ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Detroit coach Mike Babcock couldn't
resist taking a lighthearted shot at Andreas Lilja after the
defenseman's first goal in 71 games.
"We're relying heavily on him for offense," Babcock said.
Lilja beat Minnesota goalie Dwayne Roloson with a slap shot
midway through the third period to give Detroit a two-goal lead in
its 5-4 victory Monday night.
"He's good defensively, but tonight he made plays with the
puck, which was nice to see," Babcock said. "Sometimes as a
defensive defenseman on an offensive team they always want you to
do more than you're capable of doing. His game has gotten much
better with the puck."
Lilja's had not scored since Feb. 23, 2004, at Boston.
"Robert (Lang) just gave it me and I just tried to get it on
net. (Steve) Yzerman was in front to cover the goalie," Lilja
Yzerman, Lang and Mikael Samuelsson scored in the game's first
10 minutes, and Henrik Zetterberg added a goal late in the opening
period for Detroit, 7-1-1 in its last nine road games. Manny Legace
replaced an ineffective Chris Osgood in the third period to get the
Marian Gaborik, Todd White and Andrei Zyuzin had second-period
goals for Minnesota, and Filip Kuba completed the scoring with 5:49
remaining in the third. The Wild lost for the first time in five
Yzerman opened the scoring on a power play at 4:19 of the first,
knocking a rebound past Minnesota starter Manny Fernandez. Detroit,
which has the NHL's top-ranked power play, has scored with the man
advantage in 15 straight games.
Lang scored on a one-timer from the slot 53 seconds later,
Samuelsson made it 3-0 at 9:59, and Zetterberg scored on a wrist
shot with 2:36 left in the period. The three were the first
even-strength goals for Detroit in five games.
"It's not like we hadn't had tons of chances, we just weren't
finishing," Babcock said. "The big thing we wanted to do was not
panic and just keep doing what you are doing, get people to the
net, work hard at it and let's not be pressing. I thought we
managed the puck well and made great plays in the middle of the ice
and really came at them with some speed."
Fernandez, who entered the game with a 1.99 goals against
average and a league-best .930 save percentage, was pulled for
Roloson after stopping 10 of 14 first-period shots. It was the
first time this season Minnesota allowed four goals in a period.
"The move was made to try and get a spark," Minnesota coach
Jacques Lemaire said. "I thought if we changed the goalie maybe
the other side would do something different or we would play a
The Wild, which lost for the first time in 20 games this season
when they scored at least four goals, had only four shots in the
second period, but scored three times.
Gaborik scored on a breakaway at 3:53 and White and Zyuzin
scored 58 seconds apart late in the period to put Osgood on the
bench for the final period.
"We didn't get our two points," Wild center Brian Rolston
said. "'A' for effort doesn't mean a whole lot if you don't get
In his first start in six games, Osgood stopped seven of 10
shots before being replaced.
"I was just relaxing and getting ready to go out to the bench
for the third when (Babcock) came in with seven or eight minutes
left in the intermission and made the move," Legace said. "I was
Zyuzin returned to the Minnesota lineup after missing two
games because of facial cuts that required 50 stitches. He was
checked-face first into the glass last Tuesday night. ... Detroit
is 12-11 in one-goal games; Minnesota 8-16. ... Red Wings scoring
leader Pavel Datsyuk was held without a point for the fourth
straight game. ... White has four goals in three games for
Minnesota. ... Detroit bumped an Inver Grove Heights mite team from
its practice time Sunday. Babcock allowed the mites, their coaches
and parents to watch the normally closed practice and the players
signed autographs for the kids.