The Detroit Red Wings remained home Thursday evening to square off with the Calgary Flames following a tough loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.
The Red Wings received some good news prior to the game; forward Filip Zadina returned to the lineup after suffering a broken leg which limited him to just nine games this season. Before the game, head coach Derek Lalonde mentioned that Zadina was ahead of schedule, and they initially didn’t expect Zadina to be available for another two or three weeks. Zadina, often scrutinized for his lack of production, has become the punching bag for some or the player others will scream from a mountaintop to defend. Regardless of which side you’re on, everyone can agree that Zadina needs to be much more productive. Lalonde plugged Zadina in on the fourth line alongside Pius Suter and Oskar Sundqvist, leading to a decision to scratch Dominik Kubalik. Kubalik is amid a tough stretch, having scored just four goals over his last 24 games.
Lalonde also elected to scratch defenseman Jordan Oesterle in favor of Robert Hagg. It’s the first game Hagg had appeared in since December 8th. This seemed like one of those; ‘we need to get you into a game’ decisions from Lalonde rather than a performance-based decision regarding Oesterle.
The Detroit Red Wings seemed to start the night off by carrying the play. Joe Veleno had a golden opportunity 30 seconds into the game. The play appeared to be offside and likely wouldn’t have counted if Veleno had scored, but the play wasn’t blown dead and continued. The first period would end 0-0, with the Flames outshooting the Red Wings to the tune of 12-5.
Andrew Copp had Detroit’s best chance of the first period. Copp broke in on a breakaway shorthanded, and despite having to fend off the hook, but still got off a quality scoring chance but was denied by goaltender Daniel Vladar.
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jake Walman took a heavy open-ice hit from 6-foot-6 Flames defender Nikita Zadorov. It was a clean shoulder-to-shoulder hit. Thankfully, Walman got his head up just in time, but Walman remained on the ice for quite some time and needed assistance leaving the ice surface. Thankfully, Walman returned to the game to start the second period. Walman missed all of training camp and the beginning of the 2022-23 regular season, recovering from shoulder surgery.
Filip Zadina and Ville Husso pace the Detroit Red Wings past the Calgary Flames.
The Detroit Red Wings once again struggled on the power play going zero for their first three opportunities with the man advantage. At one point, the Flames shorthanded wouldn’t allow the Red Wings to exit their zone, creating a couple of quality scoring chances.
The Flames would eventually break through first on the goal sheet late in the second period (18:07) when Blake Coleman redirected a Noah Hanifin point shot past Ville Husso.
It was a short-lived lead for the Flames thanks to a beautiful power-play goal from the Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin. Larkin broke in, splitting the defense on an excellent feed from David Perron and beating Vladar, who went down early over the right shoulder at the 19:46 mark of the second frame.
Filip Zadina rewarded his coach for inserting him into the lineup, getting the go-ahead goal in the third period for the Detroit Red Wings on a gorgeous give-and-go with Oskar Sundqvist. The Zadina tally would be the eventual game-winner.
Again, Thursday night was Zadina’s first game back since November 5th. Hagg also received an assist on the goal. Hagg cleared the defensive zone with a backhander to center ice from just inside the Red Wing blueline to spring Zadina and Sundqvist on the two-on-one.
Ville Husso stole the show, as he does many nights for the Detroit Red Wings, stopping 35 of 36 shots and backing Detroit to a 2-1 victory over the Flames. The Red Wings were outshot 36-17. Detroit was outshot 15-4 in the third period, and Husso made a sequence of stellar saves to preserve the victory.
Zadina played 8:28 in his first game back for Detroit. Moritz Seider led the way playing 27:36, recording an assist on the Larkin goal, blocking a shot, and totaling three hits. The only other player with over 20 minutes of work Thursday evening for Detroit was Ben Chiarot, who led the Red Wings with a whopping seven blocks to go with his four hits.
The Detroit Red Wings are back at it Saturday afternoon at home when they square off with the Vancouver Canucks. The puck drop is set for 12 pm Est.