Detroit — Lucas Raymond got into the goal-scoring column and it ignited the Red Wings to a victory.
Shortly after being robbed on the power play, Raymond took a feed from Dylan Larkin and ripped a shot over the glove of Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo in the third period, sparking the Wings to a 4-1 victory.
It was the first career NHL goal for Raymond, in only his third game, as he has quickly showed he is ready to play and contribute at this level.
“It felt it great, I had some looks tonight and it was nice (to score),” Raymond said. “I will save the puck. It’s a special one. It was a great night.”
The fact the goal triggered the Wings’ second victory this season (2-0-1) in a tight game was also important.
“You always want to score, especially when I had some real nice looks and in this type of game, you want to score to help the team,” Raymond said. “You want to get that first goal, as well, it’s something really special.”
Raymond’s linemate Tyler Bertuzzi quickly make it 2-0 just 2:36 later, with Larkin assisting on that one too, as the line has quickly formed chemistry and become a dangerous scoring line.
“They’re two incredible players, both on and off the ice, who help me a lot,” Raymond said. “It feels like we’re starting to connect and know each other out there. They’re great players and easy to play with.”
Coach Jeff Blashill formed the line during the exhibition season, after Jakub Vrana (shoulder surgery) was lost for four months, and the Larkin line has blended well.
“I like the dynamic between the three of them,” Blashill said. “Bert is real gritty and go gets the pucks and Larks has the speed and Lucas is a cerebral player. It’s a good combination between the three of them.
“We’ve had a strong four-line presence and we’ll need to do that moving forward.”
The Wings appeared to be in control, but allowed Columbus back on the power play after Raymond was hit hard by Jack Roslovic near the boards, leading Larkin and Bertuzzi to go after the Columbus forward.
Bertuzzi was given a roughing penalty, Columbus went on the power play, and promptly cut the lead to 2-1 on Boone Jenner’s backhand in close on goaltender Thomas Greiss.
Raymond, for his part, said he felt fine and passed whatever protocol tests were administered.
“I felt good,” Raymond said. “I haven’t seen the hit so I can’t comment on it.”
Vladislav Namestnikov and Adam Erne (with an assist from Namestnikov) scored empty net goals in the final 90 seconds to cement the victory.
The Wings outshot Columbus 45-23, but were consistently frustrated by Korpisalo, who was Columbus’ best player for most of the evening.
Greiss, who is 8-0-3 in his last 11 decisions going back to last season, matched Korpisalo save for save.
“We defended well in front of him, but he made the big saves when he had to,” Blashill said. “He looks like he’s on top of his game.”
Greiss made a key 2-on-1 save on Yegor Chinakhov early that kept the game 0-0 and squashed Columbus’ confidence.
“A momentum changer,” Blashill said. “If it goes 1-0 the other way, you don’t know what happens.”
The Wings had an excellent opportunity with a 1:34 two-man advantage midway in the second period. But Korpisalo was up to the task, with his best save, smothering the puck on Larkin’s drive to the post, attempting to sneak the puck between Korpisalo’s pad and the post.
The game was played in front of another loud and energized crowd at Little Caesars Arena, a common theme this young season.
“We want to play with lots of compete and emotion,” Blashill said. “The crowds have been awesome. It’s a loud building. It’s been a while since we had that (fans weren’t allowed in the building last season because of the pandemic).
“The first game in this building (2017), we didn’t have enough people in the seats. There were lots of people here but they were either in the club level eating or checking out how beautiful the arena is.
“Now everybody is in the seats, and it just seems really, really loud.”
Raymond agreed the atmosphere has been great for the team.
“It’s been amazing, the energy in the arena and then the energy in the group has been awesome,” Raymond said. “You can see on the ice, we play with energy and we stick up for each other and play hard. It’s fun to play.”
Tuesday’s victory continued a consistent thread regarding the Wings, as they’ve earned five of a possible six points on this homestand (2-0-1), ending Thursday against Calgary.
“Each night we’ve worked and competed,” Blashill said. “Everybody works, but we have to have a really strong work ethic and competitiveness in all the games. Those are two things that have really stood out.”