Washington, D.C. — The Red Wings continue to intrigue in these opening days of the regular season, and possibly no more than Wednesday in Washington.
Dylan Larkin capped a Red Wings rally Wednesday in overtime with a 3-2 victory over the Capitals.
In overtime, Lucas Raymond carried the puck through the zone and dished it to Larkin near the dot. Larkin wristed a shot past goaltender Vitek Vanecek, Larkin’s third goal, and sending the Wings to an impressive victory.
Adam Erne and Robby Fabbri also scored for the Wings.
Washington scored two power-play goals by Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, as the Wings continued to struggle with inopportune penalties.
The Wings moved to 4-2-1 on the season, and showed the ability to match one of the better teams in the NHL, and a Stanley Cup contender.
Larkin said Tuesday the Wings have a renewed sense of confidence about their ability to compete.
“I like that it really hasn’t been perfect yet,” Larkin said. “We’ve played some good hockey, and when we’ve won, it feels like it can be repeatable. In the past couple years when we’ve won, it was a grind. It was hard, it was a war.
“You look at the game in Montreal (Saturday, a 6-1 loss), we didn’t have it, and we didn’t have it against Calgary (a 2-0 loss). We snapped right out of it, and that’s a huge response, as a young team.
“Both games on the road, tough back to back with travel. I really, really liked our attitude going into that game (Chicago). There was a calm presence about us that we were going to show up.”
The Wings began a stretch against some potential playoff contenders such as Florida, Toronto, Boston and Vegas sprinkled in the stretch, and will give the Wings a true sign of where they are.
“We got a tough schedule coming up here, playing against good teams,” Larkin said. “It’s a great test. We’re on the road, we have find a way to get in a rhythm and it started the last game in Chicago.
“We have to keep that up, we have to keep rolling.”
Goaltender Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots, and rebounded from a difficult start Saturday in Montreal. It also followed up a fine outing from Alex Nedeljkovic Sunday in Chicago – and giving coach Jeff Blashill the tandem consistency the Wings are searching for.
“I think that both of them have the opportunity to be good for us. I think they have an opportunity as a tandem to be real good for us,” Blashill said. “They’ve both shown moments where they’ve been on top of their game.”
Fabbri tied the game 2-2 at 2:03 of the third period, his second goal.
Erne lifted a shot from the slot that Vanecek stopped, but the rebound went to Fabbri near the crease, who flipped the rebound into an open net.
Erne got the rally going with his second goal at 9:17 of the second period.
Filip Hronek, who returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the last two games, made the key play.
Hronek pinched from the wing and slid a pass into the crease, where the hard-charging Erne slammed the puck behind Vanecek.
Ovechkin opened the game’s scoring with his eighth goal, and 738th of his career, as he continues to amaze and dominate with his goal-scoring ability at age 36.
Blashill talked about Ovechkin after the morning skate, and how the Washington star continues to play with passion.
“He looks younger,” said Blashill, after watching Ovechkin this early in the season. “I don’t know how that’s possible. He plays with such vigor and energy and it’s pretty cool to watch as long as you’re not on the coach against him, and how excited he gets when he scores goals.
Ovechkin took a shot from the low circle toward Greiss, who made the initial stop, but let the puck bounce to the side. Ovechkin quickly gathered himself, and on one knee, put back the puck over Greiss.
The Capitals made it 2-0 early in the second period, back on the power play.
Quickly off the draw, Kuznetsov jumped on a loose puck and snapped a shot past Greiss at 3:56 of the second period.
The Capitals’ power play has always been a thorn to the Wings’, and every other NHL team, and Wednesday were at it again.
“They have a lot of good pieces and everybody knows what they’re doing (on the power play) but so do they, and they have a good plan,” Blashill said.