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Red Wings offense cold as ice, lose 4-1 to Wild

The Red Wings put up a season-low 17 shots without their captain and best offensive defenseman

Detroit Red Wings v Minnesota Wild Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s time to find out if the success in back-to-backs can continue. This is the fourth back-to-back so far this season for the Red Wings. They have won the second game in all three of their previous attempts. They’ll look to keep that undefeated run going as they come up against a Minnesota Wild team that seems to have finally figured stuff out after a rough start. They’ve gone 8-3-0 in their past 11 games after a 7-8-2 start to the year. It’s also the second matchup between the two teams as Detroit took the first matchup at home by a score of 2-1.

They’ll go at it without their captain, Dylan Larkin, who blocked a puck with his hand last night against Carolina. The Red Wings have had absolutely abysmal luck when it comes to injuries from shots as both Elmer Soderblom and Tyler Bertuzzi have missed time after being hit by a shot. Speaking of Soderblom, he comes back into the lineup today after being called up from Grand Rapids.

Magnus Hellberg is starting in net for Detroit, who just got the call-up earlier this week to backup Ville Husso. The 31-year-old made four starts in Grand Rapids where he rocked a 2.50 GAA and a massive .932 SV%. He did make one start this season in Ottawa this year where he stopped 29 of 31 shots against Dallas in a 4-2 victory, so he has seen success in his limited appearances this year. Meanwhile, Minnesota sends out Filip Gustavsson who has had a fantastic season so far with a 2.47 GAA and a .920 SV% in nine starts. He also is 5-1-1 in his last seven starts with a 1.95 GAA. The Red Wings are in for a tough game on the road, but let’s see if they can keep that back-to-back streak going.

1st Period

The Red Wings keep great control over the first two minutes of the game, picking up a pair of shots on goal and allowing no offensive zone pressure from Minnesota. The Wild do pick up a chance shortly after when a shot from the point gets deflected in front but doesn’t get past Hellberg.

An absolutely horrifying moment for Red Wings fans as Ryan Reaves comes in and just demolishes Filip Hronek with a high hit. Hronek needs to get his head up, but Reaves nails him right up high. There ends up being no call and at first, I agreed, but the more I saw the replay, the more I feel like Reaves should’ve been called for a hit to the head. A lot of the impact came to the head and Hronek almost certainly won’t return to this game. Not the most egregious no-call I’ve seen, but I still think there should’ve been one.

Shortly after, Oskar Sundqvist decides to grab Matt Dumba from behind and pull him to the ice, picking up a holding minor and sending an extremely dangerous power play on the ice. The Wild only got one power play in their first matchup with Detroit and that was a big part of why the Red Wings came away with the 2-1 win. The way this might be going, there’s a good chance they’ll be seeing a lot more than one power play in this game.

Detroit actually does a fantastic job limiting that power play, however. Minnesota doesn’t get a single shot until 90 seconds into their time with the man advantage and it ends up being their only one as the two minutes expire with nothing threatening thrown at the Detroit net. Nothing else gets thrown at either net for a couple more minutes before a whistle sends the game to its first media timeout.

A couple of minutes pass after the timeout with not much happening either way. A loose puck scrum in front of the Red Wings net leads to some pushing and shoving after the whistle, but no fight has broken out yet. Sundqvist clearly retaliated earlier in the game against Dumba when he got the penalty, but no one on Detroit has stood up for the hit on Hronek so we’ll see if we actually get fisticuffs in this game. We head to the second media timeout with the score still 0-0.

Right after the return from the break, Lucas Raymond picks up a tripping minor to appear to give the Wild another power play. There’s a scrum after the whistle after Walman takes a Wild player down after the whistle but nothing comes out of it, so the second power play of the game for Minnesota does get underway. The Red Wings once again play excellent zone defense to start as the Wild are not getting any good looks through the first minute of the power play.

The Wild continue to struggle to get anything going, but that finally comes to an end. Freddy Gaudreau gets a pass coming in from the right circle and makes a nice little move on Joe Veleno before rifling one in the top corner to give the Wild a 1-0 lead on the power play. A great defensive start but one nice play is all it takes sometimes.

Immediately after this, Raymond makes a really nice move and gets the puck to Dominik Kubalik, who whiffs on a fantastic chance. The Red Wings haven’t had a shot on goal now in over 14 minutes after getting two in the first two minutes of the game. Neither team gets consistent offensive pressure as the remaining four minutes of the period continue to tick down. Every time one team appears to have a rush, they just have to dump it in and that’s it. The period ends with the score still 1-0 Wild.

That hit on Hronek is gonna be the talking point of this game going forward. I didn’t see Reaves raise an arm up and it wasn’t direct shoulder to the chin which makes me think it’s not quite as bad as every other Red Wings fan seems to think. However, it absolutely was a high hit and should’ve definitely gotten at least a penalty for it if not a suspension. Knowing the Department of Player “Safety”, nothing will happen from that hit. Shots were 7-3 Minnesota in that period as apparently there was a Red Wings shot on goal that I missed? Either way, the Red Wings offense has to get going in the 2nd period or this will be a long night, just like last night.

2nd Period

So an update, they took a shot back off the board so I didn’t miss anything, the Red Wings didn’t get a shot and that means they went the final 18 minutes of the period without a shot. Just a minute in, Jordan Oesterle trips Kirill Kaprizov sending the Wild on another power play. They get a shot really quick but it then gets cleared down the ice stopping the initial threat. The Red Wings manage to kill the penalty with just two shots on goal from the Wild. They also picked up their first shot in over a period so that’s cool.

Reaves throws another big hit in the corner on Lindstrom and Ben Chiarot decides to take a run at him and drop the gloves. Frankly, Chiarot got his ass kicked and now the Wild are on another power play but it is nice to finally see someone attempt to stand up to Reaves. The Wild don’t get any great chances early and Jordan Greenway ends up hooking Jake Walman to send the teams to four-on-four for 1:01. The puck stays in the Detroit offensive end for the rest of that time but the Wild get it out just before the Red Wings power play begins.

The Red Wings only get one good look at net on the power play. David Perron fires a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that misses the net. Shortly after the power play ends, Hellberg covers up the puck to get a whistle and take us to our first TV timeout. Shots on goal are 13-3 Minnesota but the score remains just 1-0 in favor of the Wild.

A couple of minutes pass and the Red Wings are attempting to get the puck out, but fails to do so. They end up with four guys on one side of the ice and another guy in the neutral zone, allowing Greenway to throw a backhand pass to a wide-open Dumba. Dumba takes a stride in and fires a wrist shot off the post and in, past Hellberg. A total breakdown from the Red Wings defense there and poor Hellberg didn’t stand a chance. 2-0 Wild with just less than 12 to go in the second.

The Red Wings do get a really nice chance about a minute later. Perron gets found at the bottom of the left circle and fires a snapshot. However, he doesn’t get it short side enough and Gustavsson makes the save. Detroit actually manages to keep some pressure up on Minnesota for the first time in a long time. Dumba catches Rasmussen a bit high and there’s no call. In response, Mo Seider absolutely levels Joel Eriksson Ek with a hit and then takes the Marcus Foligno check that leads to a scrum. I’ve been waiting for Mo to get physical and let’s hope that hit sparks something.

We come back from the break and Foligno ended up with a roughing minor and so the Red Wings get their first full power play of the game and second overall. There’s a great chance created as Seider finds Perron but Gustavsson comes up big. There’s a couple of decent chances to get passes to Kubalik, but nothing comes of it. They keep up the pressure and get a few more shots toward the net, but only one makes it through and the power play ends with just two shots on goal and nothing beating Gustavsson.

A really scary chance out of the final TV timeout as Mats Zuccarello makes a great backdoor pass but finds no one. There’s another excellent chance shortly after when Kaprizov is found out in front but can’t find the twine. A couple of minutes pass before the Wild get an incredible chance off a terrible Red Wings turnover, but they miss the net high.

Off the draw, the play ends up back in the Wild defensive end. Adam Erne forces a turnover on a great play and gets an offensive chance, but it ends up bouncing behind the net. Erne grabs the puck and passes it to Soderblom WHO SCORES!!! IN HIS FIRST GAME BACK, SODERBLOM SCORES HIS THIRD OF THE SEASON TO MAKE THIS A ONE-GOAL GAME!!!

Again, a fantastic play by Erne to get that goal for Soderblom. Sadly, we barely get a chance to celebrate as just 16 seconds later, Zuccarello scores to make it 3-1 Wild. Chiarot’s stick got caught up in his arm and Zuccarello fell but then slid it under the pad of Hellberg. Hellberg will want that one back for sure and what looked like it was gonna be a game heading into the third now suddenly feels like the Red Wings are out of it. Should note, a lot of people are calling for a holding-the-stick call on Zuccarello. I’m not really sure as it seemed more to me like the stick got caught in his arm and Chiarot just let go of it to avoid a hooking call, but hey, that’s just what I saw.

Nothing happens in the final minute or so after and the period comes to a close with the score still 3-1. Shots were 11-10 Minnesota in that period with it being 8-4 Detroit in the last 12 minutes of the period. They finally found life, but that quick goal could be what keeps them out of it in the third. They’ll have to find that momentum they had gained and get it back because they were finally playing good hockey after that stretch of penalty kills to start the period.

3rd Period

The period is underway and we’re met with a graphic. When trailing after two, the Red Wings are 0-8-3 and when leading after two, the Wild are 10-0-1. Not the most promising sign as if the game didn’t already feel lost. It’s a super slow start to the period as four minutes in, neither team has a shot on goal. It’s not just that none of them found the target, but there’s only been a couple of shot attempts. The first shot of the period comes on a Michael Rasmussen wraparound attempt I think? I’m not sure, TNT’s scorebug updates with shots so late that when it came up like, two minutes later, it was the only one I could think of.

A scary moment for Detroit as Hellberg goes to clear the puck, but it gets blocked by Sam Steel. Thankfully, the puck bounces away and they don’t get a chance at the empty net. Just after, Jake Middleton trips Elmer Soderblom and sends Detroit on their third power play of the game. The first unit doesn’t get too much going as they only get one shot on the net. The second unit comes out and outside of a couple of shots from distance thrown the way of Gustavsson, they can’t create much either. The power play ends with just the one shot on goal and that basically takes us into the TV timeout with the score still 3-1.

12 minutes have now passed and there have been three total shots on goal, all from Detroit. Yes, this period is just as boring as it sounds. The Wild finally get their first shot I think around the 7:30 mark but who can say if they aren’t ticking one off from two minutes ago that they missed? I know I can’t. Anyways, we get to the final TV timeout and the shots are now 20-15 Minnesota according to the NHL app so I guess I’ll trust that. For those counting, that’s now five total shots in 14 minutes of hockey so far in the third.

The first exciting thing of the period happens with about three and a half to play in the third. A rush up the ice ends up with a beautiful shot attempt from Walman after receiving a pass from Austin Czarnik but Gustavsson makes the save. The Red Wings pull their netminder with three minutes to go and early on, a Seider broken stick looks to give the Wild the sealer. However, Reaves misses the net wide and a whistle sends us to what is actually the final TV timeout? I thought I must’ve missed one earlier because I thought there were multiple times to do one before they did the second timeout earlier, but I guess not?

Coming out of the timeout, there’s around 2:30 remaining and Hellberg is back in net. After finding control back, Hellberg goes to the bench and the Red Wings get set up in the offensive zone. But then instead, there’s a two-on-one rush for Zuccarello and Kaprizov but an excellent backcheck by someone that I couldn’t see on the replay prevents the goal. An octopus gets thrown onto the ice with 1:30 left because sure, why not? Just after the one-minute mark off a draw, Gaudreau picks the puck up after a blocked shot and he finally ices it with his second goal of the game. 4-1 Wild and that’ll do it.

Final Thoughts

Outside of a stretch in the second period, the Red Wings looked awful tonight. They have struggled frequently at five-on-five this season, and that continued tonight as they just couldn’t get anything going. They finish with a season-low 17 shots on goal with just five in the final frame while needing two goals. That just isn’t good enough. Sure, they were without their best forward and best offensive defenseman most of the night, but still. They just couldn’t generate offense as a team with their only goal coming off a d-zone turnover from the Wild.

Again, the hit from Reaves will be talked about for a long time by Red Wings fans. As will the non-call on the Zuccarello goal. But frankly, Detroit did not play good hockey tonight and did not deserve to win. That’s back-to-back games where they just couldn’t generate chances at five-on-five and they come away with just one goal from the two games combined. There’s not much winning going on if that’s what you’re putting up on the scoreboard. Anyways, have a good rest of your week and we’ll see you all on Sunday as the Wings take on the Ottawa Senators at home.