Dec 27, 2011, 11:25 PM EDT
For two periods, it seemed like the story would be all about the St. Louis Blues’ ascension to serious contender status in the NHL.
They carried a 2-1 lead into the second intermission that didn’t fully tell the story about how well they were playing. The Detroit Red Wings illustrated what it takes to be truly elite in the final frame, though, as their dominant 20 minutes – especially two goals in 56 seconds – earned them a 3-2 win.
This victory gives the Red Wings their 11th win in a row at Joe Louis Arena and a one-point lead over the Blues for second place in the increasingly competitive Central Division.
Blues start hot
The Blues’ suddenly dangerous power play provided the team’s two goals, including a strange 2-0 goal by Alexander Steen. It seemed like the puck would be whistled dead as Jimmy Howard appeared to have it, but Steen pushed it into Detroit’s net.
Red Wings’ red-hot third
Nicklas Lidstrom scored a man advantage goal with a bit more than a minute left in the second period, which set the tone for an irresistible comeback by the Red Wings. Detroit generated a 13-3 shots on goal advantage in that final frame and although Brian Elliott produced some brilliant work, it wasn’t enough. Pavel Datsyuk‘s magical deflection tied it up midway through the third and then Niklas Kronwall scored the game-winner less than a minute later.
The Chicago Blackhawks sit atop the NHL and the Central Division but they can’t take it easy with Detroit and St. Louis right behind them. The Red Wings took tonight’s game with an impressive finish while the Blues made quite the impression even in defeat.
Sure, they lost, but this game might just prove that it’s time to take Ken Hitchcock, Elliott and the Blues seriously from now on.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
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