Detroit – The Detroit Red Wings haven’t scored many goals lately but sure did Tuesday, and needed them all.
The Wings defeated the hard-charging and explosive Winnipeg Jets 7-5 to end a three-game losing streak.
After only scoring four goals during those three losses, the Wings exploded for three goals in the first period then had to keep adding whenever they could against the Jets.
It wasn’t a piece of art by any stretch, but the Wings will take the needed victory.
“It never felt comfortable,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “Just because the way we were playing. We had no gas, we were slow, we were tired. We had mental mistakes, tired mistakes. It was frustrating because of how good our five-on-five play was, but not (Tuesday ).
Blackberries:BOX SCORE: Red Wings 7, Jets 5
“Hopefully it was a one-off and we’ll address some things and again, it’s easy to correct some things with wins.”
Winnipeg’s Nikolaj Ehlers cut the Wings’ lead to 5-4 just 33 seconds into the third period. But Robby Fabbri scored his second goal since returning last week from knee surgery, redirecting Gustav Lindstrom’s shot at 1:52, restoring a two-goal Wings’ lead.
Mark Scheifele (power play) cut the Wings’ lead to 6-5, putting back a loose puck in front of goaltender Ville Husso at 14:55. But Lucas Raymond finally ended it with an empty net goal at 18:40, Raymond’s 11th goal.
“We’ve been playing good but not getting results, so tonight was the other way around,” Raymond said. “A big thing we take away is being able to win these types of games if we’re not all there.”
The Wings’ best player Tuesday was defenseman Moritz Seider, who had four assists tying a team record for a defenseman (Mike Green, the last to do it, had four assists on Oct. 5, 2017). Seider had a plus-three rating, blocked four shots and was dominant in over 23 minutes of ice time.
“He was by far our best player,” Lalonde said. “I don’t want to take away from our other guys who scored (seven) goals but he was our best player. He’s a big part why we got two points.”
Seider has been consistent, but generally has played to the level that earned him the NHL’s Calder Trophy (best rookie) last season. But Seider might be achieving that level again soon, if not doing so already.
“Some of those games he struggled early in the year he was turning the puck over a lot and putting himself in bad situations,” Lalonde said. “He was just a complete player (Tuesday). He’s only 21-years-old, there will be some inconsistency in his game, especially because how much we ask of him.
“But (Tuesday) was a real complete game.”
Seider was unaware of tying the single-game assist mark for a Wings’ defenseman, but was hopeful this could be a spark to his offensive output this season.
“I hope so,” Seider said. “It worked out tonight. Maybe (a little frustration the points have been down), but all in all, I’m playing a lot more mature than last year and maybe even better. It’s just a matter of time.
“Staying on the defensive side against the top lines every night, it’s been working out pretty well. I’m working hard and trying to get better.”
Jake Walman, Jonatan Berggren and Oskar Sundqvist had first period goals, as the Wings (17-15-7) skated to a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Winnipeg came to within 4-3 in the second period before Dylan Larkin scored his 14th goal on a two-man advantage. Dominik Kubalik (13th goal) had given the Wings a 4-1 lead early in the period off an odd-man rush with Sundqvist.
After the dry spell recently, Lalonde was pleased to see the offensive outburst.
“I liked some of the hard goals,” Lalonde said. “We were hard to play against for a goalie. Not a lot of volume (23 shots) but good volume and special teams tonight, I felt we won the special teams game on numbers and momentum.”
Neal Pionk, Sam Gagner and Nate Schmidt added Winnipeg (26-14-1) goals, as the Jets saw their five-game win streak come to an end.
The Wings welcomed Tyler Bertuzzi back to the lineup after missing six weeks with a hand injury. Bertuzzi was held pointless, but had two hits and two blocks in 17:48.
“He got stuck a few times, he could manage some of his shifts better, and he made some of those defensive zones, tired mistakes like the rest of us,” Lalonde said. “But he has to play and go through the process. It’ll be good for him. He probably reflected the rest of our team with the play.”