While it would be patently wrong to classify Tuesday’s 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Blues as a must-win game for the Detroit Red Wings, it’s not at all beyond the scope of believability to suggest that this win held more value than many earned by the team en route to a 15-9-4 record this season.
There was a sense coming into this game that it was going to be a defining moment for the club. The Red Wings were 0-2-1 over the past three games. They’d blown leads in two of those games.
Missing from the Detroit lineup were captain Dylan Larkin, forwards J.T. Compher and Klim Kostin, who are injured, and the suspended David Perron. With a tough challenge at home against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday and a tougher than expected road test at Philadelphia on Saturday ahead for them, the chances of the Wings going into a deep slide were not out of the realm of possibility.
Instead, they found a way to scrape out a hure road victory, even when the underlying numbers, as Detroit head coach Derek Lalonde likes to call them, were all looking to be lining up against the Red Wings.
Not only were the Wings down in terms of personnel, they were also down to start the game and entering the third period. Heading into Tuesday’s game, the Blues were 12-0 when scoring first and 11-0 when taking a leading into the final frame.
Red Wings Win Not Pretty, But It Counts
This wouldn’t be classified as a pretty win the the Red Wings, but that fact is immaterial. At the end of the season, they don’t count how you got them, they add up how many you got.
Detroit would surrender a shorthanded goal in the second period to fall behind 4-3. The Wings also managed to squander a 2-1 first-period lead.
Lucas Raymond got the rally started with a power-play goal in the first minute of the third period. Robby Fabbri would net the game winner, while Michael Rasmussen’s empty-netter would ice the verdict.
Patrick Kane drew an assist as the Red Wings won for the first time with him in the lineup. Forward Jonatan Berggren tallied for the second time in as many games since his recall from AHL Grand Rapids. Defenseman Moritz Seider scored for the fifth time this season, equaling his goal output from 2022-23. Raymond’s goal was his 10th of the season. He’s on pace for a 30-goal campaign.
It wasn’t all good news. Detroit would cough up a third shorthanded goal in four games. Though he got the win, Ville Husso surrendered 3+ goals for the 13th time in 15 games. It was also the fourth straight game that the Wings have allowed 4+ goals.
The Red Wings are 15-0-3 when scoring four or more goals in a game this season.
Husso got the win and Fabbri netted the game winner playing against their original NHL club. For the Blues, ex-Wings Nick Leddy and Oskar Sundqvist were in the lineup.
Notably absent was former Detroit forward Jakub Vrana. The Blues announced earlier Tuesday that they were placing Vrana on waivers.
His trajectory with St. Louis has proven to be markedly similar to Vrana’s Detroit tenure. He scored nine goals in his first 13 games with the Blues. Vrana has tallied three times in the past 26 games.
For the Red Wings, Vrana was accounting for 15 goals in his first 22 games and 20 goals through 30 games. But he produced just two goals over the last 12 games.