Detroit — After a particularly unattractive loss to the Coyotes Thursday, the Red Wings entered play Saturday with a long checklist for improvements.
Against the big, tough, hungry Flyers they checked off a win, more scoring, winning more faceoffs and invigorating the power play.
But they still need to be "harder on the puck."
The Wings ended a two-game losing streak Saturday, scoring three power-play goals to beat the Flyers 5-2, to improve to 3-2 on the season.
They scored more than two goals for the second time, and improved from 34 percent in the faceoff circle on Thursday to 57 percent.
But they were still far too careless with the puck, with 12 giveaways to match the dozen on Thursday. They came in precisely the same distribution throughout the game: five in the first, five in the second and two in the third period.
"Well, obviously a good win for us," said Mike Babcock, who was giving everyone, coaches included, failing grades after the loss to Phoenix. "Good specialty teams. We made some good, big saves. You need a right to feel good about yourself, to feel confident.
"We can still play way better, but it was a good start for our team."
Indeed, the Flyers proved stubborn, and challenged the Red Wings more than the score indicates. After playing the Hurricanes in North Carolina Friday, they skated Saturday without two of their best offensive players, Scott Hartnell and Vincent Lecavalier, who signed with Philadelphia in the offseason.
They outshot the Wings 34 to 30, and Jimmy Howard had many answers in the net.
Babcock's shuffled lines seem to pay dividends, with three-point nights from Daniel Alfredsson and Niklas Kronwall. Todd Bertuzzi scored his first goal of the season on the top line. And Luke Glendening giving a good accounting of himself, especially on the penalty kill, in his first game on the Red Wings' fourth line.
A native of East Grand Rapids who grew up watching the Red Wings, Glendening was signed by the Wings after he was undrafted. He also was a walk-on for Red Berenson at Michigan in 2008, before earning a scholarship for four years, serving as captain of the Wolverines for two and winning a CCHA championship.
Glendening was held pointless with two shots and 4-for-9 in the face-off circle. But he was a force on the penalty kill, and his anticipation to intercept a pass in his own zone before it got to the Flyers' big scorer, Claude Giroux, camped near Howard on a power play was much discussed around the dressing room by his coach and mates, after the game.
"Coach told me before the game, don't watch it like it's on TV," Glendening said of playing with skilled NHL stars like Datsyuk and Zetterberg. "I think those preseason games definitely helped me."
The Red Wings got a wrap-around goal in the first period from Bertuzzi after he collected an errant pass behind the Flyers' net.
It was the Wings first power-play goal of the season, after they went 0-for-10 through the first four games.
Bertuzzi, who suffered through an unfortunate 2013 season with two or three nagging injuries, seemed a presence everywhere on the ice.
"We're going to need him to use his big body, especially playing in the East," Howard said. "There's a lot of big boys. We're going to need Bert, Mule (Johan Franzen) and Big E (Jonathan Ericsson) and guys that have a big frame out there, to use it."
Kronwall, who was named the first star of the game, added a power-play goal in the second on a pretty passing play. And a scintillating backhand shot from Pavel Datsyuk found its mark in the third period, also with the Wings at a man advantage.
Alfredsson assisted on all three power-play goals, and now has four assists through five games.
Kronwall also had two asisists.
"We all know we've been struggling a little bit on the power play," Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "And once you got one, I think it was easier to get a couple more there."
The Wings secured the win with a late third-period goal from Zetterberg, with assists from Pavel Datsyuk and Kyle Quincey.
Datsyuk had two assists for three on the year, and four points in the five games.
In a dramatic display of skill, Datsyuk used his feet to carry the puck in onside before feeding Zetterberg.
Zetterberg also added an empty-net goal for his fourth of the season, continuing a blistering start to the year while also contributing his third assist of the season for seven points.
"It was nice to play a game again, and not wait four or five days," Zetterberg said, referring to the lopsided schedule at the start of the season. "You know, we weren't happy the way we played our last game at home and we just wanted to come out and play a better game, and I think we did.
"I think we worked harder and played better structure-wise, but we still let in a lot of shots on Howie. But we got a good goalie back there."