NEW YORK – A short schedule of games in NHL featured a few exciting games including the Detroit Red Wings getting a rare home win and even rarer shootout victory. And to make it sweeter, it was over the Chicago Blackhawks, 5-4.
This heated rivalry remains intense despite the two teams being in different conferences now.
“I think that last playoff run kind of left a sour taste in our mouths, especially after they [went] on to win it,” forward Justin Abdelkader said. “We enjoy playing them and I think our fans enjoy it just as much or maybe even more than we do. It was loud. It was probably the loudest it’s been all season here. It felt good.”
The Red Wings had a 4-3 lead heading to the third but the Blackhawks managed to tie it and force overtime.
“It’s always fun to beat [Chicago],” said Detroit defenseman Kyle Quincey, who scored a goal for the first time since Dec. 30 to tie the game 3-3 early in the second period. “We know that we can beat most teams if we play our game, but it does reiterate the fact that if we do play well, we can do it. Hopefully we use this as a template going forward.”
Detroit managed to push the Blackhawks all night and dominate in the small parts of the game and that did not please Chicago’s bench boos.
“We weren’t very good tonight,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “They worked hard. They were the harder-working team and getting ourselves a point out of there, with a chance for two in the shootout, certainly we’ll take a point because we didn’t play well enough or hard enough.”
The loss was a disappointment for Chicago and did nothing more than enhance the ill feelings by each for the other.
“I don’t think it’s going anywhere,” Chicago’s Jonathan Toews said. “Both teams still know what it means to play one another and it might add to it, I think, that we see each other less often. Tonight was maybe a bit of a slower start, but I definitely think the intensity picked up and we saw the type of game we’re used to out of them later in the game. It’s frustrating not to find a way to win.”
In Philadelphia, the weathered-delayed match between the Flyers and Hurricanes came to a 302 decision in favor of Carolina.
Jiri Tlusty scored with just over six minutes left in regulation to lift the Canes to the win.
“We got the result we wanted,” Carolina coach Kirk Muller. “The guys came up big and played strong. That’s a good win for us.”
The Flyers were unable to muster a response to the go-ahead goal and were outworked by Carolina late.
“We were just playing flat,” Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux said. “We weren’t playing the way we should have been playing. It’s kind of embarrassing to be playing like this at home.
“Anytime you play a team in your division you want to make sure you play your best hockey and that didn’t happen. They outplayed us. [Mason] had to make some tough saves for us.”
Steve Mason took the loss, making 29 saves on the night.
“I thought we got what we deserved tonight,” Mason said. “We’re not playing well enough to win hockey games. The only positive thing is we get right back at it.”
In Calgary, the Flames ended an extended losing streak on home ice when Matt Stajan scored winner in the third period to propel Calgary over the visiting Coyotes, 3-2.
“We needed that,” Stajan said. “We’ve been fighting it here on home ice, there’s no secret to that. We got some timely goals and (Karri) Ramo did a good job there. And as a team, we didn’t give up much. Most of the shots were from the outside. We can start building off that one.”
Phoenix stayed close all game but were unable to get over the hump in the third.
“When we had opportunities to bury it, we didn’t, and they found ways to score on their opportunities,” said captain Shane Doan. “It seems to be the testament the last couple games. We’re good, but we’re not exactly what we need to [be]. We’re finding ways to lose a game by a goal.
“Lately we’ve been playing the way we want to a lot more. It’s been better, but not good enough.”
Karri Ramo got the win over Mike Smith and made 30 saves on the night.
“He played great,” Mark Giordano said of Ramo. “He’s been great lately for us and again, I thought he made big saves at big times, especially in the third.”
Philadelphia 2 Carolina 3
Pittsburgh 5 Montreal 1
Detroit 5 Chicago 4 SO
Calgary 3 Phoenix 2