Jakub Vrana showed off his skill set in his first time in a Detroit Red Wings uniform.
He was one of two newcomers in Thursday’s game at Little Caesars Arena against the Chicago Blackhawks. Vrana scored a pretty goal in the second period, soaring up ice and ripping the puck from the slot. That stood as the winning goal in the 4-1 final.
It’s the first time the Wings (16-23-6) have won three consecutive games this season. Freed from the stress of the trade deadline and energized by new faces, the Wings look like they finally are building something.
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Vrana helped out in the second period. Tasked with serving a bench minor for too many men, he emerged from the penalty box, pounced on a clearing pass by defenseman Gustav Lindstrom and raced up ice. Vrana easily slipped the puck behind Kevin Lankinen, and erupted in celebration.
Troy Stecher scored twice. As much as the Wings had to celebrate in the second period, they also took two too many men penalties, sloppiness that could have cost them. A strong third period was capped by Michael Rasmussen’s empty-net goal with 1:26 remaining.
Robby Fabbri and Evgeny Svechnikov missed the game with undisclosed injuries. That prompted the Wings to go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen.
Vrana and and Richard Panik were acquired in Monday’s trade-deadline day deal as part of the package for Anthony Mantha. Vrana started the game on a line with Michael Rasmussen and Valtteri Filppula. Panik was on a line with Vladislav Namestnikov and Sam Gagner, but also took shifts with Dylan Larkin and Filip Zadina. Vrana was on the second power play, and did a good job winning a puck battle along the boards in the second period to keep possession.
Stecher tied the game during four-on-four play. Taking a pass from Marc Staal, Stecher pulled up and ripped a slap shot from the right circle. The puck hit Lankinen and bounced into the net. Stecher added his third goal of the season less than seven minutes later. Namestnikov maneuvered the puck into Chicago’s zone and sent a pass to Danny DeKeyser, who eyed Stecher by the right goalpost and timed a pass that left Stecher with an open path to the net.
With Jonathan Bernier and Thomas Greiss both playing well, the Wings are rotating the two again, like they were at the start of the season. The Blackhawks came out of the first period with a 1-0 lead and only three shots, but Greiss got some help from his goalposts when Duncan Keith hit one and so did Kirby Dach on the rebound attempt. There’s was no clunk late in the period, though; Keith sniped the puck top corner for this third goal of the season.
Contact Helene St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.