Athanasiou joins 30-goal club as Red Wings blank Devils 4-0
DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Red Wings are pulling off victory after victory at the end of a season in which they haven’t had much to celebrate.
Jonathan Bernier and Jimmy Howard combined for a shutout, Tyler Bertuzzi had a goal and two assists and the Red Wings – who have the fourth-worst point total in the NHL – topped the New Jersey Devils 4-0 on Friday night for their fourth straight win.
“I think everyone right now is just buying in and we’re competing hard, playing the right way,” Bertuzzi said. “Playing simple. And sometimes, simple hockey wins.”
Bernier made 21 saves in the first two periods before leaving with an upper-body injury. Howard stopped seven shots in the third period to complete the Red Wings’ sixth victory in their last seven games.
Dylan Larkin and Danny DeKeyser each had a goal and an assist, and Andreas Athanasiou also scored for Detroit.
“I think we’re playing hard,” Larkin said. “We’re not giving up on the season, even though it seems like. … I guess you could look at it as meaningless hockey and meaningless games here down the stretch.”
DeKeyser gave Detroit a 1-0 lead with 6:22 left in the first period when he tipped in Larkin’s pass past Mackenzie Blackwood for his fifth goal of the season.
Larkin scored 2:12 into the second period when he picked up a loose puck — that had bounced off Bertuzzi’s skate — in the slot and whipped it past Blackwood for Larkin’s 31st goal. He has four goals and two assists in the last four games.
Bertuzzi added an empty-net goal with 2:35 left for his 19th of the season. He has three goals and four assists in the last three games.
Athanasiou capped the scoring with his 30th goal with 1:27 left.
“I was happy with the way we played. It was only a 2-0 game going into the last couple minutes, and then we had a couple bad breaks to make it a little more lopsided,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “We just have to find a way to score, especially 5-on-5. We created enough chances tonight, but we couldn’t finish any of them.”
NOTES: Blackwood finished with 29 saves. … Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said he doesn’t know if Bernier, who is Howard’s backup, will be able to dress Sunday when Detroit hosts the Boston Bruins. … Red Wings D Jake Chelios, the son of Hockey Hall of Famer and former Detroit star Chris Chelios, made his NHL debut. … New Jersey D Sami Vatanen missed his second game with an illness. … It was Red Wings head athletic trainer Piet Van Zant’s 2,000th professional game.
Devils: Host St. Louis on Saturday night.
Red Wings: Host Boston on Sunday night.