Jiri Hudler scored the go-ahead goal at 11:29 of the third period Tuesday night as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Calgary Flames 3-1.
Flames defenceman Chris Butler lost his balance and fell inside the Calgary blue-line, allowing Valtteri Filppula to wheel around him and carry the puck deep. Filppula’s centring pass caromed off the side of the net and went right to Hudler, who had an empty net to shoot at with Miikka Kiprusoff trapped out of position.
Drew Miller made it a two-goal cushion four minutes later, converting a pretty goal mouth pass from Danny Cleary.
Jimmy Howard made 28 saves for his league-leading 31st victory. It was a solid bounce-back outing for Howard, who was pulled after the first period in his last game before the all-star break after surrendering four goals on 12 shots.
Cory Emmerton also scored for Detroit (34-16-1). The Red Wings are 1-1-0 on their stretch of five straight road games, which continues Thursday night in Vancouver.
Mike Cammalleri scored the lone goal for Calgary (23-22-6). The Flames have lost three straight at home on the heels of an eight-game winning streak at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Detroit and Calgary split their four-game season series, each winning twice.
Calgary blew a chance to make up ground in the Western Conference. Earlier in the night, the eighth place Minnesota Wild blew a 4-1 third period lead before losing 5-4 to Nashville.
The Flames tied the game 1-1 on Cammalleri’s power play goal 1:59 into the second period. Alex Tanguay’s slapshot hit a Detroit player in front and fell at the feet of Cammalleri, who had his first shot stopped but on his backhand whacked the rebound past Jimmy Howard.
Cammalleri was acquired Jan. 12 in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens. He scored the next night against Los Angeles in his first game with the Flames but had been held pointless in his last four games.
Detroit struck first at 5:57 of the first period on a goal from its fourth line.
Justin Abdelkader’s slapshot from the wing was kicked out by Kiprusoff, but right onto the stick of Emmerton breaking in on the other side. The Red Wings rookie buried his first goal in 11 games and fifth of the season.
Detroit nearly made it 2-0 in the final minute of the first but Kiprusoff sprawled to rob Cleary after Abdelkader set him up at the side of the net. Video replay confirmed the puck did not cross the line as Kiprusoff smothered it.
Kiprusoff finished with 22 stops as his record fall to 22-17-3.
Looking to spark a struggling offence, which had been held to one goal or less in four of its previous six games, Calgary coach Brent Sutter changed up the combinations on the Flames top two lines. Tanguay was reunited with Jarome Iginla on a line centred by Mikael Backlund. Cammalleri dropped to a line with Olli Jokinen and Blake Comeau.
Notes: The Flames honoured former captain and assistant coach Brad McCrimmon, who died last summer in the Lokomotiv airplane tragedy in Russia. McCrimmon played on the Flames 1989 Stanley Cup-winning team. McCrimmon’s family was on hand for the pre-game ceremony and video tributea Detroit LW Tomas Holmstrom (sore knees) did not play, although he expects to play Thursdaya Calgary RW Lee Stempniak (lower body) left the game in the first perioda Kiprusoff played in career game No. 526, tying him with Mike Vernon for first on the Flames all-time list for goaltendersa Detroit ranks second-last in the NHL in average penalty minutes per game (8.4).