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Detroit Red Wings Hold Off Calgary Flames for 4-2 Win

The Detroit Red Wings took on one of the NHL’s hottest teams the Calgary Flames on a Sunday night matchup.

The Wings dominated the faceoff circle in the first period, winning 79% of the 19 draws. However, it was the Flames that led in shots 15-13. It was a very competitive beginning to the game. The Flames just had their seven-game win streak snapped by the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. The streak began on December 1. On the other hand, Detroit had lost three straight.

In the middle frame, offensive defenseman Dennis Wideman scored just 33 seconds into a Flames power play at the 1:56 mark. Former Red Wings forward Jiri Hudler screened goalie Petr Mrazek on the play.

Nearly six minutes later, Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith took a point shot, of which the rebound was corralled by rookie forward Dylan Larkin and pushed past Calgary netminder Karri Ramo.

Dylan Larkin scored the Red Wings' first goal against the Calgary Flames on December 20, 2015. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
Dylan Larkin scored the Red Wings’ first goal against the Calgary Flames on December 20, 2015. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Only 45 seconds later, Pavel Datsyuk chipped the puck back to Brad Richards who one-timed it past Ramo from the slot. He had to hesitate to avoid Mark Giordano, who nearly blocked the shot.

Near the end of the period, Riley Sheahan won an offensive zone faceoff, the puck came to Danny DeKeyser, who returned a pass to Gustav Nyquist. Nyquist wristed a shot past Ramo while the six-foot-two Sheahan blocked his view. The goal was initially credited to the latter, but would be given to Nyquist.

Calgary would pull Ramo with just over three to play, and the move would pay off as defenseman Dougie Hamilton stepped into a slap shot near the slot.

Justin Abdelkader would seal the victory with an empty-netter to secure the 4-2 win before the game could go to overtime.

The team has taken advantage of the home-heavy schedule this month, improving their record at Joe Louis Arena to 11-6-4.

“Yeah, it’s huge,” said Sheahan. “I think the advantage at home is definitely something in your favor, and when you can come out strong and play a full game and keep that going, get your confidence up, it’s huge.”

“You just want to win every game,” said coach Jeff Blashill. “And certainly we’ve had a large stretch here at home. You want to make your road easier than harder, but you want to win every game. I feel real confident that we can go on the road and win. I think it has everything to do with our play. Now with that said, the building’s been rocking. It’s been great. The fans have been great. We understand that and we think this is one of the real momentum buildings in the league. We talked about the second period, that’s the type of energy and momentum you can gain from it. We want to win everywhere, on the road and at home but certainly to take advantage of these types of crowd is a great thing.”

The Wings finished the night winning an impressive 71% of faceoffs, which led to a high level of puck possession throughout the contest. This has been a key to their success for the month of December, and it will need to continue as the team is on the road for most of January.

Forward Tomas Nosek and defenseman Xavier Ouellet were called up from AHL Grand Rapids but did not play Sunday.

The four-game home stand concludes this Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils and it is also the last game before the NHL breaks for Christmas.

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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