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Red Wings pull out shootout win over Blackhawks

Red Wings pull out shootout win over Blackhawks

CHICAGO — Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard refused to dwell on a fluke goal that bounced off defenseman Niklas Kronwall and into the net to force overtime Wednesday night.

“It’s not the first time that’s happened,” Howard said. “It probably won’t be the last.”

Howard’s quick composure paid off in a 3-2 shootout win against the Chicago Blackhawks. Left winger Tomas Tatar scored the tiebreaking goal during the shootout round to lift the Red Wings, which completed a two-game sweep of the Blackhawks during the regular season.

Right winger Gustav Nyquist also scored during the shootout round for Detroit, which received goals in regulation from center Darren Helm and Tatar. The Red Wings (32-14-10) won for only the third time in 11 shootout appearances this season.

Center Jonathan Toews scored the lone shootout goal for the Blackhawks. Left wingers Brandon Saad and Kris Versteeg scored during regulation for Chicago (35-18-5), which collected at least one point for the seventh consecutive game.

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said a fast start gave way to a disappointing finish. The Blackhawks dropped to 7-3 during shootouts.

“We did some good things,” Quenneville said. “For the first 40 minutes, we were doing what we wanted to do with the puck. Had some good zone looks. Had some good shots from the point. Had traffic a lot of times as well. We’ll take a point.”

Howard proved to be the difference for the game’s second point. He shook off Versteeg’s goal that deflected off Kronwall to tie the score at 2 with 1:23 remaining in the third period. In the shootout, Howard stopped right winger Patrick Kane and left winger Patrick Sharp.

A short memory did not always come easily to Howard. The 30-year-old netminder said he learned how to deal with late mishaps by studying Dominik Hasek and Chris Osgood in net.

“They just played,” said Howard, who made 32 saves. “They didn’t think about anything else.”

Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford turned aside 26 of 28 shots to fall to 23-12-4.

After Detroit grabbed a 2-1 lead on Helm’s wrist shot in front of the net with 2:06 to go in the third period, the Blackhawks quickly evened the score at 2. Versteeg ripped a high shot that hit Howard’s glove and bounced off of Kronwall’s shoulder and stick.

Kronwall said it was easier to live with the mistake because of Detroit’s shootout win. He said he and his teammates were able to stay patient after a difficult first period in which the Blackhawks posted a 17-6 advantage in shots on goal.

“Any time you play Chicago, it’s an emotional game,” Kronwall said. “They create a lot of chances, and you’ve got to try to eliminate all of the space out there. But they’re so good and they’ve got so much firepower up front that it’s hard.”

Tatar’s one-timer gave Detroit a 1-0 lead with 3:50 remaining in the second period. Helm received the puck to the right of the net and snapped a pass across the crease to Tatar, who fired a one-timer into an open net for his 24th goal before Crawford could recover.

Thirty-nine seconds later, Saad evened the score at 1 with a wrist shot from the right circle. Howard appeared to be caught off guard by the rising shot, which beat him stick side as Blackhawks right winger Marian Hossa crashed toward the net.

Chicago failed to convert on a pair of great scoring chances in the second period. Center Andrew Shaw fired a shot wide right from a few feet in front of an open net, and Toews pushed a wraparound attempt across the front of the goal line as Howard scrambled to recover.

Versteeg said the Blackhawks had no reason to sulk.

“I thought we kept a really good team’s chances to a minimum,” Versteeg said. “(Crawford) did great when he had to step up. There are a lot of building blocks to build upon here.”

NOTES: Blackhawks LW Daniel Carcillo was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. Carcillo, 30, has four goals and four assists in 36 games this season. … Red Wings LW Teemu Pulkkinen returned to the lineup one day after he was recalled from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. … Blackhawks D Trevor van Riemsdyk remained “pretty far” from returning from a lower-body injury, coach Joel Quenneville said before the game. Van Riemsdyk has not played since he fractured his left patella Nov. 16 against the Dallas Stars. … Red Wings RW Tomas Jurco was a healthy scratch for the first time in eight games. … The Blackhawks held a moment of silence before the game in honor of former player Steve Montador, who died Sunday at age 35.

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