DETROIT – They came into this contest having won three of their last four games as they fight for a playoff spot in the final weeks of the regular season.
That included a pair of wins by the Blackhawks over Columbus on the road to start off a five-game trip, and the shot to keep that going figured to be ahead. That’s because Detroit is still bringing up the rear in the Central Division and Jeremy Colliton’s team was 5-1 against the Red Wings going into Thursday’s game.
Yet the head coach praised his opponent’s improvement over the previous few weeks before the contest on Thursday, including a sweep of the Hurricanes in their previous two games. It turns out the coach wasn’t far off with his concerns after a disappointing 60 minutes.
Detroit scored three goals in the second period to erase an early Blackhawks’ lead in a 4-1 win at Little Caesars Arena Thursday evening. The disappointing effort keeps the team four points behind Nashville for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 12 games remaining.
Duncan Keith’s third goal of the year in the first period gave the Blackhawks the lead but it wouldn’t last for long in the second period. Troy Stecher scored 4:45 into the second period to tie it up and new-acquired Red Wing Jakub Vrana put the Red Wings ahead 4:06 later with his first goal in Detroit.
Stecher added another goal in the second period and that was enough for Thomas Greiss in the Red Wings’ goal, as he stopped 24 of 25 shots he faced. Those efforts gave Detroit their third win in as many games as they’ve played their best hockey of late.