Sam Gagner hits milestone as Detroit Red Wings beat Winnipeg, 3-1, for 2nd straight win

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Red Wings took another step towards feeling better about themselves with a solid performance in tough circumstances.

Playing for the second time in two days and facing a Winnipeg Jets team facing a fading shot at the playoffs, the Wings pulled out a 3-1 victory Wednesday at Canada Life Centre. The Wings have emerged from a six-game losing streak to win consecutive games for the first time since Feb 9-12.

Thomas Greiss came through with 32 saves. Sam Gagner reached a milestone with a goal in the first period, and added an empty-net goal in the third. Michael Rasmussen scored for a third consecutive game to pull the Wings ahead in the third. Oskar Sundqvist played the puck down along the boards, and Kyle Criscuolo — called up to offset the absence of Tyler Bertuzzi (unvaccinated) — retrieved the puck from behind the net, and Rasmussen was near the paint to finish the play.

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The Wings killed two penalties in the first period. They went on a four-minute power play with 6:44 to play in the third, and had generated two shots on net when they were caught with too many men on the ice, negating the remaining 1:03 of power play time and setting up a third Jets power play, which gained an extra attacker with the goalie pulled.

The Wings (28-34-9) next play Saturday when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Respectable start

Given they had played the night before and were on the road, the Wings acquitted themselves well in the first period. Greiss, who didn’t play Tuesday, had his best start on the road since March 12 at Calgary, looking calm and making timely saves, such as his catch of Blake Wheeler’s attempt near the midpoint. The Jets, who had been off since Saturday, had more offensive-zone time, but the Wings did a good job winning puck battles and limiting Grade-A scoring chances. Greiss made 13 saves in the first period, to four by Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce).

Gagner reaches 500 points

Gagner, who also scored an empty-net goal Tuesday, earned his 500th career point while the Wings were shorthanded. Captain Dylan Larkin out-hustled Winnipeg defenseman Josh Morrison to reach a loose puck and transported it into Winnipeg’s zone, driving to the middle before feeding the puck to Gagner as he approached the net from the right flank. It was a nice change for the Wings, who had given up shorthanded goals to the Bruins and to the Ottawa Senators over the previous three games.

Keeping it close

Mark Scheifele tied the game when he tipped Nate Schmidt’s shot from the blue line, at 6:01 of the second period. Blake Wheeler put the puck in the net at 9:44 on a wrist shot from the blue line, but the Wings successfully challenged the play was offside. Lucas Raymond had a top-notch chance go off a post, and Jakub Vrana was likewise thwarted when he took a clearing feed from Filip Zadina and skated to the net only to clink the puck off a post.

Contact Helene St. James at 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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