Red Wings exhibit bounce-back ability during 3-game win streak
The Red Wings have rebounded to win three straight after a horrendous stretch in which they were 1-11-1.
The latest victory was a 4-3 overtime, comeback win over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night at the Honda Center in the first contest of a three-game California road trip.
The way Detroit has battled back from adversity in the three wins was exactly what the team did not do during the previous 13 games. Coach Jeff Blashill called the Wings fragile on multiple occasions during that stretch for the way they just folded up when a goal was scored on them or whenever something did not go the team’s way.
The opportunity was certainly there to do that on Tuesday night when Anaheim scored twice in the first minute of the second period to take a 2-0 lead, after the Red Wings had played well in a scoreless first period.
Blashill even challenged that goalie Jonathan Bernier was interfered with on the second goal, by Josh Mahura, 49 seconds into the middle period. But the goal stood. That meant that Detroit was assessed a two-minute minor for delay of game and had to kill off a penalty. And the Wings have been one of the league’s worst at that this season.
But the Red Wings killed the penalty and managed to come out of the second period down only 3-2, thanks to goals by defenseman Filip Hronek and forward Andreas Athanasiou, who tipped in Valterri Filppula’s shot with just 2:39 left in the second.
To tie the game, Detroit needed a little help from the Ducks. After the Red Wings pulled Bernier for the extra attacker late in the game, Anaheim took two penalties (both against Athanasiou) in 21 seconds. That meant the Wings had a 6-on-3 skater advantage, and Dylan Larkin capitalized by putting a shot from a bad angle off goaltender Ryan Miller and into the net to tie it 3-3, with 37 seconds left.
That forced overtime and allowed defenseman Dennis Cholowski to complete the comeback. He took a pass from Robby Fabbri – yes, him again – and snapped a shot past Miller from the high slot area 2:04 into the extra period.
"There was a tough stretch there where we didn't like the way we were playing, but we kept working hard," Larkin told reporters after the game. "I think you see our confidence coming through in this win by coming from behind."
In the first game of the winning streak, a 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins on November 8 at Little Caesars Arena, the Red Wings bounced back after falling behind 1-0, just 1:09 into the game. In its 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday at LCA, Detroit rallied from a 2-1 third-period deficit.
"I think we've been playing together. I think we've battled for each other. We've always worked hard, even in our stretch,” Larkin said on the Red Wings website. “We've always had hard-working guys and guys that care and have great character. I think we've put it all together the past three games, and we have to keep going, we have to keep building.”
Fabbri has been the other constant in the three wins.
He scored two power-play goals against Boston in his first game as a Red Wings after being acquired from the St. Louis Blues for Jacob de la Rose. He set up Anthony Mantha’s game winner with 30.9 seconds left against Vegas, and he sent Cholowski on his way for the OT winner Tuesday night.
"(Fabbri's) been great,” Larkin said. “He's a playmaker. He gets the puck and it's going to someone with a purpose after he's got it. Adding a guy like that who can make plays and does it a lot, and he's a crafty guy, he's been an energy guy for us and a huge addition."
Detroit visits Los Angeles for a 10:30 p.m. contest on Thursday.
"Winning is important because of your confidence, but we've just got to concentrate on trying to make sure we do things right," Blashill said. "It was good for our guys to dig in."