Despite missing Jeff Blashill and a handful of players, the Detroit Red Wings beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2, highlighted by Dylan Larkin’s first career hat trick.
The Devils controlled the first half of the period. The Red Wings didn’t register a shot on goal for seven and a half minutes, as New Jersey maintained pressure in the offensive zone and limited the Wings offense.
However, it was Detroit that got on the board first. Larkin scored his first goal of the night on a net that was practically empty – the Devils goaltender slipped behind the net to collect a puck, but it bounced to the front of the net and into Larkin’s waiting stick.
The Devils managed to even things up with less than a minute to go, making it a 1-1 tie heading into the locker room.
The script was flipped in the second period, as the grindy-game turned into an offensive showing.
It looked like Detroit would gain control of the momentum just a few minutes, as a pair of penalties gave the Red Wings just under a minute on the 5-on-3. However, the Devils penalty kill limited quality chances, either with blocks or great defensive positioning.
Just over halfway through the period, Larkin decided to take matters into his own hands (with some help from Vladislav Nametnikov). Namestnikov threaded the puck into the slot, right onto a racing Larkin’s stick. The captain ripped it in for his second goal of the night.
Thirty-nine seconds later, Tyler Bertuzzi extended the lead to two. Moritz Seider made an incredible play to maintain possession in the offensive zone and then tossed the puck to Bertuzzi at the front of the net, who sniped it over the goaltender’s head.
Larkin completed his hat trick just a few minutes later, collecting a puck in the neutral zone, blitzing the net and slinging it just left of the goaltender.
New Jersey managed to nab their second goal of the game with a shorthanded breakaway.
Control went back and forth for the first half of the period. The Red Wings played lock-down defense, stifling any sort of push made by New Jersey. Bertuzzi put the nail in the coffin with less than six minutes left in the period, shooting it top shelf for his second goal of the night.
Detroit’s next game is Thursday night against the Minnesota Wild, although the league-wide COVID outbreak could have an effect on it.