CALGARY - The NHL's top player in October kept his exceptional season going to start November.
Henrik Zetterberg scored his league-leading 11th and 12th goals Thursday night as the Detroit Red Wings extended their winning streak to seven games with a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. Billed as a showdown between two of the NHL's hottest players in Zetterberg and Jarome Iginla, the 27-year-old Swede outshone his Canadian counterpart.
Zetterberg was named the NHL's first star for the month of October and kept his season rolling with another exceptional game.
"We have such a great team and the whole team is playing really good right now," said Zetterberg, whose 24 points leads the NHL. "When you have great players like Nick (Lidstrom) and (Brian) Rafalski back there almost every shift and playing with (Tomas) Holmstrom and Pavel (Datsyuk), when they're clicking, it's easy to get points."
Zetterberg has picked up at least one point in each of Detroit's 14 games.
Jiri Hudler and Daniel Cleary also scored for Detroit (11-2-1). Remarkably, its the first time in 21 tries that Detroit has swept all three games on a Western Canadian road trip. The Red Wings beat Vancouver 3-2 on Sunday and won 2-1 over Edmonton on Tuesday.
Alex Tanguay scored for Calgary (6-4-3). The Flames finished up 4-2-1 on their season-long seven-game homestand.
"Detroit's a good team but all of us in here would agree we didn't play our best game and when you don't do that, you don't give yourself a chance at winning," said Tanguay. "We weren't skating, we were nervous, and they are a team that moves the puck extremely well. You have to take away their time and space and we didn't do that tonight."
Trailing 1-0 early, Hudler tied it for Detroit at 9:11 of the first period as the Red Wings converted their first power-play opportunity of the night.
Ninety-three seconds later Zetterberg scored the goal that put the Red Wings ahead for good.
Detroit was up 3-1 in the third when Zetterberg connected on a power-play at 10:44 of the period. The Flames had been dominating play at that point in a desperate bid to get back in the game.
"It was one of those games when we got the puck, we got the puck in the net," said Detroit coach Mike Babcock. "They had a good push in the third period but I thought we were pretty good in the first two and then we captilized on the power-play."
While Detroit was an efficient 2-for-3 with the extra man, Calgary was blanked on seven opportunities.
"Special teams is big when you play a team as good as Detroit. They scored twice and we didn't get any. If we scored twice like they did, we're in the game and maybe the end result is different," Tanguay said.
Making his fourth start in a row with Dominik Hasek (hip) sidelined, goaltender Chris Osgood was solid making 26 saves to improve to a perfect 7-0 on the season. Detroit has picked up at least one point in Osgood's last 19 starts (14-0-5) dating back to last season.
Osgood was busiest in the third period when he turned aside all 12 shots including consecutive stops off Daymond Langkow and then Iginla, the later coming when he managed to get his stick on Iginla's rebound after the Flames captain had deflected an Adrian Aucoin slapshot off the goal post.
"I'm confident and I'm feeling good when I'm playing," said Osgood, 34. "I got that bounce off the post and then Iginla put it off my stick. I've had some breaks along the way too but you have to get to that kind of record."
Babcock says Osgood's veteran status and demeanour makes him a great fit as Hasek's back-up.
"He's won a lot of games in this league and you have to give him a lot of credit," said Babcock. "He knows how to play and he's such a calm guy and good human being, our guys love him. He's had a good run for us. Most teams in the league, when you do't have your starting goaltending, you're not winning."
The first-overall Red Wings are now off for six days before returning to action against Nashville next Wednesday.
Calgary got off to a fast start when Iginla neatly lifted the stick of all-star defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom stripping him of the puck and subsequently setting up Tanguay for a one-timer to put the Flames ahead 5:28 into the game.
"Were not happy," said Iginla. "We know we have to play better against some of the top teams. we don't play with enough confidence."
Notes: Osgood's last regulation loss was 4-2 to the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 6, 2007... Osgood improves to 21-13-5 in his career against the Flames. The only other two teams he has more victories against are Dallas (25) and Chicago (24)... One change for the Flames saw Marcus Nilson (hip) return to the line-up after missing one game. He took Mark Smiths left-wing spot on the fourth line... Detroit D Niklas Kronwall (groin) missed his third game... The Red Wings were outshot for just the second time in 14 games... Detroit improves to 7-0 against the Northwest Division this year.