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Detroit Red Wings

Razor’s Edge Keeping Red Wings in Playoff Battle

Lucas Raymond has seven goals over the past five games



Lucas Raymond
Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond has a career-best 24 goals.

Ostensibly with their play of late, it would seem that the Detroit Red Wings are bound and determined to miss the NHL playoffs.

That’s when Lucas Raymond is figuratively saying, ‘Hold my beer.’

The man the Red Wings call Razor is razor sharp, and his edge is maintaining Detroit’s place in the purusit of postseason positioning.

Scoring twice as Detroit was rallying for a 4-3 overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, Raymond has now tallied in five successive games. He’s been good for seven goals over that span.

Minus captain Dylan Larkin (lower-body injury), it’s Raymond who is driving the bus for Detroit.

“With Dylan being out, he’s literally driven us to stay in this battle,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said of Raymond.

Raymond Carrying Red Wings

With 24 goals on the season, Raymond has set a new career high. His 59 points also lead the Red Wings in scoring.

No, Raymond didn’t net the OT winner. In fact, he wasn’t even on the ice when Patrick Kane was notching his third extra-session marker for the Red Wings this season.

On the other hand, no one would’ve been on the ice if it weren’t for Raymond.

The Red Wings were 12.6 seconds away from losing in regulation to the NHL’s 29th-ranked team when Raymond drove a Kane rebound into the Columbus net to make it 3-3.

On a Detroit team that once again slept its way through the first period, falling behind 2-0, Raymond has become a constant, steadying, reliable presence.

“There’s probably been one consistent guy that I know what he’s going to give us and that’s Raymond,” Lalonde said. “Maybe DP (David Perron).

“I hate mentioning some names but those are the two guys that I can walk into a game and know what we’re going to get from them.”

Lucas Pulling His Weight

Much was made about the offseason work put in by Raymond in the area of bulking up physically. The evidence of how it’s paying dividends is apparent during the stretch drive of the NHL regular season.

“At this time last year he was tiring,” Lalonde recalled. “He was not very good. We were worrying how much we could play him down the stretch.”

Both of Raymond’s goals on Tuesday came from the so-called dirty area in the slot on the edge of goal crease.

“The hard play,” Lalonde said. “Hard area on both goals, the low slot. But his battle, his compete.”

It’s where a player knows the price they will pay for venturing there is pain and punishment. But the reward is frequently illuminated by a shining red light.

“Ray’s been pretty automatic there in the middle,” Kane said. “I told him if he keeps scoring in there, he’s gonna have to play there his whole career, so he better be careful.”

Careful is no longer a word that’s part of Raymond’s vocabulary. He knows the Red Wings are counting on him, and he keeps making the plays that count.