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Lions Karma Launches Red Wings Explosion

Architect of Detroit Lions offense sees Red Wings attack



Alex DeBrincat, red wings
Alex DeBrincat would score twice for the Red Wings in Saturday's 6-1 win over St. Louis.

Ben Johnson, architect of the potent Detroit Lions offense, was at Little Caesars Arena as the Detroit Red Wings attack was exploding for a 6-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.


Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde thinks not.

“It was good karma there,” Lalonde said.

Each home game, the Red Wings invite an area celebrity to sound the arena goal horn prior to the opening faceoff. Lions offensive coordinator Johnson, operator of an offense that was good for 27.1 points per game during the 2023 NFL season, was Saturday’s guest.

Several Lions players have also taken a turn at pulling the ceremonial lever. On those nights, the outcome tends to go Detroit’s way.

“The Lions, we can probably credit them for a good 6-8 points this year,” Lalonde cracked. “Gotta thank them.”

Actually, on this afternoon, the Red Wings ought to thank everybody in their lineup. This was as complete a performance from start to finish as the club has turned in this season.

Red Wings Shelve Slow Starts

The slow start, a Detroit bugaboo all campaign, became a thing of the past on Saturday. Patrick Kane scored on the game’s first shot, 33 seconds following the opening faceoff. It was 3-0 Red Wings by the 5:24 mark of the opening frame. At that juncture, the Blues were still seeking their first shot on goal.

“Obviously our last three games out were not very good starts,” Lalonde said. “The boys were skating. It culminated in some finishes in the first.”

Queries of both teams post game led to each suggesting it was one of those days. In the case of the Red Wings, it was one of those days when everything was seemingly turning to goals.

A clearance attempt by Blues forward Kasperi Kapanen banked into the net off of Detroit’s Robby Fabbri for his first goal since Jan. 17. A net-front feed by Lucas Raymond wound up banking into the St. Louis net off the skate of J.T. Compher. Alex DeBrincat, with two goals over his previous 21 games, found the net twice on Saturday.

“It’s nice to see those go in,” DeBrincat said. “It doesn’t happen every day. Got to take them when you get them.”

Red Wings Offensive Balance In Evidence

Detroit players continually preach depth as being the key to this season’s challenge for a playoff spot. It was certainly on display Saturday. The Red Wings got goals from three of their four lines. Four players – DeBrincat (2-1-3), Kane (1-1-2), Michael Rasmussen (1-1-2) and Raymond (0-2-2) –  would enjoy multi-point outings. Kane’s point streak is now at seven games as he’s heading back to play in his old home of Chicago on Sunday.

Impressively, the Red Wings would pot six goals without a single point from captain Dylan Larkin. He’s leading the team in scoring with 51 points.

“He contributed a lot tonight,” Raymond said of Larkin. “I think he could have had a couple.”

That being said, the Wings were showing that they don’t always need a couple from Larkin in order to get a couple of points in the standings.

“That’s a big thing for our team, the depth we have,” Raymond said. “Different players who contribute every night.”