DETROIT - The Red Wings wanted to send their old rival out of the old barn with a loss.
The Chicago Blackhawks scored the first goal of the game but the Wings rallied for a 4-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena Friday night, snapping a four-game losing skid.
The Wings will finish with a 60-36-8-6 record against the Blackhawks at the Joe, their highest win total against any opponent at this rink.
1. Jimmy Howard : Howard returned to the Detroit net for the first time since December 20, when he injured his right knee in Tampa. He came up big throughout the game and made two huge saves back-to-back in the third period, including a terrific stop on an all alone Nick Schmaltz, who was set up on a deft pass from Patrick Kane. For the game, Howard, who was named first star, notched his sixth win of the season in making 24 saves while facing 26 shots for a .923 save percentage.
Quotable: "I'm just excited to be out there with the guys and competing again. It was frustrating not being able to do anything and just sitting on the sidelines but it was a lot of fun for me personally just to be back out there and competing with the guys." - Howard
Quotable II: "It was great to see him back. We missed him for sure. He's been working hard, had a really good rehab here. He went down to Grand Rapids and played two good games and now he's ready to play." - Henrik Zetterberg
2. Tomas Tatar : Tatar assisted on the Wings' second goal, by Andreas Athanasiou, which briefly tied him with Tatar for the team lead in goals with 15. Then at 15:17 of the second, Tatar drove to the net and put home a bouncing rebound for his 16th of the season to re-take the lead. At 15:31 of the third, with the Wings trying to preserve a one-goal lead, Tatar gave his team an insurance marker from the slot on a perfect pass from Henrik Zetterberg behind the net, his 17th goal of the season. Zetterberg finished with two assists, Tatar with two goals and an assist and Gustav Nyquist finished with three assists. It was Tatar's third three-point game of the season and Nyquist's second.
Quotable: "You never know what's going to happen after the season but obviously me and Gus and Hank, we have some chemistry out there. Obviously we want to win first, and then it's more personal. We're just trying to play, to do good things, so we're doing the right things, or trying to do the right things all of the time and build off of them." - Tatar
3. Andreas Athanasiou: With eight seconds left in the first period, Athanasiou built on the momentum gained when Xavier Ouellet tied the game at 1. Nick Jensen dropped the puck to Athanasiou, who beat Corey Crawford from the right circle. The Blackhawks challenged that the goal was offside but after review, the play stood and the Wings took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. It was Athanasiou's first goal in 10 games, his last coming Feb. 12 at Minnesota.
Quotable: "I'd say two things, one, we haven't given the fans enough at home. I recognize that. Our home record isn't nearly good enough. I think it's real important we give these fans lots to cheer about down the stretch and that we give them real good performances. The fact this was the last game at the Joe against the Blackhawks means a lot, no question, long-time rivals, Original Six, there's a lot of meaning there for sure." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill