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NHL - Red Wings 4, Canadiens 1

10:46 PM, Jan 24, 2014   |    comments
Detroit Red Wings left wing Henrik Zetterberg (40) receives congratulations from right wing Daniel Alfredsson (11) after scoring in the first period against the Montreal Canadiens at Joe Louis Arena. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
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DETROIT (DETROIT FREE PRESS) - As their health goes, so do the Detroit Red Wings.

They won for a second straight for the first time in over a month Friday when they renewed acquaintances with Montreal with a 4-1 victory at Joe Louis Arena. Securing the two points was all the more valuable as the Canadiens are an Atlantic Division cohabitant. The win pushed the Wings to 56 points, only three behind Montreal, which sits in third place in the Atlantic. This was the first of four meetings this season.

Veterans Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall bookended goals around rookie Riley Sheahan's eventual game-winner. Gustav Nyquist scored for the second straight game.

For the third straight game the Wings regained one of their injured, welcoming back Daniel Alfredsson after a six-game layoff. Darren Helm returned Monday, and Jonathan Ericsson was back playing Wednesday when the Wings beat another Original Six rival in the Blackhawks.

Alfredsson helped the Wings get out of the first period against the Habs with a 1-0 lead during a 5-on-3 power play, feeding Zetterberg with a pass so well aimed all Zetterberg had to do was wind up a one-timer for a shot that sank deep behind Carey Price. Zetterberg left with about 5 minutes to go in the first period, but was back out of the second period.

The Canadiens had good chances -- Jonas Gustavsson had to make two saves during a a Habs power play, and had to deal with a breakaway attempt from Tomas Plekanec during a Detroit power play, as Montreal reached 13 shots just in the first period.

The Wings began the second period with a 1:15 man advantage, but despite good puck movement down low, they were unable to build on their lead. Playing offense was derailed for several minutes because of consecutive penalties, but Sheahan notched the second goal of his young NHL career when he scored off a turnover midway through the second period. The Habs struck back during their fourth power play, when Brendan Gallagher took advantage of being open to catch a pass and stride in front of Gustavsson to score.

Kronwall restored Detroit's two-goal lead with a shot from the slot late in the second period, with Justin Abdelkader providing a screen.

Gustavsson's continued good goaltending helped protect Detroit's efforts, as the Canadiens pressed for puck possession especially in the third period. The Wings couldn't get much out of a sixth power play, but Nyquist secured the two points with a goal with a mintue to go.

Contact Helene St. James: hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.

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