A first period fight shifted momentum in favor of the Detroit Red Wings as they rallied from a 1-0 deficit to beat the St. Louis Blues 3-1 and gain the top spot in the NHL for points. The win was Detroit’s 17 straight at home.
Scot Nichol scored his second goal of the year to give the Blues their only lead midway through the first period after Detroit botched up a line change. Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart delivered a big hit on Blues defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Blues forward Chris Stewart came in to stick up for his teammate. Stewart received a two minute minor and ten minute misconduct which gave Detroit a short power play in the second period after Stuart only received a fighting major.
The Wings took advantage tying the game on a power play goal from Pavel Datsyuk. Detroit took a 2-1 lead 8:52 in the second from Johan Franzen’s 19th goal and capped their scoring with another power play goal in the third from Niklas Kronwell.
Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard made some quality saves stopping 21 of 22 for his 30th win of the season, but as good as the Blues have been playing, there have been times against teams like Chicago and Detroit (on Monday night), where they haven’t quite been able to match the intensity of big games. Detroit punched and St. Louis ran away.
St. Louis forward Jamie Langenbrunner said of the Red Wings. “But in the end, we’ve kind of crumbled when the boys got a little rough. The game gets turned up a notch and we take a while to catch back up to it. It’s caught us. We start reacting instead of initiating the play.”
If the Blues are going to make a long run in the playoffs, that’s an area that must be fixed.