Zetterberg and Robert Lang scored early in the third period and Detroit beat Chicago 2-1 for its fifth consecutive win. Brian Boucher, who dropped to 0-7-0 this season, lost a shutout bid when Zetterberg scored at 3:09 of the third to tie it 1-1. “I didn’t want to miss that one because it was right there with kind of an open net,” said Zetterberg, who pounced on a loose rebound of Tomas Holmstrom’s shot.
Rene Bourque scored for injury-depleted Chicago, which lost its seventh straight game. Boucher, making his fifth straight start in place of injured Nikolai Khabibulin, blocked 27 shots.
Zetterberg also assisted on Lang’s game-winner at the 6:19 mark. Lang’s shot from the top of the left circle slipped between the legs of Chicago defenceman Adrian Aucoin, changed direction slightly and beat Boucher.
“We know (the Blackhawks) aren’t playing for seven days now and they could put everything into this game,” Zetterberg said. “They’ve had the lead in the third period before and lost it. We knew we just had to keep working and be patient.”
The Blackhawks don’t play again until next Thursday at New Jersey.
Zetterberg, who had 39 goals and 46 assists last season, had just two goals and an assist in Detroit’s first 12 games this season.
“I would be lying if I said it doesn’t feel good to score again,” he said. “It has been a while and it has been tough, but it finally went in.”
Even without big offensive numbers, the Red Wings have been winning with tight defence and goaltending. During their streak, they’ve allowed only nine goals.
“We don’t give up many shots, even when we play badly we don’t give up many shots,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “Our discipline has been a lot better.
“But we had so many goal posts and opportunities and you keep hearing ‘ding.’ Eventually those have to go in for this team.”
The Blackhawks have not beaten the Red Wings in Chicago since Dec. 28, 2003. They were 1-6-1 against Detroit last season.
This year the Blackhawks are missing several top players, including Khabibulin and forwards Martin Havlat and Michal Handzus. During the seven-game slide, Chicago has scored just 10 goals.
“We need to get some offence,” Aucoin said. “We really didn’t put the puck in the back of the net, but we had good chances.”
Bourque scored with 6:16 left in the first period to put Chicago in front. Following a turnover by Detroit’s Chris Chelios, Radim Vrbata slipped past Chelios on the right wing boards. Vrbata then passed cross ice to Bourque, who tipped in the puck after driving to the net and gaining a step on the Red Wings’ Brett Lebda.
Both teams narrowly missed on good offensive opportunities early in the first.
Detroit’s Chris Osgood, who finished with 21 saves, stopped Bourque and Bryan Smolinski about 4 minutes in.
Boucher blocked three quick close-in chances following a turnover by Bourque a couple of minutes later.
Late in the second, the Blackhawks killed off a one-minute, 30-second 5-on-3 Detroit power play. The Red Wings managed only one shot on goal during the span.
Notes: Detroit D Andreas Lilja missed his second game with sore back; D Mathieu Schneider sat out his second with a groin injury. Joey MacDonald backed up Osgood in goal. Dominik Hasek, who was in the nets for the Red Wings’ 3-2 win over Calgary at Detroit on Wednesday, was a healthy scratch. … Chicago LW Tony Salmelainen missed the game with a shoulder separation. RW Reed Low and C Jeff Hamilton were the Blackhawks’ healthy scratches. … Khabibulin, out with a broken finger, might return Nov. 9 at New Jersey, the Blackhawks’ next game.