Abdelkader, Helm goals give Wings comeback victory

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Red Wings didn’t need overtime Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens.

Thanks to goals from Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm 1 minute, 11 seconds apart midway in the third period — for Helm it was his second of the game — the Red Wings rallied for a 3-2 victory.

The Red Wings stretched their points-streak to 12 games (8-0-4). That matches a 10-0-2 run they had from March 11-April 3, 2010.

The Red Wings (16-8-5) have also somewhat silently crawled to within four points of division-leading Montreal (19-8-3), which has lost four straight.

BOX SCORE: Red Wings 3, Canadiens 2

“As a group we’re playing with confidence,” said Abdelkader, who tied the score on the power play. “We’re scoring timely goals and every game, it’s not like we’re down two or three goals. We’re staying close.

“As a team our confidence is growing and we know we can play against anyone in the league.”

Petr Mrazek stopped 23 shots and kept the Red Wings in the game with several crucial second-period breakaway saves.

Those saves were crucial as the Red Wings didn’t play their best game in this 12-game streak, by any estimation.

“Petr played real well,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We gave up some quality chances, too many for me, and we’ll have to tighten up to have long-term success. But Petr did a great job.”

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Blashill sees a Red Wings team playing with confidence as the points-streak continues.

“We can be better than we played and we’re going to have to be,” Blashill said. “But it’s big to get two points and against a team we’re chasing.

“Confidence comes from winning for sure, and winning breeds confidence.”

Abdelkader tied the game with his 10th goal at 12:48 of the third period.

Henrik Zetterberg centered a pass to Abdelkader in the slot, and the puck bounced off Abdelkader’s skate and past goalie Dustin Tokarski.

“I tried to turn my skate, I wasn’t trying to kick it forward,” Abdelkader said. “I didn’t feel like I kicked it in. (Zetterberg) kind of threw it in front and I tried to get a skate on it and fortunately it went in.”

Helm then broke the tie at 13:59 with his third goal and second of the game (all three goals in the last four games).

Montreal defenseman Greg Pateryn (Sterling Heights/Brother Rice) was stripped of the puck by Pavel Datsyuk, who made a short pass to Helm coming out of the corner.

Helm wheeled across the slot and beat a sliding Tokarski, giving the Red Wings a 3-2 lead.

“Pucks were bouncing my way and I was able to utilize my speed and create some chances and score a couple of goals,” Helm said .”It was nice. It was a huge win, to come back and find a way.”

Blashill felt Helm was a key factor.

“Darren was the best player on the ice, he was great from the drop of the puck,” Blashill said. “He has such get up and go and he was impactful the entire night.”

Sven Andrighetto and Tomas Fleischmann scored Montreal goals.

Fleischmann broke a 1-1 tie at 4:30 of the third period.

Fleischmann got the puck near the dot, and using Jonathan Ericsson as a 6-foot-4 screen, lined a shot that beat goalie Petr Mrazek blocker side, Fleischmann’s eighth goal.

“That’s hockey, sometimes you’re down and sometimes you’re up,” Mrazek said. “We had 15 minutes left in the game and we played real hard the last 15 minutes.”

After a scoreless first period, the teams traded second-period goals with Helm and Andrighetto scoring.

A significant reason the game stayed 1-1 late in the second period was the work of Mrazek.

Twice Mrazek robbed forward Tomas Plekanec on breakaways, denying one of the Canadiens' leading offensive players.

“Mrazek made some big saves and kept us in the game,” Zetterberg said.