New faces lead the way as Red Wings top Devils, start season 2-0

Detroit News

Newark, N.J. – There’s been much talk about the Red Wings’ improved depth heading into this season thanks to general manager Steve Yzerman’s veteran acquisitions.

Through two games, you can see the stronger lineup and genuine promise this team has. The Wings made it two consecutive wins Saturday to open the season, defeating the New Jersey Devils, 5-2.

Thanks largely to some new faces.

Ben Chiarot had a goal and assist, David Perron had a goal, as did Dominik Kubalik, Andrew Copp an assist, Olli Maatta had another strong defensive game, and rookie Elmer Soderblom was noticeable yet again, as the Wings completed the sweep of their back-to-back games to begin the season.

The night before, goalie Villie Husso shut out Montreal, while Soderblom and Maatta contributed goals.

Still, it was Dylan Larkin, a familiar and important face, who arguably clinched Saturday’s outcome.

With the teams skating four players each, Larkin (who also had two assists) snapped a shot in the slot past goalie Vitek Vanecek, who had lost his stick, with 0.8 seconds left in the second period giving the Wings a 4-2 lead.

BOX SCORE: Red Wings 5, Devils 2

Perron had just broken a 2-2 tie racing to a loose puck, after good forechecking from Copp and Jakub Vrana (who had a goal Saturday), for Perron’s first goal as a Wing at 17:02.

Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, in his season debut, made the lead hold up with a fine performance, stopping 37 shots.

Nedeljkovic made a key stop on Devils star Jack Hughes in the opening moments of the second period, with the Devils leading 1-0, Hughes skating alone through the slot. Shortly after, Chiarot lifted a shot from the point that flew by Vanecek, tying the score 1-1.

Kubalik’s first goal as Wing came off a Devils turnover in the third period, extending the lead to 5-2 and bringing on loud chants of “Fire Lindy”, referring to Devils coach Lindy Ruff.

The Wings lost forward Tyler Bertuzzi in the first period after Bertuzzi blocked a shot. Bertuzzi was doubled over in pain as he skated to the bench, and the team announced after the period he would not return.

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan

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