Detroit Red Wings win preseason opener vs. Chicago Blackhawks, 4-3, in shootout

Detroit Free Press

A traveling Detroit Red Wings roster mostly devoid of big names played like it early, falling behind, 3-1, then rallied to beat the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-3, on Wednesday in the preseason opener at the United Center in Chicago.

One name stood out, though: Veteran Bobby Ryan, who is playing with the Wings on a tryout contract after posting seven goals and seven assists in 33 games with Detroit last season. Ryan had the winning goal in the shootout, after he assisted on the Wings’ second goal, early in the second period, and tied it up with a backhand with 1:51 remaining. Defensman Filip Hronek, who led the Wings with 26 points before signing a contract extension over the offseason, and Adam Erne (who tied for the team lead in goals last season), assisted on the tying goal.

Calvin Pickard stopped two of the four shots he faced in the shootout. Jonathan Toews, who missed all of last season with chronic immune response syndrome, also scored in the shootout for Chicago, as did Erne and Taro Hirose for the Wings.

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Young center Michael Rasmussen got the Wings on the board in the first period on assists from Erne and Jordan Oesterle (signed as a free agent during the offseason). But the Blackhawks pumped in three goals in seven minutes at the end of the first period and the start of the second, aided by the return of Toews, who assisted on Chicago’s first goal. Toews logged 18:08 of ice time in his first game since the Blackhawks’ final game in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs in August 2020.

All three Chicago goals in regulation came off veteran goalie Thomas Greiss, who is expected to split the starting role with Alex Nedeljkovic, acquired from Carolina in an offseason trade. Greiss had 12 saves to go with his three goals allowed in just over 30 minutes of work. Pickard replaced Greiss at the halfway point and stopped all 18 shots he faced in regulation and six more shots in overtime.

Mitchell Stephens, who was drafted by Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman in 2015 with the Tampa Bay Lightning, continued the scoring for the Wings, putting the puck past Chicago’s Kevin Lankinen (who played the entire game) less than 30 seconds after the Blackhawks’ third goal.

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The Wings’ next game will be Thursday (7:30 p.m.) against the Buffalo Sabres at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. It won’t be televised, though; the Wings’ first broadcast comes Saturday on Bally Sports Detroit when the Columbus Blue Jackets come to town.

Contact Ryan Ford at rford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @theford.

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