Detroit Red Wings’ win streak snapped on third period collapse in 7-2 loss in Chicago

Detroit Free Press

Helene St. James
 
| Detroit Free Press

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What had been a close game degenerated into a mess for the Detroit Red Wings, ending to their winning streak a night after it began.

They took on the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday at United Center, facing their Original Six rival for the sixth time this season. Coming off a confidence-raising victory the previous night, the Wings were routed, 7-2.

It’s the second time this season the Wings (7-14-3) have lost by that score, and it came one night after they won consecutive games for the first time this season. They were credited with 46 shots on Kevin Lankinen on Sunday.

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Thomas Greiss started his first game in more than a week. His teammates could have done a better job helping out, but Greiss continued what has been a tough month, getting beat five times on 10 shots in the third period.

Sam Gagner’s performance stood out; he scored a goal in the first period within a minute of Chicago taking a 2-0 lead, and tried a wraparound in the third period only to see his shot go off Lankinen’s stick. Evgeny Svechnikov netted his second goal in two games, converting on a power play at 12:11 of the third period. The Blackhawks, though, already had five goals by then.

It was a pretty even game until the third period. Just over 90 seconds in, the Wings were in the middle of a line change and gave Patrick Kane way too much time and space to maneuver with the puck, leading to Pius Suter’s seventh goal of the season.  About five minutes later, Ryan Carpenter showed why the Blackhawks have the best power play in the NHL, converting less than a minute into the man advantage. Kane celebrated his 400th career goal at 9:10 into the period, Dominik Kubalik scored at 14:14 and Alex DeBrincat piled on at 15:23, taking advantage of a Wings lineup missing multiple regulars.

Sick bay report

Forward Mathias Brome and defenseman Alex Biega were activated from the taxi squad to offset growing losses. Already without Dylan Larkin (upper body) and Tyler Bertuzzi (upper body), the Wings were also missing Robby Fabbri, who centered the first line Saturday and had two assists. Fabbri came down hard on his back in that game after leaping to avoid Lucas Wallmark. He stayed in, but was ruled out Sunday with an upper-body ailment. That made it three top-six forwards out of the lineup. Valtteri Filppula moved up to center Bobby Ryan and Anthony Mantha, and Vladislav Namestnikov centered Filip Zadina and Gagner. Defenseman Troy Stecher (lower body) and Patrik Nemeth (COVID-19 protocol) also missed the game.

Greiss reappears

Greiss made his first start since coughing up four goals on 13 shots Feb. 19 against the Florida Panthers. He was pulled that night after the first period, and Bernier started the next four games. Greiss did notch his first victory of the season this month — the first by a Wings goalie other than Bernier since 2019 — but on the whole he had a tough February, posting a .885 save percentage and 3.31 goals-against average in seven games. (Bernier, by comparison, posted a .937 and 2.13 goals-against average in February.) Defenseman Nikita Zadorov beat Greiss blocker-side midway through the first period and Ryan Carpenter converted a Frans Nielsen turnover into a 2-0 lead late in the period.

Gagner responds

Though he’d been generating chances fairly steadily, Gagner had no goals after his first 13 games — he missed two weeks after catching COVID-19 — and was a healthy scratch for two games on Feb. 20-23. Gagner returned Feb. 25 and delivered a hat trick, and scored for the fourth time in three games Sunday. Jon Merrill took a shot at the blue line, and Gagner made an impressive tip to put the puck behind Lankinen. The goal nipped the Blackhawks’ momentum 38 seconds after they had taken a 2-0 lead.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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