Filppula appeared to overskate the goal, but managed to put on the brakes and pass the puck back to Miller. The puck went off Miller's chest and into the net for his first career short-handed goal and eighth of the season. Niklas Kronwall earned the second assist.
Finally, in the third, a neutral-zone turnover was retrieved by Zetterberg, who dumped the puck to Franzen. He skated in and put a wrister in the back of the net for his second of the night, seventh of the season, and sixth in the nine games since returning from the injured list.
The Red Wings host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Player Of The Game: Henrik Zetterberg. Beyond the three points, Zetterberg seemed to have his groove back for the first time since the Olympic break tonight. The team needs him to perform to have a chance to make the playoffs.