The Detroit Red Wings looked like a team relieved to be past the trade deadline.
Their outing against the Carolina Hurricanes Monday at PNC Arena came a mere hours after losing Anthony Mantha in a trade that set the hockey world abuzz.
The Wings played loose and confident, and created havoc around the net. Their reward was a 3-1 victory.
It’s the fourth time the Wings (15-23-6) have won consecutive games; this time it came against an opponent battling for first place in the NHL.
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Adam Erne extended his point streak to seven games with his team-leading 11th goal of the season. Michael Rasmussen set up the goal, using his big body as he carried the puck around the net, sending it out front for Erne smack it in. Rasmussen set up Filip Zadina two minutes later, flicking a pass that Zadina turned into his fifth goal of the season.
Nino Niederreiter cut into the lead with a goal at 13:54, but Sam Gagner calmed things with down an empty net goal in the final minute. Valtteri Filppula picked up two assists.
The Wings went with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Reinforcements are on the way, though. General manager Steve Yzerman sent Mantha to the Washington Capitals for two draft picks and two players. Jakub Vrana and Richard Panik are expected to join the team Wednesday. The Wings’ next game is Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks.
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Erne, who put the puck in the net twice Saturday (shootout goals don’t count as personal stats) drove to the net twice early in the game, part of an overall good start for the Wings. The stress over the deadline over, the Wings looked re-energized and channeled that into making it tough for goaltender James Reimer. Dylan Larkin set up Zadina for a quality scoring chance. Jonathan Bernier, whose name had come up as the deadline approached, contributed 13 saves in the first period.
Lindstrom makes season debut
Defenseman Gustav Lindstrom made his season debut, partnered with veteran Danny DeKeyser. Lindstrom, a second-round pick from 2017, appeared in 16 games last seasons, making a favorable impression.
“Gustav is a really good passer,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He’s got good poise — he can pass the puck under pressure, that is his number one attribute. I think what he needed to get better at is his foot speed in tight areas. He’s worked at that.”
The game was special for the Staal family, as Jordan Staal appeared in his 1,000th game. “It’s pretty special I get to be here,” Wings defenseman Marc Staal said. “Me and my brothers have had a lot of milestones over the years that we generally don’t get to be around for because we have the same schedule. The fact I get to be here for his 1,000th game is pretty special. He gets to celebrate it with his family, and our parents. That’s something we get to have for the rest of our lives.”
Contact Helene St. James at email@example.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 Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.