The Detroit Red Wings made up for a bad second period with a great third.
Tomas Tatar scored a fluky goal 85 seconds into the final frame Friday night to give the Red Wings a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, and Justin Abdelkader added an insurance tally that proved to be the winner in Detroit’s 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames.
"I thought we finished the second strong and had a real good third period," said Detroit’s Mike Babcock, who coached his 800th NHL game. "We controlled the third I thought hands down.
"There’s no question you want to just keep going after them, and I thought we did that."
Early in the third, Detroit forward Joakim Andersson chased down the puck in the Flames’ zone and attempted a centering pass from the corner. The puck glanced off Tatar’s skate before deflecting into the net off the leg of Calgary goalie Joey MacDonald.
"It was a lucky bounce," Andersson said. "Sometimes you need those lucky bounces to win games. It was nice to get it. We’ve been talking about that all year, shooting more and getting the pucks more to the net."
Tatar’s goal proved to be a tough break for the Flames (5-6-2).
"It’s like you take a good punch on the nose, but, at the same time you have to regroup," Flames goalie Bob Hartley said. "In a game, anything can happen, and you have to be ready for it."
Abdelkader made it 4-2 with 3:24 left when he sent a wrist shot into the top corner past MacDonald.
Curtis Glencross rounded out the scoring for the Flames when his pass from behind the net hit Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall and bounced past Howard with 9.8 seconds left.
Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg each had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings (8-4-2), who were coming off a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.
After Datsyuk and Zetterberg gave Detroit a 2-0 lead, the Flames answered with goals by Chris Butler and rookie Sean Monahan in the second.
"I think after they scored their second goal, we really turned things around and got playing again," Babcock said.
Kronwall and Todd Bertuzzi each had two assists for the Red Wings.
"In the second period, a couple mistakes and the puck wound up in the back of our net," said Howard, who made 22 saves to improve to 5-4-2. "I think we got back to playing the style of hockey we played in Vancouver the whole game in the third period here. That’s how we’re going to be successful."
The Red Wings will continue their four-game trip through Western Canada on Saturday when they visit the Edmonton Oilers.
"We’ve got to get re-energized and get ready to go," Babcock said.
Jiri Hudler had two assists, and MacDonald made 18 saves for the Flames, who went 1-2 on their three-game homestand.
"I felt that we didn’t skate like the way we could," Hartley said. "The way that the Wings play, they kind of slow down the play, and I felt that we got caught. Especially with scoring two goals, they kind of put us back on our heels a little bit.
"I just felt that we didn’t have our usual jump."
Calgary will now head out on a four-game trip, starting on Sunday in Chicago and finishing with stops at Minnesota, St. Louis and Colorado.
Datsyuk opened the scoring at 10:57. MacDonald made a glove save to stop a point shot by defenseman Jakub Kindl, but the puck dropped right into the slot to Datsyuk, who easily deposited it into a wide-open net.
Late in the first, Bertuzzi spotted an open Zetterberg at the side of the net and made a nice behind-the-back pass to him. Zetterberg then easily roofed a shot into the net over MacDonald’s outstretched right pad.
Early in the second period, Howard made a glove save to deny a breakaway attempt by Mike Cammalleri before sticking out his right pad to thwart a chance by Curtis Glencross.
Calgary’s persistence paid off as Butler fired a point shot that deflected off the stick of Andersson and past Howard.
The Flames continued to pour on the pressure and tied the game 2-2 at 12:47 of the second when Monahan took a pass from Cammalleri and put a shot into the top corner over Howard’s outstretched glove hand.
Tatar’s goal early in the third gave the Red Wings a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Abdelkader pushed the lead to 4-2 when he sent a wrist shot into the top corner past MacDonald.
With MacDonald on the bench for an extra skater, Glencross attempted to pass the puck out front from behind the Detroit net, but it bounced off Kronwall and past Howard with 9.8 seconds left.
NOTES: Retired goalie Miikka Kiprusoff had started the previous 17 games Calgary played against Detroit, dating to Dec. 12, 2008, when Curtis McElhinney faced the Red Wings. … MacDonald, who played 47 games over parts of three seasons for Detroit, had faced the Red Wings only once before in his career. That was with the New York Islanders on March 27, 2009, when he made 42 saves for the first of his two NHL shutout.