The Detroit Red Wings hit the road for a game in Philadelphia versus the Flyers – a game that was supposed to be played in December, but was postponed amid rising COVID cases in the league.
Finally taking the ice in Philly, the Wings put up a consistent fight to pull out a 6-3 victory.
Filip Zadina got a chance on the first line alongside Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond in hopes of putting up some points. Throughout the season, Zadina has seemed to be cursed in terms of scoring, only putting up five goals in 45 games, which is not quite what he was expected to do.
Tonight, Zadina looked energetic. Mickey Redmond said he “won’t be leaving the top line anytime soon,” which shows how much a line change can improve a player’s struggling game.
Dylan Larkin opened up with a power play goal, his 24th goal of the season, which is a new career-high for the young captain. This lead was immediately answered by a goal from Zack MacEwen of the Flyers (22 seconds apart).
The insanity of back-to-back scoring continued when Lucas Raymond netted his first goal in nine games and a Flyers goal followed 24 seconds later. Raymond continues to show the league his skill, as he works around goaltenders and scores crafty goals (such as his backhanded goal tonight).
Detroit came out strong in the 1st period with strong puck movement, hard hits, pucks in net and consistent stamina. Although the Flyers responded to both goals, the Wings outshot the Flyers 15-11.
Pius Suter brought the Red Wings back to a lead in the 2nd period off of assists from Robby Fabbri and Tyler Bertuzzi, once again showing how killer the Guelph connection is this season. Roughly four minutes later, Suter and Fabbri took advantage of a Flyer’s line change and secured a 4-2 lead. 21 seconds later, the Flyers have brought themselves back to a one-goal game.
To quote John Keating, “the Guelph line on the Red Wings has been a royal pain to the opposition from what we have seen, and they have made their presence seen in the 2nd period.”
Moritz Seider had a standout shift on a Red Wings penalty kill towards the end of the 2nd period in which he maintained possession of the puck for approximately 40 seconds. Seider was weaving through Flyers skaters as if it were the easiest thing in the world. The stamina and skill that was displayed in this one shift alone were impressive, especially when considering the amount of ice time that Seider logs every game- most time on ice of all rookies, 23:01 tonight.
Detroit’s defensive pressure in the 3rd period was shutting down the Flyers and they maintained offensive pressure as well. Halfway into the third, Joe Veleno worked through traffic to make a smart pass to Givani Smith who finished it off, bringing the Red Wings to a 5-3 lead. Gustav Lindstrom had the secondary assist on the Smith goal which continues his assist streak he has been on as of late.
To finish out the game and secure a win, Vladislav Namestnikov scored an empty netter (his 13th goal of the season) – a win that was long overdue for Detroit. The Red Wings had not won in regulation on the road against the Flyers since game #2 of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals. Flyers’ goalie, Carter Hart, had a 4-0-0 record against the Red Wings and had recorded his first career win versus Detroit. Hart made 28 saves but allowed six goals in this contest, bringing his record to 4-1-0. The Flyers were outshot and outplayed, even though Detroit has been notorious for struggling on the road this season. That made this win in Philadelphia even sweeter.
Twelve Red Wings skaters walked away from Flyers’ ice with points in this 6-3 victory, bringing the team closer and closer to a potential playoff spot. Both Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider recorded two points, moving them forward in the rookie point race. Playoff dreams from early in the season may not be dead after all as there is only a seven-goal gap between Detroit and the Boston Bruins. So, will the Wings be able to catch up to the Bruins to secure a playoff run? Only time will tell, but if they can play like they did tonight consistently, there is a good chance it could be done.