Everybody loves Raymond as the Red Wings' playoff hopes stay alive

The Detroit Red Wings beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 in overtime to save their season.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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With everything on the line at home, the Detroit Red Wings found a way to beat the Montreal Canadiens. Montreal entered the night as the worst team in the Atlantic Division with 30 wins and 74 points on the year. The Red Wings, battling for their playoff lives, were able to muster just enough offense to keep their season alive heading into the final game of the season in Montreal on Tuesday.

Again, in a do-or-die situation, head coach Derek Lalonde's team came out flat-footed and found themselves chasing the Habs early. Brendan Gallagher, the ultra pest, opened the scoring with his 14th of the year from his office right out in front of the goal. Rookie defenseman Lane Hutson, making his NHL debut, was able to hold the puck in at the blue line and sent a puck toward the front of the net. Gallagher managed to chop a backhander toward a sprawling Alex Lyon, trying to fight through some heavy traffic in front, but couldn't come up with a save.

Less than two minutes later, Montreal struck again. This time, Justin Barron netted his seventh goal of the season. The Detroit Red Wings quickly returned fire, thanks to a goal from J.T. Compher. Alex DeBrincat fired a shot that rang off the inside of the goal post, caromed across the Montreal goal, and it caromed right to Compher, who was able to bury it from a tough angle. Ben Chiarot drew the second assist on the goal.

The Red Wings entered the second period down 2-1 and once again appeared to be skating in quicksand.

Like in the first period, Montreal scored the first two goals in the second frame thanks to Rafael Harvey-Pinard and Gallagher again. The Harvey-Pinard goal was yet another Red Wings defensive breakdown. Andrew Copp drifted away from Harvey-Pinard at center ice to chase the player Robby Fabbri was responsible for allowing the Habs forward to drive the center lane toward Detroit's goal with no resistance. Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere had to stay with his man, the winger also driving the Detroit goal. These types of defensive breakdowns have occurred far too many times for the Red Wings this season, and it can't happen to a veteran player like Copp, who is also expected to be a viable 200-foot forward.

Gallagher gave the Habs a brief three-goal lead with his second of the night after a very unfortunate play from Simon Edvinsson behind the Detroit goal. Edvinsson tried to reverse the puck from behind the Detroit net, and the puck went off the skate of Jake Evans on the forecheck and ricocheted out in front of Lyon, where a wide-open Gallagher was waiting. The Red Wings answered again, thanks to Compher again.

Everybody loves Raymond

Things got interesting late in the third period. Alex DeBrincat gave the Detroit Red Wings some hope. With just under ten minutes to go, he buried his 27th goal of the year, finishing a nice tic-tac-toe passing play with Olli Maatta and Shayne Gostisbehere.

Detroit, as you'd expect, had one of those big seasons' on the line at the end of the third-period desperation pushes to close out regulation. With Lalonde calling Lyon to the bench with just over two minutes to play in the third period, Lucas Raymond made it pay off by netting the game-tying goal to force overtime and save Detroit's season. Moments before the goal, Gostisbehere made an amazing jumping save at the offensive blue line to hold the puck in the zone. It was Raymond's 30th goal of the season.

Overtime was as exciting as you could imagine. DeBrincat and Gostisbehere rattled the pipe, and Raymond once again became the hero of the day, burying his second of the night and all-important game-winner.

A star is born, folks. Lucas Raymond is a wagon. The 22-year-old winger has quickly blossomed into a star, particularly over the second half of the season. Raymond really elevated his game when Larkin was injured in March, and although Detroit would have liked better results, it seemed Raymond gained a ton of confidence, and it's now overflowing for all to see. The pending restricted free agent is about to break the bank, but general manager Steve Yzerman must be thrilled with how he's seen his star winger progress this season. I'll tell you what: Nobody will question an eight-year contract for Raymond if that's the route the two sides use during negotiations.

The Detroit Red Wings will finish out the regular season in Montreal. Everybody who needed to win on Monday to remain in the hunt won. The Red Wings need to win on Tuesday, and the Flyers to beat Washington to clinch a playoff berth.

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