DETROIT – In the every-shift-matters NHL, a team’s confidence often is a matter of perspective. That is certainly true for the Detroit Red Wings this season.
Yesterday morning they were mired in a six-game losing streak and by the end of the night they owned two recent wins against a team that won two Stanley Cups and 11 playoff series over the past three years.
The 7-4 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning feels as if it is worth more than two points. This is the first time the Red Wings have scored seven or more goals against Tampa Bay since 1993.
“It is just amazing how things change quickly,” Detroit Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “You go from answering 0-4-2 questions to this: All of the sudden we have points in two straight, we’ve taken three out of four points against two very good teams.I’m sure there will be some confidence from this.”
They picked up a point Monday in a 4-3 overtime loss to Washington in a game that could have gone either way. Now they beat the Lightning for the second time in 14 days. This game was tied 3-3 in the third period and the Red Wings found a way to win it against an elite competitor.
This is only the second time this season the Red Wings have produced seven goals. They have now scored 10 goals over the past two games. They had scored exactly 10 goals during their six-game losing streak.
“I thought we got what we deserved tonight,” Lalonde said. “…We’ve been in this situation, tied going into the third three or four times of late and been unable to finish it off. So today we did and it feels pretty good.”
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) December 22, 2022
During the losing streak, no Red Wing seemed to raise his game to a higher level to lift his team. No one had a two-point game during the losing streak.
Larkin Playing Hurt
Dylan Larkin scored two goals against the Lightning and his line contributed 10 points on the night. Larkin and David Perron had three points each. Rasmussen had four. He scored two goals for the first time in his young career.
Larkin is clearly playing through a significant right hand injury, although the Red Wings haven’t said exactly what his issue is.
“It was just a massive two points for our hockey team,” Larkin said. “…We need to start getting some traction and start playing like this more often. ”
Detroit’s solid play included 5-for-5 performance on the power play. That included a 5-on-3 kill for 1:51 in the first period.
“Huge,” Lalonde said. “Our penalty kill all night was huge momentum…Not only were they good kills, but they were momentum kills.”
Call it momentum. Call it confidence. Suddenly, the Red Wings seem to have found some. There’s been speculation about the NHL possibly canceling Detroit’s game in Ottawa because of weather. Detroit is supposed to receive a winter storm Friday and Saturday and the Red Wings may have difficulty flying back late.
The game is one as far as the Red Wings are concerned. That’s their attitude.
“You monitor it, right, it’s the weather,” Larkin said. “We’re prepared for anything. We’re playing good hockey…We gotta have the mindset that we’re going to keep this thing going.”
When you feel like you are playing well, you want to keep playing. And the Red Wings suddenly feel like they are playing well.