DETROIT -- A five-day break in the schedule allowed the Detroit Red Wings a chance to regroup and focus on their porous defense.
The extra work helped pay off as Marian Hossa scored two goals to lift the Red Wings to a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. Kirk Maltby also scored for the defending Stanley Cup champions (9-2-2) and Chris Osgood made 24 saves.
Despite having the Western Conference's second-best record, the Red Wings' defense wasn't good in the season's first 12 games, allowing 39 goals. But a scheduling quirk gave the team an opportunity to concentrate on keeping the puck out of its own net.
"We're getting back to the way we usually play. We gave it away a few times, and we have to get away from that on a regular basis," said Osgood. "It was good for us to practice for a week and get back to the basics. We did a lot better job tonight defensively than we have in the past."
Detroit had also relied on it's power play, which had scored on a third of its chances coming into the game. But the Red Wings had been outscored 23-22 during five-on-five play. They were 0-for-3 on the power play Saturday night.
"We didn't rely on our power play tonight, which is really nice," said Detroit coach Mike Babcock.
The layoff didn't cool down Hossa, who has been held without a point in only two games this season. He leads Detroit in scoring with 17 points.
"We had a lot of rest, obviously," said Hossa. "First couple of shifts we were a little rusty, but then we got our legs going."
"We played hard here tonight," said Devils' coach Brent Sutter. "I know it was a 3-1 game, but we did a lot of good things."
Parise tied it 1-1 at 4:15 of the second period when he tipped in Johnny Oduya's shot for his eighth goal, but Hossa's second of the game and eighth this season restored Detroit's lead. Hossa beat Weekes with a wrist shot from the left circle after taking a pass from Pavel Datsyuk in the neutral zone and skating in on a two-on-one with Tomas Holmstrom.
Maltby added his first goal, 4:11 into the third period, by putting in a loose puck from the bottom of the left circle.
Hossa opened the scoring 3:30 into the game when his quick shot from the bottom of the left circle squeezed between Weekes' pad and the short-side post.
"I saw the puck coming toward the corner and just shot it, hoping for a rebound," Hossa said. "And surprisingly, it went in.
Weekes thought he should have stopped it.
"I would have liked to have the first one back," he said. " ... Credit to him. That's why players like him are superstars. They put the puck on the net."
|Named player of the game for his two goals, Marian Hossa salutes the Red Wings fans. (Getty Images)|
|New Jersey (7-4-2)||0||1||0||1|
|Detroit (9-2-2) «||1||1||1||3|
Save Pct.: .960
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|03:30||Marian Hossa (7), Slap Shot. Assist: Rafalski|
|04:15||Zach Parise (10), Tip-In. Assist: Oduya, Zajac|
|10:41||Marian Hossa (8), Slap Shot. Assist: Datsyuk|
|04:11||Kirk Maltby (1), Tip-In. Assist: Lilja, Kopecky|
|02:04||Clarkson, 5 min, Fighting|
|02:04||McCarty, 5 min, Fighting|
|08:31||Filppula, 2 min, Hooking|
|11:19||Zubrus, 2 min, Tripping|
|12:30||Zajac, 2 min, Hooking|
|01:53||Mottau, 2 min, Tripping|
|15:09||Meech, 2 min, High-Sticking|
|18:10||Hossa, 2 min, Hooking|
|17:02||Zajac, 2 min, Hooking|
|Shots On Goal|
|Power Play Conversions|
|Attendance - 20066|
|Referees - Dan O'Rourke, Wes McCauley|
|Linesmen - Brian Mach, Tim Nowak|