Razor’s pair carries Red Wings through Wild

The sophomore slump came to an abrupt end as Lucas Raymond led the Red Wings to a 2-1 win over Minnesota

Well, this could be a...WILD ONE. Coming off a pair of rough performances against New Jersey and Boston, the Red Wings take on a Minnesota Wild team that has had some extremely high-scoring games this year. The Wild come into this game as the fifth-highest-scoring team in the NHL. However, they have the fourth-highest goals-against average as well. They had a three-game stretch to start the season where they allowed 20 goals.

The Wild have bounced back defensively the last couple of games, allowing just one goal and two goals in their last two games respectively. However, those games were with starter Marc-Andre Fleury in the net. Tonight, Minnesota sends backup netminder Filip Gustavsson out for the third time this season. Gustavsson comes in with a 5.06 goals-against average and a .860 save percentage. It’s the perfect storm for a Red Wings offense to bounce back after scoring just three goals in their last two games.

However, the Red Wings will need their defense to step up. After a solid defensive start to the season, they’ve given up 11 goals in their last two games. Ville Husso gets the start in net as he marks the first Red Wings netminder to start back-to-back games. They are also hoping this game could spark their two struggling sophomores who are yet to contribute offensively this season. Lucas Raymond has just two assists so far this season while reigning Calder winner Moritz Seider has just one assist. Against a struggling defense in Minnesota, this is the game for them to finally break out.

One final note is some players coming into the lineup. With Michael Rasmussen being suspended for the next two games, Givani Smith gets the call and comes into the lineup in his place. On the defensive end, Jordan Oesterle comes in for his first game of the season in place of Gustav Lindstrom. It appears head coach Derek Lalonde just wants to change some things up after two poor defensive performances to see if it’ll make a difference.

1st Period

The Wild take control immediately as they get the first set up in the offensive end. The Red Wings have trouble gaining any control as they keep just tossing the puck out of the zone. After an icing, the Red Wings are able to get their first offensive possession. However, it ends quickly as a turnover and a bad pinch by Seider leads to an odd-man rush the other way. Kirill Kaprizov comes up the left side, ignores the past and absolutely snipes Husso and gives the Wild the 1-0 lead just 1:28 into the game.

The Wild keep control for the next few minutes. No big chances, but pick up eight shots in the first five minutes of the period. It’s the Red Wings with the next big chance as Adam Erne was found backdoor on a rush up the ice. However, Gustavsson makes a fantastic sliding blocker save to maintain the 1-0 lead.

A few minutes of quiet back-and-forth pass with no big chances either way. Around the 11:30 mark, the Wild get a 3-on-1 after a bad clearance but Kaprizov completely whiffs on the shot in the slot. Detroit is very fortunate for this to still be a 1-0 game. Shortly after, a very scary moment as a Kaprizov shot from the point catches Dominik Kubalik in the head right by the ear. Play stops and Kubalik heads to the locker room as we finally get our first TV timeout.

Out of the break, the Red Wings get their first bit of extended pressure and get a few shots on goal to make the shots 9-9 just as we cross the halfway point of the first. Nothing really challenges Gustavsson however as most shots just end up hitting the pads. Another scary moment for Detroit as a slap shot from the point appears to hit Seider in the abdomen. He is very evidently in pain but he toughs it out. Unfortunately, toughing it out appears to cost him as he fails to clear the puck out and gives Minnesota a phenomenal chance. However, Husso once again comes up big.

Coming out of the second TV timeout, the Red Wings get their best chance of the game as Dylan Larkin cuts in with the puck. He absolutely rifles a wrist shot past Gustavsson but it rings off the post and goes in between the legs of the crashing Adam Erne. Lucas Raymond then gets a chance on a rush very shortly after, but another blocker save from Gustavsson keeps the sophomore on the snide.

Some more uneventful back-and-forth ensues as the game crosses the five-minute remaining mark with little happening. However, with a little over three minutes remaining in the period, Adam Erne finds Raymond in the slot. Raymond turns and RIPS A WRIST SHOT PAST GUSTAVSSON TO TIE THE GAME 1-1!!! RAYMOND FINALLY GETS HIS FIRST OF THE SEASON!!!

Man did Raymond need that and you could tell. Just watching his celebration, you could see just how badly that goal meant to him. Very shortly after, we head to the final TV timeout of the period with the game still at 1-1. Erne and Larkin are awarded the assists on the goal. Some good news for Detroit shortly after as Kubalik returns to the ice with just over a minute remaining in the period. Seider also never came out of the rotation so both Red Wings struck by shots appear to be ok.

That does it for the excitement in the period. The Red Wings get the only two shots following the final timeout with neither being super threatening. After a slow start, the Red Wings come out of the first with a 15-14 edge in the shots. Neither team looked good defensively, and each netminder made a couple of big saves to make sure it was just 1-1. Another note from the first period is that Raymond came away with a game-leading four shots in that period after taking just 14 shots in the first seven games of the season.

2nd Period

A very slow start to the period as neither team threatens the opposing netminders through the first three and a half minutes with Minnesota registering the only shot on goal. It’s the Red Wings with the first real chance of the period as David Perron receives a pass out in front for a quick shot. However, Gustavsson comes up with a nice save. After a few minutes pass, Matt Luff picks up the puck behind the net after Zadina backhands it in deep. As he goes to come out to the corner, Jacob Middleton gets his stick in his feet and picks up a tripping minor; the first penalty for either team to give the Red Wings the power play.

It’s not much of a power play as the Red Wings never get set up in the offensive zone and come away with no shots. After a first period that saw 29 combined shots, we reach the halfway mark of the period with just five shots between the two teams. Just after the ten-minute mark, both teams finally pick up their first good chances of the period. First, Kubalik finds Raymond in the slot who rifles on that Gustavsson just gets a piece of.

Immediately after, the Wild get a chance of their own as Ryan Hartman comes up the right side and rips a shot off the post. Just less than a minute later, the Red Wings get their first penalty of the game with a too many men minor. The Wild come out of the second TV timeout with their first power play of the game, putting the NHL’s third-best power play to work.

The Wild end up with good control for nearly the entire two minutes. They get a few decent chances, but Husso isn’t forced to make any big saves. Seider takes another hard shot that has him in pain but doesn’t appear to be injured by it. The Red Wings kill the penalty and keep the game at 1-1.

The minutes continue to tick away on the second period with neither team getting any serious chances. The Wild go the next several minutes after the power play without a shot. When one of the teams finally gets a chance, it’s that man Lucas Raymond again who was found streaking into the shot. Unfortunately, he misses the net on this one but another great play for the guy who has been almost undoubtedly the best Red Wing on the ice tonight.

The game finally gets its final TV timeout with just over a minute to play in the period after Matt Dumba inadvertently catches Elmer Soderblom in the face with a stick, giving the Red Wings their second power play of the game. They’re actually able to get their first bit of sustained power play pressure and find a couple of chances in either circle. They keep up the pressure to end the period as a pass gets fired across from Larkin to Kubalik back door. Kubalik then quick fires a pass to Raymond coming out of the corner WHO DEFLECTS THE PUCK PAST GUSTAVSSON FOR HIS SECOND OF THE GAME!!! IT’S 2-1 RED WINGS TO END THE SECOND PERIOD!!!

Phenomenal end to the period for the Red Wings. They kept Minnesota without a single shot for the last 8:30 of the period and come away with a 2-1 lead. Shots in the period were 9-7 in favor of Detroit for a grand total of 24-21, Red Wings. Four of those shots from Minnesota came in a 40-second stretch in the middle of the period. A much better defensive showing from Detroit and Lucas Raymond continues to be a problem for the Wild.

3rd Period

The period starts off with a really good chance from the Wild scorer, Kaprizov. He comes up the right side and makes a beautiful between-the-legs deke to create the chance but gets stopped short side by Husso. The Wild keep up the pressure keeping the puck in the Detroit end for nearly all of the first two minutes before the Red Wings panic and ice the puck. Minnesota picked up four shots on goal in that two-minute stretch after just seven in the second period total.

Shortly after, we get another scary moment for Detroit. However, this once was much worse than the Kubalik and Seider moments. Dumba goes to fire a wrist shot and Luff attempts to poke-check him. The puck deflects off Luff’s stick and comes up and hits him right in the face. He drops down and immediately goes to the locker room. At least Kubalik’s hit him in the helmet which is likely why he’s ok, but Luff’s did not and I would be stunned if he returns this game.

It’s now seven minutes into the third period and Detroit is yet to have a shot on goal. Minnesota hasn’t had a great chance since the Kaprizov one 45 seconds in, but it’s 7-0 in favor of the Wild heading into the first TV timeout. There was a stoppage of play where Filip Hronek picked up an unsportsmanlike minor while Mason Shaw for Minnesota picked up a roughing minor, sending the game on a 4-on-4.

A bit of back and forth early before a great forecheck from Larkin leads to a 2-on-1 with him and Raymond. He tries to hit Raymond for the hat trick, but the defenseman blocks the pass into Gustavsson’s pads ending the chance. It was the only real chance for either team on the 4-on-4 and we head into the second TV timeout with it still 2-1 Red Wings.

The biggest difference in this period so far has been the forechecking from the Wild. The amount of pressure they’re putting on the Red Wings defensemen has made it incredibly difficult to get good zone exits. with six minutes remaining in the third, the Red Wings are yet to register a shot at 5-on-5 as Minnesota leads it 9-1 in the period. The thing is, despite allowing such a shot disparity, the Red Wings have managed to keep most of the shots on goal from outside, limiting the quality of chances for the WIld.

Over the next four minutes, neither team registers a single shot on goal. Minnesota has control, and the wait starts for them to pull Gustavsson. At the two-minute mark, they finally pull the plug and get the extra attacker out there. The Red Wings are doing an incredible job cutting off the pass lanes and the Wild aren’t able to get a chance. Soderblom has a great chance to seal the game. He feeds it to Suter who is ahead of him and has a breakaway, but puts it in his feet and Suter is unable to corral the pass.

Minnesota is continuing to struggle to find any kind of passing or shooting lane. Every time they think they found one, a stick or leg gets in the way. They finally get a puck on Husso, but it’s nothing threatening and when the Wild accidentally fire the puck out of the zone, that ends the game. RED WINGS WIN!!! 2-1 OVER THE WILD!!!

Post Game Thoughts

First off, credit needs to be given to the Red Wings defensive zone presence in the second half of that game. No shots allowed for the final 8:30 of the second period, and then no threatening chances for the final 19 minutes of the game is not an easy task, especially against a Wild team known for their offensive capabilities. Minnesota went from the 13:39 mark until the 19:34 mark without a single shot on goal while keeping the majority of possession in the Red Wings end.

Shoutout to Lucas Raymond, who was clearly the best player on the ice for either team. He had seven shots on goal in the first two periods which was 50% of his total shots for the season coming into the game. The Wings only had a couple of chances in the third period, and he was involved with both of them. This was the game he needed, and one you hope sparks the rest of his season.

Some other notes, Dominik Kubalik picks up his team-leading 11th point this year to continue his hot start to the season. Dylan Larkin picked up two assists to join Kubalik with double-digit points on the year Ville Husso was great all night, allowing just the one goal on an odd-man rush less than two minutes in, and then shutting the door on the Wild. It was a good team win for the Red Wings, and we hope to see them continue that on Halloween against the Sabres.