The line combined for two goals, and two assists, and Kris Draper's goal late in the second period broke a tie and lifted the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.
"Those guys can go head to head with the top lines in the league right now," said Draper. "Those guys are doing a fantastic job creating a lot of chances offensively and certainly doing great things in their own end as well."
The unit was one of the NHL's best last season from when they were united in December until Zetterberg hurt his back in late February and missed the rest of the regular season.
Red Wings' coach Mike Babcock began this season by using Zetterberg and Datsyuk, who are both natural centers, on different lines to create more scoring balance. After Johan Franzen, who was on a line with Datsyuk and Holmstrom, suffered a sprained knee in Chicago on Saturday night, Babcock put the trio back together in Monday night's 4-2 win over Edmonton.
"They create a lot," said Calgary captain Jarome Iginla of Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Holmstrom. "...We (his line) weren't nearly good enough. They were skating."
Zetterberg and Holmstrom had goals on Wednesday night and Chris Osgood made 19 saves for the Red Wings.
Kristian Huselius scored both of Calgary's goals, and Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 24 shots.
Draper broke a 2-all tie with 3:01 left in the second period when he tipped in Andreas Lila's shot from the point for his second goal.
It came as the Flames were being whistled for a penalty and when Osgood went to the bench, Zetterberg jumped onto the ice as the sixth Red Wings' attacker.
"Obviously as soon as they touch it, it's whistled down," said Draper. "But once Hank came flying off the bench and made a couple good plays, I just saw the puck getting out to Lils and just tried to get my body and my stick as much as I could in front of the net. It hit my stick and went in. It was nice to see."
Mikael Samuelsson added a power-play goal with 4:24 left in the third period.
"I think there's a lot more in that dressing room than we're seeing," said Calgary coach Mike Keenan. "I hope so anyway."
Zetterberg scored the game's first goal 8:08 into the first period on a power play. He converted Datsyuk's cross-crease pass after Datsyuk intercepted a bad clearing attempt by Kiprusoff.
"They can play with so much tempo, they make it hard on the opposition," said Detroit coach Mike Babcock.
Huselius tied it with 6:21 left in the opening period. Off a 2-on-1 rush, he stepped around Brett Lebda, made a move, and put a backhand shot high into the net.
Holmstrom gave Detroit a 2-1 lead 3:01 into the second period, when he put in a loose puck from just outside the crease after Datsyuk's pass bounced off the skate of a Flames' defender.
"You have to give him (Holmstrom) a lot of credit for the work he does for me and Pav," said Zetterberg. "He always gives us a chance to make the plays. He's always in front of the net, so it's tough for the goalie to see the puck."
Huselius' second goal of the game tied the game at 2, 6:25 into the second period. He intercepted Niklas Kronwall's pass, skated in and beat Osgood with a backhand shot.
|PPG - Henrik Zetterberg (2) ASST: Pavel Datsyuk (3)|
1 - 0 DET
|Kristian Huselius (1) ASST: Owen Nolan (1)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Tomas Holmstrom (4) ASST: Pavel Datsyuk (4), Brian Rafalski (3)|
2 - 1 DET
|Kristian Huselius (2) ASST: NONE|
2 - 2 Tie
|Kris Draper (2) ASST: Andreas Lilja (1), Dallas Drake (1)|
3 - 2 DET
|PPG - Daniel Cleary (1) ASST: Mikael Samuelsson (3), Brett Lebda (1)|
4 - 2 DET
|Power Play %||18.8%||23.8%|
|% on Road||19.0%||20.7%|
|% at Home||18.7%||26.6%|
|Kris Draper Hi-sticking against Robyn Regehr|
|Alex Tanguay Tripping against Henrik Zetterberg|
|Kris Draper Hooking against Adrian Aucoin|
|Cory Sarich Holding against Pavel Datsyuk|
|Adrian Aucoin Interference against Henrik Zetterberg|