Detroit – The Red Wings lost Wednesday’s exhibition game but some players looking to earn a job or a spot in the lineup made a favorable impression.
And during this eight-game, two-week stretch of hockey games that don’t count, that is the main purpose for teams like the Wings – finding an opening night roster.
Chicago broke a 2-2 tie in the second period when Jujhar Khaira deposited a loose puck past Wings goaltender Jussi Olkinuora at 13 minutes 57 seconds, sending the Blackhawks to a 4-2 victory at Little Caesars Arena.
Chicago’s Sam Lafferty capped it with an empty net goal with 37.2 seconds remaining.
Adam Erne, who might be battling to salvage a roster spot, was part of the Wings’ arguably best line, with Pius Suter and Elmer Soderblom, scoring both Wings’ goals.
Soderblom, a rookie looking to earn a spot, was a positive factor for the second consecutive game with an assist and again using his 6-foot-8 frame effectively.
Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic stopped eight of 10 shots during his first half of action. Olkinuora made 11 saves.
Dylan Sikura and Lukas Reichel added Blackhawks goals, while goaltender Arvid Soderblom stopped 29 shots.
Sikura opened the scoring only 11 seconds into the game when Khaira fed an open Sikura near the hashmarks, and Sikura snapped a shot past Nedeljkovic.
But Erne tied it quickly, at 1:27, batting in a loose puck past Chicago goalie Arvid Soderblom. Elmer Soderblom lifted a shot at Chicago’s Soderblom, who left a juicy rebound for Erne. Simon Edvinsson drew the other assist, as the Wings’ two rookie giants made their preseason debut at Little Caesars Arena.
Edvinsson, the Wings’ 2021 first-round pick, had an up and down evening, including being in the penalty box on Khaira’s power play goal.
Edvinsson talked after the morning skate about the excitement of playing at LCA and the adjustment to the smaller North American ice surface.
“It’s going to be fun,” Edvinsson said. “First time actually skating on the big ice, so that was something new for me.
“Of course, (smaller ice surface) is a process, as it is for all European guys that come from big ice. I worked a lot with it (in camp). It was good preparation.”
Reichel gave Chicago a 2-1 lead heading into the first period intermission. Kevin Korchinski made a nifty outlet pass to a streaking Reichel, who split the Wings’ defense and broke free on Nedeljkovic.
Erne tied it 2-2 just 59 seconds into the second period. Suter found Erne alone in the slot, and Erne one-timed a shot just wide of Soderblom.
The Red Wings host Washington Friday, then travel to Chicago the next day, continuing with essentially two different lineups in an effort to give many players a chance to play.
“You’re going to find guys getting looks and opportunities because of the split squad,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “We like to look at everyone.”