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Veteran Wings Have a Renaissance in Raleigh, Win 4-1

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Big round of applause goes out to Bernier for stealing this one away.

Detroit Red Wings v Washington Capitals Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

The Red Wings came into Raleigh having lost in bunches this past month, but they walked out with a win. Somehow. After a slow 35 minutes where the Wings looked, to be frank, real bad, they found their footing and came away with the win, largely thanks to Bernier and the play of some of the old guard. Without the Red Wings’ goalie, it wouldn’t have been a game long enough for the Wings to get their act together. Despite the ugly first half, the final result was pretty fun. Here’s how it went down.

First Period

At the beginning of last season my friend asked me what underrated steals he could draft. I told him Mark Schieifele of the Jets, which turned out really well. When he came back for more advice this year, I didn’t have a good suggestion for him, but I should have said Sebastian Aho. The dude is a heck of a player for the Carolina Hurricanes, and in the early going of the game there was a lot of run-and-gun back and forth, but every time Aho got the puck on his stick something scary happened.

On the flip side, just past five minutes in Jacob De la Rose got a break away all alone on Petr Mrazek for the best scoring chance of either team at that point. Mrazek came out pretty aggressive on DLR and had a nice stop using his chest.

Man, the game was flying! From a writer’s perspective I was glad there were no goals yet because there’d barely been time to write about how quick some of the plays were.

At about the nine minute mark the Wings got absolutely sieged and once the finally did get control there was not one, nor two, but three bobbled passes in a sequence from Frk to Kronwall to Jensen to Nielsen that resulted in the Wings coughing up the puck in the neutral zone. There was minimal pressure from the Canes’ forecheck on the play until Jensen tried to move the puck out of the Wings’ zone. Just frustrating, you know?

The Wings finally did get possession of the puck in Carolina’s end and Justin Faulk promptly bulldozed AA from behind near the net for the interference penalty. Jordan Staal and his beard whose patchiness rivals mine immediately got a breakaway and nearly scored a shorty, but the Wings gathered up the puck and dumped it into Carolina’s zone. The puck bounced off the end boards and a Canes defender tried to sweep the puck back out, but the clearing attempt ended up right on Kronwall’s stick. Kronwall fired a shot on net and Mrazek couldn’t react in time thanks to a screen from Michael Rasmussen to make it 1-0 RED WINGS!!! It just goes to show you, kids, it pays to be the trailing player...

The Canes pushed right back; Wallmark nearly got one past Bernier, but then at the other end Nyquist had a real good opportunity on Mrazek.

Aho got a phenomenal opportunity on a blown dump-in by Bertuzzi, but Bernier stood tall again to add to his really impressive period.

I stepped out for just a second because my pizza had just arrived, and when I came back Kronwall had committed some sort of penalty (Fact check: holding on Brock McGinn.) Larkin, De la Rose, Ericsson, Daley, and Bernier got positively bombarded as the Canes had possession in the Wings’ zone almost the entire time, and it didn’t get better after the penalty expired; the Canes even squirted the puck across the crease during the chaos, fanning on an open night.

Overall, the Wings got a few licks in, including the goal, but Bernier was the main reason the Wings came out of that period with a pulse.

Shots: 14-7 Hurricanes
Score: 1-0 Red Wings
Stand Outs: Bernier

Second Period

The Wings came out with a much harder forecheck, in the second period, sending two forwards high. However, 90 seconds in Andrei Svechnikov whipped a puck in between Cholowski’s legs and just over Bernier’s shoulder. Blashill, jealous of Larkin’s point streak, challenged the goal for the billionth consecutive game in a row. It looked for sure, for suuuure like the offsides challenge was going to go the Wings’ way. Like, Wallmark was definitely in ahead of the puck.

And then the goal stood. 1-1 TIE (the temptation to write “FIGHTER” is really high.)

And the Wings took a penalty for the challenge.

Wings killed off the penalty NBD kind of like calling back that goal was supposed to be NBD, but what do I know? /salty.

On the bright side, De la Rose nearly scored off a rebound off a referee’s chest. Ken Daniels said it well: “oof, that had to hurt.” I bet it did, Ken. I bet it did.

Also, my eyes may be deceiving me, but did Frk get a promotion to the third line with AA and Vanek? Wait, no, that’s just the blender running at high speed. My point was going to be that Frk was having a solid game thus far, though.

Bernier had a great poke check to separate the puck from Teuvo Teravainen. I am really not great at observing goalies and appreciating their game, but if I had to say what element of Bernier’s impressive game thus far had been the best, it’d have to be his play with the stick to block shots. That’s at least two woulda-been goals that he kept out of the net with his stick play.

In what felt like the first shift of sustained pressure all period, the Wings cycled the puck around the zone back up to Kronwall at the blueline. Kronwall passed (cleanly!) to Jensen. Jensen fired off a rising shot that Nielsen got a piece of to make it 2-1 RED WINGS!

The goal seemed to rejuvenate the Red Wings, who began playing their best hockey of the game through the remainder of the period. The passes got tighter which allowed the Wings to leverage their speed, pushing the Canes back on their heels a little bit. Well, except for Staal’s real nice backhand attempt with about 30 seconds. But aside from that, better!

Shotes: 27-12 Hurricanes
Score: 2-1 Red Wings
Stand Ups: Bernier, all the way to the bank.

Third Period

The final(?) frame started with a nice scoring chance for Dylan Larkin. He got a step up on his defender and dragged across the top of the crease, but Mrazek turned the shot aside. De La Rose followed up with another strong opportunity as well, which highlights the nice game the checking-role players were having.

And then, in very nearly the same fashion as the Nielsen goal, the Wings cycled the puck once again around the zone, back up high to Ericsson, who fired from the blue line. Nielsen had the screen up on Mrazek, frustrating the netminder once again and giving a 3-1 RED WINGS LEAD! (Assists brought to you by Bertuzzi and Glendening.)

Frk was sent into the boards and looked hurt, but he stayed out on the ice. We’ll make a mental note about that for later if anything comes up.

The Wings really owned the first half of the period for the first time all game. The narrative seemed to flip as the Wings had the clean passes, the quality forecheck, and the fleet feet, while Canes were the ones making the ugly, forced plays with the sporadic opportunities.

Carolina pulled Mrazek way early, with like 4 minutes remaining, and holy Hronek! The kid made a hell of a play to maintain the lead by sweeping a puck out of the net at the last possible moment after Bernier had been beaten.

The Wings spent nearly the entire time getting slammed, the only reprieve coming from the Wings occasionally icing the puck. And if less than 20 seconds left, just in case you were worried about Larkin’s point streak, he salted this one away with an end-to-end empty net goal for a final score of 4-1 RED WINGS!!!

WINGS WIN!! Feels good, even if most of the game didn’t feel all that great to watch. Bernier kept the kids ion the game, and then in the third period the skaters finally found their game and took it away. This one should have been a loss, but with all the losing the Red Wings have been doing lately, let’s just take this one in for what it is.

Shots: 39-24 Hurricanes
Score: 4-1 Red Wings
Stand Ups: Bernier, Hronek