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Darren Helm Dynamic in Detroit Red Wings Win Over Montreal

The Red Wings extended their point streak to 12 games Thursday night over the division-leading Montreal Canadiens.

With Carey Price out of the lineup, the Habs started Dustin Tokarski, who is currently backing up back-up Mike Condon.

After a scoreless first period, Darren Helm kicked off the scoring midway through the middle frame, with help from Luke Glendening and Joakim Andersson. Glendening chipped the puck forward, Helm settled it down with his glove and slapped it past Tokarski on the blocker side. It was his third premium scoring chance of the game.

Shortly after, Montreal’s Charles Hudon took a wrist shot, of which the rebound was pushed in by Sven Andrighetto, the Swiss forward who now has four goals in nine games this season.

The Habs took the lead early in the third period, when Red Wings draft pick Tomas Fleischmann slapped a shot past goalie Petr Mrazek in the slot.

Detroit would answer back eight minutes later, when Justin Abdelkader scored on the power play. The puck redirected into the net off his turned skate, giving him five goals and six points in his last five games. It was also his fifth power play marker of the year, which is good for eighth in the NHL.

Montreal would not be given a chance to answer, as Helm added his second of the game just 1:11 later. Greg Pateryn, a native of Sterling Heights, Michigan, turned the puck over to the left of Tokarski. It hit the leg of Pavel Datsyuk and was redirected towards Helm who patiently waited to pull the netminder out of position before wristing it into the net.

“He could have had more than two tonight, really fast,” said captain Henrik Zetterberg of Helm. “He works really hard, does all the little things right, so it was nice to see him get some goals.”

Detroit's Darren Helm dekes past Montreal goalie Dustin Tokarski to score in a game at Joe Louis Arena on December 10, 2015. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
Detroit’s Darren Helm dekes past Montreal goalie Dustin Tokarski to score in a game at Joe Louis Arena on December 10, 2015. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

The power play struggled mightily early in the game and the team ranks 23rd league-wide in power play percentage.

“Our power play answered at a critical moment in the game,” said coach Jeff Blashill. “It was good early. It was not good in the middle, and it obviously answered at that point, so that’s a great thing. I thought we played good early. I didn’t think we played very good from about the middle of the second to the middle of the third, but once we scored I thought we played good.”

Mrazek improved his record to 9-4-3, and the Wings earned two very important points against the struggling Canadiens, whose lead in the Atlantic Division is diminishing quickly.

Detroit is now only four points behind with a game-in-hand. However, pressure is strong from the rest of the pack. The Boston Bruins have won seven of ten and have 33 points with two games-in-hand on Detroit. The Florida Panthers have and Tampa Bay Lightning have each won six of ten as well. The Ottawa Senators remain as consistent as they have been all season and continue to challenge for the division as well, though their regulation-overtime wins is rather low.The Wings are in action again tonight as they take on the New Jersey Devils on the road. Game time is set for 7:00 ET.

Follow me on Twitter @KevinSporkaHOHM

Kevin Sporka

Kevin Sporka

Kevin Sporka is the Senior Media Analyst and Detroit Red Wings beat writer at HOHM. He is also the author of the Fantasy Hockey Fridays, In Retrospect, Milestone Monday, and Legends By the Number segments.
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