Detroit Red Wings’ return to competitiveness continues to be led by a pair of rookies

Detroit Free Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Detroit Red Wings head home feeling much better about themselves thanks to a big rally.

There was much to like in Saturday’s 4-3 victory at KeyBank Center against the Buffalo Sabres: Rookie Moritz Seider scoring in overtime, rookie Lucas Raymond earning three assists, Tyler Bertuzzi scoring twice in the third period, and Alex Nedeljkovic making 29 saves.

The victory got the Wings to 5-5-2, back at .500 after slipping below it when they began the trip 0-3.

“Really happy with the W,” Seider said. “We had a couple tough ones on the road. Not a good performance in Boston and not in Montreal, so it was really good to finish the road trip strong.”

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Seider had set up nine goals his first 11 games, but had yet to find the back of the net. He sent the puck top shelf, then collected it as a memento.

“I wasn’t looking for something, but I’m happy to finally get it,” Seider said.

Seider, a first-round pick in 2019, has emerged as the Wings’ top defenseman at just 20 years old.

“It’s been a hell of a ride so far and I’m really looking forward to the next one.”

Raymond, the No. 4 pick in 2020, has three multipoint games among 13 points.

“There’s a reason why he got drafted that high,” Seider said. “I think he’s showing what he’s got. We know what his abilities are in the locker room. He’s just doing his job, but he’s doing in phenomenally. It’s a pleasure having him around.”

The Wings were winless in four games, and faced their third game without captain Dylan Larkin, who is away for personal reasons.

Pius Suter scored 16 seconds after the puck dropped, but the Sabres scored three goals by 6:08 of the third period.

“Being down 3-1 after a number of losses in a row and some tough performances, you start to lose your confidence a little bit,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “I think in the the first period, we had good confidence, we were playing good hockey. Then all of a sudden they score, and they score again. We started to dip a little bit. To dig in there late was huge.”

Bertuzzi led the way, scoring his seventh and eighth goals of the season 90 seconds apart.

“He did a really good job of making sure that we dug in,” Blashill said. “To find a way to come back is big.”

Bertuzzi and Raymond are tied for the team scoring lead with 13 points apiece. Seider is next, with 10 points.

That two of the Wings’ best players are also their youngest is a reflection not just on how talented they are, but how hard they work.

“It’s a really, really hard league to be really good on a night-to-night basis,” Blashill said. “They’ve been pretty darn good on a night-to-night basis. I think Rayzer really dug in in the third and that line was excellent as we got going. And then Moritz plays big minutes. I didn’t think he was quite as good through parts of the game, but when the game got on the line in the third, he was really good.”

The Wings begin a four-game home stand Sunday against the Vegas Golden Knights.

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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