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Red Wings ‘Worst Game of the Year’ Leads to Much-Needed Win

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Moritz Seider, Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT — Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said his team’s overall performance against the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday “was maybe our worst game of the year.”

It was an ugly, messy effort that somehow ended up a thing a beauty on the scoreboard as the Red Wings notched a 7-5 triumph against the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets came into Little Caesars Arena with a five-game winning streak and the Red Wings entered the game with a three-game losing streak.

“I’m not going to take away from the win,” Lalonde said. “Maybe it’s on me. They looked absolutely gassed. (Perhaps) it is a practice thing. Maybe it’s a credit to (the Jets). Maybe they are that good. Their record says they are. ”

Whatever the reason, this was an important win. The Red Wings seem to be at the crossroads between staying in the playoff race or heading toward another early first-round draft pick.

They want desperately to stay in the race. You could tell this team wanted, and needed, this win badly.

In some respects, they probably feel as if they deserved this win because they played reasonably well in their last three losses.

Goal Splurge

The Red Wings matched a season high by scoring seven goals, which was previously accomplished on Nov. 17 at San Jose and Dec. 21 against Tampa Bay.

“We didn’t play our best game tonight,” said Lucas Raymond who had a goal and two assists. “We’ve lost games
where we’ve played a lot better. To be able to get a win when we’re not top performing is huge. We’re just gonna try to build off of this.”

The star of the night was defenseman Moritz Seider who tied the Red Wings’ team record of four assists by a defenseman in a single game. The last Red Wing D man to register four assists was Mike Green in 2017. Seider was beastly against Winnipeg with three shots, three blocked shots and two hits in 23:11 minutes of playing time.

“Some of our guys had big games and probably carried us — Mo being one of them,” Lalonde said.

Even on Special Team

Another key for the Red Wings was not losing the special team battle. That’s been a problem. They didn’t win it against the Jets. But they didn’t lose it. The Jets were 1-for-3 on the power play, and Detroit was 1-for-4 with its goal coming by Dylan Larkin on a 5-on-3 advantage.

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The Red Wings led this game 3-0 and then 4-1, and then 4-3. Detroit led 6-5 when Mark Scheifele scored a power play goal at 14:55 of the third period. Raymond clinched the victory with an empty-netter with 1:20 remaining in regulation

“It never felt comfortable because of the way we were playing,” Lalonde said. “You could just feel we had no gas, we were slow, we were tired. We looked that. Mental mistakes, tired mistakes. You look at our five on five play, how good it was the other day and tonight was not that night. Hopefully a one-off. We’ll try some things in the morning. It’s easy to correct some things with win.”