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Detroit Red Wings

Fischer Performance Helps Red Wings Rediscover Their Confidence



Christian Fischer

DETROIT — Christian Fischer went to his knees in the second period to help the Detroit Red Wings halt their seven-game losing streak.

And he wasn’t praying.

Fischer was stumbling to the ice, but managed to twist his body and fling the puck past Buffalo goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. The goal tied the game 1-1 and seemed to restore the Red Wings’ competitiveness and launched them to a 4-1 win that put them back in an Eastern Conference wild card position.

“Obviously a much-needed win and I just love the way we did it,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said.

The Red Wings now have 74 points, giving them a one point lead over the New York Islanders.  The Sabres are now five points behind Detroit. Lalonde’s team will be in Pittsburgh to play the Penguins Sunday in another key game in the playoff race.

Reimer Steps Up

The Red Wings didn’t give up fewer than four goals in any of the seven losses, and James Reimer held the Sabres to one goal on 26 shots. The Sabres had just defeated the Red Wings 7-3 on Tuesday.

“Just in a broad sense, I think we really played a complete game, start to finish,” Fischer said. “Not too many lapses in the D-zone… We just felt a different compete level, kind of back to our old ways.”

In addition to scoring a crucial goal on a memorable effort, Fischer and linemates Michael Rasmussen and Andrew Copp shut down Buffalo’s top line of Zemgus Girgensons, Tage Thompson and Alex Tuch in even-strength situations.

“The guys love Christian,” Lalonde said. “He plays the right way. Obviously they had the Thompson assignment tonight and their job was not to get scored on. And for them to get a goal the way they did with second effort, zone time, below the goal line battle, very uplifting

Patrick Kane’s 14th goal of the season, scored with 2:20 remaining in the second period, gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead. J.T. Compher set up the tally by poking the puck across the slot to Kane. It was like he was playing shuffleboard. It was the first lead the Detroit squad had known since March 6 when it lost to the Colorado Avalanche. That was a span of 280 minutes, 34 seconds over five games.

“I think once we got up 2-1, we knew we were going to win that game,” Fischer said. “just on how we felt and everybody working.”

No Style Points

Fischer laughed when asked whether his goal was executed just the way he drew it up.

“Yeah, I meant to do that for sure,” he said, playing along before confessing . “Just bad skater, I don’t think he even tripped me. It was obviously a big goal for our team at the time and with me. Copp and Ras, that’s our type of goal, to the net, cycles, that type of stuff.”

This felt like a big game because of the playoff implications. Tomorrow’s game against the Penguins will be just as important.

The Red Wings played Saturday like they had their confidence back.

“You see every guy having that second and third effort, whether it’s a turnover, a good play or a bad play. You saw every single guy competing like our lives are on the line,” Fischer said. “That goes a long way when you see Kaner and (Alex DeBrincat out there throwing some hits around. Second and third sticks in the D-zone. Second efforts to get pucks out. Diving saves, big saves on the PK, block shots. I could down the list of the little things that mean so much to the group. You feed off each other. We felt it in that room, in between the second and third, not too much needed to be said. We just needed to keep doing what we were doing. That type of feeling is what we had in January and February when we were rolling.”