Never mind the deficit. Forget the odds. The Detroit Red Wings rallied for a 5-4 overtime victory over long-time nemesis Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
“It’s a message, you play the right way we have an opportunity,” head coach Derek Lalonde said on Bally Sports following the game. “Even talking to the guys after. I don’t think they’ll shy away from the fact that we’re not good enough to have lapses in our compete. We’re not good enough to have lapses in our game which you saw in the first period.
“That’s not a knock on the guys. I think they understand that. We have to be really sharp at all times to be really successful which we were obviously in the last 40 minutes.”
The sharp reaction in the final frames of the contest certainly forgave what had been a dull start for Detroit.
Jake Walman’s Winner Caps Red Wings’ Gritty Comeback
So after hearing what Lalonde said postgame, what were his words to the team heading into the first intermission?
“Not much, honestly,” Walman said via Bally Sports postgame. “We all knew we got to be better. Coach came in, just told us we gotta be better in all zones and I think we went to work.”
They certainly did. Detroit buried two goals in the second, two in the third, and then finished it off with Walman’s winner in overtime. More impressive? Andrew Copp banged one off the post less than a minute before Walman redirected a Copp pass into the net.
And the celebration? Just the Griddy after quite the gritty battle to come back in the first place.
“That’s the Griddy right there,” Walman said of his celebration following the game winner on Bally Sports Detroit. “I think all the boys like that and all the young kinds probably like that, too.”
Forget the Red Wings who would fold in past situations. Just days before a new year and six days from playing their previous game, Detroit made quite the impression against a team that has played them well for some time.
“That was a huge game,” Walman said. “I think the boys really rallied. We knew we had more in us after the first. It was great resiliency. We all knew we could do it.”
Indeed they did. Now onto Buffalo where the Red Wings can exact some vengeance on a team that handed them a brutal 8-3 loss back on Halloween. Buffalo also won 5-4 in overtime back on November 30.
The Red Wings roaring back can only provide some momentum, even on what will be a back-to-back setup. But if Walman’s words are any indication, Detroit seems prime to snap its two game losing streak this season to Buffalo and turn their current winning streak to three games.
“I think we’re fired up after this,” Walman said. “We gotta come down a little bit from this one and then get back to work.”