The Detroit Red Wings celebrated the return of their captain and with that, a return to form.
They looked more like the confident bunch that had such a solid start to the season Sunday, playing a balanced game against the Vegas Golden Knights at Little Caesars Arena.
Ten Wings had points and Thomas Greiss came through with 38 saves to lead the Wings (6-5-2) to a 5-2 final and a second straight victory after going winless in four games.
THE CAPTAIN RETURNS: Wings’ Dylan Larkin returns to after week away for personal reasons
Lucas Raymond, Robby Fabbri and Pius Suter scored in the first period. Vladislav Namestnikov added a marker in the second period. Jonathan Marchessault snuck the puck behind Greiss early in the third period to make it a two-goal game again. Greiss was masterful the last four minutes as the Golden Knights pulled their goalie for an extra attacker and the Wings weren’t able to find the empty net until 10.5 seconds to go, when Tyler Bertuzzi added his ninth of the season.
Larkin had not played since Oct. 30 at Toronto. He was back in his spot centering the top line between Raymond and Tyler Bertuzzi, and manning one of the power play units. The Wings went 1-2 without Larkin, using first Michael Rasmussen, then Fabbri, and then Suter as the top-line center. Larkin’s return strengthened all the lines because players slotted back into their ideal spots. Larkin had a particularly nice sequence in the second period when he weaved through the Vegas defense, but the puck slipped away before he could get a shot on net.
First period feast
Raymond skated to the left circle and one-timed a cross-crease pass from Bertuzzi to tie the game five minutes after Nicolas Roy opened the scoring for Vegas. Raymond’s goal came during the Wings’ first power play. During their second, Fabbri used a screen to sneak the puck behind Laurent Broissoit, scoring off a setup by Suter. Suter added a goal with 1:32 to go. Nick Leddy earned his second assist of the game when he got the puck off Jake Leschyshyn. Filip Hronek picked up the puck and fired a shot that Alec Martinez blocked, and Suter connected on the loose puck.
Gustav Lindstrom’s return resulted in Joe Veleno being reassigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins, on paper anyway. He was at the game Sunday. Veleno was called up for the Maple Leafs game, carpooling from Detroit to Toronto with general manager Steve Yzerman. Veleno had a goal and an assist that night, and appeared in all four games on the road trip. Veleno led the Griffins with three goals after five games. He’s a strong skater and plays well at both ends of the ice, and has looked good in nine appearances overall (two goals, one assist, eight penalty minutes).
Contact Helene St. James at email@example.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 Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.