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Five Takeaways: Red Wings Tighten Up In Third For Win



Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings
Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin scored his NHL-leading ninth first goal in Wednesday's 6-3 win at Philadelphia.

Twice during Wednesday’s 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, the Detroit Red Wings did what is so often their Achilles heel – they squandered a lead.

However, the positive of the night was that in the third period, when it mattered most, the Wings clamped it down tight. Leading 4-3 after 40 minutes, they held the Flyers to five third-period shots and outscored Philly 2-0 in the frame.

“I liked the fact we didn’t really give them much in the third,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “We’ve been in that position lots and not always played the type of hockey that you need to play.”

Five takeaways from Detroit’s first regulation time regular-season win at Philly since a 4-1 verdict on Jan. 25, 1997.

Red Wings Exhibit Balanced Scoring

It doesn’t get more even than this – all four Detroit lines got on the scoreboard at least once. The Wings scored on the power play. They held the Flyers goalless during five Philly power-play opportunities.

Rookie Lucas Raymond got on the board for just the second time in 24 games. In the third period, fourth-liner Givani Smith and Vladislav Namestnikov from the third line tallied.

“It was important for us,” Blashill said of the scoring balance. “We’re going to need depth of scoring as we go through the rest of the season.

“We tried to play all four lines. I thought they all did a good job at different times in the game.”

Larkin Is Number One

When it comes to first goals, Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin is foremost. He opened the scoring on a first-period Detroit power play. Larkin’s pass attempt to Tyler Bertuzzi banked past Flyers goalie Carter Hart and into the net off of Philly defenseman Ivan Provorov.

It was the ninth first goal of the game for Larkin. He leads the NHL in that category. He’s also tops on the Red Wings with 24 goals.

Storm Surge

The Carolina Hurricanes initiated the Storm Surge but Detroit’s second line of Pius Suter, Bertuzzi and Robby Fabbri – all of them junior teammates with the OHL’s Guelph Storm – are creating a storm surge of their own worthy of that nickname.

“It’s really fun to see how much they are creating out there,” Detroit defenseman Moritz Seider said.

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Their ability to possess the puck and maintain the cycle in the offensive zone wore down the Flyers, creating the opening that led to Suter’s goal making it 3-2 in the second period. Fabbri upped the advantage to 4-2 later in the period, netting the eventual game winner.

“They’ve got pretty good chemistry together,” Blashill said. “I thought there were moments they were really, really good.”

Quick Counters

Three times during the night, the Flyers scored within 24 seconds following a Detroit goal. The first two tallies wiped out 1-0 and 2-0 Red Wings leads. The third ended up reducing Detroit’s advantage entering the final period to one goal at 4-3.

“I still think defensively we all can get better,” Blashill said. “. . . we all got to keep being better defensively and making sure we’re not giving much up.”

Red Wings Blashill Turns Two

Blashill also coached the Wings to a 3-2 shootout victory at Philadelphia on Nov. 8, 2016. Wednesday’s win is enabling Blashill to place himself among a select group of Red Wings coaches. He’s just the sixth Detroit coach to win more than one regular-season game at Philadelphia.

Blashill is joining Sid Abel, Bill Gadsby, Bryan Murray and Scotty Bowman with two regular-season wins at Philly. Bowman also won two games there during the 1997 Stanley Cup final. Jacques Demers, with three, is the all-time Detroit coaching leader in regular-season wins at Philadelphia with three.

Johnny Wilson and Ned Harkness, with one apiece, are the only other Wings coaches with a victory at Philly.