Red Wings’ Streak Reaches Seventeen with Home Win over Blues

The Detroit Red Wings extended their franchise-record home winning streak to seventeen games on Monday night, handing the Central Division rival St. Louis Blues a 3-1 loss.

With the win, the Red Wings move three points up on the Blues for first place in the division and the league, with the Blues holding a game in hand.

St. Louis had opened the game’s scoring at 9:12 of the first period, when they caught Detroit on a bad line change and B.J. Crombeen gained the offensive zone on a three-on-one. Crombeen’s pass to Scott Nichol got around defenseman Niklas Kronwall and goalie Jimmy Howard couldn’t get across to stop Nichol’s shot.

The tide turned late in the first period. After Red Wings’ defenseman Brad Stuart laid out the Blues’ Alex Pietrangelo, Stuart was jumped by Chris Stewart. Stewart earned the extra two minute minor for instigating the fight, putting Detroit on a power play that continued into the second period.

It was on that power play that the Red Wings tied things up. Just 51 seconds into the middle frame, Datsyuk carried the puck off the left wing boards and into the slot before lifting a backhander past St. Louis goalie Jaroslav Halak.

Johan Franzen put Detroit out front at 8:52 of the period. With Franzen heading to the front of the net, Jonathan Ericsson‘s shot was blocked in the slot. Franzen got his stick on it and backhanded it around Halak’s pad to make it 2-1.

A second power play goal finished off the game’s scoring. With Carlo Colaiacavo off for roughing and just after the expiration of matching minors to Todd Bertuzzi and David Backes, Niklas Kronwall fired a shot from the top of the left circle that went through a screen by Tomas Holmstrom and past Halak.

The game closed on a chippy note, with Backes, Pietrangelo and Howard each taking roughing minors in the final two seconds. Backes and Pietrangelo also took ten-minute misconducts in the scrum around the Detroit net.

Howard finished the night with 21 saves on 22 shots against. Halak made 25 saves on 28 shots.

The Red Wings scored on two of five power play chances, though one of those lasted for 1.5 seconds. The Blues did not score on their lone power play.

The Red Wings will start a four-game road trip in Montreal on Wednesday, their last game before the All-Star break.

Postgame: Blues @ Red Wings – 1/23

Quick postgame notes ’cause I’m sick and need to try to get to sleep.

Chris Stewart challenging Brad Stuart at the end of the first period was just a stupid move by the St. Louis forward. Your team has the lead and you put them on the PK? Wings took advantage and that was the turning point of the game. From then on, the Blues were chasing the Wings.

Similarly, Carlo Colaiacovo spending 15 seconds with Darren Helm in a headlock while skating four aside and with his team down by one? Why the hell do you do that? Worst-case (which happened), it’s an insurance goal against. There’s just no upside to it.

It shows that the Blues still have a ways to go mentally.

That said, they’ve proven throughout this season that they’re a much more dangerous team than a lot of people are giving them credit for. They’re a lot like Nashville in that they’re a system team with solid goaltending but I think the Blues have more talent and a better coach than the Predators do. They may drop off their current pace, they may not. I’m glad the Wings don’t play them until April.

Seventeen consecutive home wins. They’ve needed a lot of extra time to get those points but that’s impressive nonetheless.

Jimmy Howard. Don’t love seeing him getting into fights but I love that he’s willing to. He’s proving why he’s an All-Star this year. I wish he could rest this weekend but I’m glad he gets the honor. Since I’m on the topic of Howard, I’ll close with a tweet from @Apetrelak:

Fact: Jimmy Howard has more wins than 27 NHL teams have and is on pace to BREAK Brodeur’s wins record. Dude’s unreal