Oskar Sundqvist — the self-described “smallest guy” on Detroit Red Wings’ Sky Line — made his first goal of the season a thriller.
The Wings were without two regulars on Monday against the Los Angeles Kings at Little Caesars Arena, and spent much of the game playing from behind. Sundqvist used his 6-foot-3, 220-pound body to stuff the puck with 40.9 seconds to play in regulation. but the Kings prevailed in overtime, 5-4.
David Perron scored twice, the second on a power play. Dylan Larkin made a huge play to keep the Kings from scoring into an empty net in the final minute, but Phillip Danault scored 1:12 into OT.
It was the first game of a four-to-six week stretch Tyler Bertuzzi will miss healing from an upper-body injury (he appeared to hurt his right hand blocking a shot Saturday) and Jakub Vrana missed the game for personal reasons. Dominik Kubalik moved up to the first line to play in Bertuzzi’s spot, and Filip Zadina slid into Vrana’s spot on the second line.
The Wings next play Friday at the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Wings (2-0-1) started their Sky Line — Elmer Söderblom, Michael Rasmussen and Sundqvist — which had set such a good tone early the previous two games. It was another bottom-six forward, Adam Erne, who netted his first goal this night. Erne carried the puck up the left side, looked like he was going to pass, then fired a shot that went in off the goalpost and behind Jonathan Quick.
It continued the good work Erne put forth in the preseason, when he played like a guy who knew he was vulnerable to losing his role because of the increased depth. Erne created another opportunity during a penalty kill, again pushing the puck up ice.
Special teams looks
The Wings lacked crispness in the first period, and Gabriel Vilardi and Adrian Kempe put the Wings in a 2-1 hole after 20 minutes. Vilardi’s shot went in off Moritz Seider’s skate. The Wings began the second period with 1:51 on a power play, and Perron unleashed a slap shot from the right circle that Quick denied. The Wings went back on the man advantage near the five-minute mark, when Söderblom drew a hooking penalty on Sean Durzi. Kubalik had a great chance from the left circle, but Quick was able to bat at the puck and knock it into the paint and corral it. The Wings had a third power play that spilled over to the start of the third period by more than a minute, and were unable to generate a shot on net.
The penalty killers denied the Kings four times, and Dylan Larkin created a scoring chance on a breakaway during a Kings power play, and while his backhand was denied, he did draw a hooking call that sent the Wings on a fourth man advantage. Perron converted when he fired a shot that went bar down.
New guys produce
Kubalik finally got something to show for his offensive attempts midway through the second period, when he set up Perron for a laser shot from the left circle. Defenseman Olli Määttä drew the second assist on that goal, too, for his fourth point in three games. The Kings were able to retake the lead, though, when Trevor Moore got in behind Määttä and fed Phillip Danault at 16:18, seconds after the Wings had killed off a penalty on Perron, who picked up his first assist when he had a hand in Sundqvist’s goal.
Contact Helene St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.