The Detroit Red Wings returned home Saturday afternoon to square off with their archrival, the Colorado Avalanche, following a few days off. Detroit last played Tuesday in Nashville as they skated to a 2-1 boring loss.
Saturday was a big afternoon for Detroit Red Wings fans. With the unfortunate injury to veteran defenseman Ben Chiarot, the Red Wings recalled top prospect Simon Edvinsson, 20, to make his NHL debut. Head coach Derek Lalonde elected to pair Detroit’s top defense prospect with Robert Hagg on the third pairing as he wanted to ease the youngster in at the NHL level. I would have preferred to see Edvinsson paired with the ever-so-steady and reliable Olli Maatta.
Something neat to mention, Saturday is Hockey Day In Finland, and the game was broadcasted through their country. The Detroit Red Wings entered the day 2-7-1 in their last ten. Meanwhile, the defending Stanley Cup champs are 6-3-1. Notable Finnish players currently on Detroit are Maatta and starting goaltender Ville Husso.
The Detroit Red Wings were buried 5-1 by the Colorado Avalanche.
It was a very entertaining first-period Saturday in Detroit. The Colorado Avalanche struck first despite Detroit dominating the frame thanks to a Devon Toews point shot through traffic that found its way past Husso. Husso couldn’t track the puck through a screen; as Husso peaked to his left, the shot through traffic went past him on his right.
The Detroit Red Wings tied it up less than two minutes later on Pius Suter’s 12th goal of the season. Suter ripped a gorgeous shot from the right circle over the right shoulder of goaltender Alexandar Georgiev, who was frozen on the play.
Detroit outshot the Avalanche to the tune of 16-6 after one period of play. Edvinsson totaled 4:19 over six first-period shifts and recorded his first NHL hit as he laid out Nathan MacKinnon. The rookie defender performed very well in his first NHL period playing mistake-free hockey, and all of his decisions and passes looked to be on point.
Nathan MacKinnon proved once again that he’s a game-breaker and absolutely lethal with the puck on his stick, scoring his 30th of the season. MacKinnon put the Avalanche ahead with a gorgeous goal at the 7:24 mark of the second period. It was a broken play at center ice when MacKinnon picked up a loose puck and split Detroit’s defense before beating Husso in that shooter’s sweet spot just over the pad and under the blocker.
Seider was caught flat-footed on the play, and Jordan Oesterle was a bit late coming over to help. It happens, but don’t forget, MacKinnon can fly, which in reality, makes it look a bit worse on film than it was.
The Avalanche would gain a 3-1 lead on a power play goal from Bowen Byram. The goal came on a Colorado four-on-three advantage after Jake Walman, and Mikko Rantanen received off-setting penalties following a scrum. Then, moments later, Robert Hagg had been assessed a tripping penalty after being upended at center ice and reaching for the puck; an Avalanche player accidentally stepped on Hagg’s stick, but Detroit’s defender was called for tripping.
Byram deposited a pass from Cale Maker past Husso from the left circle. Just before the goal, a MacKinnon shot broke Seider’s stick, leaving Detroit’s top defender helpless. It would be Makar’s third assist of the game.
The second-period shots favored the Avalanche 12-8, but Detroit led the category 24-18 through two periods. Although down 3-1, the Red Wings played two good periods of hockey, Georgiev in goal for Colorado being the difference.
Things didn’t go well for the Detroit Red Wings in the third period. The Avalanche continued to pile on, making it 4-1 after a short-handed goal from Lars Eller. Less than a minute later, Mikko Rantanen roofed his 45th goal of the season, making it 5-1 Colorado. That would be the end of the day for Husso. Detroit’s starter allowed five goals on 21 shots. Magnus Hellberg would come on in relief and stop the two shots he faced.
MacKinnon finished the day with a goal and two assists, and Makar totaled three assists. Edvinsson played 15:34 in his debut, and Seider led the way with over 22 minutes of ice time. Andrew Copp and David Perron were minus-3 on the day. Copp led Detroit with five shots on goal. Dylan Larkin played 18:30 and recorded three shots on goal.
Next up for Detroit is a home date with the Florida Panthers on Monday.