On Tuesday night before a rambunctious crowd at Little Caesars Arena, the Wings staged a dramatic three-goal, third-period comeback, downing the Canadiens, 4-3.
It was Detroit's third consecutive win over Montreal this season and the first time the Red Wings have beaten the Canadiens three times in a season since 1971-72.
Trailing 2-1 after two periods, the Wings knotted the score at the 51-second mark of the third on a Robby Fabbri blast, only to see the Habs take the lead, 3-2, on Victor Mete's goal at 6:13.
But as it has all season long against Montreal, Detroit found an extra gear and its resiliency paid off as Frans Nielsen and rookie Filip Zadina scored to lift the Wings to their 11th victory of the season.
Nielsen (two goals), Fabbri and Zadina lit the lamp for the Red Wings.
Zadina's game-winner at 16:08 of the third period was his first game-winning goal of his budding NHL career.
Artturi Lehkonen (shorthanded), Nick Suzuki (power play) and Mete were the goal scorers for the Canadiens.
Jonathan Bernier (9-12-2), picked up the win for the Wings in net, stopping 23 of the 26 shots he faced for an .885 save percentage.
Bernier has been the winning goalie in all three games against his hometown Canadiens this season. Entering this year, the Quebec native's career record against Montreal was 1-11-3.
Charlie Lindgren (0-2-0) got the nod in goal for the Canadiens, making just his second start of the season. Detroit fired 30 shots at Lindgren, who made 26 saves for a save percentage of .867.
Before Tuesday's loss, Lindgren was 1-0-0 versus the Wings with a 1.93 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage.
Detroit (11-30-3) won its second consecutive home game and will next face the Ottawa Senators Friday night at Little Caesars Arena.
The Wings will be playing their second straight home game in a stretch which finds Detroit playing five of six games at home.
Montreal (18-19-7) is now winless in its last seven games (0-6-1) and will try to right the ship when they host the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night at Bell Centre.
1. Frans Nielsen: There is no one who has doubted Nielsen's work ethic, his desire to win or how much he cares this season. But the truth is that it has been a rough season for the veteran center, who had just one goal in his first 38 games of the season and four points overall. So it had to feel good for Nielsen to get the Wings on the board at 12:22 of the second period, putting in a rebound from the left side of the net. That goal cut Montreal's lead to 2-1. Givani Smith and Madison Bowey picked up the assists. In the third period, Mike Green found Nielsen heading toward the offensive zone and sprung him on a breakaway, which Nielsen finished with a backhand at 11:19, tying the game, 3-3. Darren Helm got the second assist. Nielsen now has five points (3-2-5) in his last eight games after recording just one assist in his first 31 games of the season. Nielsen finished with 26 shifts for 16:59, had three shots, one blocked shot, was 6-for-10 in face-offs and was plus-2.
Quotable: "I had to get it up. I actually was gonna shoot it and then it bobbled on me right before. Then I had no choice but to try and settle it down and make a move. Luckily it worked. It's great. It feels good to get a win. It's been tough. I feel like I tried to just play my game and work hard every night. It was nice to get rewarded." - Nielsen
Quotable II: "It was a huge two goals for us. The second one especially. It was a very nice goal. He deked the goalie. He has to teach me how to do that. It was huge. He played very well today. It was a good game." - Zadina
Quotable III: "Scoring is important when you haven't scored at all. Frans for a long time has really worked and competed and he cares a ton. I think his game has been much better after about the first couple of weeks, he just has had no luck production-wise. So, for him to score is real important. Again, he's a guy that does it right as much as he possibly can. He's not perfect, he makes mistakes. It hasn't been the type of year he's wanted to have, he's kept going. Hopefully he can have a real big second half." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill
2. Filip Zadina: Blashill has said it many times, confidence is one of the main factors in success in the NHL and that is even more true for scorers. There's no question that Zadina is a scorer. With the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL, Zadina had 44 goals and 38 assists in 57 games in his draft season. Yet it was a big adjustment to pro hockey, where the players are bigger, stronger and faster. Zadina worked hard and finished with 16 goals and 19 assists in 59 games with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins last season. Zadina did not seem to have the confidence at the start of the season and throughout the preseason so he started in the AHL again. But when Anthony Mantha suffered a knee injury, the Wings needed a scorer and Zadina got the call. When Mantha returned from that first injury, Zadina remained with the Wings because he had started having more success, looking dangerous on a consistent basis. At 16:08 of the third, Zadina went to the low slot and was ready when new dad Adam Erne passed the puck to him from behind the net. Zadina's quick release led to his fifth goal of the season and his second goal in as many games. Valtteri Filppula had the second assist. Zadina has five goals and six assists in his last 15 games. He finished with 17 shifts for 15:08, had four shots, one giveaway, one takeaway, one blocked shot and was even.
Quotable: "Well, it means a lot for me and I think it was the best goal so far. We needed this win as a team so bad. And we did it and we played so very well. It was a huge day today for us. It's awesome. It was the same goal as before. It was a huge goal, a huge pass from behind the net and I just scored a goal. It was huge for our team, because we deserved this win. It was great." - Zadina
Quotable II: "I'm not surprised at all. He's got a whole another level, too. You're just seeing young Z right now. It's what we want to do, so we put everything on the line. Also, me and Z, we were here working in the summertime training, so it's all paying off, the hard work." - Givani Smith
Quotable III: "We were celebrating on the bench. But it was good to see. He's been great for us ever since he came up here. You see the shot he had the last game in Chicago. That's a real goal scorer's shot right there. It's been good to see." - Nielsen
Quotable IV: "First of all, he loves scoring against anybody but obviously that was a comment that he made. In the end, I'm just really happy with his overall progress. I think he's a talented player that when he's in those spots can score. I think Ben Simon and our development group has done a real good job with him. He's a much better player today than he was a year ago. He's done a great job. He's the first one that deserves the compliment. Certainly part of it's confidence but part of it's how he's playing. He's doing a really good job of stopping on pucks, he's doing a really good job of playing from the right side of the puck, he's winning battles and he has the puck way more. So I think it's right steps in the right direction. I don't think there's any doubt that as you have big games you build confidence and confidence is such a huge factor in today's NHL because of how close every team is and how close every player is. And it's really really hard to be a real good player in this league, so as you grow confidence, the trajectory of your game really goes upwards. The more games he puts together like that the more confidence he has, the more confidence we have in him. It can be a real positive thing." - Blashill
3. Robby Fabbri/Givani Smith: After recovering from two major knee surgeries, Fabbri worked to reestablish himself with the St. Louis Blues but found himself the odd man out. Coming to a team that has a hard time scoring, Fabbri has been nothing less than a godsend. Just 51 seconds in to the third period, Fabbri worked the Guelph connection, getting a pass from Tyler Bertuzzi and firing the puck from the low slot, beating Lindgren glove-side. It marked Fabbri's 11th goal of the season, 10th with Detroit, and moved him past Dylan Larkin, who got the second assist, into sole possession of third place on the team in goals. Bertuzzi leads with 15 and the injured Mantha has 12. The assist extended Larkin's point streak to four games (1-3-4) and he has six points (2-4-6) in his last six contests. Fabbri finished with 22 shifts for 17:48, had three shots, one giveaway, was 1-for-1 in face-offs and was even. Smith's assist on Nielsen's first goal was his first NHL point and came in his eighth career game. Smith also had a couple of chances to get his first goal. Smith's point marked Detroit's 28th different player to score a point, second only to the Ottawa Senators' 29. Smith finished with 13 shifts for 9:44, had two shots, two hits, a giveaway and was plus-1.
Quotable: "There were a couple of chances for me. They haven't gone in yet but I'm staying positive that it's coming soon. It feels much better with my confidence, my comfortability on the ice, playing more and stuff. I know I've got to contribute to the team whenever I can. If I'm getting 10 minutes of 15 minutes, whatever I can do." - Smith
Quotable II: "In some portions of his game. I thought there were a few times he exposed the puck a bit that we're going to keep working on. Just protect it, don't expose it, keep it closer to your body. He's got a huge body. The one thing he has is he's a big man in this league. It's hard to be a big man in this league. Lots of guys are big. They come to this league and they're not that big. He's a big man. I think there's areas of his game to continue to get better at. I think he does a good job of being physical and doing the types of things he needs to do to be a successful player." - Blashill