Athanasiou, Wings snap losing streak with 3-2 SO win over Rangers
On a night the Red Wings remembered No. 7 before and during the game, No. 72 led them to a victory and saluted Ted Lindsay in his own way.
Andreas Athanasiou had a goal and an assist and scored the only goal of the shootout in a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers on Thursday night at Little Caesars Arena. The win snapped Detroit’s season-long eight-game losing streak (0-5-3).
After Athanasiou scored to give the Wings a 2-1 lead 6:15 into the third period, he looked up and gestured to Lindsay’s retired No. 7 banner hanging in the rafters.
Lindsay, the all-time Red Wings great and Hall of Famer, died on Monday at the age of 93.
“I think I was just happy that the puck went in and wanted to say a little thank you to Ted,” said Athanasiou, who scored his 23rd goal. “… A good tribute to him.”
He scored on a shot from the right circle on a 2-on-1 rush with the teams playing 4-on-4.
That would have been a great way for the game to end but Pavel Buchnevich had other ideas. His second goal of the game, with 5:31 left in regulation, tied it at 2, and sent it into what turned out to be a scoreless five-minute overtime period and the shootout.
But Athanasiou made sure Detroit got its first win in nine games on the night that Lindsay was remembered.
“We kept working hard,” said Tyler Bertuzzi, who scored the Red Wings’ other goal. “We played good in Colorado (a 4-3 overtime loss on Tuesday) and were headed in the right direction.”
The Red Wings were without Dylan Larkin, due to a back issue, and defenseman Mike Green, who is done for the season because of the same virus – which attacks his liver – that sidelined him during training camp and forced him to miss the first few games of the season.
Larkin had an MRI so more will be known about his back on Friday.
“I think everyone did alright and were playing great,”
Athanasiou said. “Obviously, that’s what you need when you’re missing two key players – up front (Larkin) and on defense (Green).”
Athanasiou played 24:13.
“Those are the kind of minutes I've used Larks (Larkin), especially in an overtime game, and Doubles was earning those same minutes,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He's an electric player when he's on, and I thought he was highly electric all night tonight.”
Jimmy Howard made 32 saves and stopped Mika Zibanejad, Tony DeAngelo and Buchnevich in the shootout.
“We took a step in the right direction to get back to playing good hockey in Colorado and took a bigger step tonight,” Howard said.
Bertuzzi tied the game 1-1, 5:46 into the second period when he tipped in Madison Bowey’s shot from the point. It was Bertuzzi’s 16th goal of the season and Bowey’s first point as a Red Wings after being acquired in a trade deadline deal with the Washington Capitals.
Buchnevich gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead 8:13 into the game.
The Red Wings honored Lindsay with a moment of silence before the national anthem and a video tribute on the jumbotron during a stoppage of play in the first period. All of the players from both teams watched it along with the fans and tapped their sticks on the ice in tribute as the fans gave a standing ovation at the end of the presentation.
Lindsay was also praised by former Detroit great and fellow Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom in a video shown during a stoppage in the second period.
There were also towels on each seat with Lindsay’s No. 7.
Lindsay will lie in state on the carpeted ice at Little Caesars Arena on Friday from 9:07 a.m. to 7:07 p.m., and fans are welcome to pay their respects. Members of Lindsay’s family will be on hand.
… Rangers forward Brendan Lemieux is the son of Claude Lemieux, Detroit’s nemesis from the rivalry with the Colorado Avalanche of the mid 1990s to early 2000s.