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Red Wings Conquer Canadiens, Win 3-2 in OT

Led by Larkin’s 2 acute angle goals, Detroit finally takes down Montreal

Montreal Canadiens v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Brian Sevald/NHLI via Getty Images

Detroit took on Montreal tonight, looking to turn the tables after losing two to the Habs already this season. The hope was that Tyler Bertuzzi and the entire top line being available would make a significant difference.

After being shutout Thursday the Wings were hoping to reignite the offense against a Habs team that has really struggled out of the gate, with the exception of their games against Detroit.

Carter Rowney was a late substitute for Givani Smith today, as Blashill hopes a minor shuffle nets some better results.

Nick Suzuki was likely one of the talking points for the coaching staff as he was red hot coming into the night with 9 points in his last 5 games.

The starting goaltenders were Alex Nedeljkovic and Jake Allen, with the latter receiving a heavy workload so far this season while Carey Price recovers.

With WIIM in the building, could Detroit finally come out the victor in a matchup with the Habs?

1st Period

Following an early turnover by Detroit, Nick Suzuki took the first shot of the game which Nedeljkovic swallowed up without much difficulty. Montreal applied some early pressure after that.

At 18:23 the Wings took off on a rush and Larkin ended up with a sharp angle to Allen’s right. But on the play Montreal’s Chiarot dumped Bertuzzi as he drove to the net, earning a penalty for the play. Bertuzzi crashed hard into the boards and got up rather gingerly.

On the powerplay, Montreal used a very aggressive penalty kill causing a lot of difficulty for the Wings to put any series of passes together, and instead were left scrambling to maintain puck control. They managed a couple of shot attempts but not much else as the penalty expired.

Shortly after the powerplay, turned the puck over at center ice and the Habs carried the puck in along the right boards. Pezzetta dropped a short pass from down low to Poehling at the halfwall who skated it to the dot and fired a shot through Staal’s feet that then beat Nedeljkovic just over his pad to the far post, 1-0 Habs.

Immediately after the goal, Zadina was the recepient of a nice pass from Suter through the neutral zone that sprung him on a partial breakaway. He tried to beat Allen low to the glove side but the goaltender steered it away. On the ensuing pressure, Fabbri also had a good one timer chance. Overall a good shift from the second line.

Detroit picked up the tempo a bit from there tilting the ice towards the Canadiens end. But despite the increased pace, the puck seemed to bounce all over the place and the Wings had trouble putting passes on each other’s tape. It was the third line that generated Detroit’s next chance as a pass went into Erne’s feet at the left side of the net. The puck ended up behind the goal on a missed chance, as Erne had the whole net had he been able to corral the puck. The first line came out next and Bertuzzi found Larkin near the left dot, with the captain narrowly missing the net with a shot to the far post.

Fabbri came close to creating a breakaway for himself as he tried to split the defense, he was hauled down on the play but without a call. The second line delivered with another strong shift, creating a couple of chances.

Detroit earned another powerplay with 5:08 to play when Staal was clearly hooked down low in the Montreal zone. On the powerplay, Bertuzzi had a great chance when Raymond one-timed a pass through the crease area that just bounced off Bertuzzi’s stick on what would have been an open net. This powerplay looked a little better but still ended with the same result, no goal.

With less than 2:00 to play, both teams took a penalty when Seider and Pezzetta traded roughing penalties after Pezzetta got his elbow up a bit high on Seider and he retaliated with a jab to his face. So the teams played the final couple of minutes at 4 on 4.

But the biggest fireworks came when Petry inexplicably drove Larkin into his own goaltender Allen, sending both Larkin and Allen flying. Of course, Montreal acted as though Larkin had any control of the matter and Savard hit him with a couple of shots while he was sprawled on the ice. Detroit really should’ve earned a powerplay from this but they didn’t. Of course the refs suddenly found their whistle right after as Bertuzzi gave Savard a whack on the shin pads, likely retribution for his play on Larkin.

Before Montreal began their 4 on 3 powerplay, Allen was pulled from the game in what was likely a decision by the concussion spotter. He was replaced by Montembeault. On the powerplay, Hoffman ripped a shot off the post that luckily stayed out. Montreal was buzzing on their short 4 on 3 advantage, but had to settle for carrying into the 3rd period as time expired.

2nd Period

Allen did not come out to start the 2nd period which likely meant he was not going to return. The Wings had a chance to try and capitalize on a young and inexperienced goalie thrust into action suddenly. Larkin never left the game, after checking his teeth on the bench to ensure they were all still there.

On their remaining powerplay that carried over, Montreal sustained control in the Detroit zone but couldn’t generate any good chances.

Following the Montreal powerplay, Hronek took control of the puck and skated it down the left wall into the Montreal end. He slid a pass back to Larkin on a cycle play. Larkin carried it down towards the goal line and took a shot from mere inches off the goal line in the corner. The shot snuck between the goaltender’s head and the post, quite a sneaky shot by Larkin, 1-1.

Moments later the second line took the ice, and Fabbri took the puck down along the right boards after receiving a pass from Seider at the blue line. Fabbri tried to feed a pass to Zadina, but it deflected off his skate, but directly onto Suter’s stick in the high slot. Suter was able to gather it and approach the net before firing a shot that beat Montembeault, 2-1 Red Wings.

Unfortunately for Detroit, on the first shift after the goal, Stephens was chasing the puck behind the Montreal net. He lost an edge and slammed feet-first into the end boards and was very slow to get back to the bench. He eventually required help to get back to the dressing room, not a good sign for the speedy centre.

Detroit seemed to smell blood at this point as they continued to up the pressure. But after a missed call on a hook to Rasmussen as he crashed the net, the refs once again found their whistle when Leddy in turn hooked a Montreal player in the neutral zone.

The penalty kill did a good job steering Montreal’s powerplay to the perimeter and providing clear looks for Nedeljkovic to make a couple of saves. They were able to kill off the Leddy minor.

Suter had a good look from the right dot after the Leddy penalty expired but put it into the goaltender’s chest. As the 2nd line continued to pressure on the shift, Zadina narrowly missed a deflection at the side of the net, Fabbri had a couple of chances from in tight. Another terrific shift from the second line who did everything except score.

The shots were 15-15 at the halfway mark but Detroit was taking over at 5 on 5. The third line got in on the action when they had an odd man rush that ended with Erne taking a shot from the right dot. Just after that Seider threw a bit of a questionable hit on Hoffman at the offensive blueline as he did leave his feet to catch Hoffman. Hoffman took exception and gave Seider a bit of a spear and they jostled afterward but no penalties to either.

Another great chance for Detroit as Bertuzzi had a path to the net and cut from left to right across the crease but couldn’t slide the puck past the goaltender. But shortly later, Lindstrom picked up an interference penalty as he knocked down a Montreal player that attempted to chip the puck past him. The powerplay was the only place Montreal was getting any looks throughout this period. But again they came up short this time, not being able to create any strong chances.

Zadina again had another terrific chance in the final moments of the period as toe dragged a puck around a defender in the high slot and held the puck for a lengthy moment before firing it just wide on the glove side. He keeps finding chance but desperately needed to bury one for confidence.

3rd Period

It was announced that both Allen and Stephens would not return to the game. Detroit was using a mix of players to fill in on the 4th line.

After a goalmouth flurry by Detroit’s 3rd line, Montreal countered with a 2 on 1 where Josh Anderson held the puck and put a shot into Nedeljkovic’s chest as he came down the right side. Not long after, Lehkonnen was sprung on a partial breakaway from a stretch pass. Fabbri was in pursuit and dumped the Montreal forward who crashed hard into the end boards after getting a shot away. The puck found it’s way back to him as he was on his knees and he sent a no look pass to the front of the net, as Detroit seemed momentarily frozen by his collision with the boards. The pass found Wideman sliding down to the right dot. He leaned into a wrist shot that beat Nedeljkovic to the far blocker side high. The shot went post and in, 2-2.

Detroit continued to generate chances at 5 on 5, the next one being Bertuzzi when he received a cross crease pass at the side of the goal. Then Erne followed it up with an end to end rush where he walked through almost every Hab on the ice before trying to put a shot high to the far side that the goalie was able to gather instead.

Bodies were dropping likes flies as Lehkonnen left the bench after his assist on the tying goal. It was also noted that Fabbri went to the room, although there wasn’t an obvious collision that would have caused it. He did return shortly later though, so it may have simply been an equipment issue.

Montreal nearly took the lead when a floating shot through traffic hit the post after Nedeljkovic couldn’t find it. The puck ended up under the goalie and a scramble in the crease ensued where the puck somehow stayed out.

As the period passed the halfway point it seemed like Montreal was now gaining momentum. Nedejkovic continued to come up with saves and deal with a lot of traffic in his crease. Montreal probably had at least 7 shots over a 4:00 stretch in which Detroit barely left the zone. Finally Detroit had another chance when Erne flipped a puck high out of the zone that Namestnikov gathered and created a 2 on 1 with Rasmussen. He slid the puck to Rasmussen who bobbled it before shooting, giving the goalie enough time to come across and make the save.

Both teams played the last few minutes of the period fairly conservatively, seemingly happy to each take a point and see what overtime would bring. As the buzzer sounded, the teams ended regulation tied 2-2.

Overtime

Detroit opened with Rasmussen, Fabbri, and Leddy. Rasmussen made a good drive to the net from the right side but couldn’t find an opening to score. Fabbri made a terrible turnover when he blindly threw it to the point where there was nobody waiting. Hronek lost the race to the puck and it was a 2 on 1 from down low for Montreal, forcing Nedeljkovic to come up with a tough save from in close.

Next up were Larkin, Raymond, and Hronek. After getting a bit hemmed in their own end, the Wings caught a break on a broken play. Larkin took off up ice with Raymond in pursuit to create a 2 on 1. Larkin drew the defender in and floated a pass to the front of the crease for Raymond who made a deke before sliding it wide. As the puck rebounded off the boards Larkin one timed, again from a tight angle, putting it off the outstretched goaltender’s blocker and in. RED WINGS WIN 3-2!

Wrapping Up

What a fantastic finish by the captain, scoring for the second time from a tight angle. The Red Wings certainly deserved this one after they carried play through most of the game. They also benefited from a goalie coming in cold late in the first, but they had to capitalize on that and did.

This was one of, if not the best, games of the season for Detroit’s second line featuring Fabbri, Suter, and Zadina. They seemed to be buzzing all night and created a ton of chances even though only one went in. Zadina will have to finish some of these opportunities soon, otherwise being snake bit will turn into being unable to finish in some people’s minds.

Even with Larkin’s two goals, the first line wasn’t as dominant as they often are, or required to be in Wings wins. They did create several chances but Raymond for example was largely silent until the overtime goal. That’s to be expected for a rookie, even one who has been stunningly consistent night in and night out.

Nedeljkovic came up big tonight, as although Montreal didn’t have too many Grade A chances they still managed to pour on 37 shots. Their was a period late in the 3rd where Montreal was consistently pressuring the Wings and Nedeljkovic kept it tied.

Big win for the team tonight as they got the Montreal monkey off their back. LGRW!


On a separate note, Ken Daniels provided an update on what was the Winged Wheel Podcast night at Little Ceasars. The podcast are friends of WIIM and we wanted to provide a quick congratulations on all the work they, and Prashanth Iyer, have done in promoting the Jamie Daniels foundation, raising over $20,000. A very worthy cause that we’re all happy to see get this type of support.