Columbus, Ohio – The road trip didn’t turn out great for the Red Wings, but it’s fair to say it was good.
The Red Wings ended their four-game trip Saturday with a convincing, 6-1 victory over the injury-decimated Columbus Blue Jackets.
“Great” would have likely constituted six, or so, points out of a possible eight. The Wings earned five points, with a 2-1-1 trip, defeating San Jose (Thursday) and Columbus to conclude the trip.
Considering that they opened with a loss in Los Angeles and overtime loss in Anaheim, and having a four-game winless streak at the end of the Anaheim result, the Wings will gladly take this result.
“Really happy,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said of the end result. “We won the road trip. You always want more points than games, and especially this is a tough road trip. Just going out West, it’s hard, it’s the travel in it and throwing this one (game) coming back all the way East, I give our guys credit.
“We were a little flat in the first (period) and were probably fortunate to come out of it ahead 1-0. I’m just real happy with the group, the way they responded, not only on the road trip, but the way they responded within these last couple of games.”
Filip Hronek continued what is rapidly becoming a legitimate turnaround season with two goals, both in the second period, helping the Wings break a 1-1 tie.
Columbus tied the score just 43 seconds into the second period on Emil Bemstrom’s goal. But Hronek put the Wings in front to stay as Columbus defenseman Marcus Bjork made an ill-advised pass into the slot, where Hronek blasted a shot past goaltender Joonas Korpisalo at 6 minutes, 35 seconds.
After Ben Chiarot’s second goal of the season, a shot from the point, made it 3-1 at 10:45, Hronek made it 4-1 with his second goal of the game and fourth of the season (and 14th point in 18 games), again wide open near the right dot at 19:17.
“He’s been playing amazing,” said Moritz Seider, who had three assists in his 100th NHL game.
It was important, Seider said, to conclude this trip on a positive note after the way it began.
“Really important, which we did,” Seider said. “We came out and got a little outworked in the first but we stayed with it and just won the special teams (battle) and just shut it down (defensively).”
Dylan Larkin, continuing a fine season of his own, opened the Wings scoring with a power-play goal (Larkin’s eighth goal, while also adding two assists) in the first period. Dominik Kubalik’s power-play goal in the third period was his team-leading ninth goal. Tyler Bertuzzi scored his first goal to conclude the scoring.
BOX SCORE: Red Wings 6, Blue Jackets 1
Goaltender Ville Husso won his seventh game (7-2-3) making 26 saves. Husso was particularly important the first half with some timely saves, keeping the Wings in front, or tied, until they took control.
“He had a sneaky good game because we were on our heels in the first and we got a little loose at times, and this is a real good transition team and they’ll put you on your heels,” Lalonde said. “You end up needing a couple of saves and we got that from Ville.”
Lalonde was also pleased with the power play, which scored twice against the Blue Jackets. Larkin’s goal in the first opened the scoring, and Kubalik’s goal effectively squashed any slim hopes Columbus had of rallying.
“It builds momentum,” Lalonde said of the power play’s effectiveness. “We played a flat first period and we come out of it 1-0 because of our power play, then probably iced it in the end. Special teams have had some ups and down (the penalty kill blanked both Columbus attempts), like our five-on-five play. But for the most part, it’s been pretty good for us.”