DETROIT – After 20 minutes of play Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena it looked as if the Detroit Red Wings would skate away with their fourth straight win.
Things changed from that point on.
St. Louis scored shorthanded, on the power play, even strength and then 52 seconds into overtime to snap the Wings’ streak, 4-3.
“I don’t know if we took our foot off the gas, but we got away from the way we want to play,” Drew Miller said. “They’re a team that doesn’t give up a lot of shots most nights. Their D and their forwards blocked a lot of shots that never found their way to the net.”
After getting off 11 shots on rookie goalie Jake Allen in the first period, Detroit had just seven more the rest of the way, one each in the third period and overtime.
“We kind of peppered him at first and got some goals, then we didn’t get a lot of shots after that,” Miller said. “You have to credit their D and their forwards for blocking a lot of shots.”
Allen finished with 15 saves.
Alexander Steen got the game winner in OT for the Blues, who were 0-4-1 in their last five coming in after beginning the seaon 6-1-0. Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Tarasenko and Chris Stewart also scored.
Tomas Tatar, Miller and Pavel Datsyuk scored for the Wings. Jimmy Howard made 21 saves.
The Wings’ only shot in the third period was off the stick of Justin Abdelkader with 1:42 left to play.
“You don’t do that to Detroit often,” St. Louis forward David Backes said of limiting the Wings to one shot in the third period. “That’s a badge of honor.”
Detroit also had two power play chances in the third.
“I just think we made some smart choices,” Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. “We knew we were the road team in a 3-3 tie. Get it into their zone and get it out of ours. Our penalty kill did a great job.”
“I didn’t tell ‘em not to shoot,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I think we had lots off opportunity to get the puck to the net, I think you’ve got to give them credit. When they’re playing well, they don’t give up a lot of shots. I don’t know how many shots they got, I don’t think they got a ton either. But the reality is we weren’t good enough. I thought we turned over too many pucks and we didn’t play good enough. The other thing is as a coach, I could have played more guys. And probably should have because in the end, we didn’t get the result we wanted.”
After Damien Brunner had a nice chance early in OT for the Wings, the Blues’ Barret Jackson picked up a puck along the boards and deflected a shot off Howard’s shoulder. Steen got on the rebound and banged the bouncing puck past Howard.
“The part for me that was tough is the penalty kill goal we give up when we’re trying to score, not even off a clean play and we get caught and then the line change goal, those things, I mean, those are crazy, crazy, crazy plays,” Babcock said. “It’s real simple here. We have to play with great competition level and great structure and attention to detail. We had it going and we came off it big-time in the second period, stopped putting pucks in and turning them over. Then we wind up getting one point instead of two points. It’s disappointing but it’s also the road we’re on. Until we figure out for sure how we gotta play and for how long, you’re not going to win on enough occasions.”
The Wings caught a break on the first goal just two minutes into the first period when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tried to backhand the puck to the end boards, but it went right onto the stick of Tatar.
The rookie forward had all day in front of Allen, going backhand, to forehand and back to backhand to lift it past the Blues goalie on the Wings’ first shot of the game.
The goal was Tatar’s second of his career. His other goal came on Dec. 31, 2010.
Less than six minutes later, Miller combined with Jordin Tootoo on a nice give-and-go with Miller finishing things, jamming his original shot that trickled past Allen over the goal line.
St. Louis got a goal back scoring shorthanded when Berglund one-timed a pass from T.J. Oshie on a 2-on-1. Brunner couldn’t hold the puck in at the blue line and it led to the odd-man rush.
It was Detroit’s league-high third shorthanded goal allowed.
And just like Sunday, the second period was dominated by the away team and the Blues left after with a one-goal lead.
Tarasenko scored on the power play and then less than two minutes later Stewart got behind the Wings defense – Jakub Kindl and Jonathan Ericsson – for the breakaway goal.
“It was probably our best first period of the whole year and then they took over completely in the second period,” Zetterberg said. “It wasn’t good. They really took over totally. We stopped the forecheck, we made some dumb mistakes, we gave them the puck and we didn’t win the 50-50 battles.”
Datsyuk put the momentum back in the Wings’ favor, banking a shot off Allen from behind the goal line to tie the game at 3-3 just past the midway point of the period.
“Anytime you can get up early, you have to be careful with that lead, especially now with power plays and all of that,” Patrick Eaves said. “So they came back and went up by one. Then we showed some character and got back into it. But that (winning goal) was kind of a bouncer in overtime. But that kind of stuff happens.”
This was the fourth meeting of the season between the teams. They meet one more time, April 7 in Detroit.