Detroit Red Wings bring down Anaheim Ducks, 5-1, with sharp special teams play

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Red Wings satisfied their coach’s curiosity by doing what they should do: Thrash a weaker team.

The Wings used their special teams to come out on top Sunday at Little Caesars Arena, clipping the Anaheim Ducks, 5-1.

“I think we got a lesson last game how to learn and win those games when we lead 3-1,” Dominik Kubalik said. “We did a good job.”

The Wings scored on three of five power plays, and kept the Ducks scoreless on four advantages.

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“We call this in the profession ‘an assistant coach win,’ because of the special teams,” head coach Derek Lalonde said. “They were dynamite. Huge credit to what we are doing on special teams, we had a good night.”

Dylan Larkin and David Perron scored in the first period, as did Joe Veleno in the second period. Kubalik, one of several summer free-agent signings, converted on a power play in the third period, on top of already setting up the first two goals. It was his third straight multi-point game and gave him eight points in five games. Ben Chiarot, another free-agent, had a particularly notable shift during which he shoved Ryan Strome into the boards and sent Frank Vatrano shoulder-first into the glass.

The Wings (3-0-2) have points in five straight games to open the season. They next play Tuesday when they host the New Jersey Devils.

Perron delivering

General manager Steve Yzerman signed Perron to boost the Wings’ offense, especially on the power play; the 34-year-old Stanley Cup champion has done so well. His one-timer from the left circle was his second goal on the man advantage and his fourth goal of the season. He gives the Wings a masterful scoring option during power plays, an area where they struggled mightily over the past three seasons. Perron, who signed for two years and $9.5 million, has five points through five games.

Penalty-riddled period

Special teams on both sides got a workout in the first period. Oskar Sundqvist drew a penalty 18 seconds after the puck dropped. Larkin converted during that man advantage, popping the puck behind John Gibson at 2:02. Trevor Zegras poked a loose puck into Detroit’s net at 5:31. From then on, there was little flow. The Ducks went on a power play at 8:09. Gibson and Adam Erne mixed it up a few minutes later, with Gibson earning an extra two minutes to send the Wings on their second power play. A third Detroit power play materialized at 13:51. Filip Zadina was called for cross-checking at 17:33 and Andrew Copp for hooking at 17:52, giving the Ducks 1:41 with a two-man advantage. Larkin, Moritz Seider and Chiarot helped Ville Husso kill off the 5-on-3 stretch, getting the Wings out of the first period with a one-goal advantage.

“Three-on-five was great,” Husso said after making 31 saves. “We get energy out of it.”

RSVP

There was talk after Friday’s third-period disappointment of needing to respond against the Ducks, especially by Lalonde. The answer came soon after the puck dropped, with the first of two quick power play goals. Veleno turned a one-goal lead into a 3-1 lead in the second period, mirroring the score the Wings had after two periods in Chicago. The Ducks (1-4-1) had more O-zone time in the second period and picked up another power play, their fourth, when Seider took a careless roughing penalty on Vatrano. But Husso came through with 10 saves. Kubalik added that fourth goal the Wings couldn’t get in Chicago early in the third period, and 6-foot-8 rookie Elmer Söderblom got in on the fun with his second goal of the season.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.

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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.

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