By Michael Caples –
DETROIT – On a night where the Red Wings’ offense chased one of the best goaltenders the state of Michigan has ever produced, they also broke a franchise record that had stood for five decades.
Detroit scored five goals on East Lansing native Ryan Miller in the first 24:32 en route to a 5-0 victory at Joe Louis Arena. The Win marked their 15th straight win on home ice, topping the old franchise record set between Jan. 21 through Mar. 25 in 1965.
“It’s something special,” captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “Last time it was done was back in the mid 60s, 1965 I believe. It’s a special record, especially with all the great teams that we’ve had here over the years, over the past two decades, going back to the 90s when we had some great teams and early 2000s we had some solid teams, so it’s a special moment to do this in the middle of the season.”
Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Lidstrom, Todd Bertuzzi, and Darren Helm all scored in the Wings’ rout in their rare match-up with Buffalo. Pavel Datsyuk recorded three assists, and Bertuzzi added a pair of helpers to his goal.
In the latest installment of the ‘battle of the Millers’, younger brother Drew once again got the last laugh. The younger Miller recorded his first point against brother Ryan, setting up Darren Helm for the game’s fifth goal – and the last of 14 shots Ryan would see on the night.
The elder Miller is 2-6-2 against his hometown team.
“That’s our plan every game against any team – we want to get on them quick and start playing our game,” Drew Miller said after the game when asked about his brother’s performance. “It’s unfortunate that he got pulled, and I don’t think it was all his fault, I think a couple of those goals you had no chance, and some of them, you know Franzen coming in on the Wing and putting it in a small hole, it’s a tough shot to stop. He’ll bounce back, and move forward from here.”
With the win, Detroit’s home record improves to 18-2-1, and 29-15-1 overall. However, they are still stuck in fifth place in the West; fourth-place St. Louis picked up a 1-0 home win over Dallas.
Zetterberg started the scoring at the 5:20 mark of the first period, firing a shot under the stick of a Buffalo defender, and up into the top-right corner of the Sabres’ goal. Jiri Hudler recorded the only assist after creating a turnover in the Buffalo end that led to the goal.
Goals from Franzen and Lidstrom in final two minutes of the first period gave the Wings a commanding 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Todd Bertuzzi continued the Wings’ scoring spree in the second period, spinning to sweep in the puck between Ryan Miller’s legs at the 4:19 mark of the middle frame.
The final goal the Wings would record came on a blast from Darren Helm, set up by Drew Miller, just 13 seconds after the Bertuzzi goal.
Notes: Oxford native Nathan Gerbe was a -1 on 10:53 worth of ice-time…The Sabres’ defensive pairing of Jordan Leopold and Mike Weber were -4 on the night…Jonathan Ericsson had six hits.