The relief in Mike Babcock's voice was palpable.
After watching his team blow two-goal leads in back-to-back losses to St. Louis in Stockholm, a relieved Babcock saw his Detroit Red Wings get their first victory of the season by holding off the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Thursday night. Goals by Kris Draper and Johan Franzen in a 1:34 span of the second period and a 31-save performance by Chris Osgood were enough to give the Wings a victory in their home opener.
"It was a big win for us," Babcock said. "It takes some of the pressure off."
Draper's goal at 16:15 of the second period broke a 1-1 tie, and Franzen followed with a power-lay goal at 17:49. That was enough to survive Kris Versteeg's power-play goal midway through the third period -- mostly because Osgood was much sharper than he had been in the season-opener, a 4-3 loss.
"Ozzie was really good," Babcock said. "I don't know if he played that good in any game the first half of last year."
Osgood said the remodeled Wings -- who lost players who scored 88 goals last season -- will have to pay more attention to defense to overcome the missing offense.
"We're going to have a different look in April," said Osgood, who led the Wings to the Cup in 2008 and got them to Game 7 of the Final last spring. "We're going to be harder to play against. You saw a glimpse of it with our penalty-killing with our guys blocking shots."
The Wings were shaky down the stretch after Versteeg's goal. Chicago outshot Detroit 15-4 in the third period, but Osgood made the lead stand up in the teams' first meeting since Detroit eliminated the Hawks in the Western Conference Final last spring.
"We looked like a team that hadn't won this year in the third period," Babcock said. "We got a little defensive and back on our heels. We let Chicago come at us."
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, meanwhile, wants to keep his club from getting down after a 1-1-1 start. The Hawks were playing their first game in North America after a win and a shootout loss to Florida in Helsinki last weekend.
"If we keep playing like that, we'll find a way to win," Quenneville said. "We had puck-possession time, we had chances, we had zone time."
After a scoreless first period, the Hawks opened the scoring when Patrick Sharp scored 1:23 into the second, giving him goals in all three of Chicago's games. The Hawks had a chance to expand its lead but couldn't capitalize on a 5-on-3 power play for 1:53.
"The 5-on-3 turned the game for us," Babcock said.
Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom tied it with a power-play goal at 10:26, a shot that caromed into the net."The turning point was the one that went off my skate into the net," Madden said. "Changed the momentum of the game. Before that, I thought we were in the driver's seat."
--John Kreiser, NHL.com
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report