The Detroit forward scored twice to help the Red Wings beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 on Wednesday night. Matt Ellis also had a goal, Brian Rafalski added two assists, and Dominik Hasek made 13 saves for the Red Wings. Holmstrom frustrates opposing goals because he sets up right in front of the net, especially on power plays, and is a master of tip-ins, and banging in rebounds and loose pucks. He also makes it difficult for defencemen.
"Obviously he's a big body and battles hard in front of the net," Vancouver's Sami Salo said. "It's a tough battle for the 'D' and also for the goalie."
But this season, it appears that the officials have been watching the six-foot, 200-pound winger a little closer. Holmstrom has had three goals called back and gotten whistled for goalie interference. He leads Detroit with 22 penalty minutes.
He was penalized for goalie interference with 8:17 left in the first period.
"I don't think he deserves the penalties that he gets," linemate Henrik Zetterberg said.
But Holmstrom stuck to his game and scored both his goals from close range in the second period.
He gave the Red Wings a 2-0 lead with a power-play goal 2:23 into the period. Rafalski's slap shot from the point deflected off the shaft of Holmstrom's stick and into the net.
"It's a power play, so I know the shot's going to come," he said. "Sure enough, here it comes and I get the tip."
Matt Cooke put Vancouver on the board at 5:33 when his slap shot from the high slot deflected in off of Detroit's Aaron Downey.
But Holmstrom's seventh goal restored the Red Wings' two-goal lead with 4:20 left in the period when he converted a cross-crease pass from Zetterberg after Pavel Datsyuk stole the puck from defenceman Willie Mitchell behind the net.
"It was an easy tap in," said Holmstrom.
Daniel Sedin made it close with a power-play goal 1:47 into the third period. With Zetterberg off for hooking, Sedin backhanded a loose puck past Hasek from the slot.
Roberto Luongo stopped 36 shots for the Canucks.
The Red Wings created a lot of traffic in front of him for the entire game, and he thought they were allowed to take liberties.
"It happened three times in the first 25 minutes, and one of them was a goal," Luongo said. "I didn't see the replay on it yet so I don't know exactly what happened. I'm sure it was definitely part of their game plan."
On Detroit's first goal, by Ellis, Luongo's own teammate - Lukas Krajicek - knocked him down as Ellis slid a loose puck into the empty net with 2:26 left in the opening period.
"I think our guys were determined," Red Wing coach Mike Babcock said. "They got to the net, had some chances, and created some screens."
But Holmstrom has learned a lesson from being penalized so often this season.
"I've got to be a little more careful," he said.
Notes: Salo made his season debut. He fractured his wrist during a scrimmage in training camp. ... Detroit RW Dallas Drake missed the game because of a hairline fracture of his cheek bone. ... Canucks C Ryan Kesler is from the Detroit suburb of Livonia. ... Vancouver C Rick Rypien left in the second period because of a broken finger on his left hand. ... Zetterberg has at least a point in all 10 games this season and leads the NHL with 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists).