Red Wings top Blackhawks, have rare two-game winning streak
No Dylan Larkin, no problem for the Red Wings, at least this one night.
With Larkin back in Detroit because of an upper body injury, the Wings persevered without their captain Saturday as they defeated the Chicago Blackhawks, 5-3.
Bobby Ryan, Darren Helm, Christian Djoos — on the power play, ending an 0-for-40 Wings drought — Evgeny Svechnikov (in his first game this season) and Frans Nielsen scored for the Wings, while goaltender Jonathan Bernier continued his fine stretch with 33 saves.
Coach Jeff Blashill said before the game Larkin would miss the two-game series in Chicago after getting hurt in Thursday's game against Nashville. Larkin joined Tyler Bertuzzi (upper body), two players on the Wings' top line, unavailable to play.
"We have to win as a team," coach Jeff Blashill said. "We haven't won enough as a team but we've worked hard as a team and guys have worked for each other, competed for each other, and I can say that for sure.
"When you're missing two big pieces like Dylan and Tyler you have to dig in and our guys dug in. We've scored the last couple of games and we need depth of scoring."
The Wings (7-13-3) matched their season-high of five goals for the second consecutive game and earned a second straight win for the first time this season.
"It sure feels good to score, it's something we've struggled with," Nielsen said. "We've been losing that (special teams) battle a lot this season, and when you lose that, it's tough to win. You have to be good in that area. It's nice it went our way."
Alex DeBrincat (Farmington Hills), Mattias Janmark and Dominik Kubalik scored for the Blackhawks (11-7-4).
The Djoos power-play goal (the Wings' first in 15 games) gave the Wings a 3-1 lead at 18:27 of the second period. Djoos worked his way down the slot and beat screened goalie Malcolm Subban.
"That's obviously an area of the game where we haven't won many special teams battles," Blashill said. "That was a huge part of the game, a huge power-play goal at the moment."
Svechnikov then increased the lead to 4-1 at 2:33 of the third period.
After Subban stopped him on a breakaway, Svechnikov stayed near the post and jammed a loose puck off Nielsen's shot for his first goal of the season.
"Very good moment," Svechnikov said. "Definitely been working hard for it. I was patient and stuck with it. I was hoping. I knew the chance would come and I was getting ready.
"It's always hard but you have to stay as a pro and stick with it. I was able to stay with it mentally and it went pretty good."
Chicago came within two goals, 4-2, on Janmark's deflection past Bernier. But Bernier made several key stops as the Blackhawks surged, and the saves became that much more important when Svechnikov centered a pass to Nielsen skating down the middle, Nielsen scoring his first goal, and first since Feb29, 2020, a span of 24 games.
"It's always nice, a little longer between (goals) but it's always fun," Nielsen said. "You need goals from everyone throughout the lineup and that's been an issue, so it's always nice when you get one."