Calgary Flames played a lot of their game on Wednesday night with the kind of fire that coach Brent Sutter demanded of them a day earlier.
They just didn't play all of it that way and paid dearly for their lapses thanks to the Detroit Red Wings' ability to capitalize in a 5-3 victory at Joe Louis Arena for their third straight win. Detroit scored three goals in the third period -- including two on the power play just 1:14 apart -- to seal a win in what was an otherwise close game.
Tomas Holmstrom scored one of those power-play goals in the third and potted two on the man advantage, and Detroit (12-7-1) also got goals from Valtteri Filppula, Ian White and Pavel Datysuk. White and Datsyuk chipped in a pair of assists each for three-point games.
"We had a really good power play tonight," said Holmstrom, whose goals tied him with Brendan Shanahan for fifth all-time in Red Wings' history for power-play goals. "Some nights (the power play) doesn't work and it sure was a big part of the win."
It gave the Flames more film to watch. The Red Wings went 3-for-4 on the power play and Holmstrom was buzzing around goalie Miikka Kiprusoff on each of them -- going virtually unaccounted for on his second goal, which he shoveled home from in front of the crease.
Then, on Filppula's goal to cap the second penalty of an extended 5-on-3 in the third, the puck deflected off the stick blade of Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester right in front of the net.
"You're not going to clear (Holmstrom) out of there because you can't clear him out of there," Sutter said. "I thought our defense played soft around our net. Outside of (T.J. Brodie) our (defensemen) needed to be better. We weren't very good at getting pucks out of our zone. We shot ourselves in the foot tonight with again being undisciplined and being soft in areas you can't afford to be at this level."
Jarome Iginla scored his sixth goal for the Flames (8-11-1), who also got goals from Brendan Morrison and Olli Jokinen. Kiprusoff (25 saves) took the loss in net, while Jimmy Howard (19 saves) picked up his 11th win for the Wings.
Detroit will now fly East on Thanksgiving for Friday's "Thanksgiving Showdown" (1 p.m., NBC) at TD Garden against the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. The Wings should head there feeling good after extending their latest streak in a topsy-turvy season to three straight wins.
The key turning point in this one was those back-to-back goals with the game tied 3-3 almost halfway through the third. Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom chipped in an assist on Datsyuk's marker and finished with a pair of assists in his 1,514th game – tying him with Steve Yzerman for third place on the Red Wings' career list behind Gordie Howe (1,687) and Alex Delvecchio (1,549).
After the game, Lidstrom was more interested in talking about Detroit's success on the power play – especially Holmstrom's re-emergence. Lidstrom's first assist was on Holmstrom's first goal and looked very familiar to those who've watched both veteran Swedish teammates throughout their careers.
"(Holmstrom) is so good at screening the goalie and standing in front of the net," Lidstrom said. "That shot's not hitting the net because I can't get it on net because there was a guy trying to block it, so I'm shooting it wide hoping he can get a stick on it. That's something we work on in practice almost every single day and he's one of the best at it."
Thanks to that deflection, the Wings took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. The teams each put eight shots on goal in the first and the Flames outhit the Wings 12-7, but Calgary started controlling the puck more in the last half of the first and it carried over to the start of the second.
Iginla quickly knotted it up 1-1 with a wicked wrist shot off the rush from the bottom of the right circle just 44 seconds into the second and Morrison gave the Flames a lead just 2:12 later with his
first goal of the season.
It was Morrison's first game back from a stint on injured reserve, which kept him out for nine games. He came back as the Flames' fourth-line center and played a strong game – helping his line be one of the most effective. It just wasn't enough to overcome Calgary's ongoing miscues.
"There was a response for sure," Morrison said, referring to Sutter's impassioned 20-minute mission statement on Tuesday about the value of teamwork. "We didn't roll over and die. We had a great chance to get points out of this game, but we just imploded."
White's goal contributed to the implosion. It tied the game 2-2 almost five minutes after Morrison's marker and swung momentum toward the Red Wings. He zipped a wrist shot toward the net from the point that somehow got through Kiprusoff. White was also returning from IR, after he missed four games with a fractured cheekbone.