Detroit Red Wings get a boost from an unexpected source

James Reimer made 38 saves in a shutout victory over the Calgary Flames.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

He hadn't made a start in roughly a month, but goaltender James Reimer gave the Detroit Red Wings an unexpected spark with his stellar play. Reimer made 38 saves in Detroit's 5-0 victory over the Calgary Flames on Saturday afternoon.

That game in Calgary was pivotal for the Red Wings, who had lost the first two on the road trip to Edmonton and Vancouver. Detroit had a nice cushion in the Wild Card race at the All-Star break, but that gap has quickly dissipated. With a 28-20-6 record, the Red Wings sit just two points ahead of the New Jersey Devils for the final Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference. Detroit also trails the Tampa Bay Lightning by a mere three points for the first Wild Card position with two games in hand.

On Monday, in Seattle, Detroit will have an opportunity to salvage the current road trip with a victory over the Kraken and notch four out of a possible eight points on this particular trip, which should be considered nothing less than a success. The Red Wings will return home to square off with the Avalanche on Thursday and host the Blues on Saturday. Detroit will see five of their next six games at home, hopefully providing the organization an opportunity to create some breathing room in the East.

James Reimer backed the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-0 victory in Calgary with an impressive 38 save effort.

The Detroit Red Wings got goals from Patrick Kane, J.T. Compher, Dylan Larkin, David Perron, and Lucas Raymond. Kane and Raymond also added an assist, and Moritz Seider added two helpers himself en route to a much-needed Red Wings' blowout victory. The Red Wings found a way to survive the first period in what head coach Derek Lalonde called Detroit's worst period of the current road trip, thanks to a handful of grade-A saves by Reimer. "Of the road trip so far, the first period was probably our worst period of the trip," Lalonde said. "But we come out of it 2-0 because of James, and our special teams. We were huge on the penalty kill, and then for us to convert on our first two power plays gave us a huge spark."

Larkin also was quick to credit Reimer's effort. "We battled hard and Reims was unbelievable for us," Larkin said. "We didn't have the best start, we were a little flat, but the power play got us going. To get one right away like that is huge and what you want. "Now we have a chance on Monday to get four points on this road trip and get home and start playing against teams in the East."

After the game, Reimer mentioned that it was nice to contribute to the team after not making an appearance in quite some time. โ€œItโ€™s nice when you contribute to the team,โ€ said Reimer. โ€œThatโ€™s all you want to do. You want to be part of the team and you want to help get to our goal. You just try to be ready whenever your numberโ€™s called. Today, for the most part, everything was going well for me, and I was getting bounces. I felt I prepared properly, and my mind was in a good place, and the good lord was kind to me.โ€

The Detroit Red Wings will likely need to lean on Reimer again soon, with backup Ville Husso going down with another lower-body injury during the first period of play in Edmonton earlier in the week. The Red Wings call the injury a week-to-week thing, but in terms of Detroit's injury destination, that could mean month-to-month. Reimer is 5-6-2 on the season with a .904 save percentage and a 2.89 goals-against average. Expect the Red Wings to turn back to starter Alex Lyon on Monday in Seattle. He's boasted a 2.82 goals against average paired with a .911 save percentage this season, guiding the Red Wings to a 14-8-2 record since taking over as the starter.