CALGARY – Following a 3-1 win over Calgary on Saturday night, the Detroit Red Wings talked about how a complete team effort was the key to victory.
Trailing 1-0 in the second period, Brad Stuart and Tomas Holmstrom scored goals 59 seconds apart against the Flames before Kirk Maltby sealed the win with an empty netter in the third.
“We skated well and maybe for the first time all year we were a five-man unit and made some nice plays,” said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock. “I liked the goals we scored and the way we went about our business tonight. It was impressive.”
Chris Osgood stopped 20 shots in goal as the Red Wings (5-4-3) finished up their five-game road trip with a 2-1-2 record.
“Ozzy played real well but I thought we helped him out on a lot of the rebounds too,” said Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom. “I thought we played with a lot more desperation too. As a group of five on the ice I thought we stayed together a lot better.”
Daymond Langkow scored the only goal of the game for Calgary (7-4-1), which lost for the second straight game to finish up a five-game homestand with a 3-2 record.
“I thought we started out pretty good, keeping it simple, getting pucks deep,” Langkow said. “We just got away from that. You can’t do that against a team like that. We got away from what we need to do to be successful.”
Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff played well, making 27 saves in a losing cause.
Calgary coach Brent Sutter criticized the effort of captain Jarome Iginla and forward Curtis Glencross, who played on the top line with centre Craig Conroy.
“I thought Connie had a decent game, but I thought both his wingers never played very well tonight,” Sutter said. “The puck doesn’t have legs on it, it isn’t going to come to you. You’ve got to get after it and win battles. I just didn’t think Jarome and Glennie had their better games tonight and that’s the bottom line.”
Iginla, who had five turnovers and finished with a minus-two rating, admitted that he didn’t have one of his better games.
“It was a tough night as line,” Iginla said. “We know we need to be better and contribute more and we were looking forward to that challenge and unfortunately we didn’t meet it tonight. Before tonight I was feeling pretty good. I didn’t have a very good game.”
In the game’s first minute, Osgood turned aside a booming slapshot by Calgary defenceman Jay Bouwmeester before forward Curtis Glencross shot the rebound high and wide.
The Flames built up a 5-0 advantage on the shot clock before Dan Cleary recorded Detroit’s first of the game with a weak backhander that Kiprusoff easily turned aside at the 10 minute mark of the opening period. The Red Wings then started to dictate the play, but had a tough time finding a way to get to Kiprusoff.
With time winding down in the first period, Kris Draper tipped a pass from linemate Patrick Eaves on net, but Kiprusoff slid across his crease to make a spectacular pad save to keep the game scoreless. Kiprusoff then stopped a follow-up shot by Eaves as time winded down in the period.
Cory Sarich nearly put the Flames up 1-0 early in the second period when he redirected a cross-ice pass from Dustin Boyd off the post.
The Flames opened the scoring at the 14:43 mark of the second period when Langkow swatted a loose puck out of mid air past Osgood, who had stopped the initial wraparound attempt by Rene Bourque.
The Red Wings tied the contest just 35 seconds later when Stuart snapped a shot past Kiprusoff that went off sprawling Calgary defenceman Mark Giordano and into the top corner.
Less than a minute later, the Wings went up 2-1 when Holmstrom took a pass from Datsyuk in the slot before snapping a heavy shot past Kiprusoff.
NOTES: The Red Wings played without forward Valtteri Filppula, who broke his right wrist during Detroit’s 6-5 loss to the Oilers in Edmonton on Thursday night. Also out of the lineup for the Wings were forward Johan Franzen (knee) and defencemen Andreas Lilja (concussion) and Jonathan Ericsson (illness) … Calgary defenceman Staffan Kronwall drew into the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past six games. He suited up against his older brother, Detroit blue-liner Niklas Kronwall, for the first time in his career … Detroit forward Todd Bertuzzi made his return to Calgary for the first time since playing last year for the Flames and heard a few boos from the crowd. “It didn’t matter where we were at,” Bertuzzi said. “We needed the win and we were very fortunate we came out and played one heck of a game tonight.”