Calgary 5 Detroit 2
DETROIT — It’s been nearly three years since Jiri Hudler played for Detroit, and the Calgary forward’s two-goal night against his former team didn’t have much extra significance.
Other than the fact that it helped the Flames move up the standings, of course.
“There’s no hard feelings, I have a lot of friends here,” Hudler said. “We’re playing for our lives, trying to get to the playoffs.”
Hudler scored twice Friday to help Calgary to a 5-2 victory over the Red Wings. The Flames rallied in convincing fashion after Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader scored the game’s first two goals. Now Calgary is tied with Vancouver for second in the Pacific Division, where four teams are scrambling for spots in the post-season behind first-place Anaheim.
Sean Monahan, Matt Stajan and Mason Raymond also scored for Calgary. The Flames have one game remaining on a seven-game road trip — they’ve won four of the first six.
Detroit’s three-game winning streak was snapped, although the Red Wings outshot the Flames 35-24. Calgary’s Jonas Hiller made 33 saves, blanking Detroit after Abdelkader’s two early goals.
“He shut them down after the first two and we were opportunistic on our chances,” Stajan said. “We beat a good hockey team that has four good lines and that I think is one of the best teams in the East.”
The Red Wings controlled the first few minutes, taking the lead after only 3:05 on a breakaway by Abdelkader. That goal was set up when Henrik Zetterberg one-timed a pass from near the corner in his zone all the way to Abdelkader, who was behind the defence near the opposite blue line.
“I just kind of looped back toward the middle and saw both their D-men pressing up and kind of decided to stay out because we had full possession, and Z made a great play,” Abdelkader said.
Zetterberg assisted on the second goal, too, sending a pass from the right circle across to Abdelkader, who tapped it in from in front of the net for a power-play goal.
Monahan answered on a Calgary power play around the midway point of the first. Stajan tied it in the second when Brandon Bollig dumped the puck into the Detroit zone. It caromed right to Stajan, who slapped the puck past Jimmy Howard from the left circle.
Hudler, who played his first seven seasons for the Red Wings before signing with the Flames in 2012, slipped a wrist shot past Howard from the right circle in the second period.
“We made a mistake on the penalty kill, they shot it in our net. They did some good things — bounced it off the backboard, it came to their guy, they shot it in the net. We made a mistake on a sort-out, we backed in and they shot it in the net,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “They shot it in the net. It’s not like they got a whole bunch, they just shot it in the net.”
Raymond added an insurance goal early in the third, and Hudler’s empty-netter with just over a minute remaining made it 5-2.
“In our book, we gave up one chance in the third period. To do that against a team that good really says something,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said. “Our D blocked a lot of shots and we managed to control their pressure.”
The Flames have won three in a row and swept a back-to-back set at Boston and Detroit. Calgary is 6-1-1 in the second half of back-to-backs this season.