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This Red Wings Prospect Was OT Hero

Detroit draftee ends six-period thriller



Axel Sandin Pellikka, Red Wings prospect
Red Wings draftee Axel Sandin Pellikka was an OT hero in the SHL playoffs.

The Detroit Red Wings couldn’t find an overtime winner on Tuesday when they desperately needed it. They could’ve used Axel Sandin Pellikka.

The defenseman chosen 17th overall by the Red Wings in the 2023 NHL entry draft was an OT hero on Tuesday in the Swedish playoffs. While Detroit was falling 4-3 in OT at Washington in a game with massive implications on the Stanley Cup playoffs, Sandin Pellikka was scoring to push Skelleftea to within a win of advancing in the SHL quarterfinals.

Sandin Pellikka’s tally would end the third-longest playoff game in Swedish history. He netted a power-play goal after 116 minutes and 23 seconds of elapsed time to give Skelleftea a triple-OT win over Linkoping, also by a 4-3 count.

“Extreme relief,” Swedish website Aftonbladet reported Sandin Pellikka telling Sweden’s TV4 following the game. “We had some pizza left after the third period, so we wanted to go home and eat it. So it was extremely nice that it went in.”

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The game came up just three minutes shy of becoming the longest-ever SHL game. In 1997, Leksand and Färjestad played a record 119:16.

“The worst thing is that the skates weigh 50 kilos more,” Sandin Pellikka said. “But we go through ‘hell week’ every summer training. So we have good fitness in the team.”

Sandin Pellikka, who just turned 19 on March 11, wound up skating a team-high 42:15 during the six-period contest. His winning goal was registered while Skelleftea was enjoying a power play. He also would collect an assist, five shots on goal and a plus-one rating for the game.

The talented rearguard finshed the SHL regular season with 10 goals and eight assists. By comparison, Tampa Bay Lightning defensive superstar Victor Hedman accounted for seven goals as an 18-year-old playing in the SHL.

In three playoff games, Sandin Pellikka is showing 1-2-3 totals.