ST. LOUIS – The Detroit Red Wings gave the St. Louis Blues a firsthand look at their potent, quick-strike offence.
The Red Wings, who lead the NHL with 257 goals, scored on three consecutive shots in a 46-second span of a 5-2 victory over the Blues on Saturday.
Pavel Datsyuk scored twice in the high-powered second period for the Red Wings.
“We shot the puck, we got it to the net and you really don’t ever bank on scoring like that consistently,” Wings forward Kirk Maltby said. “A couple good shots either surprised the goalie or handcuffed him and the next thing you know it’s in the net.
“We definitely came out better in the second and that was kind of how we got rewarded.”
Tomas Kopecky, Brett Lebda and Henrik Zetterberg also scored, and Chris Osgood stopped 30 shots for Detroit, tied with Boston for the NHL lead with 99 points.
The Blues, fighting for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, got a goal and assist from T.J. Oshie. David Backes had two assists, and Jeff Woywitka also scored for St. Louis, which is on the outside edge of a playoff position.
“It was what we expected,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “That’s Game 7 for them. They’re playing for their playoff life.
“They’re at a different level intensity-wise and I thought after we got through the first period, we were much better.”
The Blues have a quick turnaround against Minnesota on Sunday.
“We’ve got a game to play in 24 hours,” Blues coach Andy Murray said. “It’s a big game for our team, and the players were given from the time that I left the room until (the media) walked in to feel sorry for themselves.”
The Red Wings struck quickly to grab a 3-1 lead on goals by Datsyuk, Kopecky and Lebda. Datsyuk and Kopecky scored 10 seconds apart.
“We just kept creating turnovers. We were working real hard to get the puck back and forechecking hard and creating some turnovers and we were shooting the puck,” Red Wings defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom said. “We made some quick passes and some quick shots, as well, so it’s great to see the puck go in for us that way.”
Datsyuk tied it 4:40 into the second after the Blues failed to dump a puck deep in the Detroit zone and then made a poor line change that sprung Datsyuk loose.
Kopecky scored his sixth of the season when the Blues got caught in their own end while Detroit picked its way through the Blues zone.
Lebda made it 3-1 just 36 seconds later. He intercepted a bad clearing pass by defenceman Barret Jackman and snapped a shot over the glove of Chris Mason at 5:26. Jackman was also called for roughing at the end of the play.
“We needed to make better decisions with the puck in all the goals that were scored against us,” Murray said.
The Blues got a goal back when Woywitka one-timed a cross-ice feed from Oshie from the right circle at 9:08 of the second. Osgood preserved the 3-2 lead when he made a pad save from point blank range on Jay McClement with 4:55 left in the period.
“It was a big goal at the time, but it’s a tough loss,” Woywitka said. “We’re not worrying about it too much. We’ve got to put it behind us. We play (Sunday) and that’s the biggest game of the year right now. That’s what we’re focusing on.”
Datsyuk’s second of the game with 35 seconds remaining in the second gave Detroit a two-goal lead again. Woywitka turned over the puck in his own end, allowing Datsyuk to throw a shot from the far right circle through a screen and past Mason.
Mason was replaced after the second period by St. Louis native Ben Bishop and returned briefly with 5:11 remaining.
A good cycle of the puck enabled the Blues to take a 1-0 edge when Oshie converted a centring feed from Andy McDonald with 5:16 left in the first period.
The Blues outshot Detroit 16-4 in the third period but could not get anything past Osgood, who blanked the Blues the previous time Detroit visited on March 3.
“The missed opportunities in the third period were every bit as bad as the goals we gave up in the second,” Murray said. “Their goalie made some saves, and we’ll give him credit, but you’ve got to bury some of those opportunities in the third period. We had more than enough for two goals.”
Notes: Red Wings RW Marian Hossa returned to the lineup after hurting his neck in Detroit’s game at St. Louis 11 days earlier. … Blues centres Patrik Berglund (stiff back) and Alex Steen (hip) returned to the lineup after missing Thursday’s 3-1 win over San Jose. … The Red Wings are on a 7-0-1 surge against the Blues and have won five straight in St. Louis. … Oshie became the 10th Blues player to score 10 goals this season. … Red Wings C Valtteri Filppula left the game in the second period due to back spasms.