Robert Lang came back to haunt his former team – again.
Lang, who signed with Chicago as a free agent this summer after three seasons with Detroit, scored the game-winner Friday night as the Blackhawks overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Red Wings, 3-2.
Lang had the game-tying goal in the third period last Saturday, when the Hawks overcame a 3-1 third-period deficit to win in a shootout. This time, his goal handed the Red Wings their first regulation loss of the season.
“It was just fun,” Lang said of his first trip back to Joe Louis Arena.
Detroit took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals 1:39 apart by Henrik Zetterberg and Kris Draper and appeared to be in control.
“I think we started good and had a good first 15 minutes,” Zetterberg said. “But then we stopped.”
Chicago tied the score late in the second when Patrick Sharp scored off a power-play scramble at 17:33 and Brent Seabrook, set up by Lang, beat Dominik Hasek 61 seconds later with a screened wrist shot from the point.
“After the first period, we started playing well,” Lang said.
With Andreas Lilja in the penalty box, Lang put the Blackhawks ahead when he one-timed a shot from the left circle that hit Hasek’s shoulder and went into the net.
“Just got off a good shot,” Lang said. “Went in off his shoulder, got one by Dom.”
Lang and Detroit coach Mike Babcock didn’t always see eye to eye during Lang’s time in Detroit.
“He's got a lot of ability,” Babcock said. '”There's never been any question about that.”
Lang has scored both of his goals this season against his former team, but didn’t dwell on the relationship.
“A lot of good memories,” he said of his time in Detroit. “I can’t say anything bad.”
The Blackhawks were 0-for-10 on the power play in their first three games before going 2-for-8 against the Wings.
“The power play's coming. We're shooting a lot,” Blackhawks coach Denis Savard said. “We had a lot of chances and came through tonight.”
Rangers 3, Capitals 1
It took four games, but the New York Rangers finally figured out how to make their power play work – let Jaromir Jagr control the puck.
Jagr set up extra-man goals by Scott Gomez, Martin Straka and Michal Rozsival in the first period at Madison Square Garden as the Rangers used their previously 0-for-15 power play to beat the Caps.
Jagr’s pass to Brendan Shanahan helped set up Gomez’ first goal and first point as a Ranger, a quick wrist shot that beat Olaf Kolzig 1:33 into the game.
“Jags started it all off, making that pass to Shanny,” said Gomez, who signed with the Rangers this summer. "What can you say about that guy? ‘The Big Smooth’ just passed it right down and I threw it on net.”
After Alexander Ovechkin tied it at 7:46 with his 100th career goal, also on a power play, Straka and Rozsival connected against a penalty-killing unit that had been 12-for-12 in Washington’s 3-0-0 start.
Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves for the Rangers, who outshot Washington 41-25 as they ended a two-game losing streak.
“We knew it was going to happen,” Gomez said of the power-play eruption. “We just wanted to go more to the net. We’ve had chances on the power play, and tonight it finally clicked.”
Giving up 37 shots and eight power plays against the Rangers in the first 40 minutes was too much for the Caps to overcome.
“It wasn't a good start,” Kolzig said. “You a give team like that that many opportunities in the first period they're bound to get some in. It’s a lesson learned.”
Flames 3, Stars 2, OT
It took four tries, but Mike Keenan finally owns a win as coach of the Calgary Flames, thanks to some late heroics by Matthew Lombardi.
The speedy center tied the game midway through the third period, then scored the game-winner in OT as the Flames rallied to win in Dallas. Lombardi picked up an errant backpass by Dallas’ Brenden Morrow, raced into the Dallas zone and ripped a slap shot past Marty Turco.
Lombardi might have been the most surprised person in the American Airlines Center.
“You don't expect that, and just to see that, you kind of just jump on it,” he said after giving the Flames their first win in Dallas since Dec. 14, 2001. “I didn't even know what kind of shot I was going to get off. I just kind of got lucky and found the back of the net.'”
Morrow blamed himself for the gaffe.
“It wasn't anybody's fault out there but my own,” Morrow said. “My teammates rely on me to make those plays, and the onus is completely on me.”
Mike Modano’s goal at 4:27 of the first period, the 508th of his career, moved him within four points of tying Phil Housley’s record for points by a U.S.-born player. He picked up a pass that bounced off a couple of players and swatted it into the net.
“I was in the right spot at the right time on our goal," Modano said.
After Jarome Iginla tied the game later in the period, Niklas Hagman’s fifth of the season at 9:05 of the second period put Dallas ahead.
Blues 4, Avalanche 1
Manny Legace still has Colorado’s number.
Legace made 24 saves to lead St. Louis to its third victory in four games this season and improve his career mark against the Avalanche to 12-1 with a 1.85 goals-against average.
“It's just one of those teams that you have to be up for,” said Legace, who played six seasons with Detroit before joining the Blues in 2006. “Hopefully, it keeps up. I respect this team so much. They’re so talented; if you don't show up against these guys, they're going to bury you in a hurry.”
Colorado dominated play for most of the first two periods, but managed just one goal.
“He made some big saves, and he didn’t leave any loose pucks in front of him,” Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. “Their defense played well around the net area.”
Jay McClement banged in his own rebound at 4:57 of the final period to break a 1-1 and Hinote –a healthy scratch for the past two games – added a pair of insurance goals to help the Blues improve to 3-1-0, their best start in 10 years.
“Obviously, when you're not playing, you don't feel like you're a part of the team,” he said. “It was good to get the call. I was just trying to chip in.”
Jose Theodore started in goal for the first time this season for the Avalanche, but was beaten just 1:14 into the game when Brad Boyes put in Paul Kariya’s rebound. The Avs tied it at 4:03 when Paul Stastny, who was born in St. Louis, banked a shot off Kariya’s skate and past Legace.
While Legace has dominated the Avs during his career, Theodore has struggled against the Blues – he’s now 0-4 against St. Louis.
Canucks 5, Oilers 2
Vancouver GM Dave Nonis ripped his team after an embarrassing 8-2 home loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday, and the Canucks took out their frustrations on the Oilers at Rexall Place.
Rick Rypien, recalled from the minors before the game, had a goal and an assist. Five players had goals as the Canucks won the front end of a home-and-home series.
“It was a better effort, no question,” said Brendan Morrison, who also finished a goal and an assist. “Last game was on of those games where everything that can go wrong does go wrong.”
The Oilers got goals from Sheldon Souray and Raffi Torres – who scored Edmonton’s first power-play goal in 19 tries. But the extra-man unit also gave up a second-period shorthanded tally to Alex Burrows to make it 3-1.
“We just wanted to have a better effort tonight,” Burrows said. “I think everyone wanted to show that we’re a better team than we showed against Philadelphia.”
Canucks center Ryan Kesler played one game after being cross-checked in the face by Philadelphia’s Jesse Boulerice, who was suspended for 25 games by the NHL earlier in the day.
Bruins 8, Kings 6
After scoring just five goals in three games, the Bruins erupted in L.A., scoring the most goals by a visiting team in nearly eight years.
Phil Kessel had three goals and Marc Savard, back after missing a game with a groin injury, had the tie-breaking goal in the third period and added three assists in a game that saw little in the way of defense.
“It was a weird game, but we stuck with it and got what we wanted,” said Savard, whose power-play goal at 9:42 of the third period broke a 5-5 tie. Milan Lucic added his first NHL goal and Chuck Kobasew hit the empty net before the Kings’ Patrick O’Sullivan scored with five seconds remaining.
“It was good to break out,” Savard said of the offensive explosion. Boston is now 2-2-0 on its season-opening five-game western trip, which ends in San Jose on Saturday.
Kessel’s second goal made it 4-1 in the second period and his third gave the Bruins a 5-3 lead early in the third. But Mike Cammalleri and Anze Kopitar scored to tie the game before Savard’s goal.
“It was a great feeling to come back from 4-1, but then we gave up that power-play goal,” said Kopitar, who scored twice.
It was the most goals allowed by the Kings at home since an 8-4 loss to Chicago on Dec. 18, 1999.