Detroit Red Wings’ Jonathan Bernier makes 50(!) saves, but Dallas Stars win in OT, 2-1

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Red Wings’ fourth game of the week against the Dallas Stars was a memorable one.

Goaltender Jonathan Bernier faced a mountain of shots compared to the molehill the Wings directed on net at the other end of the ice Saturday at Little Caesars Arena. The Stars ended up winning, 2-1 in overtime, on their 52nd shot on net.

“It’s tough to come out and have a performance like this and not win,” Bernier said.

Jamie Benn scored 32 seconds into the extra period after Filip Hronek turned over the puck.

“You get into overtime and it’s always bitter when you lose, especially when you give up a needless chance like that,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We have to execute better in those situations.”

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Bernier and the penalty killers starred in the first period, with Bernier turning away 21 shots, five of them during two Stars power plays. Bernier was the only change from the lineup that routed Dallas, 7-3, Thursday, as the Wings forged ahead after Dylan Larkin joined Bobby Ryan and Tyler Bertuzzi in being lost for the season.

Defenseman Dennis Cholowski scored during a first period that saw the Wings register just three shots on net. Bernier and the penalty killers were back at it in the second, with the Stars tallying 20 shots on net. One of the Wings’ three shots on net came during the penalty to Evgeny Svechnikov, when Michael Rasmussen skating the puck to the net and firing a backhand.

“Two different periods for me,” Blashill said. “I thought the first period it wasn’t as indicative. We passed up a few shots and had a few real chances. The first period was fine. The second period they were in our end the whole time. We couldn’t get the puck into their end. We just kept defending over and over and over again.”

Bernier’s shutout bid ended at 3:52 of the third period, when Mark Pysyk scored on Dallas’ 44th shot. The Wings gave up a season-high 51 shots in regulation, registering just 17 of their own.

The Wings (17-25-8) have six games left, and next play Tuesday at Columbus.

Czech Mates

Jakub Vrana and FIlip Zadina, who demonstrated such chemistry in Thursday in pairing up on two goals, started on a line with Valtteri Filppula in the middle. About five minutes into the first period, Filppula had the puck inside Dallas’ zone. He found Zadina, who rushed up the left flank, with Vrana coming up the right side. Zadina threaded the puck to Vrana, but he just missed getting his stick on it before he passed the net. It was a solid scoring chance, one that showed how well the two Czechs feed off one another.

Cholowski scores

Cholowski, a first-round pick from 2016, scored his first goal of the season, in what was his 10th game. Evgeny Svechnikov (a first-round pick from 2015) took a pass from Richard Panik and found Cholowski as they strode through the neutral zone. Cholowski unleashed a shot just inside the left circle that Anton Khudobin saw coming the whole way but wasn’t able to stop from going bar down, at 16:17.

Comical disparity

The discrepancy in shots took on farcical proportions as the second period wore on. Bernier made three saves during the Stars’ third power play. Halfway through the game, shots were 34-3, with the Wings’ last shot dating to Cholowski’s goal. It wasn’t until 12 minutes into the second period the Wings finally registered a shot on net, with Filppula targeted a wrist shot at Khudobin. Shots after 40 minutes were 41-6 to the Stars.

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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