Filip Zadina gave the Detroit Red Wings an offensive boost on Thursday.
The Red Wings will look for more production from Zadina on Saturday afternoon when they open a home-and-home set against the visiting Vancouver Canucks.
The teams will reconvene in Vancouver on Monday night.
Playing in his first NHL game in over three months, Zadina scored the go-ahead goal in the third period of a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. Zadina’s first goal of the season came after a lengthy recovery from a broken leg.
“It’s been a long time and I’ve been waiting for the chance to be on the ice with them,” Zadina said. “I was just going to the game and thinking about playing the right way and trying to do something on the ice.”
Zadina was sent last week to the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins for a rehab stint. His return came at the expense of Dominik Kubalik, who was inactive.
“These guys are pros, but the work to get back with this one was different. Z worked extremely, extremely hard and kept having little setbacks and he got what he deserved (Thursday),” coach Derek Lalonde said. “He played well, managed his game, I can’t think of one turnover, and he made a play when he had the opportunity which is what you want from a skilled guy. It was lifting for our group and I’m real happy for him.”
Ville Husso made 35 saves for Detroit, which will be seeking its fourth victory in six games. Following Saturday’s contest, the Red Wings will play their next five games on the road.
“It’s playoff hockey for us,” Husso said. “Thirty games left, we still want to make it and it’s on us. We need to come in every night and play like that and give ourselves a chance to win.”
The Canucks are coming off a 6-5 road win over the New York Islanders on Thursday.
Elias Pettersson scored two third-period goals for Vancouver, which absorbed one-goal losses to New Jersey and the New York Rangers during the first two legs of a four-game road swing.
“We’ve been close the previous two games, glad we found a way to get the win (Thursday),” Pettersson said. “We are trying to build here, but we can’t let in that many goals every game. We are changing our systems to play more aggressive and maybe it will take a while, but we are working to perfect it and play better as a unit.”
The Canucks faced former team captain Bo Horvat for the first time since they traded their leading goal scorer to the Islanders. Horvat scored against his former team but so did Anthony Beauvillier, one of the players the Canucks acquired in the deal.
Beauvillier scored Vancouver’s final goal of the game on a power play.
“I was trying to breathe and soak it all in,” Beauvillier said. “I was trying to breathe. It took me a couple minutes. There were a couple times I forgot which bench I was going to.”
The Canucks will be looking to string together back-to-back victories for the first time since they won three straight from Dec. 22-27.
–Field Level Media