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Detroit Red Wings

Lalonde: ‘It Felt Like They Quit’; Red Wings Reclaim Playoff Spot



Patrick Kane, detroit red wings

DETROIT — The Detroit Red Wings lost eight out of nine. They fell out of an Eastern Conference wild card spot. Local sports talk Radio, 97.1 The Ticket, even did a segment three hours before game time about whether Detroit coach Derek Lalonde was in danger of being fired.

Their opponent was the Columbus Blue Jackets, a team sitting 29th in the NHL overall standings. This was going to be the ‘W’ that would get them rolling.  Lalonde expected his team to breathe fire in the first period. Instead, the Red Wings played one of their worst periods of the slump. They were out-shot 20-5 and outscored 2-0 on breakaway goals.

“I was flabbergasted,” Lalonde said. “I was shocked. Disappointed. I never thought with this group that … it felt like they quit, and I couldn’t believe it.”

Lalonde would not reveal the specifics of what he said to his players after the period. “I’ll probably just keep that in the room,” he said.

Regain Playoff Spot

But whatever was said, the Red Wings had not quit. They tied the game 2-2 on second period goals by Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider. Even when it looked bleak when they trailed 3-2 late in the third, they found a tying goal by Raymond with 12.6 seconds remaining in regulation. Then, they won 4-3 on Patrick Kane‘s overtime goal.

It was the 15th time this season the Blue Jackets lost a third-period lead. James Reimer was impressive enough (32 saves) in goal to deserve a start on Thursday for Detroit.

The win pushed the Red Wings back into the Eastern Conference’s second wild card position, one point ahead of the Washington Capitals and three ahead of the New York Islanders. The Red Wings play the Islanders Thursday.

“So many emotional narratives this time of year,” Lalonde said. “Obviously, if we lose it’s a big narrative. Now we win and we’re won two of our last three and we’re over that line again. Separated ourselves a little bit from one of the teams we’re chasing with. It was huge, but it means nothing if we don’t get a little more battle to start. Stop feeling sorry for ourselves. It’s got to come from everyone. Honestly, going into this game, I thought we would have some jump.”

Kane Supplies Offense

Kane was involved in all three of Detroit’s goals, setting up both of Raymond’s goals. He admitted it was challenging to stay positive after the disastrous first period.

“It’s tough for sure, especially given the situation we were in a couple weeks ago,” Kane said. “But you try not to think about that and focus on the task at hand and just regroup. We were down two. It wasn’t like we were down five. So there was a lot of time left.”

The Red Wings were piling up wins three weeks ago, and had an eight-point lead in the wild card race.

While the Red Wings have been self-destructing, Raymond has been the only Detroit player surging. He has scored at least one goal in five consecutive games, and has seven goals in those five games. Raymond has back-to-back two-goal games.

“I think we just got back to the way we’re supposed to play,” Raymond said. “I think in the first we were hesitant, a little bit on our heels, playing slow. That doesn’t work in this league. Just full focus forward, just got momentum and tried to keep that going.”