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Suter, Red Wings step up to slap Caps

Detroit two points out of a playoff spot



Pius Suter, Red Wings
Red Wings center Pius Suter has five goals in the past five games.

Pius Suter might not be the hero that Detroit Red Wings fans were expecting, or probably even wanting for that matter. However, he’s the hero that they’re getting and he’s making quite the impact while donning the virtual cape.

As they were concluding a five-game road trip Tuesday at Washington against the Capitals, there was every opportunity present for the Red Wings to take a pratfall.

Barely 12 minutes into the game, captain Dylan Larkin was sent packing. His offense? A cross-checking major to the face of Washington forward T.J. Oshie that was earning Larkin a game misconduct.

Larkin’s been on fire for Detroit. He was riding a seven-game point streak and was one of the NHL’s Three Stars of the Week. The captain was accounting for 7-6-13 numbers in that span.

When it came to driving the bus for the Red Wings, Larkin was clearly the one at the wheel during the club’s recent five-game win streak.

No team wins that consistently, though, without a strong supporting cast. It would be more than fair to pencil center Suter in as co-pilot on this recent journey of success.

Tuesday, Suter willingly was stepping up into the spotlight while Larkin was taking the long, lonely walk to the dressing room.

During Larkin’s infraction, Suter was potting an unassisted shorthanded goal. That tally proved to be the winner in Detroit’s 3-1 victory over the Capitals.

In the third period, Suter was pouncing on a turnover for the insurance marker. Suddenly, he’s become the Swiss who can’t miss. Suter has goals in four of the past five games. In the one game in which he wasn’t credited with a goal, Suter was netting the shootout winner in a 5-4 win at Edmonton.

Suter More Concerned With Red Wings Team Objective

Afterward, as is his nature, Suter was more interested in discussing what the win was about in terms of the collective.

“This was a huge game,” Suter told Bally Sports Detroit after the game. “With Larks being out in the first period everybody got a little more ice time and stepped up big and we got the two points.”

There’s never one hero that leads to team success. On Tuesday, defenseman Robert Hagg scored his first goal of the season. The Red Wings were blocking 28 shots, getting four blocks apiece from Michael Rasmussen and Ben Chiarot. Goalie Ville Husso was making 26 saves to improve to 7-2 over his last nine decisions. Through the final 8:25 of the second period, Detroit held Washington without a single shot on goal.

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In what seems like the blink of an eye, the Red Wings have gone from nine points out of the playoffs to a scant two. The New York Islanders (65 points) and Florida Panthers (64) hold down the two Eastern Conference Wild Card places. Detroit, with 62 points, is maintaining four games in hand on both of those teams.

“We’re in the mix,” Suter said. “It’s huge. It’s a good feeling.”