CHICAGO — The Chicago Blackhawks hosted the Red Wings in their final game before their bye but it looked like they might have started their break a little early.
In their second game after their bye, the Wings dominated the Blackhawks, 4-0, at Chicago’s United Center Sunday afternoon.
The Blackhawks’ next game isn’t until Jan. 20 when they host the New York Islanders.
The Red Wings improved to 18-18-7 overall and 8-11-1 on the road while the Blackhawks fell to 22-17-6 overall and 12-8-2 at home.
Dylan Larkin, Mike Green, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi scored for the Wings.
1. Petr Mrazek : Since Jimmy Howard played Saturday in Pittsburgh, the Wings turned to Petr Mrazek for the second game in their back-to-back set. Mrazek’s last start came last Sunday before the bye when he faced the Tampa Bay Lightning at Little Caesars Arena. Mrazek did win his last road start, Dec. 19 in Brooklyn over the Islanders. The Blackhawks may not be as loaded as they were a few years ago but they still have Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad and rookie Alex DeBrincat, a Michigan native. Mrazek stopped all 27 shots he faced, including four from Kane. It was Mrazek’s second shutout this season and 12th of his career. He also shut out the Oilers in Edmonton Nov. 5.
Quotable: “Good start. I tried to help the D in first 10 minutes play the puck. They played a lot behind the net, so I tried to get the puck out, so I think the first 10 we were really good and obviously, we scored two goals in the road, in back to back games, it helps the team.” – Mrazek
Quotable II: “I thought Petr was excellent. I thought he made the game easy, I thought the puck stuck to him, I thought he made big saves at big moments, I thought he moved the puck well, I thought he was excellent.” – Wings coach Jeff Blashill
2. Tyler Bertuzzi: It was a day of firsts for a couple of Wings. While Dominic Turgeon was making his NHL debut, Bertuzzi was scoring his first goal. At 13:37 of the third period, Bertuzzi went to the net and was able to jam home a rebound of Nick Jensen‘s shot. Good friend Martin Frk also assisted on the goal and seemed as excited as Bertuzzi was. It took 17 games but was worth the wait. Bertuzzi also assisted on the first goal of the game, scored by Dylan Larkin.
Quotable: “I’ve had some good looks. New Jersey, I missed the net one time on an open net. I’m just playing with confidence. I’m not trying to keep myself down. I think it’s going to come. Just go to the net and that’s what I did.” – Bertuzzi
Quotable II: “It’s good to see him get his first one. Obviously, he’s going to count many more after that. I thought he’s been playing well ever since he got called up. He’s a smart player. He does things right and is unselfish.” – Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg
Quotable III: “He’s got great hands in front of the net and he’s a junkyard dog to get to that net, so I think you’re going to see lots more goals like that from him.” – Blashill
3. Dylan Larkin/Mike Green: Neither Larkin nor Green has scored as many goals as he would like but Larkin came into the game leading the team in assists with 28 and points with 34. Green is third in assists with 20 behind Zetterberg, who has 24. In the absence of both Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm due to lower-body injuries suffered Saturday in Pittsburgh, the lines were a bit different. Andreas Athanasiou went behind the net and found Larkin in the slot and Larkin beat Chicago goaltender Jeff Glass at 4:08 of the first. It was Larkin’s seventh goal of the season. At 6:18 of the first, Anthony Mantha saw Green coming into the zone and passed it to him in the left circle and Green scored his fifth goal on a one-timer. It was Green’s first goal in nine games.
Quotable: “Larks came into the year and wanted to improve his give and go game and improve his ability to make others around him better, which all the good centers do, and he’s done that. And he’s had chances to score, he just hasn’t scored quite as much as he’d like. But it’s good for those guys to score. Anytime you’re an offensive guy, when you score it gives you confidence.” – Blashill
4. Dominic Turgeon: Turgeon didn’t have far to travel to get to Chicago from Grand Rapids but his father, Pierre, did. Pierre Turgeon is an offensive coach for the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings let Pierre leave Saturday night’s game early so he could fly to Chicago in time for his son’s NHL debut. Turgeon started the game centering the fourth line with Luke Witkowski and David Booth on the wings. At 11:20 of the first, Turgeon blocked the shot of Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy and had to leave to have his wrist checked, according to NBC Sports’ Ray Ferraro. Turgeon was back on the bench for the second period. Turgeon played 13 shifts for 9:01, had one shot, one takeaway, three blocked shots and finished even. Blashill indicated after the game that Abdelkader and Helm are unlikely to be ready for Tuesday’s home game against the Dallas Stars.
Quotable: “It was exciting. It’s been a dream ever since I was a little kid. For me to get that call, it was a dream come true. It was fun. It feels good to come in my first game and get a win. It was a great atmosphere. It was just a lot of fun.” – Turgeon
Quotable II: “I thought he did a really good job. Didn’t see tons of minutes, but he’s somebody that I definitely felt trust with him when he was on the ice. He’s strong on his stick so he wins lots of stick battles. He’s real smart and he’s committed to having a complete game, saw a couple of big blocks from him as well. Used him on the PK. We wanted the best penalty killer they had in Grand Rapids and that’s what everyone has told me, that he’s the best one and he did a good job.” – Blashill