Lucas Raymond capped off a spirited effort from the Detroit Red Wings

Lucas Raymond netted the overtime winner on Friday night in what felt like a must-win game for the Detroit Red Wings against the Nashville Predators.
Brian Bradshaw Sevald-USA TODAY Sports
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Everybody loves Raymond. Lucas Raymond buried the overtime game-winning goal Friday night as the Detroit Red Wings edged the Nashville Predators 5-4. It was Raymond's first goal in eight games and came at the most opportune time. Raymond had been scuffling a bit of late, having recorded just a goal and three assists over his previous ten games heading into Friday's matchup. He's now up to 11 goals and 27 points on the season through 36 games and is a minus-9. Raymond is averaging over 17 minutes a night and maintains a solid Corsi For Percentage of 50.2 during even strength situations.

Neither the players nor the coaching staff wouldn't admit that a game in late December had been a 'must-win' affair, but for the Detroit Red Wings, it certainly felt that way. The Red Wings had been fighting it of late, going 2-8-1 over their past 11 contests, and the team that had once controlled the second seed of the Atlantic Division has fallen to fifth. Despite a terrible stretch for the Red Wings, the good news is that they remain just three points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place, but the Leafs have three games in hand. Detroit is just one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for the fourth spot, and each has played 36 contests.

The Detroit Red Wings get a much-needed two points on Friday evening.

Head coach Derek Lalonde spoke about how important it was for the Detroit Red Wings to battle back to win the game despite trailing in the third period. Lalonde also mentioned that he had been disappointed with a poor stretch of play late in the second period, which saw Detroit give up a pair of 'bad' goals to give the Preds the lead heading into the third frame.

"“We needed it for sure,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “It’s a good step. I love the fact that we found a way to get two full points when trailing going into the third. That doesn’t happen a lot in our league.

“There’s just still some things we need to grow on. It’s disappointing. Our first 32 minutes and the last eight minutes of the second. It’s kind of been our identity of late where we put together some pretty good hockey, pretty responsible hockey and then those last eight minutes we gave them two freebies, so we’re trailing going into the third. But I give our guys credit, especially the way things were going lately, to compete and find a way in the third. A positive but we still need to stake some steps here.”"

The Detroit Red Wings received a boost in goal with the return of Alex Lyon who had recently missed some time with an upper-body injury. Although he gave up four goals, he proved to be a much more reliable option in the net than James Reimer or Michael Hutchinson. Lyon made 33 saves in his return.

"“He was confident,” Lalonde said. “He has a poise about him. Puck handles were great. Compete was really good. You can’t fault him on any of the goals. Just a real quality win for him.”"

The Detroit Red Wings got two gorgeous goals from defenseman Jake Walman, who also added an assist.

Alex DeBrincat joined in on the fun, recording a goal and two assists, plus a rare fight. DeBrincat elected to drop the gloves with Preds captain Roman Josi late in the second period following a scrum in front of the Nashville goal. It really wasn't much of a fight, but DeBrincat was the only one to land a few rabbit punches and landed on top of Josi to end the quick tilt. Patrick Kane recorded a pair of helpers, and Dylan Larkin scored a short-handed goal to open the scoring. Next up for the Red Wings is a date with the mighty Boston Bruins on New Year's Eve in Detroit.

Next. Red Wings giving Jonatan Berggren another shot amid injury trouble. Red Wings giving Jonatan Berggren another shot amid injury trouble. dark