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The Breakdown: Red Wings Squeeze Point Out of Kings With Big Effort

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Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings

Los Angeles Kings forward Viktor Arvidsson looked as if he would put away the Detroit Red Wings with an empty net goal in the closing minute of regulation. He was in the clear. But Detroit captain Dylan Larkin made a dramatic dive, sweeping away the puck away to prevent a sure goal.

That bought the Red Wings enough time to produce a tying goal by Oskar Sundqvist with 41 seconds remaining in regulation. The Kings won 5-4 in overtime on a Phillip Danault goal that bounced in off defenseman Filip Hronek’s leg.

Make no mistake about this game — this was a good point for the Red Wings. It gives them five points out of six in their first three games this season and builds their confidence going into Friday’s game in Chicago.

“Very important,”  Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said of the effort. “This game could go a long ways for us…we want to be in games late. We want to find a way when trailing in the third period.  As you know, statistically, not many people do that. But we found a way to get a point.”

Three times the Kings forged a lead only to have the Red Wings come back and tie it.

But the memorable play wasn’t a goal. It was Larkin’s game-saving stick check. “Amazing play,” Lalonde said. “Never gave up on it. It was a good message for everyone…pretty good sign.”

Added Depth Key

What this game shows is the depth that GM Steve Yzerman added through offseason signings has given the team the push it needed. They are harder to play against because they have more quality players contributing.  Ten different Red Wings players have goals in the first three games and only David Perron has more than one. He managed two against the Kings.

“We trust every line, every line has produced some offense,” Lalonde said. “We’re getting it from our defense. That’s good. You talk about depth. We have basically three of our top six forwards out in (Tyler) Bertuzzi, (Jakub) Vrana and (Robby) Fabbri, and we still have a deep lineup with offense throughout and that’s a really good sign. You got to have depth. We’re experiencing it right now and the depth came through tonight.”

The Detroit players believe they have four lines that can score and that is crucial.

“Obviously you need depth scoring to go deep into any season or playoff, so it’s good to see early on. Obviously everybody’s gonna keep adding to our game,” Perron said. “We’re starting to play the right way more and more and it was great to see that fight in the third period to get that one back and get a big point.”

Facts and Observations

  1. Detroit’s line of Elmer Soderblom, Michael Rasmussen and Oskar Sundqvist was on the ice for the Kings’ first two goals.
  2. Red Wings radio analyst Paul Woods registered his 3,000th career game as the team’s broadcaster in this game. That goes with 501 games as a speedy Red Wings forward.
  3. Kings forward Gabriel Velardi scored his third goal of the season in the contest. The Red Wings passed on Vilardi at No. 9 in the 2017 draft to take Rasmussen. The Kings took Vilardi at No. 11. The start to Vilardi’s career has been undermined by injury.
  4. The Red Wings were 4-for-4 on the penalty kill, and are a perfect 10-for-10 while shorthanded in the first three games of the 2022-23 season. Detroit was last in the NHL in the penalty kill in 2021-22.
  5. With two assists, Olli Maatta (1-3-4) became the first Red Wings defenseman to record a point in each of the first three games of the season since Brian Rafalski in 2008-09 (1-8-9 in his first seven games).
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