Detroit Red Wings plan pays off again with rally: ‘We’re not just going to roll over’

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Red Wings head off on a four-game road trip with a determination they haven’t had in several seasons.

They ride a three-game point streak into Saturday’s game in Toronto, buoyed by another example that sticking to their plan pays off. They had to settle for one point in Friday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers at Little Caesars Arena, but considering the Wings trailed by a pair of goals after two periods, seeing Pius Suter tie the game with less than three minutes to go was a shot of confidence.

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“We stuck with it, kept finding a way,” said goalie Alex Nedeljkovic after making 29 saves. “Suits got a great trip. It sucks like hell to lose like that. You give up a breakaway goal, it’s tough to swallow. But guys played awesome.”

The Wings rallied from a two-goal deficit to win in overtime Wednesday at Washington.

“We’ve got a great group of guys,” Nedeljkovic said. “We’re playing some great hockey. We have a good group in there and we believe in ourselves. We’re not just going to roll over.”

That was evident on a shift late in the game. The Panthers had possession and were furiously trying to pad their lead. Adam Erne blocked a shot and was in visible pain. But he got up and blocked another. Fans stood and cheered the entire shift.

“It’s a little bit telling of our team, the amount of sacrifice you saw on that shift,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “When you have a big block and the guy is down, you get a little frantic, and then another guy, you get a little more frantic. So it was chaotic, but I also think — as you could tell from the crowd’s response — that was pretty awesome what those guys did. Erne was hurt on the first block and he stayed in there and blocked another one. It’s a good example of what our team has been about — we want to sacrifice more than other teams in order to be successful.

“It builds our confidence that we can come from behind.”

An infusion of new faces has helped. Suter scored his first goal in a Wings uniform, tipping Moritz Seider’s shot. Seider, a defenseman making an early case for rookie of the year consideration, unleashed a big shot to earn his seventh assist in eight games. Seider led all skaters with 26:31 minutes of ice time.

“He’s getting minutes because we think he puts us in position to win hockey games.,” Blashill said. “I want him to be a great player, not a good player, so he has to keep building his game.”

After Toronto, the Wings also play at Montreal, Boston and Buffalo before reappearing at home against Vegas on Nov. 7.

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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