Johan Franzen's overtime goal lifts Red Wings, spoils Harding's return
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Johan Franzen knocked a loose puck past Josh Harding with 48.5 seconds left in overtime as the Detroit Red Wings rallied from a two-goal deficit Saturday night to beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2 at Xcel Energy Center.
The goal came with the Wild's Matt Cullen in the penalty box, serving a tripping call he had taken with 2:34 left in the extra session. Franzen's goal came on a scramble in front and was ruled to be good after a video review.
The loss spoiled an oustanding effort by Wild goalie Josh Harding, who stopped 38 shots in his first regular-season game since March 2010.
The Wild, who did get a point, was outshot 41-14 in the game.
Harding missed all of last season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his right knee in a preseason game against the St. Louis Blues on Sept. 24, 2010.
He had missed the final seven games of the previous season because of a hip injury and labrum tear he suffered on March 26, 2010 against the Red Wings.
"The main story is Josh," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "He was outstanding tonight. Got us a point. We are disappointed we couldn't get the second point for him. He stole a point for us, got us to overtime, gave us a chance to get a second one and it's unfortunate that we couldn't get him a second one because he was great tonight."
Detroit tied the score 2-2 only 3:46 into the third period when Jiri Hudler redirected Jakub Kindl's shot/pass from the point past Harding. Kindl's shot had gone past the skate of defenseman Marek Zidlicky and Nick Schultz arrived a moment too late to tie up Hudler in front.
The fact the Red Wings were able to stage a comeback didn't come as a surprise, considering they outshot the Wild 31-9 over the final two periods and overtime.
Yeo said from a system standpoint it was "by far" the Wild's worst performance in a season that is only five games old.
"Everything that happened tonight was completely within our control and that's what we have to understand," said Yeo, who is in his first season behind the Wild bench. "We were doing OK, we found a way to get up 2-0, and then we completely stopped executing the way that we're supposed to. ... We were gassed because we were defending the whole night. And that's what we want to do to other teams.
"We didn't do enough to allow us to get to our game. Enough things without the puck. And then when we did get the puck, we forced things, we didn't execute the right way, we turned pucks over and we did so many things to take ourselves out of the game and so many things to allow them to get to their game."
Nonetheless, the Wild's top line nearly broke the 2-2 tie when Devin Setoguchi's shot hit the post halfway through the third. Harding made his best save of the third on a Henrik Zetterberg shot from in front after the left winger had taken a pass from Danny Cleary on the right wing side.
"I'm happy with the way I played, but I still have a lot of work to do," said Harding, who watched as No. 1 goalie Niklas Backstrom started the first four games of the season. "I definitely can get smoother and more crisp in my movement. (This is) definitely a good starting point but there's still a lot of work to do."
The Red Wings had cut the Wild lead to a goal at 19:12 of the second after winning a faceoff to the right of Harding. Franzen managed to feed Ian White in the slot and the defenseman beat Harding low to the glove side.
Zanon fired a slap shot that beat Howard low to the glove side. It was Zanon's first goal since Dec. 12, 2009 when he scored against Vancouver. It was only his 10th career goal in 398 games, but four of those have come against Detroit.
"It was nice at the time," to score, Zanon said. "But obviously not getting the two points, that's the more important thing. It's been a while, so, yeah, it was a little exciting."
Zanon's goal ended the Red Wings' shutout straek at 141:19 and was the first time in four games this season that Detriot trailed.
The Wild took the momentum from Zanon's goal into the second period and scored only 16 seconds in when Colton Gillies took the puck from Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk behind the net and centered it for Cal Clutterbuck. Clutterbuck fired from in close to beat Howard.
Latendresse had a chance to make it 3-0 with 15:39 left in the second but Howard made a nice glove save on his wrist shot from the circle to the left of the goalie. Pierre-Marc Bouchard also was turned away by Howard from in front with 11:44 left in the second.
Datsyuk had a golden opportunity to get Detroit on the board a few minutes before White's goal when the Wild's Mikko Koivu fell in the neutral zone. Datsyuk moved in on a breakaway, but Harding stood his ground and Datsyuk's wrist shot went wide.
Cullen was called for tripping left winger Justin Abdelkader in the extra session in the Detroit zone.
"I didn't like (the call), obviously, but at the same time you can't take a penalty 180 feet from your own net with two minutes left," Cullen said. "Not a good play by me. Obviously, I wasn't happy with it. But tough to lose that way."
As for the winning goal, Franzen admitted he had "no clue," the puck had gone into the net. "I thought the puck went to the corner and I knocked the net off," he said. "That's what it felt like. I saw the crossbar coming towards my face. I didn't think I was going to score there."
• 568: Days between regular-season games for Harding.
• 135: Games Zanon had gone without a goal before he beat Howard with his first-period shot. Zanon's streak was the second longest in the NHL.
• 141: Games that Tampa Bay defenseman Mattias Ohlund has gone without a goal. According to Elias, that's the NHL's longest streak.
• 17,104: Announced attendance at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday night. There were plenty of empty seats, and plenty of Red Wings fans, in a building that has a seating capacity of 18,064.
• 3: Conecutive overtime/shootout games for the Wild. The first time that has happened since Nov. 28-Dec. 4, 2009.
Latendresse left the game in the first period when he was hit with a shot by Brad Stuart in front of his own bench. Latendresse, who appeared to be hit in the leg, was able to get over the boards and then hobbled to the locker room. He returned later in the period. Colton Gillies replaced him during his absence, playing on the line with Matt Cullen and Pierre Marc-Bouchard.
Third period: Red Wings - Jiri Hudler 2 (Jakub Kindl, Filppula), 3:46.
Overtime: Red Wings - Franzen 2 (Tomas Holmstrom, White), 4:11, power play.
Shots: Red Wings 10-13-13-5--41; Wild 5-4-4-1--14. Saves: Red Wings, Jimmy Howard (14-12); Wild, Josh Harding (41-38). Power plays: Red Wings 1-for-3, Wild 0-1.
The Wild completes its three-game home stand Tuesday when they play the Pittsburgh Penguins at 6:30 p.m. (note the earlier start time) in a game that will be televised nationally on Versus.
Penguins center Sidney Crosby, who hasn't played since Jan. 5 because of a concussion, has been cleared for contact in practice but almost certainly won't be ready to play by Tuesday.
Pittsburgh also continues to be without star center Evgeni Malkin, who sat out Saturday's game against Buffalo because of soreness in his surgically repaired right knee. It was the third time in four games Malkin has been held out.
Malkin underwent surgery eight months ago to repair the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments he tore during a Feb. 4 game.