Red Wings end six-game skid behind Michael Rasmussen’s 4-point night

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Red Wings returned home Wednesday night amid a six-game winless streak looking to upset the mighty Tampa Bay Lightning. Detroit entered the night with a record of 13-11-7 compared to Tampa’s 20-9-1, leaving the odds against Detroit, but it wouldn’t matter because the Red Wings eventually edged the Lightning 7-4 thanks to a four-point night from Michael Rasmussen.

Things didn’t start well for the Detroit Red Wings. The Lightning struck early, thanks to a Brayden Point laser. Detroit Red Wings defenseman Ben Chiarot gambled trying to keep a 50/50 puck in at the Lightning blue line, but Kucherov was able to spring Point on a two-on-one that Moritz Seider tried to defend. Point didn’t attempt to force a pass through a sprawling Seider, but he snapped a shot past Husso. Shortly following the Point goal, Detroit found themselves down two men with Veleno and Chiarot in the penalty box. The Red Wings miraculously found a way to kill off the five-on-three.

Detroit tied the score with under five minutes to go in the first period thanks to Olli Maatta’s third goal of the season. A couple of minutes later, Alex Killorn put the Lightning back out in front during a scramble in front of Husso. Three Tampa players surrounded Husso, and only Maatta was left to defend.

Michael Rasmussen would tie the contest again, tipping home a point shot from Chiarot with under 30 seconds left in the first period. Dylan Larkin scored his 11th goal of the season midway through the second period ripping a beautiful shot from the hash marks over the right shoulder of Brian Elliott that clipped the crossbar and in. David Perron and Rasmussen received assists on the Larkin tally.

The top line pushes the Detroit Red Wings past the Tampa Bay Lightning.

This first line of Larkin, Perron, and Rasmussen put together by head coach Derek Lalonde ahead of the Washington game continues to perform very well together. The trio each recorded a point against the Capitals and picked up right where they left off against Tampa Bay. Rasmussen, at 6-foot-6, brings size and physicality to the group and continues to prove that he can perform offensively when playing with scoring-type linemates.

Lalonde is forced to play a second center on Larkin’s line due to his hand injury, allowing him to avoid taking faceoffs. Unfortunately, Larkin left the game near the end of the second period holding his hand as he walked down the tunnel toward Detroit’s locker room. Detroit’s captain would return for the start of the third period, which is excellent news for the Red Wings, but his hand is certainly giving him some issues. Hopefully, it’s something that doesn’t persist for months. Shortly following Larkin’s goal, Adam Erne whiffed on a pass in the defensive zone which sprung Ross Colton in alone on Husso to tie things back at three.

At the conclusion of the second period, Red Wings defenseman Olli Maatta hit a Lightning player from behind at the horn, which drew a crowd. Maatta received a minor for the hit, which Detroit successfully killed off to being the third frame. As the goaltenders crossed paths to head to their respected locker rooms, Brian Elliott had a lot to say to Ville Husso, but Husso didn’t bat an eye and continued on his way to Detroit’s bench.

Rookie forward Elmer Soderblom put Detroit ahead 4-3 midway through the third period thanks to an awful giveaway by Elliott behind his goal. Elliott gave the puck right to Joe Veleno, who, in turn, sent a crisp pass to Soderblom alone in front of a gaping Lightning net.

Larkin’s hand doesn’t seem to be that bothersome because he scored his 12th of the season midway through the third period from an incredibly sharp angle, down at the bottom of the circle.

Down two goals, the Tampa Bay Lightning tried to get physical with the Red Wings, and Seider obliged. Seider leveled forward Brandon Hagel to the right of Husso. A convoy of Lightning players went to challenge Seider, and a squirmish ensued. Rasmussen and Chiarot were also involved.

Detroit clearly frustrated the Lightning, and it was exactly the fight we hoped to see from a Red Wings team that entered the night winless in six.

Nikita Kucherov briefly brought the Lightning back within one goal late before the Red Wings got a pair of empty-net tallies from Perron and Rasmussen to close it out.

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Again, this newly formed first line of Larkin, Rasmussen, and Perron combined for ten points, three points each from Perron and Larkin and a four-point night for Rasmussen. Expect to see a lot more of this unit moving forward, even when some of the injured Red Wings begin to return to the lineup.