DETROIT – This is what happens when Valtteri Filppula shoots the puck.
Filppula had two goals and an assist, surpassing 20 goals for the first time in his career, Jimmy Howard made 19 saves for his 11th career shutout, and Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and two assists in the Detroit Red Wings’ 6-0 win over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night.
The Red Wings snapped the two-game skid at home that followed their NHL record 23-game winning streak in Detroit.
Filppula has been reluctant to shoot the puck in his previous five seasons. But this season, he’s putting shots on net more often and already has career highs in goals, assists and points (53) in 64 games.
“He’s always been a good passer, but he refused to shoot,” Zetterberg said of Filppula. “This year, he’s shooting more.”
Filppula doesn’t generally think about personal stats.
“I don’t think about points too much,” he said. “I think when you’re playing well … I always knew that the points come when you’re doing good things. But definitely, it’s always nice to get goals and definitely 20 is a good number for me.”
Ian White had a goal and an assist, and Brendan Smith and Darren Helm also scored for the Red Wings. Niklas Kronwall had three assists. It was Howard’s sixth shutout of the season.
Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom missed his second game with a deep bone bruise to his right ankle. He is expected to miss at least two more games.
Filppula opened the scoring just 35 seconds into the game when he put in a rebound for his 20th goal. Smith’s first NHL goal made it 2-0 with 3:04 left when he put in a loose puck from a goal-mouth scramble.
“We gave ’em the first two goals and put ourselves in a real tough spot,” Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. “We didn’t respond well.”
Detroit scored three times in the second period to blow the game open.
Helm got his eighth goal 7:05 into the middle period when he beat Josh Harding from the inside edge of the left circle. Filppula’s second goal of the game came with 3:25 left in the second on a one-time slap shot from the high slot. White’s seventh goal came 1:07 later.
Zetterberg scored 5:30 into the third period, which sent Harding to the showers in favour of Matt Hackett. Harding stopped 23 shots, and Hackett made six saves for Minnesota.
Notes: The Red Wings were also without C Pavel Datsyuk (arthroscopic knee surgery) and D Jonathan Ericsson (broken left wrist). … Minnesota was without G Niklas Backstrom, who suffered a lower-body injury in Thursday’s 5-4 shootout loss in Montreal. … Red Wings D Kyle Quincey returned after missing a game with a sore groin. … Hackett is the nephew of former NHL goalie Jeff Hackett and played junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League with the Plymouth Whalers, who are based in suburban Detroit. … Detroit F Todd Bertuzzi left with a groin injury and is day-to-day. … The six goals were the most allowed by the Wild in a game this season.