Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill talks about his team playing a "complete game" in a 4-0 victory Sunday over the Chicago Blackhawks. Ted Kulfan, The Detroit News
Chicago — Sunday’s start time was actually before noon Central time, a little awkward for sure.
The Chicago Blackhawks never really showed up, it seemed, physically or mentally.
The Red Wings were just fine with it.
The early start didn’t matter at all, and just 24 hours after a loss in Pittsburgh, the Red Wings came out and soundly defeated the Blackhawksm, 4-0.
Dylan Larkin, Mike Green, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi (his first NHL goal) scored, while goaltender Petr Mrazek stopped 27 shots, as the Red Wings (18-18-7, 43 points) salvaged a split against two of the NHL’s marquee teams.
“We came out, talked about making sure we use one of our best assets, and that’s using our speed to pressure all over the ice,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We did a good job of that. We were able to find ways to score, and it was a pretty complete game.”
The Blackhawks (22-17-6, 50 points) are heading into a bye week and looked as if their minds were already on the beach — and the Red Wings gladly took advantage.
Both teams are fighting to reach the final wild-card spot in their respective conference — Detroit in the East, Chicago in the West — but it was the Red Wings, clearly, who had more passion and desire Sunday afternoon.
“That was tough to watch,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “That was, we used the word ‘brutal.' I thought that might be complimentary. ‘Out to lunch’, use them all. But that wasn’t good enough, nowhere near good enough.”
The Red Wings didn’t have forward Justin Abdelkader or Darren Helm, both of whom suffered lower-body injuries in Saturday’s loss.
But they recalled forward Dominic Turgeon from Grand Rapids and placed him between David Booth and Luke Witkowski on the fourth line, rolled four lines throughout, and wore down the Blackhawks.
“It gives us a different look when we roll four lines,” forward Henrik Zetterberg said. “From the start, that line was good and it just kept going.”
Larkin (his seventh goal) and Green (fifth) scored 2 minutes 10 seconds apart early in the first period to get the Red Wings going.
Both goals came off the rush, and left the Blackhawks reeling.
When called upon, Mrazek made timely saves.
“When you’re up 2-0 on the road it helps me and helps the team,” Mrazek said. “That was very important when we scored those two quick goals.”
Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek talks about Sunday's 4-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, including the ability to start fast. Ted Kulfan, The Detroit News
Mantha ended any suspense with his team-leading 15th goal at 5:46 of the third period. Bertuzzi scored his first NHL goal, batting a rebound past Blackhawks goalie Jeff Glass at 13:37 of the third period.
For Bertuzzi, it was likely the first of what’ll be many similar goals in his career: Right on top of the crease, on the doorstep, batting in a rebound.
“I was excited,” Bertuzzi said. “I got two whacks at it before it actually went in. I was excited I was able to squeeze it five-hole.”
Neither power play distinguished itself, with the Red Wings going 0-for-4 while Chicago was 0-for-3. The Red Wings’ penalty kill was particulariy effective, but it didn’t matter as much for the Red Wings. who dominated at even strength.
“Across the board we weren’t good enough,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “We’ve got a lot of think about over our break here. We keep talking about the standings, where we’re at, obviously, we can’t efforts like that.”