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Trending: Mantha gets Gordie Howe hat trick in blowout victory

Larkin gets goal, two assists; Athanasiou gets two goals and an assist

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji and @ArthurJRegner /

DETROIT - It was the first official fight night at Little Caesars Arena.

The scorekeepers had to work overtime for this game, which saw 10 goals and 27 penalties for 141 minutes, most of which came in an overheated late third period.

In the end, the Red Wings defeated the Calgary Flames, 8-2, with many of Detroit's youngsters leading the way.

The eight goals are a season high for the Wings, their first eight-goal output since Feb. 24, 2013 against the Vancouver Canucks, an 8-3 win.

Not surprisingly, Luke Witkowski found himself embroiled in the brouhaha with a frustrated Brett Kulak, which led to extended fisticuffs.

Even goaltenders Jimmy Howard and Jon Gillies, who had replaced Eddie Lack after Lack let in five goals on 15 shots, entered the fray.

Witkowski finished with 37 of the Wings' 74 penalty minutes.

The Wings improved to 3-2-2 at home and the Flames fell to 4-3-0 on the road.

Detroit lost defenseman Trevor Daley to an upper-body injury in the second period.

Wings coach Jeff Blashill said Daley was day to day but didn't know if he would be able to play Friday.

1. Anthony Mantha : With two goals, an assist and a fighting major against the Flames, not only did Mantha record a Gordie Howe hat trick, he continues to be an offensive spark for the Wings. Mantha has 10 goals and nine assists this season, leading the Wings in total points with 19. An imposing figure at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, Mantha has the rare combination of skill, strength and soft hands, which has him on the cusp of becoming an elite NHL player. From October 28 through Wednesday night, a span of eight games, Mantha has notched six goals and five assists for 11 points. He also has shown the ability to make the players around him better and he is more than willing to drop the gloves as he showed Wednesday when he pummeled Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic into the Wings bench during a melee late in the third period. It's still early in the season, but this appears to be Mantha's breakout year.

Quotable: "He was throwing punches and I still had my two gloves on I just tried to push him over to our bench to be able to drop one glove at least and I guess the door was open and we just fell right in." - Mantha

Quotable II: "If (Mantha) just realized how good he can be, I think he can be a superstar in this league. He can do it in many fashions, whether it's with his hands, his shots or deflecting pucks in front, he's a very dynamic player. If he continues to work hard and work at his craft the sky's the limit for him. - Jimmy Howard

Quotable III: "Having him net front on the power play I think has helped him understand the value of being at the net. I coached with Mike Knuble in Grand Rapids and he was somebody who learned that value really young and when guys can learn it, they understand if you're around that net, there's lots of goals to be had. I think that's a huge part of Mantha's development process. I think if he had to pick his spot on the power play, it wouldn't have been net front at the beginning of the year, I think he would have picked somewhere else. But he's really learning to be a weapon there and when you're a weapon around the net, you're going to score goals." - Blashill

2. Dylan Larkin : Larkin talked before the season about wanting to make his linemates better by getting the puck to them for good chances. Yet Larkin, who led the Wings with 23 goals two seasons ago, has a pretty good shot himself. At 17:17 of the first period, Larkin showed off that impressive shot when he and Luke Glendening went in 2-on-1 shorthanded and Larkin scored his third goal of the season. Larkin joins Glendening, Frans Nielsen and Darren Helm with shorthanded goals, surpassing last season's three shorthanded goals. Late in the second, Larkin got to display his passing ability, finding Justin Abdelkader with a long pass from the Detroit zone. Abdelkader scored with 43.6 seconds left in the period for a 6-2 Wings lead. It was Abdelkader's first goal in 12 games, since scoring Oct. 16 against Tampa Bay. Larkin also assisted on Andreas Athanasiou's power-play goal at 16:10 of the third. It marked Larkin's first career three-point game. Larkin is now second on the team in assists with 15 to Mike Green's 16. He is now tied for ninth in the league in assists while Green is tied for seventh. Larkin has two goals and four assists in six games against the Flames.

Quotable: "I think the way he plays now, 200-foot game, plays both offense and defense, makes smart plays. When he came into the league he was young. He's still young but he plays way more mature now and it's good for us." - captain Henrik Zetterberg

3. Andreas Athanasiou: Like most teams, the Wings are much better when they get the first goal of the game. Athanasiou provided that at 5:35 of the first period when he had a 2-on-1 with Larkin and his pass went off Calgary defenseman TJ Brodie and into the net past goaltender Eddie Lack. Athanasiou also assisted on Mantha's first power-play goal at 15:44 of the first period. Athanasiou now has three goals and two assists in nine games. After the third-period craziness, the Wings were on the power play and Athanasiou converted for his second of the game, fourth of the season. It marked Athanasiou's third career two-goal game and his second career three-point game.

Quotable: "They've (Athanasiou, Larkin and Mantha) been real good. First of all, I think they're playing fairly complete games, which doesn't just translate to points, it translates to winning. That's a real important thing, I think, for people to remember. Those guys and myself have talked lots about it, we want to be winning hockey players, not point players and they've done a real good job of that. They've played complete games and I think they're obviously real talented guys. The more we can get - we've talked lots, we need guys to step up and produce and certainly they're guys that can do it." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill

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