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Detroit Red Wings

Raymond Shows With Playoff Push His Transfomation Has No Limits



Lucas Raymond, Red Wings

DETROIT — Lucas Raymond was struggling to catch his breath at the same time he was breathing life into the Detroit Red Wings’ playoff hopes Monday night

Raymond and Dylan Larkin had been on the ice for most of overtime when Larkin broke out with the puck on his stick.

“Just saw Larks up ice. I thought he was going for a breakaway first but he was probably pretty tired,” Raymond said. “Then I just tried to jump up. I was pretty tired, too. Then I just tried to get off a shot. Happy it went in.”

Raymond converted Larkin’s cross-ice feed at 4:35 of overtime for his 31st goal of the season to give Detroit a 5-4 win against the Montreal Canadiens. Raymond’s 30th goal — coming with 1:17 left in regulation — extended postseason hopes to at least Tuesday. If the Red Wings beat the Habs in the second game of a home-and-home in Montreal Tuesday and the Philadelphia Flyers defeat Washington, then Detroit qualifies for the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

“Yeah, it’s just like I drew it up,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said.

With the postseason on the line, Lalonde only used six players different players and his goalie in the OT.
“Yeah, it’s obviously not ideal how I only used the four forwards, only used the two D in overtime, but it’s that time of year,” Lalonde said. ” We had enough little rest in between where I was comfortable going back to Larks and Raymond. Thankfully, I did. Those guys found a way in the end.”

Raymond Growing Into Superstar

Larkin-Raymond heroics have become the story of the push for the playoffs. Larkin  scored the OT winner Saturday to make the Montreal games consequential. Raymond has been transforming from a potential star to dynamic force for the past two months. He has six goals in his past five games and 14 in his last 17.

“Just the growth of him,”” Lalonde said. You want these important games for many reasons down the stretch and a lot of it is for the growth of some of our youth and I give (Raymond) a ton of credit. He was one of those guys where it wasn’t going for him, to the bad end of some physical plays and didn’t get frustrated, hung in there, battled. Obviously, two big goals in the end.”

On the tying goal, Raymond gained possession during a goalmouth scramble, and held the puck long enough to figure out where he needed to shoot.

“Poise,” Lalonde said. “I think that’s growth, that’s who he is. Just impressive. Unfortunately, we got chasing it there. We were pretty much down to nine forwards down the stretch. We got a little lucky with some timeouts and some octopi in the ice to get some breathers. Assist to the fanbase there, good feel on what we needed for energy. But we were able to get through it and have enough in the end so credit to the guys.”

Raymond, 22, said the tying goal was part of a “crazy sequence.”

“The puck was bouncing all over the place,” Raymond said. “It felt like a lot of sticks flying everywhere and then I got it and it was kind of wide open. It felt good.”