DETROIT – Jakub Vrana scored in his Detroit debut, and Troy Stecher added two goals for the Red Wings in a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.
Vrana and Richard Panik played for the first time since the Red Wings acquired them in a trade Monday with Washington. Vrana put Detroit up 2-1 with a breakaway goal in the second period.
“It does a lot,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “When you are a guy who is counted on to score, and you get that first one right away, you don’t have the pressure building up of waiting to get one.”
Duncan Keith scored the only goal for Chicago, which remained four points behind Nashville for the fourth spot in the Central Division.
“It’s of course frustrating, but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. "We’ve got to prepare for the next one.”
Michael Rasmussen scored into an empty net for the Red Wings, who have a three-game winning streak for the first time this season.
Chicago hit the post twice in rapid succession during one first-period sequence, and Keith eventually gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead, taking a cross-ice pass from Alex DeBrincat and scoring from the left circle.
Stecher tied it in the second when his seemingly harmless shot from behind the right circle hit Kevin Lankinen's blocker and bounced over the goalie and in.
Vrana then put the Red Wings ahead immediately after serving a bench minor for too many men on the ice. When he came out of the box, he took a pass from Gustav Lindstrom and was in alone for his 12th goal of the season.
“The problem with doing that is if we go 4-on-4 we don’t have him,” Blashill said. “But I wanted to put him out there with (Dylan Larkin) and (Filip) Zadina after the kill. It worked out with a nice goal.”
Stecher capped Detroit's three-goal second period, tucking the puck into an open net with Lankinen out of position after a nice pass from Danny DeKeyser.
“DK put it right on my tape and I think the goalie bit on DK, so I had an open net,” Stecher said.
Rasmussen's goal came with 1:26 left in the game.
Thomas Greiss had 24 saves for the Red Wings.
“Two huge points were up for grabs, and we couldn’t manage to get it done," Chicago's Dylan Strome said.
NOTES: Vrana played 16:57. That's more ice time than he had in any of his last nine games with the Capitals. ... Detroit won for only the second time in seven meetings with Chicago this season.
Blackhawks: Complete the two-game set in Detroit on Saturday.
Red Wings: Host Chicago in second of two games on Saturday.