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Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings Third Line First at Grinding Down Opponents

Rasmussen, Copp and Fischer play heavy game



Michael Rasmussen, Red Wings
Michael Rasmussen netted the game-tying goal for the Red Wings in Saturday's win over Vancouver.

One of the reasons why the Detroit Red Wings are contending for a playoff spot is that plenty of players are coming up big for the team.

“We find different ways to win,” captain Dylan Larkin said. “We find different ways to score goals at big times.

“Everyone chips in.”

In the case of Detroit’s third line of Andrew Copp, Michael Rasmussen and Christian Fischer, coming up big just comes naturally to them.

It’s who they are. It’s how they play.

“They’re north, they forecheck,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “They’re a little bit heavier.

“We don’t have some of that throughout our lineup.”

There aren’t a lot of forwards populating the Detroit roster who earn their pay by wearing on the opposition. That’s what Copp, Rasmussen and Fischer are all about. They play the game in an old-fashioned style. Their objective is to grind out shift and in the process, grind down the will of the opposition.

“All three of them are committed to playing the right way,” Lalonde said. “They have a goal. It’s about them defending first.”

Third Line Sets Tone For Red Wings

That they don’t have a lot of what Copp, Rasmussen and Fischer bring up and down their lineup sometimes leads Lalonde to consider breaking up a line to add more of a heavier element to each of his forward units. But the chemistry those three are cooking up together leaves him relucant to mess with a winning formula.

“We have that feel sometimes that, this line could use Ras, or this line could use Fish,” Lalonde explained. “You might see that, but that line has been so productive and predictable, it’s just been hard to break up.

“It’s working. Let’s not try to fix it.”

Certainly, the way that trio plays the game is not only impacting the psyche of the opposition. It’s also uplifting to their Red Wings teammates.

“They’re clearly workhorses,” Detroit defenseman Jake Walman said. “All those guys love to compete and battle.  They get to the net.”

Nowhere was that made more abundantly evident than on Saturday’s third-period game-tying goal by Rasmussen against Vancouver. Rasmussen simply drove to the net, creating havoc in the Canucks goal crease. Walman’s point shot wound up defledcting off Rasmussen and into the net.

“That’s how we’re gonna generate a lot of our goals as a team, just being scrappy,” Walman said. “It’s fun to see when they’ve got that aggression.

“It really sets the tone for the group for sure.”