Gave: Wings blank Lightning with solid team effort

Petr Mrazek, 23, made a good case for more playing time.  

Paul Sancya/AP

DETROIT — Red Wings forward Luke Glendening sported a wound that took several stitches to close in his right eyebrow.

A butterfly bandage in his temple looked as if it was closing another injury. There was a small, deep gash on the bridge of his nose and a smaller one right between his eyebrows. His right eye was blackened. And there were two nasty-looking scratches on the right side of his neck.

This is what hockey looks like on a team hell-bent for a 24th-straight year in the Stanley Cup playoffs. And no one personified that look — and the kind of play it takes to succeed in the NHL this time of year — than Glendening, who anchored a splendid team effort in Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Tampa Bay Lightning.

Rookie goaltender Petr Mrazek will get most of the headlines for the 23 saves he made in his second shutout of the season, but even he was quick to credit his teammates, especially the recently maligned penalty killers, for their work.

This was a team shutout. Even more important, it was by far the best overall performance by the Wings in a month, since it returned from a 4-1-1 road trip in late February.

The victory was Detroit’s first in four games against one of its toughest Atlantic Division rivals — and the one the Wings will likely play when the Stanley Cup playoffs begin in a couple of weeks.

But coach Mike Babcock quickly dismissed any notion of this being some kind of "statement game" for his team.

"No statement, but we won a game," he said. "So we can gain from that for sure … Right now we just need to win games, so we can get in the playoffs. We’ll worry about who we play after we get in."

Joakim Andersson (his second), Justin Abdelkader (23) and Gus Nyquist (24) scored within a four-minute span midway through the second period to give the Wings a little breathing room, and Glendening iced the game with an empty-net goal, his 11th of the season, late in the third period.

The victory ended a two-game losing skid in which the Wings had given up 11 goals. It also kept at bay the teams chasing them in a furious race for the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

Boston won earlier, beating the visiting New York Rangers, 4-2, but remained five points back after the Wings won. Ottawa started the day five points back and visited Toronto later Saturday.

"Obviously, it was a big win for is," captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "We haven’t been playing well lately, but it’s the way we played today that was the key. We played with patience. We got the puck in deep, and we really didn’t give them many chances."

As for how the results Saturday might speak for the Wings as a playoff partner against Tampa Bay, Zetterberg took the same tact as his coach.

"We’ve just got to worry about ourselves right now," he said. "We know we’ve got to get points here down the stretch. This was a big game for us, and we’ve got a big one tomorrow, too."

And Mrazek, who was hardly overworked thanks to the defensive effort against the highest-scoring team in the NHL, will get the start Sunday on the road against the New York Islanders.

"I though he was real solid today. He didn’t have much work today, so that gives him an opportunity to go tomorrow," said Babcock, who is giving Jimmy Howard, the team’s No. 1 goaltender, some time to work on his game after getting pummeled in his last two outings.

Mrazek was effusive in praise of his teammates.

"The most important today was the penalty kill in the second period," Mrazek said. "They (Lightening players) shoot from everywhere, and the guys were blocking. If it was on net, I saw every puck."

Tampa went 0-5 on the power play and managed just six shots on goal with the extra man. The Lightening held a two-man advantage for 20 seconds but didn’t register a shot on goal.

"I thought our PK was good today," Glendening said. "In recent games, it hasn’t been very good and our power play has been carrying us. To get our PK back on track is huge for us. It’s a step in the right direction."

The Wings had 10 blocked shots in the game, three by Glendening and five by line-mate and penalty-kill partner Drew Miller. Most of them came while killing penalties.

"That’s just the way it happens sometimes," Glendening said. "You hope you don’t have to block that many, but sometimes that’s the way it goes."

Sure, but somebody tell the kid he shouldn’t be blocking them with his face. At least, that’s how he looked.


Pavel Datsyuk returned after missing five games with a lower-body injury.

Erik Cole missed his second game, and Riley Sheahan missed his first. Both have upper body injuries. Defenseman Jakub Kindl and forward Daniel Cleary were healthy scratches.