Mike Modano and Justin Abdelkader gave the Detroit Red Wings just the kind of lift they needed to start a swing through Western Canada.
Modano scored for the first time since opening night and Abdelkader got his first goal of the season in only his second game as the Wings scored twice in the second period and beat the Calgary Flames 2-1 on Wednesday night.
Calgary took a 1-0 lead on Mark Giordano's power-play blast from just inside the left circle at 15:58 of the first period. But that was all the offense the struggling Flames could manage -- they were limited to just 17 shots at Jimmy Howard and couldn't do much with a late four-minute advantage after Ruslan Salei accidentally cut Niklas Hagman with a high stick, managing only two shots.
"I thought our team had some urgency about us," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We had good specialty teams, and we hung in there. It's not easy to win in Calgary -- it's always been a tough building. I thought they played well tonight. They had lost a couple of games, and we knew they were going to be hungry."
Modano, who had done nothing offensively since scoring on his first shot as a Red Wing nearly four weeks ago, tied the game 1:54 into the second period. Daniel Cleary took a hit at center ice to spring Modano on a 2-on-1 break, and the highest-scoring U.S.-born player in NHL history ripped a wrister from inside the left circle that caught the far corner past Miikka Kiprusoff's glove.
Modano, a Michigan native who spent 20 years with the Stars franchise in Minnesota and Dallas, has struggled offensively since scoring on his first shot as a Red Wing.
"It's important for us, and it's important for him that he feel good about himself," Babcock said of Modano's goal. "We think he's a real good player, and sometimes when you come into situations like this, you've got to trust yourself and play the game. He'll feel better about himself, and that will set him up for a better game on Friday (at Edmonton)."
Abdelkader, who made his season debut last Saturday after missing time with a rib injury, put Detroit ahead to stay when he fired Pavel Datsyuk's pass over Kiprusoff's left pad at 12:05.
"The second goal is a bad line change and we allow a 3-on-2 to happen that turns into a two-on-one and that's another goal," Calgary coach Brent Sutter said. "You have a 1-0 hockey game, you've just got to stay with your game, yet we give two odd-man rushes up that cost us goals.
"You can't do that against most teams in the National Hockey League. You're going to get burnt on it and we did tonight."
It was a welcome goal for Abdelkader, who's in a battle for playing time as part of one of the NHL's deepest lineups.
"Any time you can help the team out and score a goal, it's nice," Abdelkader said. "Pav made a nice play, and I just wanted to put it on the net. I just wanted to get it off as quick as I could."
It was another painful loss for the Flames, who finished their season-long five-game homestand with a 2-3-0 record. Kiprusoff kept them in the game with 31 saves, but it wasn't enough.
"We were in a good spot after the first with the lead," Giordano said. "They found ways to get ahead."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report