Recap: Minnesota Wild defeat Red Wings 6-5 in shootout

Mar 10, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (39) makes the save on Minnesota Wild center Frederick Gaudreau (89) in the third period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 10, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (39) makes the save on Minnesota Wild center Frederick Gaudreau (89) in the third period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Red Wings hosted the Wild Thursday night in what would be redemption from Tuesday’s atrociously humbling loss to the Coyotes. In what would be a well-played and thrilling game, Detroit fell 6-5 in the shootout.

Coming into this contest, there were a good amount of changes made to the Red Wings lines. Robby Fabbri was replaced on the top line by Vladislav Namestnikov and the Guelph Line (Fabbri – Suter – Bertuzzi) was reunited. Jakub Vrana joined Joe Veleno and Sam Gagner on the third line- bumping Filip Zadina down with Michael Rasmussen and Adam Erne. Regarding defensive line changes- Troy Stecher replaced Gustav Lindstrom and Danny DeKeyser remains on IR although he did practice with the team. Tyler Bertuzzi had been a game-time decision as he missed practice with a non-COVID illness but was thankfully in the lineup for the evening. Line adjustments were crucial to implement after Tuesday and the tweaks seemed to be beneficial for the Red Wings offense as they showed up to play far more than last game.

Alex Nedeljkovic started in net for Detroit and had an eventful game from start to finish. Partway through the first, Nedeljkovic made what could probably be his worst career play so far. In an attempt to clear a loose puck, he extended his stick to swat it out of the zone but held on a second too long- sending the puck straight into the net behind him. After a play such as that, it can be very hard for a goaltender to bounce back mentally to compete for the rest of the game, and thankfully Ned did not give up. Just minutes later he was credited with an assist on the 2nd Red Wings goal of the game scored by Lucas Raymond.

Jakub Vrana is making a triumphant return to the Red Wings as he scored in his second straight game. He would open the scoring for Detroit on the glove side of Talbot off of a brilliant assist from Joe Veleno near the right circle making it a 1-1 game. His second goal of the game was just 12 minutes later, assisted by Filip Hronek and Nick Leddy in what would be Leddy’s first assist of the evening. Vrana has scored three goals in his two games played this season and has proved to be a key aspect of the Red Wings offense. If this pace continues, it appears that Detroit could have a new superstar goal scorer on their hands.

Lucas Raymond was on fire as he netted two goals for the Wings. In contrast to the normal Seider-Raymond scoring combination, it was Seider’s linemate Nick Leddy who was the primary assist on both of Raymond’s goals. Now with 18 goals and 45 points this season, Raymond is still one of the best rookies in the league standing just behind Michael Bunting (TOR) in terms of statistics alone.

Nick Leddy was a whole new man out on the ice last night as he came out with a spark that had not been seen in games past. He dropped jaws of Red Wings fans as he pulled an incredibly smooth spin move through the Wild defense and snuck a pass over to Lucas Raymond who buried it in the net over the right shoulder of Talbot. This could arguably be the best play in Leddy’s Red Wings career. Simply put; who would have known that he had those puck handling and maneuverability skills in him?

This matchup was anything but boring as it was a tight game through all 60 minutes and was incredibly physical. The biggest fight of the night was an all-out brawl in front of the Detroit net towards the end of the 2nd period. A series of cross checks, hits, punches, and everything in between sent every man on the ice into a frenzy- including both goaltenders. Dumba of the Wild took on Lucas Raymond in the dirtiest manner possible- slamming Raymond’s head into the ice and pummeling him while blood was obviously spilling. Raymond, Nedeljkovic, Dumba, and Talbot would all serve two minute minors for various roles in this brawl. Although no other fights stacked up to this one, the Red Wings had no problem standing their ground for themselves and their teammates after being both riled up and rattled by this initial scrum.

Ultimately, this game is one to be satisfied with. Even though it was a loss it was a complete 180 from Tuesday’s game which is exactly what this needed to be. Although the defensive issues were still there per usual, all other aspects of the Red Wings’ game seemed to look marginally better. Maintaining possession of the puck helped to keep Detroit right on the heels of Minnesota throughout the entire game and they were able to stand up for their team and not get humiliated like they did the other day. The positives of this game remind Red Wings fans of the little things they have to be grateful for in comparison to past seasons as a sign of this teams’ growth.

This Saturday, the Red Wings kick off their west coast road trip in Calgary as they take on the Flames. The Flames have been having a stellar season as they are 1st in the Pacific Division and have a 35-15-7 record in contrast to Detroit’s more average record of 24-27-7. Road games are consistently rough for Detroit (8-15-3) and the Wings are looking to secure a win to open up the road trip and break their four game losing streak. If the positives of last night’s game are able to be carried into these upcoming games, the Red Wings should at least be able to put up a fight against Calgary and once again prove that they are capable of winning games.

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