Found April 22, 2013 on
Fox Sports Detroit:
DETROIT This last week could determine not just whether the Red Wings' playoff streak lives, but also Valtteri Filppula's future with the team.
Filppula, 29, is an unrestricted free agent after this season and could easily command 5 million a season on the open market after making 3.5 million each of the past two seasons.
Filppula can be an enigmatic player. He has all the skill and speed and defensive prowess you could want in a forward but sometimes fails to show it.
Everyone thought that Filppula had taken that step forward last season when he set career highs in goals with 23, assists with 43, points with 66, shots on goal with 144 and plus-minus at plus-18.
Then came the lockout.
Filppula practiced with teammates in Troy before heading to his native Finland to play with his former team, Jokerit, and with his brother, Ilari.
But Filppula injured his knee in Finland and was not quite 100 percent when the lockout ended.
This season Filppula had just seven goals and eight assists and was minus-5 in 37 games. It's quite a step back for a player who is supposed to be in his prime years.
"I dont think Ive been playing as well as I should," Filppula acknowledged.
But Filppula was exactly the player the Wings thought he was Monday night in a 4-0 shutout of the Phoenix Coyotes.
Filppula's speed forced the Coyotes to take holding and tripping penalties and -- most shockingly -- he shot the puck and scored a power play goal on a bad angle in the second period to give the Wings a 3-0 lead.
Filppula was credited with three shots but actually had more that went off the post.
"It's just great, get a goal, we needed him to get a goal, to be an important player, to be on the inside, shoot pucks, be dominant for us," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We count on him for that. Ideally, this goal (Monday) will help him take a step for us."
Every Wings player is well aware that their 21-season playoff streak is on the line with three games to go and that they can't afford to let two points slip away as they have been doing of late.
Daniel Cleary, who played on a line with Filppula and Johan Franzen, noticed Filppula's jump at the morning skate.
"He was shooting the puck (Monday) morning," Cleary said. "It was different seeing Fil shoot the puck on 2-on-1s and stuff. I thought he played real well, probably could have had three (goals)."
Since Filppula arrived in Detroit, he's been encouraged to shoot more, which seems to go against his nature.
"He's got a good shot, he's obviously a creative player and creative players like to pass, just like (Pavel Datsyuk), they like to pass first," Cleary said. "It's in him. Certainly when he starts thinking shoot the puck in on net, especially late in the season, it's where you're going to score goals. It's good to see because he's an important player for us."
Even after Monday, Filppula had just 71 shots on goal, fewer than players like Justin Abdelkader (9 goals, 89 shots), Cleary (9 goals, 88 shots) and even Jakub Kindl (4 goals, 73 shots).
There's no reason that someone like Filppula, with the ice time he gets, should not be in the top five on the team in shots.
But if Filppulafinds his groove and takes those shots this week and helps the Wings get back in the playoffs, he could make up for a lackluster season and remain a Red Wing.
It's all up to him.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Detroit Red Wings' playoff hopes begin and end with goaltender Jimmy Howard.
It would be nice if one of Detroits skilled forwards suddenly regained his goal-scoring touch, which would take some of the burden off of Howard.
But realistically, which forward seems ready to step up and be a goal-scoring machine?
Except for Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, there isnt another...
You know the math and the, "Wings need to win out" blather, but I'm not sure if you or I are particularly familiar with the Red Wings team that won a first-game-home-from-the-West-Coast game for the first time in five tries, defeating Phoenix 4-0 and really manhandling the Coyotes while extinguishing their playoff hopes in every category save shots.
The Wings came...
Had things gone slightly better last week, tonights game in Detroit could have had huge playoff implications for the Coyotes. But even though the odds of a postseason berth have been severely diminished, there is still a ray of playoff hope left for the Coyotes, and if they wants to keep that faint hope alive, they must find a way to win against the Red Wings.
Detroit enters the...
Due to a nasty bug I've been out of the loop for a couple of days, and during that time, the Grand Rapids Griffins learned who they'll be playing in the first round of the AHL playoffs. The Griffins' PR department reports that Grand Rapids will battle the Houston Aeros in a best-of-five series which will commence on Friday, April 26th:
The Grand Rapids Griffins,...
Johan Franzen scored twice and Jimmy Howard had 34 saves to help the Detroit Red Wings beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-0 Monday night to get two desperately needed points in their push to make the playoffs.
The Red Wings moved within a point of eighth-place Columbus in the Western Conference. They're hoping to finish the last three games of the regular season strong enough to extend...
The Grand Rapids Griffins are headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2009 after clinching their first division title since 2006. The Griffins, the Detroit Red Wings’ AHL affiliate, hold the No. 3 seed in the postseason and will take on the sixth-seeded Houston Aeroes in a best-of-five.
Here’s the schedule for that matchup:
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 26 – Grand Rapids at...
Red Wings blank the Coyotes, as Jimmy Howard pulls up his 4th shutout this season, winning 4-0 and pulling up 2 completely crucial points. The Red Wings finally came out in a game and played like a team who’s season is on the verge of ending. While generating very little in the area [...]
Thursday April 25th will mark the end of a an era for the Nashville Predators. Next season's realignment will move the Detroit Red Wings to an inferior "Conference II" in the Eastern time zones where they will rekindle some of their own old rivalries. Us Pred fans though will lose the biggest rival this franchise has ever seen. I would like to take some time to say...
Tomorrow's game between the Red Wings and Kings (who are trailing 2-0 vs Minnesota, in St. Paul,as I write this) is an NBC Sports Network exclusive, and they're drumming up the "Rivalry Night" Game through a press release...
OS ANGELES KINGS ATTEMPT TO HOLD HOME ICE ADVANTAGE AS DETROIT RED WINGS FIGHT FOR POSTSEASON SPOT, ON NBC SPORTS NETWORK’S “WEDNESDAY...
Make sure to follow Mark on Twitter!
Following a disappointing "mini" road-trip through Western Canada where the Detroit Red Wings were only able to garner one out of a possible four points, they return to the Joe Louis Arena to take "control of their own destiny" in commencing their final week of the regular season hosting the Phoenix Coyotes (7:30 PM ET...
By LARRY LAGE
AP Hockey Writer
DETROIT -- Johan Franzen scored twice and Jimmy Howard had 34 saves to help the Detroit Red Wings beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-0 Monday night to get two desperately needed points in their push to make the playoffs.
The Red Wings moved within a point of eighth-place Columbus in the Western Conference. They're hoping to finish the last three games...
The Wild host the LA Kings tomorrow while Dallas plays in San Jose.
On Wednesday the LA Kings visit the Red Wings.
Thursday Nashville is in Detroit and Columbus is in Dallas.
On Friday, Edmonton is in Minnesota.
On Saturday, the last day of the regular season, Nashville is in Columbus, Detroit in Dallas and Minnesota in Colorado.
In the East... Continue reading...
The Phoenix Coyotes and Detroit Red Wings have met in the postseason twice in the last three years. Now they're both trying to reach this year's playoffs.
Seeking some much-needed points, the Coyotes will try to build on a win and earn their first victory at slumping Detroit in nearly 2 1/2 years Monday night.
Phoenix (19-17-8) and Detroit (20-16-8) met in a pair of first...
The Detroit Red Wings at least nudged a little closer to the Columbus Blue Jackets and kicked off a stretch of four crucial games (with three remaining, against LA on Wednesday, Nashville on Thursday and in Dallas on Saturday) on the right foot via a 4-0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night, a game in which the Wings' power play, goaltending and positional and/or...
As the Detroit Red Wings try to qualify for their 22nd consecutive postseason, we’re taking a daily look at the key games that could impact that pursuit.
The Detroit Red Wings earned a rather frustrating point on Saturday night in Vancouver — Detroit outplayed the Canucks for the majority of the game, outshooting them 34-14, only to lose in a shootout.
But the Wings pulled back...