Detroit – Lucas Raymond was going to score goals, you figured it would simply be a matter of time.
From the Red Wings’ perspective Saturday, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Raymond scored both goals as the Wings defeated the Minnesota Wild 2-1 and ended a brief two-game losing streak (4-2-2).
“It feels good,” Raymond said. “It was good to get it tonight. I felt we could have had more goals. It’s good to build on it.
“It was fun to get it going tonight.”
Raymond’s second goal, on the power play, broke a 1-1 tie with five seconds left in the second period. Dominik Kubalik found Raymond open near the post and Raymond knocked the puck, along with goaltender Filip Gustavsson, into the net to give the Wings the lead.
“I had no idea,” Raymond said of how much time was left. “I was just trying to get to the net and I got a little behind it. It was a great play by Kuby (Kubalik), but it started with the wall play and both Larks (Dylan Larkin) and DP (David Perron) getting the puck over and Kuby making a great play.
“That was good for us to get one there on the power play.”
Earlier in the week Larkin said there was no cause for concern, that Raymond would score goals in a long season, and this had only been a six-game stretch. Larkin, who assisted on both goals, proved to be prophetic.
“He puts himself in great spots to receive the puck and he has a quick release,” Larkin said. “It was easy to find him tonight.”
Raymond led the Wings with seven shots and played 19:41.
“He’s a key guy for us obviously within his minutes and how he plays,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “We need quality time out of him and I’m more excited about his overall game. You didn’t see the looping and poaching for offense, the hoping. He played the game right and put himself in some good situations and it went in tonight.”
BOX SCORE: Red Wings 2, Wild 1
Kirill Kaprizov opened the scoring just 1:28 into the game for the Wild (3-4-1), his fifth goal, finishing a two-on-one rush on goaltender Ville Husso (30 saves).
Raymond’s first goal tied the score 1-1 at 16:51. Adam Erne, elevated to the top line with injuries and Michael Rasmussen’s two-game suspension decimating the lineup, made a nice play in the corner to control the puck and found Raymond skating through the slot.
Raymond outwaited Gustavsson and snapped a shot under the bar, ending a seven-game goal-less streak.
The Red Wings played well defensively after Kaprizov’s goal, and limited quality Minnesota looks.
“(We) didn’t give up easy offense like they had early on,” Lalonde said. “A two-on-one with that skill early, it’s in the back of our net. They are a fast team out of their zone and they beat guys up the ice to create odd man (rushes). We did a much better job in the second and third periods.”
With five top forwards out of the lineup, the Wings needed their depth.
“I’m real proud of the guys,” Lalonde said. “There’s wins and there are wins, and this was a quality win considering who we had out of the lineup, and coming off two games where we were on the bad end of some scores. Just to come out and play a complete game against a real good, playoff team, it was probably our best win to date so far.”
Larkin liked the way the Wings kept grinding, even the lineup decimated.
“We found a way to get it done,” Larkin said. “That was the important part.”