In a shortened NHL season, a slow start gets magnified.

So three points, all assists, in five games looked ice cold for Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula.

But that changed with a two-goal game in Tuesday's 4-1 victory over Dallas, easily Filppula's best game of the season.

"It felt good," said Filppula of the offensive explosion. "It's always important to get goals and I'm glad I got my first one. Definitely it gives me confidence.

"I'm happy."

Though he could blame a sprained knee he suffered playing in Finland during the lockout as a culprit, he isn't.

"I can play better, and hopefully I can start playing better as games go on, that's always the hope," said Filppula, who isn't worried the hectic pace will hinder the knee. "I'm not worried; it's been healing pretty well. It's just a matter of the load (of games) is pretty tough right now, so many games, there's no time to recover.

"But it's been feeling pretty good, and I've been able to play and that's the main thing."