St. Louis Blues right wing Chris Stewart (25) and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart (23) vie for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit, Monday, Jan. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) By Carlos Osorio
St. Louis Blues left wing Chris Porter, right, celebrates a goal by center Scott Nichol (12) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Detroit, Monday, Jan. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) By Carlos Osorio
St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock gives his team instructions during the closing minutes of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Detroit, Monday, Jan. 23, 2012. Detroit won 3-1. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) By Carlos Osorio
DETROIT (AP) -- Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen scored in the second period, and the Detroit Red Wings beat the St. Louis Blues 3-1 on Monday night for their 17th straight home win - the NHL's longest single-season streak in 36 years.
The Red Wings' spurt is the league's fourth longest. Detroit (33-15-1) has won seven in a row overall and leads the NHL with 67 points.
Niklas Kronwall sealed the win with a power-play goal with 3:03 left. Jimmy Howard made 21 saves to earn his NHL-leading 30th win.
St. Louis had won four straight, and lost in regulation for the first time since a Dec. 31 defeat at Detroit. Jaroslav Halak, who had won a career-high seven in a row, made 25 saves.
Scott Nichol put the Blues ahead midway through the first period, but they couldn't get the puck past Howard again.
Detroit is three wins away at home from matching the league record of 20, set by the Boston Bruins during the 1929-30 season, and matched by Philadelphia in 1976. The Bruins also won 19 straight in Boston during the 1970-71 season.
Detroit is 20-2-1 in Joe Louis Arena this season and hasn't lost there Nov. 3. The Red Wings were 21-14-6 at home last season.
The Blues are 23-6-6 since coach Ken Hitchcock replaced the fired Davis Payne, when the team was 6-7, and have become a contender in the tightly contested Western Conference and Central Division.
The Blues didn't back down from the Red Wings in the intense game, which was very chippy throughout.
St. Louis controlled play early and took advantage of Red Wings defensemen, who went to the bench, thinking the puck had been cleared from their end of the rink, and a pair of forwards running into each other near center ice.
Nichol netted his second goal of the season at the end of a 3-on-1 rush.
St. Louis forward Chris Stewart picked a fight with Detroit's Brad Stuart late in the first period after the defenseman landed a check that put Alex Pietrangelo on his back.
The retribution proved to be costly as Stewart was given a penalty for instigating and a 10- minute misconduct.
Detroit's power play carried into the second period, and the Red Wings took advantage. Datsyuk deked Pietrangelo to set up a backhanded shot that Halak didn't see until the puck was in the net, in part because forward Tomas Holmstrom screened the goalie from in front of the crease.
Franzen scored off a rebound midway through the second period to put the Red Wings ahead 2-1.
Halak gave St. Louis a shot to stay in the game, denying Detroit on a 3-on-1 rush early in the third period.
NOTES: Halak, who was 11-0-3 in his previous 14 starts, didn't play in any of the earlier matchups between the teams this season. Detroit and St. Louis split four games, winning two each at home. ... The Red Wings' seven-game winning streak matches their longest of the season. They had won the previous three in shootouts. ... Nichol played in his 600th NHL game. ... Kronwall matched his career high with 11 goals.