Detroit — This just in: Nick Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are really good.
Zetterberg scored twice, including the game-tying goal with 3.2 seconds left in regulation, Datsyuk assisted on both of those while scoring one of his own and Lidstrom scored the game-winner in overtime, plus had two assists in the Red Wings’ 5-4 comeback victory over the Calgary Flames Sunday.
It didn’t look good for the Wings as they trailed, 3-1 and then 4-2, in the third period. Coach Mike Babcock had started the game by splitting up Datsyuk and Zetterberg but he got them back together to lead the comeback. Zetterberg started the game centering Jiri Hudler and Johan Franzen while Datsyuk was centering Tomas Holmstrom and Valtteri Filppula.
“I’m kind of surprised it lasted 18 games,” Zetterberg said of being with Datsyuk. “It was nice to come back in the end and get some goals. It felt good to come back. We’ve been behind a few games this year and found a way to turn it around. It’s nice when it happens.”
Lidstrom said the two seem to have a sixth sense about each other which makes them even more difficult to play against.
“They’re playing real well together, they’re skating hard, too,” Lidstrom said. “They’re always good at finding each other when they’re playing out there and that’s what happened on a couple of the goals. Hank scored the first one, Pav had the puck and drove hard to the net to create room for Hank and they’re so good at making those little plays.”
On the tying goal, Datsyuk had to fight through three defenders to make the play to Zetterberg.
“I was like, ‘Oh, no he’s going through three guys, he’s not going to make it,'” defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. “Dangle, dangle, dangle, pass and goal. Just Pavel can do those things.”
Babcock is fortunate that he can always turn to the Euro Twins when he needs them.
“I thought Pav made an unbelievable play,” Babcock said. “I think he got the puck with about 11 seconds left and he got inside the one guy and made a good backhand pass and obviously Z buried it. We need those guys to be special.”
Calgary coach Brent Sutter believes they are.
“Those two guys are as skilled as anyone in the NHL, Datsyuk and Zetterberg,” he said.
Also special despite being the oldest player on the ice at 40 is Lidstrom.
Lidstrom came into the game fifth in the league in scoring among defensemen.
But on the game-winner, he looked like a forward. With Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff prone, Lidstrom held onto the puck and backhanded it past him.
“Helm had the puck in the right corner, coming out of the corner, and he tried to sneak in behind their forward and I know Kiprusoff is so good going side to side that I could have one-timed it on my forehand but I decided to hang on and put it on my backhand,” Lidstrom said. “He still got a piece of it with his glove. I was happy to see that puck go in.”
Brian Rafalski, who also had a nice night with three assists, giving him 402 for his career, appreciated the skill Lidstrom showed on the play.
“Good patience,” Rafalski said. “As a defenseman, your first instinct is to shoot right away but he was able to pull it back and slide it underneath him. It was a very nice goal.”
Added Zetterberg: “That’s why he’s the captain. He always steps up in the most important times and he did that tonight.”
Thanks to the heroics of Lidstrom, Datsyuk and Zetterberg, the Wings got the extra point for the win, giving them 11 of a possible 12 in their six-game home stand.
“Obviously coming in and looking at the schedule, you know anytime you’re at home as we have been, you’re concerned,” Babcock said. “You know you’ve got to get these games because you’re going on the road. It’s very important to take advantage of that. I thought the guys had good focus and showed good mental toughness today. That’s a big point, a big two points for us.”
Danny Cleary left the game with an upper-body injury and did not return.
“I don’t know for sure,” Babcock said. “He got bumped there in the corner. He and (Mark) Giordano bumped into each other. We’ll get him assessed and find out. We have a day off (Monday).”
Ericsson took a shot off his right ankle in the first period but returned to action in the second. He said he wasn’t worried it was a serious injury.
“I thought it was going to go away,” Ericsson said. “It just hurt very bad at first. It got better so no problem continuing playing.”