DETROIT – The Chicago Blackhawks scored two goals just 56-seconds a part to chase Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard early in the third period and three rookies accounted for all of the scoring for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who defeated the Red Wings, 4-3, at Joe Louis Arena.
Howard, who made 16 saves in two-plus periods of Sunday's exhibition game, didn’t have much of a chance on any of the Blackhawks’ goals scored by forwards Garret Ross, Joakim Nordstrom and Byron Froese, who tallied twice.
Detroit scored first when Tomas Tatar took a centering pass from Gustav Nyquist (three assists) and squeezed a point-blank shot under Crawford’s left arm at 7:29 of the first period. However, the Blackhawks took a lead into the first intermission on unassisted goals by Ross and Nordstrom.
Tatar and Nyquist combined on a power-play goal late in the third period. Tatar, who leads the Wings with three goals in the preseason, re-directed Nyquist’s slap shot from the top of the right circle. Both young forwards are fighting for a spot on the Red Wings' roster, which must be set prior to opening night on Oct. 2.
“I thought Tatar has been really good and I thought Gus got better here as it's gone on, which is important," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Their job is to put as much pressure on the coach and general manager as they possibly can to be here. That's all you can ask a kid to do and they're doing that.''
The Red Wings made things interesting when they pulled goalie Jared Coreau for an extra attacker. The strategy worked when Jonathan Ericcson’s high-velocity shot beat goalie Corey Crawford with 21 seconds left in regulation.
Crawford stopped 30 shots in earning his second win in the preseason.
The Red Wings’ eight-game preseason features home-and-away matchups against Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Toronto. The Wings split their series with the Bruins, posting an 8-2 win last Thursday, and a 2-0 loss Saturday. Detroit dropped both games to the Blackhawks, including a 2-0 loss last Tuesday.
Detroit wraps up the exhibition campaign this week with home games against the Penguins on Wednesday and the Maple Leafs on Friday, and the finale at Toronto on Saturday.
Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose