CALGARY, ALBERTA -- This was not a blue print night. It was a superstar night, and it was a spurts night, and that was enough to make it a triumphant night.
The Detroit Red Wings won for the second straight time after toppling the Calgary Flames, 4-3, on Friday night at the Saddledome in a game that required a dominant third period to amend for a dormant second one.
"We were not happy about our second period," Joakim Andersson said. "We talked about skating better, getting some more shots and getting to the net and create some chances. We had a good third period."
Detroit's first line led the way in the opening stretch, with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg providing a 2-0 lead thanks to help from Todd Bertuzzi, who set up and screened for Datsyuk and delivered a powerful pass to Zetterberg.
Detroit's third line led the way in the closing stretch, with Tomas Tatar getting credit for a goal he said belonged to Andersson and Justin Abdelkader scoring near the beginning and end of the third period.
"We didn't execute real well in the first period but still did lots of good things," coach Mike Babcock said. "Our second period, we were no good at all. We didn't execute, they skated us, we turned over way too many pucks. When you do that, they look fast and you look slow.
"We had two good periods and one tough one."
Andersson's goal showed why putting the puck on net is always a good idea, as his shot went in off Joey MacDonald's skate. The goal was credited to Tomas Tatar, but Tatar said otherwise.
"I didn't score, that was Andy's goal," Tatar said. "It was a bad angle but it went in. I was right behind the net, so I saw the puck come in really slowly, it was nice."
Abdelkader doubled Detroit's lead with a high shot that went in just under the bar with 3:24 remaining in regulation. Curtis Glencross made it interesting when his shot from behind the net went in off Niklas Krownall with 9.8 seconds to go.
"We turned over a lot of pucks in the first and second, and in the third, we got back to what makes us successful," Jimmy Howard said after facing 25, shots, 18 of them through two periods. "Second period seems to be one of our not great periods this year. We've got to get over that hump and not let teams back in the game."
The Wings wanted to build on the 2-1 win with which they'd begun this trip Wednesday at Vancouver, where they also held the Canucks to just 20 shots. The Flames had five midway through the first period, with David Jones forcing a particularly nice pad save from Jimmy Howard. Datsyuk split a couple of Calgary defenders to get a great scoring chance, but he sent the puck just wide of MacDonald, a former teammate.
Datsyuk was dead on minutes later, collecting a loose puck Jakub Kindl had shot in from the blue line and taking advantage of Bertuzzi in front of the net to secure Detroit a 1-0 lead. Zetterberg made it 2-0 with three minutes to go in the period when he finished a beautiful spin-around backhand pass from Bertuzzi.
Chris Butler scored on a shot that deflected off Andersson, and Sean Monahan went around Johan Franzen to score on a short shot as the Wings got caught in bad habits in a turnover-prone second period.
"We got back to being what we've been sometimes this year," Babcock said, "which is unacceptable and un-Red Wing like. We've got to play and play consistently."
Franzen didn't finish the game; Babcock said Franzen felt nauseous. The good news for the Wings is that Darren Helm is on schedule to return tonight at Edmonton, in what will be Helm's season debut after being sidelined by back and groin pain. Petr Mrazek is scheduled to get the start.
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