CALGARY – Nearly perfect on home ice, the Detroit Red Wings hope Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames is a sign of better things to come on the road.
Jiri Hudler scored the go-ahead goal at 11:29 of the third period and Detroit also got offensive contributions from their third and fourth lines in a defensively sound first game back after the all-star break.
“It’s a good road win, obviously,”said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.“Any time after the all-star break when you have to travel like we did and with the altitude, you know it’s going to be a grind and I thought we stuck with it.”
On the tie-breaking goal, Flames defenceman Chris Butler lost his balance inside the Calgary blue-line, allowing Valtteri Filppula to wheel around him and carry the puck deep. Filppula’s centring pass caromed off the side of the net and went right to Hudler, who redirected it in with Miikka Kiprusoff trapped out of position.
“Fil was flying, their guy fell down along the boards, and you’re not going to catch Fil with his speed,”said Hudler.“I went to the middle and just like all my coaches always taught me, make sure you’ve got your stick on the ice. I did and it just hit me.”
Drew Miller made it a two-goal cushion four minutes later, converting a pretty goal mouth pass from Danny Cleary.<
Cory Emmerton also scored for Detroit (34-16-1), which saw its third and fourth lines step up while stars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg were held in check offensively.
“I thought Emmerton, (Justin) Abdelkader and (Jan) Mruzak were a really good line for us,” Babcock said. “Made a really nice play on the entry and so did Cleary, (Darren) Helm and Miller, two big goals from your third and fourth lines to win the game.”
Detroit improved to 14-14-0 away from home. The Red Wings’ four-game road trip continues Thursday night in Vancouver.
Jimmy Howard made 28 saves for his league-leading 31st victory. It was a solid bounce-back outing for Howard, who was pulled after the first period in his last game before the all-star break after surrendering four goals on 12 shots.<
“You saw him, just calm and strong in there,”Hudler said.“He was unbelievable and good for him, he deserves all the respect he’s getting.”<
Mike Cammalleri scored the lone goal for Calgary (23-22-6). The Flames have lost three straight at home on the heels of an eight-game winning streak at the Scotiabank Saddledome.<
“It’s been a little bit of the same for us, as of late,”said Cammalleri, who snapped a four-game pointless streak.“It’s a habit we’re going to have to break, just playing a pretty simple game for the most part and not being able to finish the deal. A couple breakdowns late are really costing us.”<
Calgary squandered a chance to make up ground in the Western Conference. Earlier in the night, the eighth place Minnesota Wild blew a 4-1 third period lead before losing 5-4 to Nashville.<
“We had some darn good opportunities and we didn’t capitalize,”said Flames coach Brent Sutter.“It’s not like we’re not getting opportunities, we had three or four quality scoring chances where we missed the net and didn’t even get a rebound out of it.”<
The Flames tied the game on Cammalleri’s power play goal 1:59 into the second period. Tanguay’s slapshot hit a Detroit player in front and fell at the feet of Cammalleri, who had his first shot stopped but on his backhand whacked the rebound past Howard.<
Despite outshooting Detroit 11-4 in the second period, Calgary could not find that elusive go-ahead goal. The Flames have been held to one goal or less in five of its last seven games.<
“We’ve got to capitalize on our chances, we have to score some more goals and make sure we find a way to rack up two points,”said Tanguay.<
Detroit struck first at 5:57 of the first period on a goal from its fourth line.<
Justin Abdelkader’s slapshot from the wing was kicked out by Kiprusoff, but right onto the stick of Emmerton breaking in on the other side. The Red Wings rookie buried his first goal in 11 games and fifth of the season.<
“We did a really good job just skating, getting pucks in, getting pucks out. That’s the biggest thing for us, as a fourth line, is play simple, contribute when you can, but just wear on the other team, play physical and skate them and we did a pretty good job tonight,”Emmerton said.<
Kiprusoff finished with 22 stops as his record fall to 22-17-3.
Detroit and Calgary split their four-game season series, each winning twice.
Notes: Calgary assigned G Leland Irving to Abbotsford (AHL) … The Flames honoured former captain and assistant coach Brad McCrimmon, who died last summer in the Lokomotiv airplane tragedy in Russia. McCrimmon played on the Flames 1989 Stanley Cup-winning team. McCrimmon’s family was on hand for the pre-game ceremony and video tribute … Detroit LW Tomas Holmstrom (sore knees) did not play, although he expects to play Thursday … Calgary RW Lee Stempniak (lower body) left the game in the first period. His condition was not updated … Kiprusoff played in career game No. 526, tying him with Mike Vernon for first on the Flames all-time list for goaltenders … Detroit ranks second-last in the NHL in average penalty minutes per game (8.4).