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Five Takeaways: Another Red Wings Rookie Works OT To Beat Sabres



Detroit Red Wings, Lucas Raymond
Lucas Raymond's overtime goal gave the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday at Little Caesars Arena.

Another game against the Buffalo Sabres. Another Detroit Red Wings rookie sensation working overtime to secure the victory.

Five takeaways for Saturday’s 3-2 Red Wings victory over the Sabres at Little Caesars Arena.

Cool Hand Lucas

Lucas Raymond scored 26 seconds into overtime to secure the victory. It was his ninth goal of the season, for the 19 year old, which leads all NHL rookies. However, it was Raymond’s first NHL overtime winner and game-winning goal for that matter.

Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin was surprised at all to see the youngest player on the ice display the poise to net the game winner.

“Confidence and skill, and being good,” Larkin said, assessing Raymond’s attributes. “It was 1-on-3, he got a shot and he took it and it went in.”

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill displayed his confidence in Raymond to be a difference maker. On the initial shift at Buffalo tied it after 2-2. Blashill double shifted Raymond, sending him over the boards with the second line of Pius Sutter and Robby Fabbri.

In overtime, Raymond skated into the Buffalo zone through the middle of rink and snapped a wrist shot that beat Sabres goalie Dustin Tokarski five hole.

“He’s got talent and confidence for sure,” Blashill said. “Not a lot of guys are scoring from there.”

Raymond has posted seven points (3-4-7) in his last seven games and 12 points (5-7-12) in his last 12 contests.

When the Wings beat the Sabres 4-3 in OT at Buffalo earlier this month, it was rookie defenseman Moritz Seider who netted the winner with his first NHL goal.

A Different Feel

Even though it was the second Saturday in a row that the Wings squandered a one-goal third-period lead, this game didn’t feel at all like last Saturday’s 2-1 OT loss at Arizona. Detroit didn’t sit back. The Red Wings came at the Sabres but just couldn’t find that next goal.

“We attacked,” Larkin said. “We didn’t sit back. I thought our puck management was good, which was something that we’ve been really focusing on late in games.

“We kept our foot on the gas. We had some extended O-zone time, we challenged their defense.”

Ultimately, Jeff SKinner tied it for Buffalo with 1:37 left in regulation and Sabres goalie Tokarski on the bench for an extra attacker.

“Things happen in a 60-minute hockey game and it’s all how you respond,” Larkin said. “We responded well every time.”

Red Wings Smith Getting Involved

Slotting Givani Smith on the second line with Suter and Fabbri, Blashill got the desired response. Working deep in the offensize zone, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Smith retrieved a puck behind the Buffalo net, whipping the disc to Fabbri on the half boards. He got it back to Seider at the point.

Meanwhile, Smith crashed the net front, engaging with Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Dahlin. Smith’s creation of commotion enabled Suter to jam the rebound of Seider’s shot under Tokarski for Detroit’s second goal. It came just 1:19 after Carter Rowney tied the game 1-1.

“I thought he’s played more consistently and at a better level here in the last little bit,” Blashill said of Smith. “I’ve rewarded him with more ice time on that line and he played good.

“He’s a big body around the net, he’s hard around the net. He finds ways to win puck battles down low and that’s important.”

Rasmussen Rebounds

The Red Wings lost third-line center Michael Rasmussen briefly in the first period. He was slashed in the back of the left knee by Buffalo defenseman Robert Hagg.

Rasmussen retired to the Red Wings dressing room. However, he was quickly back in the fray a few minutes later.

Namestnikov Milestone

Red Wings forward Vladislav Namestnikov skated in his 500th NHL game on Saturday.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” Namestnikov told Bally Sports. “I’m happy. I’m enjoying the moment right now.

“Time flies but you gotta enjoy the moment for sure.”