We head into the third and final meeting between the Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets with both teams trying to right the ship a bit to end the year. Both teams had rough months of March, and are spending the month of April hoping to figure some stuff out heading into the offseason.
Columbus recently had a seven-game losing streak before finally ending it on Tuesday against the Flyers. Meanwhile, the Red Wings have now won two games in a row following their brutal six-game losing streak.
Tonight also marks game number 500 for Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin, and it comes against his friend and former roommate, Zach Werenski. I’m sure they won’t mention that at all tonight, so I just thought I’d let you know that yes, those two were roommates at the University of Michigan. It’s wild, I know.
Tonight also marks the return of Mitchell Stephens for the Red Wings after 55 games out with a lower-body injury. The grinder will look to make an impact on the game tonight and help this team pick up their third win in a row.
We go just 17 seconds into this game before we get the first mention that Larkin and Werenski were roommates at Michigan. Wait, you didn’t know that? Have you never watched these two teams play before?
Anyways, both teams get some good chances early on. An awkward bouncing puck gives Columbus the first chance of the game but Alex Nedeljkovic was able to keep it out. Shortly after, an odd-man rush between Pius Suter and Jakub Vrana forces a great save out of Jackets netminder Elvis Merzlikins.
Scary moment for the Red Wings as the Jackets ring one off the crossbar but stays out. Shots are pretty even just past the halfway mark of the first period.
Around 13 minutes into the first, Dylan Larkin is trying to break the puck out of his own zone when his former roommate (Zach Werenski in case you forgot) forces the turnover and the puck slides to Jack Roslovic. Roslovic turns back up ice and absolutely snipes Nedeljkovic from the top of the circle. 1-0 Blue Jackets at the 13:14 mark of the first.
As soon as play resumes, a stat comes up on the chyron. “Giveaways: Red Wings 7, Blue Jackets 0.” Yeah, that’s not gonna do you any favors. At the time of the Blue Jackets goal, shots were 10-9 in favor of the Red Wings. From that point on, the Red Wings wouldn’t have a single shot the rest of the first with the Blue Jackets ending the period with a 14-10 shot advantage, 55 seconds remaining on a power play and a 1-0 lead.
The second period gets underway and the Wings PK does its job and shuts down the Jackets power play. Shortly after, a scrum breaks out after the Red Wings took exception to a hit on Joe Veleno that could’ve been called for a cross-check, Instead, Michael Rasmussen gets called for a cross-check and the Blue Jackets have their second power play.
The Red Wings penalty kill surprisingly steps up and holds Columbus without a single shot on goal. However, shortly after a shot hits Sam Gagner and he limps off the ice. Here’s to hoping the man who had his 500th point the other night is alright.
Oskar Sundqvist pulls off the acting job of his life to draw an interference penalty on Vladislav Gavrikov and earn the Red Wings first power play of the night. The best chance of the power play came on a nice feed from Lucas Raymond to Michael Rasmussen in front but Merzlikins came up with the big save.
At the 9:29 mark of the period, the Red Wings get an odd-man rush where Tyler Bertuzzi makes a sick delay and fires the backdoor pass to Joe Veleno who gets stopped by Merzlikins. However, the rebound comes out to Lucas Raymond WHO SCORES but the goal is waved off due to goalie interference from Veleno. Honestly, a fair call in my eyes.
Another good chance for the Red Wings as they force a turnover and Bertuzzi gets a chance right in front but is once against stopped by Merzlikins. This is where I noticed that Bert is rocking a stache and I very much am not a fan. Detroit has been the better team this period but just can’t get anything legally past Merzlikins.
With about six and a half minutes left in the second, Jakub Vrana picks off a pass at the blue line and takes off, absolutely torching Gavrikov and SQUEEZES THE PUCK FIVE HOLE FOR HIS NINTH GOAL OF THE SEASON. 1-1 TIE AT THE 13:41 MARK OF THE SECOND PERIOD!!
The Red Wings keep up the pressure and Larkin gets a phenomenal chance on a back door one-timer but Merzlikins again comes up big for Columbus with the glove save.
The Blue Jackets make one of the funniest mistakes you’ll ever see. The defenseman is too busy trying to get revenge on Adam Erne for the earlier scrum and Marc Staal is able to find Sam Gagner back door WHO FIRES IT INTO THE WIDE OPEN NET FOR HIS 12TH OF THE SEASON. 2-1 RED WINGS WITH 2:39 REMAINING IN THE SECOND!!
The scrum continues after the goal and Erne and Andrew Peeke each get minor penalties to bring the game to 4-on-4. 40 seconds later, the entire Red Wings team completely loses Cole Sillinger in front of the net who scores to tie the game up at 2 with 1:59 remaining in the second.
Another scrum breaks out immediately following the goal and somehow, Filip Hronek was the only player from either team to come away from it with a penalty for roughing Dylan Larkin’s former roommate so Columbus has a 4-on-3 power play.
The Red Wings manage to limit the good chances and then manage to get two A-grade chances of their own. Erne came out of the penalty box and knocked Jakub Voracek off the puck to get a great chance in front that gets broken up. Shortly after, Tyler Bertuzzi gets a break and tries to go between the legs, but Patrik Laine breaks it up.
A wild second period comes to a close with the game still tied 2-2. The Red Wings outshot the Blue Jackets 15-8 in the period and it looks like we might see something pop off in the third with the amount of feistiness shown between the two teams.
The third period gets underway and Columbus immediately starts putting on the pressure. At the 4:04 mark of the third, another bad defensive zone turnover gives Columbus a chance and Patrik Laine fires a shot and the rebound finds the stick of Roslovic who scores his second goal of the game. 3-2 Columbus.
The shots stay limited for the next few minutes with neither team getting any good scoring chances. That looks to change when Peeke falls down after coming from behind the net giving Bertuzzi and Larkin a 2-on-0 chance right in front. However, the referees whistle blows as somehow, they determined that Bertuzzi was responsible for Peeke going down and gives him a tripping penalty.
The Red Wings actually get the first good chance of the Jackets power play as Pius Suter and Oskar Sundqvist get a 2-on-1 but Merzlikins makes a fantastic save. Then just after the Red Wings penalty comes to a close, Justin Danforth is found wide open in front of the net and scores to make it a 4-2 Jackets lead with 7:26 remaining. The Red Wings defensive zone play has just been abysmal between awful giveaways and losing assignments leading to goals.
The Red Wings then start putting on the pressure and get a couple of quick chances. Dylan Larkin comes across the top of the right circle and FIRES A SHOT OFF THE STICK OF HIS FORMER ROOMMATE THAT FINDS THE TOP CORNER!! 4-3 JACKETS WITH 4:25 REMAINING THANKS TO LARKIN’S 31ST OF THE SEASON!!
Less than a minute later, Suter wins a faceoff to the right of Merzlikins and Jakub Vrana finds the loose puck and RIFLES IT HOME PAST MERZLIKINS!! TIE GAME WITH 3:27 REMAINING IN REGULATION!!
Shortly after this, the Red Wings get another prime scoring chance as Sundqvist gets a breakaway but is stopped by Merzlikins, who has had one of the better games for a goalie who has allowed four goals.
With just over a minute to play in the third, Larkin is forechecking when Merlikins comes out of his net to play the puck. Larkin tries to go around him but manages to collide with Merzlikins and is given a controversial goalie interference penalty. A scrum breaks out and Bertuzzi and Gavrikov get into it, earning themselves offsetting roughing minors.
The Jackets don’t get any good chances to end regulation and we’re heading to overtime. Shots in the third period were 10-8 in favor of the Red Wings and are 35-30 Wings overall. Columbus will start overtime with 48 seconds of a power play.
The Blue Jackets aren’t able to get anything going on their power play and a whistle shortly after the penalty ends brings us back to 3-on-3. The first big chance of overtime happens with about 3 minutes remaining in the frame. Raymond turns the puck over in his defensive zone giving Laine and Gustav Nyquist a chance. Nyquist gets two great looks at it but Nedeljkovic comes up huge stopping both.
A minute later, Rasmussen gets taken down as he was driving to the net which very much looked like a trip but no call is given. The Jackets go down on a 3-on-2 where Nyquist finds Roslovic back door and scores his hat trick goal to give Columbus the 5-4 overtime win.
The Red Wings defense really let them down on several occasions tonight. Between turnovers and losing assignments, they put Nedeljkovic in several positions where there was nothing he could do. A great fight back for the Wings to tie it and send it to overtime, but there were too many mistakes. A lot will be made of the no-call on Rasmussen, but the real story was poor defensive play again costing the Red Wings from earning the two points.