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Red Wings’ Rally Isn’t Enough In Pivotal Game vs. Penguins



Lucas Raymond, Detroit Red Wings, Predators

In 2009, Sidney Crosby was leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to prevent the Detroit Red Wings from winning back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. Fifteen years later, Crosby is still leading the Penguins and hurting the Red Wings.

Crosby used his 1,000th career assist to set-up Erik Karlsson for an overtime game-winner in the Penguins’ 6-5 win against the Red Wings.

The Red Wings needed two points, and earned one.

“Emotions are . . . it’s unlike anything,” Detroit captain Dylan Larkin said. “It’s playoff mode. You win one, you’re on top of the world. You lose one and you’re rock bottom. That’s just the way it goes.”

The win gives the Penguins 86 points and a one-point lead over the Red Wings, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers. The Penguins, Red Wings and Capitals have three games remaining, while the Flyers have two. The Penguins are trying to become the first team in NHL history to come from nine points back in the last 11 games to qualify for the playoffs.

The Red Wings erased a 5-3 third-period deficit to send the game  to OT.  Dylan Larkin, set up by Lucas Raymond, scored at 12:56 to make it a 5-4 game. Less than two minutes later, Raymond completed his second career hat trick to tie the game. Raymond had a spectacular night in perhaps his franchise’s biggest game in the last decade.

“I think the way Lucas played tonight was, if you’re looking at a step in his career, then that’s a performance that I’m very impressed by,” Larkin said. “I think that was a good statement to the hockey world.”

Big Night for Top Line

On the positive side, the Red Wings top line produced four goals and 10 points — Raymond had four and Larkin and Alex DeBrincat three points each– and the team was resilient in finding a way to secure a point. On the negative side, too many turnovers,  mistakes at inopportune times and Alex Lyon couldn’t come up with big saves when they were needed. Lyon had a .778 save percentage in this game.

They needed a big save from Lyon on the Jeff Carter shorthanded goal or the Karlsson blast from the high slot.

In the third period, the Red Wings trailed 4-3 and had a power play. They don’t score, and a turnover at the blue line led to a shorthanded goal by Carter to give Pittsburgh a 5-3 lead. Coach Derek Lalonde called that goal “self-inflicted” because it started with a turnover by Daniel Sprong at the blue line.

With the Washington Capitals also losing, the Red Wings still have a chance. According to, the Red Wings now have a 15.8% chance of making the playoffs for the first time in eight years. The Penguins’ playoff odds are now at 57.8%.

“I told the guys — that was a huge point,” Lalonde said. “I know it doesn’t feel very good right now, but the path is still there and we kept it alive.”

Detroit plays at Toronto Saturday. If the Red Wings win that game, who knows what the standings will look like. None of the teams competing for this playoff spot is taking complete charge of the race.

“We weren’t as clean tonight,” Lalonde said. “We got a point but our best hockey game was our last game out. I think we got away from some things from that game. We turned more pucks over tonight, we gave up some easy offense. There were some things we’ll need to improve on to give ourselves a chance Saturday.”