EditorsNote: Corrects spelling of Micheal
Mantha’s big night leads Red Wings over Flames
DETROIT — Anthony Mantha is big, can score goals and he can fight.
And the Detroit Red Wings’ 6-foot-5, 225-pound right winger showed off all those skills Wednesday night.
The 23-year-old scored two power-play goals, added an assist and had a fight for a Gordie Howe Hat Trick to lead Detroit to an 8-2 win against the Calgary Flames at Little Caesars Arena.
In his third NHL season, Mantha leads the Red Wings with 10 goals and 19 points in 19 games.
“He’s just realizing he can be a superstar in this league,” said Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, who made 26 saves.
Mantha is the net-front presence on the Red Wings’ first power-play unit and that’s where both goals came from Wednesday night. He put in the rebound of his own tip attempt with 4:16 left in the first period to make it 3-1 and tipped in a pass from Frans Nielsen 4:27 into the second period to make it 5-1.
“That’s my spot on the power play and those were two big power-play goals,” Mantha said.
Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said playing the net front on the power play has added to Mantha’s game.
“Having him net front on the power play has helped him learn the value of going to the net,” Blashill said. “ ... I think that’s a huge part of Mantha’s development. He’s learned to be a weapon and when you’re a weapon there, you score goals.”
The fight came against Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic during a brawl alongside the Red Wings’ bench with 5:56 left in the game. The two were fighting along the boards and fell into the bench aisle to the dressing room area when the door came open, with Mantha on top, throwing punches.
“I just tried to grab one guy and take him out of it,” Mantha said.
Said Blashill: “One of the things that plays a big part of his (Mantha’s) total package is his toughness. I’ve seen him fight several times and he’s tougher than most people know.”
Andreas Athanasiou had two goals and an assist, and Dylan Larkin added a goal and two assists for Detroit (9-8-2). Gustav Nyquist, Justin Abdelkader and Luke Glendening also scored. Defenseman Mike Green had three assists.
Micheal Ferland and Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist each for Calgary (10-8-2), and goaltender Eddie Lack made nine saves before being pulled early in the second period. Jon Gillis, who was recalled from Stockton of the American Hockey League earlier in the day, stopped 10 shots.
“I don’t think we were prepared to play. We were light on our sticks and that was evident in the goals,” said Flames coach Glen Gulutzan.
Detroit led 4-1 after the first period.
Athanasiou opened the scoring 5:33 into the game when his attempted pass went in off the skate of Calgary defenseman T.J. Brodie.
Nyquist made it 2-0 at 7:25 when he snapped in a loose puck from the slot. It was Nyquist’s sixth goal.
Ferland put the Flames on the board with a power-play goal at 8:37. It was his eighth goal. Then, Mantha got his first power-play goal of the game, with 4:16 left in the first period. Larkin made it 4-1 just 1:33 later with a short-handed goal. He beat Lack from the left circle off the rush. It was Larkin’s third goal.
“Tough first period. A tough first bounce on the first goal. It certainly wasn’t a first period we had drawn up,” Hamonic said. “We couldn’t get back into it. We were chasing the game right from the start.”
Mantha’s second power-play goal of the game, 4:27 into the second period, sent Lack to the showers.
Gaudreu scored for Calgary with 7:26 left in the period to make it 5-2 for his eighth goal. But Abdelkader restored the four-goal lead with his third goal, with 44 seconds left in the middle period.
Athanasiou and Glendening added power-play goals in the final four minutes. It was Athanasiou’s fourth goal and the fourth for Glendening.
NOTES: Detroit D Trevor Daley left the game after the second period with an upper-body injury. ... Calgary G Mike Smith did not play because of an upper-body injury. G Jon Gillis was recalled from Stockton of the American Hockey League to back up G Eddie Lack. ... Detroit LW Justin Abdelkader returned after missing a game with a fractured cheekbone. He suffered the injury in a fight with Flames RW Troy Brouwer last Thursday in Calgary. ... The contest began a six-game, 12-day road trip for the Flames.