Chicago Blackhawks

Red Wings set NHL history

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Red Wings set NHL history

From Comcast SportsNetDETROIT (AP) -- It didn't look like just another night for the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena when a fan hurled an octopus on the ice, an act usually reserved for a playoff game. And, It didn't sound like an ordinary matchup in the regular season when fans stood and chanted, "Let's go Red Wings!" during the final minutes and cheered wildly when the clock hit zero. In between, Detroit beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 Sunday night and equaled an NHL mark with its 20th straight win at home. "It felt like it was a little bit of a special game," said Johan Franzen, who scored his league-leading 10th game-winning goal early in the third period. The NHL-leading Red Wings have downplayed the streak, saying they're more focused on trying to keep their edge in the highly competitive Central Division and Western Conference. "We don't want to talk about it," defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said. "We just want to keep it going." The league mark was set by the Boston Bruins during the 1929-30 season and matched by Philadelphia in 1976. "We definitely wanted to keep them from tying the record," Flyers winger Scott Hartnell said. "We're all disappointed about that." Detroit can break the record with a win Tuesday night over the Dallas Stars at Joe Louis Arena. "It's not too often you get a chance to do that," Red Wings goalie Joey MacDonald said. Philadelphia rookie Brayden Schenn had a career-high two goals, helping the Flyers take the first of two leads they couldn't keep against a team that hasn't lost at home since Nov. 3 against Calgary. MacDonald overcame shaky clearing attempts that led to two goals and finished with 26 saves. "What I liked was how he played after a mistake," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 21 shots for the Flyers. Bobrovsky's head was on a swivel in the opening minute of the third period when Henrik Zetterberg and Lidstrom made diagonal passes to set up Franzen in front of the net for his 22nd goal. "There's not much you can do about it when they're zinging it around like that," Hartnell said. "They picked us apart a few times out there and that was the difference." Lidstrom played in his 1,550th game, the most by an NHL player who spent his entire career with one team. He broke the mark set by former Red Wings great Alex Delvecchio. "He came down on Friday and congratulated me and we took a picture together," Lidstrom said. "That means a lot to me." Early on, Philadelphia took advantage of facing MacDonald instead of Jimmy Howard, who missed his fifth straight game with a broken right index finger. The Red Wings are hoping Howard will return Friday night at home against Nashville. MacDonald misplayed a puck behind the net to help Schenn score late in the first period and couldn't clear a rebound early in the second, setting up Schenn's second goal that put the Flyers ahead 2-1. Pavel Datsyuk tied it 2-all a few minutes later on a power-play goal from the left circle. MacDonald didn't have much of a chance to stop Maxime Talbot's go-ahead goal late in the second period. Talbot got behind Detroit's defense and flipped the puck past MacDonald. Zetterberg's one-timer a couple of minutes later tied the game at 3 entering the third, giving fans another boost for the final period. "It was a great atmosphere out there, it was like playing in the playoffs," Franzen said. "We have to thank them for giving us the extra energy that we needed." NOTES: The NBA's longest home winning streak in a season was set by Chicago with 37 straight victories during the 1995-96 season; the 1978 Pittsburgh Pirates and 1988 Boston Red Sox each won 24 straight at home for baseball's longest single-season home winning streaks since 1919 and the Miami Dolphins won 27 straight at home from 1971-74 in what has stood as the longest home winning streak in NFL history. ... Schenn, the fifth pick in the 2009 draft, was acquired by Philadelphia last summer from Los Angeles as part of the Mike Richards trade. ... Kronwall's goal was his 12th, topping his career high set last season. ... The Flyers have had four straight games without a power-play goal after scoring at least one in the previous six.

Five Things from Blackhawks-Blue Jackets: Shots and slashes

Five Things from Blackhawks-Blue Jackets: Shots and slashes

It’s preseason: you don’t need a lot of build-up. Let’s just delve right in, shall we?

1. Lots of shots, but…

The same Joonas Korpisalo that the Blackhawks’ youngsters scored five goals against on Tuesday was on top of his game on Saturday. The Blackhawks peppered him with 54 shots but only two got through, and the second was a 6-on-4 power-play goal in the final two minutes.

“I thought we could have gotten a little more traffic in front of him," Nick Schmaltz said. "I thought we were playing along the outside. I mean we had some great looks. He made some big saves. Some nights you get the bounces and some nights you don’t.”

2. Bérubé’s Blackhawks debut.

Jean-François Bérubé had a tough sequence early in the second period, when he gave up two goals in a 28-second span. This was against a Columbus team that didn’t send many of their top players. He also didn’t see a ton of action in this one; the Blue Jackets fired just 21 shots his way.

3. Growing pains.

Alex DeBrincat had his up and down moments on Saturday night. His turnover led to Columbus’ first goal, he took a slashing penalty and he fought the puck quite a bit. You still saw glimpses of that skill, though, especially with his quick release. Hey, he’s a 19-year-old guy getting his first taste of the NHL. Nights like this are going to happen.

“We all make mistakes,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “You gotta be safe in certain areas and you learn from that.”

4. Slash-o-meter.

Four more were called on Saturday night. Don’t be surprised if that number starts dwindling sooner rather than later, though, because the edict has apparently changed already. Sportsnet’s John Shannon reported earlier on Saturday that the league told officials to ease up on slashing and faceoff violations. But we all figure that’s going to happen once the regular season begins anyway, right?

5. Notre Dame bound.

The destination is familiar but the Blackhawks threw it into their second week of camp this season. It’ll be bonding time for the Blackhawks, who will send a smaller group for several practices there this week. Quenneville figures it’ll be a productive time. “We’ll get some bonding in, play golf together, have a nice outing, couple of road games and a nice campus.”

Nick Schmaltz's confidence, hold on second-line center, continues to grow

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USA TODAY

Nick Schmaltz's confidence, hold on second-line center, continues to grow

Nick Schmaltz seemed to be everywhere the puck was on Saturday night. Great pursuit of the puck, great passes to Patrick Kane or Alex DeBrincat and an all-around confidence that’s becoming more apparent by the game.

So has coach Joel Quenneville seen what he’s needed to from Schmaltz at second-line center?

“And more.”

It’s been a pretty impressive showing for Schmaltz this month. The 21-year-old has played in all three of the Blackhawks’ preseason games and keeps getting better in each one. The uncertainty Schmaltz understandably showed as a rookie is gone; the NHL game no longer feels uncomfortable.

“I feel like the game’s slowing down for me, just seeing plays,” Schmaltz said. “I know what I’m doing with the puck before I get it. It feels good and just trying to get better every day.”

Schmaltz and his fellow second liners didn’t connect for goals in the Blackhawks 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday but it wasn’t for lack of trying. The three combined for 12 of the Blackhawks’ 54 shots on goal – Kane and DeBrincat each had five – and the chemistry continues to build between the three.

Jonathan Toews talked on Saturday morning of how much more relaxed Schmaltz looks with the puck now, and that was evident again later that night.

“He’s really starting to get comfortable physically at this level,” Toews said. “He thinks the game so well, puts himself in good spots, much like Kaner where he can skate with the puck and use his speed. He has his head up so he backs guys off. Those two were making great plays tonight and Brinksy was fitting in well. They couldn’t buy a goal but Schmaltzy’s getting better and better, and you’re’ seeing that calm poise that he has really come out the more he gets comfortable.”

Schmaltz was likely getting a second-line audition in some capacity this fall; the original thought was at left wing in the wake of Artemi Panarin’s trade. But Schmaltz has always felt at his best at center. He’s showing that. And more.

“It’s always fun to play no matter if it’s preseason or regular season," he said. "I’m always happy to play, especially when you’re playing with great players. I feel like I’m more comfortable in the middle, able to use my speed a little bit more, create more offense that way.

"I think it’s going well. Wherever I end up, I’ll be happy.”