CHICAGO – The resurgent Chicago Blackhawks have the NHL’s top two rookie scorers – and the Detroit Red Wings’ number.
NHL rookie scoring leader Patrick Kane had a power-play goal and an assist to help Chicago beat Detroit 3-2 on Sunday night, ending the Red Wings’ franchise record-tying winning streak at nine games.
Jonathan Toews, second in rookie scoring, also had a power-play goal, Yanic Perreault connected at even strength, and Jason Williams and Robert Lang each had two assists for Chicago in its third straight victory and third of the season over Detroit.
“It’s always a confidence builder to beat a team like that,” Toews said. “We all knew how big a game this was for our team and our club on and off the ice.
“We just knew if we wanted to win, we had to go out and have a great start and keep doing things we’ve done the last week or so.
Jiri Hudler and Nicklas Lidstrom scored for the Red Wings, 13-3-1 overall. Anaheim is the only other team to have beaten Detroit so far.
The Blackhawks, who have missed the playoffs in eight of the previous nine seasons, improved to 10-7-0 and show signs of having turned the corner.
“It’s exciting,” Kane said. “I don’t know if we expected it to happen this quick.”
“We’re a much better team” Chicago coach Denis Savard added. “Our depth is better than we’ve had in a long time and our special teams came through.”
Chicago was 2-for-6 on the power play and killed five Detroit advantages.
The Red Wings’ Henrik Zetterberg, the NHL’s leading scorer, had an assist to run his season-opening points streak to 17 games.
Chicago’s Nikolai Khabibulin made 30 saves. Detroit’s Chris Osgood stopped 24 shots.
Detroit coach Mike Babcock took his team’s streak-ending loss in stride and said he planned to give his players a day off on Monday.
“We’ve been on a good stretch and it’s hard to win every night in this league,” he said. “Sometimes a loss is a good reminder to get you back on track.
“I don’t think we had any spunk,” Babcock added. “They were outracing us to pucks in one-on-one battles.”
The Red Wings players also pointed to the Blackhawks’ improved talent as part of the reason for Sunday’s outcome.
“They play us well,” Lidstrom said. “Their kids play hard and are good with the puck.”
Added Osgood: “They’re a complete team now. They don’t have to just rely on their goaltender anymore”
Perreault opened the scoring with 7:32 left in the first period. He scored on a high shot from the slot after taking Lang’s bouncing pass from behind the net.
Kane made it 2-0 with a second left on a 5-on-3 Chicago power-play with 4:51 remaining in the first. He ripped in a one-time shot from the right side of the net after Lang threaded the puck through the crease.
Khabibulin stopped Brian Rafalski on a breakaway and Zetterberg’s point-blank backhand shot early in the second.
Hudler cut it to 2-1 with 3:50 left in the second. He connected after driving up the slot and taking Tomas Kopecky’s backhand feed from behind the net.
Toews’ power-play goal from the right circle with 1:32 left in the period made it 3-1. He fired in a high shot that may have been screened.
Lidstrom trimmed it to 3-2 with 6:15 left in the third. He scored on a screened shot from the point five seconds after a Detroit power play ended.
Notes: Toews has points in 13 of the 15 games he’s played. … The Red Wings have posted nine-game winning-streak seven times in their history, including once in each the previous two seasons. … Sunday’s game was the first of seven home contests the Blackhawks are televising this season as part of a new package with a local cable network. Previous team president William Wirtz refused to voluntarily televise regular-season home games, although a handful of games were available to Chicago-area viewers as part of national or league network commitments. Wirtz died Sept. 27 and his son, Rocky, has since taken over as the Blackhawks’ chairman. … Detroit’s healthy scratches were LW Matt Ellis, RW Aaron Downey and D Derek Meech. … Chicago RW Martin Havlat, LW David Koci, C Kevyn Adams and D Andrei Zyuzyn remain on injured reserve.