The Detroit Red Wings entered Saturday night’s game in Seattle amid a stellar five-game win streak and looked to keep the wheels on the freight train rolling. Detroit had been steamrolling their way through western Canada, beating up on the Canucks, Oilers, and Flames before returning to the United States to take on the surging Seattle Kraken.
Heading into Saturday’s game, one of the biggest questions among Red Wings fans had been; why did the organization recall forward Jakub Vrana but not play him? It’s simple, the Detroit Red Wings are hot and are nearly scoring five goals per game on this road trip. Before Saturday’s game in Seattle, Detroit Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde mentioned that Vrana is currently Detroit’s 13th forward. Lalonde said it’s no different than any of their other 13th forwards over the year, whether it was Pius Suter, Filip Zadina, or Adam Erne. Lalonde said he wouldn’t play Vrana ‘just to play him.’ He’d need to work his way into the lineup and would be available if an injury were to occur.
Lucas Raymond is also day-to-day, and Lalonde sounded optimistic that he might be ready for Tuesday’s contest with the Washington Capitals. Once Raymond returns, Vrana will likely be sent back to Grand Rapids unless an injury occurs.
The Detroit Red Wings run out of gas and lose to Seattle 4-2.
Ville Husso returned to the cage Saturday night after getting a much-deserved rest in Calgary. Husso played reasonably well, which has become customary for the Red Wings, but the starting netminder will want the game’s first goal back. Kraken forward Jordan Eberle broke into Detroit’s zone, and despite appearing like a harmless rush, Eberle took a shot from the hash marks through Ben Chiarot’s legs that Husso failed to pick up. The puck squeezed through Husso’s body and right arm and trickled into the net, making it 1-0 Kraken.
Pius Suter would get the Detroit Red Wings on the board late in the first period with an excellent turnaround shot from the slot through a mass of humanity in front of goaltender Phillipp Grubauer. Suter started the play, streaking in on the right side but was forced to pull up near the circle. Filip Zadina was johnny-on-the-spot in support of Suter and worked a nifty backhand pass to a waiting Jake Walman at the point. Walman’s shot was blocked but deflected to Suter, who sent it home to tie the contest at one with just 16 seconds remaining in the first frame.
Suter is playing his best hockey of the season of late, having scored the shootout winning in Edmonton, scoring in Calgary, and again in Seattle.
The Kraken jumped out to another lead early in the second period, thanks to Eberle again. The Kraken caught the Detroit Red Wings tired and at the end of a shift. Defenseman Filip Hronek was caught flat-footed at the Detroit blue line as Matty Beniers beat Larkin wide and centered a pass to Eberle in the slot. For the second time on the night, Eberle sent a shot through a sprawling Chiarot that found its way past Husso. This time, Husso didn’t have much of a chance.
Seattle would strike again with only 7 seconds left in the second period. Before the goal, the Detroit Red Wings were rewarded a four-minute power play after Vince Dunn got the gate for high-sticking Michael Rasmussen. On the faceoff to begin the crucial power play, David Perron was called for holding the stick. It was blatant; it was a lazy play by Perron, especially given the circumstances; it was the right call.
Detroit created a few good chances during the four-on-four play, with Larkin, Seider, Walman, and Bertuzzi spending a good portion of time in the Seattle end. The Kraken finally exited the zone, and with the Red Wings looking to change, Seattle gained an odd-man rush with Eberle and Beniers leading the way. Husso made an incredible save on Beniers, but moments later, the former Wolverine made a tremendous pass to defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, who redirected it past a hopeless Husso as he drove toward the net.
The Detroit Red Wings created some sustained pressure on the Kraken early on in the third period. Chiarot missed a goal by inches with a slapshot, and Grubauer dropped his arms as though he thought the puck was in. Still, Seattle was able to weather the storm, eventually, create a turnover, and bury another goal to make it 4-1. As Dylan Larkin and David Perron failed to exit Detroit’s zone, the Red Wings left two Kraken forwards all alone in front of Husso. Eeli Tolvanen converted and kept his five-game point streak alive, scoring his 12th goal of the season.
The Detroit Red Wings wouldn’t go away quietly. Captain Dylan Larkin deposited a goal with 2:21 to go in the third period. Tyler Bertuzzi out-battled a pair of Kraken players along the wall and got the puck out to Larkin, who stick-handled his way from the circle to near the goal beating Grubauer with a nice wrist shot. Larkin’s hot streak continues as he’s recorded at least a point in seven straight games.
With Saturday being Detroit’s fourth game in six days, the Red Wings ran out of gas. This has been a fantastic road trip for the organization, and hopefully, Lalonde and company can hit the reset button before Tuesday’s matchup with the Washington Capitals.