DETROIT – After the morning skate, Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said that captain Henrik Zetterberg would play but defenseman Jonathan Ericsson would be a game-time decision.
Ericsson did not take part in pre-game warm-ups so Jakub Kindl returned to the lineup after sitting for eight games as a healthy scratch.
The change meant a shift for the defense pairs except for the Niklas Kronwall-Mike Green one.
"We looked at Smith being in that spot and leaving the Kronwall pairing alone and then going Kindl-(Alexey) Marchenko," Blashill said. "We feel comfortable with that. Smitty is someone I think has played very well here lately. He has a skill set to go against the other team’s best players. He can skate, he's strong, he can move the puck, so that’s something we’ve looked at."
With Zetterberg being available, that meant call-up Tomas Nosek would not have to play his third game in as many nights as the Grand Rapids Griffins played Friday and Saturday night.
"We made a decision on Friday night that we were going to go with the same lineup," Blashill said. "I thought our line of (Luke) Glendening, (Tomas) Jurco and (Joakim) Andersson was our best line. I thought they had a great night so we were going to go with some guys today but obviously we have another game and they (Griffins) are going on break, so we couldn’t allow us to not have guys here in case we needed somebody Tuesday night."
Nosek, 23, has two goals and seven assists in 25 games with the Griffins.
Wings general manager Ken Holland was at the Griffins' game Saturday and told Nosek after the game.
"I still can’t believe it, that I’m here and obviously I’m very excited," Nosek said.
Although Nosek might not play during his call-up, that doesn't mean he doesn't have an NHL future.
"I think his first step into the NHL would be in a role where he’s a penalty killer, where he’s a real good accountable player, he’s extremely smart," Blashill said. Does he add offense from there? That’s the stuff you can’t predict until they get here. He’s somebody like a lot of guys, given the opportunity he could come in and do a good job in the NHL. That’s not to say he doesn’t have offensive tools, because he does but you can’t predict what type of offense they have until they get here."
Defenseman Xavier Ouellet was the other player the Wings recalled.
"It’s good to know that they’re still looking, that they’re still paying attention to everything I do there," Ouellet said. "I’ve been performing, I’ve been playing pretty good. I feel good about myself. Obviously I was hoping to get an opportunity here."
Ouellet has two goals and 10 assists in 25 games.
He didn't mind missing out on the AHL's holiday break.
"We ended up having a long break this year in the AHL, a good 5-6 days so I was planning to go back home but it was a good little surprise last night knowing I was coming here," Ouellet said. "Hopefully I can get my family to come here. It might work out."
The Calgary Flames were playing the second of a back-to-back set after losing a 3-2 decision Saturday night at the St. Louis Blues.
The loss snapped the Flames' seven-game win streak.
The Wings and Flames got their first shots of the game out of the way quickly.
Calgary goaltender Karri Ramo stopped Darren Helm's shot from the left circle 17 seconds into the game.
At the other end, Petr Mrazek made the save on Micheal Ferland at :31.
The Wings were fortunate early on in the first. Mike Green was trying to shoot the puck into the offensive zone but hit Dylan Larkin in the left hand.
Larkin shook his hand a few times but never missed a shift.
The Wings got the game's first power play at 4:11 when Mikael Backlund was called for interference with Gustav Nyquist. But the Wings failed to record a shot on goal.
The Wings had another power play at 12:32 when Matt Stajan was called for hooking Alexey Marchenko but the Wings did not score.
The Flames had their turn with the man-advantage when Luke Glendening was called for slashing Johnny Gaudreau at 16:17.
Dennis Wideman hit the left post with five seconds left in the power play and Mrazek covered up the rebound.
DETROIT 0, CALGARY 0
PENALTIES: 1. VAN, minor, Mikael Backlund, interference, 4:11. 2. VAN, minor, Matt Stajan, hooking, 12:32. 3. DET, minor, Luke Glendening, slashing, 16:17.
SHOTS: Detroit 13, Calgary 15
Dylan Larkin was called for hooking Ferland at 1:23 of the second.
The Wings came into the game tied for 11th on the penalty kill and the Flames had the worst power play but that did not seem to matter.
Calgary snapped an 0-for-23 skid on the power play as Wideman hit the net instead of the post at 1:56.
Previously, the Flames were 1-for-37 and 2-for-54 with the man-advantage.
Larkin made up for his infraction at 7:46 when he went to the net and was there to clean up the rebound of Brendan Smith's shot. Zetterberg also assisted.
Just 45 seconds later, Brad Richards gave the Wings a 2-1 lead as he shot the puck into the top left corner of the net, avoiding an attempted block.
Blashill decided to switch up defense pairs in the second, returning Smith to Marchenko. Kronwall and DeKeyser were together and Kindl moved to be with Green.
The Wings ended the period on a high note as Gustav Nyquist's shot appeared to be deflected by Riley Sheahan at 17:31. Insted, Nyquist was credited with his 14th of the season and DeKeyser and Sheahan got assists.
It was Sheahan's first goal in 15 games, the last coming Nov. 16 at Ottawa.
DETROIT 3, CALGARY 1
SCORING: 1. CGY, PPG, Dennis Wideman (1), TJ Brodie, Johnny Gaudreau, 1:56. 2. DET, Dylan Larkin (12), Brendan Smith, Henrik Zetterberg, 7:46. 3. DET, Brad Richards (unassisted), 8:31. 4. DET, Gustav Nyquist (14), Danny DeKeyser, Riley Sheahan, 17:31.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, minor, Dylan Larkin, hooking, 1:23.
SHOTS: Detroit 14 (27), Calgary 5 (20)
With the scoring changes, Nyquist ended up with the Wings' third goal, denying Sheahan.
Nyquist, now tied with Larkin for the team lead in goals with 12, tried to help Sheahan out at 2:02 of the third but Ramo made the stop.
The Flames got another chance on the power play at 4:01 when Darren Helm was called foe tripping Ferland.
But the Flames managed just one shot.
The Wings had their opportunity with the man-advantage at 6:42 when Sean Monahan was called for roughing Larkin but the Flames ended up with the better chance.
The Flames got a shorthanded 2-on-1 chance with Markus Granlund and Brodie against Kronwall, but Mrazek made the save on Granlund's shot.
The Flames got to within one goal when they pulled the goaltender during 4-on-4 play and Dougie Hamilton scored.
The Wings ended it with 30 seconds left with Justin Abdelkader scored into the empty net.
It marked the Wings' 800th win at Joe Louis Arena.
DETROIT 4, CALGARY 2
SCORING: 1. CGY (extra attacker), Dougie Hamilton (5), Jiri Hudler, Mark Giordano, 17:01. 2. DET, ENG, Justin Abdelkader (11), Danny DeKeyser, 19:30.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, minor, Darren Helm, tripping, 4:01. 2. CGY, minor, Sean Monahan, roughing, 6:42. 3. CGY, minor, Kris Russell, minor, slashing, 15:48. 4. DET, minor, Justin Abdelkader, cross-checking, 15:48.
SHOTS: Detroit 8 (35), Calgary 8 (28)