ST. LOUIS – Though they will be a lower seed in the playoffs, the Detroit Red Wings showed the St. Louis Blues who is still boss.
Johan Franzen scored on consecutive shots in a span of 2:15 in the third period to end Brian Elliott’s shutout streak after more than 3 1-2 games, and Todd Bertuzzi netted the lone goal in a shootout as the Red Wings rallied for a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night.
“We’ve been having trouble all year with coming back,” Franzen said. “It’s usually the team that gets the first goal that wins. Coming back late like this gives the team confidence.”
The Red Wings took the season series 4-2. Both of the Blues’ wins came at home, and they have beaten Detroit three times at home since the 1997-98 season.
“I think we got a little bit too comfortable with a 2-0 lead, and they poured it on us,” defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo said. “That’s uncharacteristic of us. Usually, when we get a goal lead or a couple goal lead we finish the job.”
Although they have the NHL’s best record at home at 30-5-5 and have set a franchise record there with 65 points, the Blues have lost two straight for the first time. They will finish the home schedule on Friday against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock blamed himself for having “the wrong people on the ice” for the tying goal, with St. Louis’ third line opposing the Red Wings’ top line.
“For the most part, it was my fault,” Hitchcock said. “I got caught on a line change, and it ended up in our net.”
Pavel Datsyuk and Bertuzzi earned assists on both regulation goals for the Red Wings, who moved a point ahead of Nashville for fourth in the Western Conference with 101 points. Both teams have two games remaining.
The rally came after the Red Wings recovered from allowing two goals in three minutes, the first an unassisted short-handed breakaway by David Perron during a five-minute power play.
“That’s always sucking the life out of you,” Franzen said. “I think that was pretty big for the team to get a win late like that and coming back.”
Detroit, over 100 points for the 12th consecutive season, is 9-2 in shootouts. The Blues are two points behind Vancouver and the New York Rangers, who are tied atop the NHL standings.
Andy McDonald also scored for St. Louis, which has 107 points for second place in the West behind Vancouver.
The Red Wings’ Jimmy Howard made 27 saves, then stopped T.J. Oshie, McDonald and Perron in the shootout.
Elliott, who had a franchise-record shutout streak of 241 minutes, 33 seconds snapped, made 26 saves through overtime. He entered the game leading the NHL with a 1.48 goals-against average and .943 save percentage.
The Blues found some offence while killing off a boarding major against Ryan Reaves in the third period when Perron scored. Perron stripped Valtteri Filppula in the neutral zone and steamed in on Howard, beating him with a backhander at 7:19.
Three minutes later, McDonald also scored unassisted to make it 2-0.
Though it worked out for the Blues, Hitchcock was visibly upset on the bench about the penalty. The Red Wings’ Brad Stuart banged his helmet on the glass, but after the hit.
“I’ve got to see it closer, but what I saw on the replay and what I was told, I didn’t like the call,” Hitchcock said.
Franzen scored his 27th with a shot from inside the right faceoff dot at 13:55, and then got the Red Wings even at 2 off a cross-ice feed from Datsyuk at 16:10.
Elliott made the biggest save the rest of regulation, lifting his pad high to foil Filppula with just under 3 1/2 minutes left.
The Red Wings totalled just two shots on three power plays in the first two periods, often stymied by blocked shots by the Blues. St. Louis has allowed just five goals in its opponents’ last 91 chances.
Notes: Perron has four goals in four games, and six in his last eight with zero assists. … The Blues are 4-10 in shootouts. … Bertuzzi, who has 14 goals, is 5 for 9 in the shootout.