Detroit — Sometimes, the flight back from Las Vegas can be a sad one, with deep regrets and steep loss.
But then, you have a return home like the Red Wings’ return trip, after Thursday’s impressive 3-2 victory over the Golden Knights.
Talk about a fun trip to Vegas.
“Huge game, huge win on this road trip,” captain Dylan Larkin told Bally Sports Detroit after the victory. “We battled, managed the puck and had a great third period. They had a lot of looks; they got the six-on-five goal, but we’ll take it.
“We’ll take the two points and get home.”
The victory over Vegas enabled the Wings to split the three-game road trip (1-1-1, three of six possible points), end a three-game winless streak, and come home for a brief two-game homestand with momentum.
This was easily the best game the Wings played on the road trip, and softened the sting of a disappointing loss Tuesday in Arizona, as the Wings let go of a two-goal, third-period lead and lost in the shootout.
Against Vegas, one of the West’s best teams (although slumping, itself), the Wings played one of their better all-around games.
“We had four lines going, and we stuck with it,” Larkin said. “We were real upset with the Arizona result and how we didn’t close that one out. Same situation (Thursday) against a real good team, and it feels good.”
The Golden Knights haven’t been good on home ice (13-13-0), but the arena traditionally ranks as one of the toughest in the NHL for its noise level, not to mention the Knights’ star-studded roster.
But the Wings, even knowing this was the end of the trip and the flight back home was hours away, stayed mentally focused and put away the disappointment of the past several games.
“They managed it well,” coach Derek Lalonde told BSD. “This is a tough building; this is probably the loudest, energized building (in the league), but we did a good job of not fueling it. Start to finish, every player was real good. “It was a good road win.”
Now, the Wings have two winnable home games before another back-to-back road trip in Montreal (Thursday) and Long Island (New York Islanders, Friday) closes out the schedule before the All-Star break.
“We’re going home and it’s always hard when you travel back from west to east, so we’ll have to be ready to go Saturday,” Larkin said, “and it’s like we’ve been talking about, we have to get this thing on a roll.”
Tyler Bertuzzi only played 11 minutes 22 seconds Thursday before being pulled from the lineup because of a lower-body injury.
Bertuzzi has already had two lengthy stays on the injured list this season because of injuries to both hands while blocking shots.
The Wings didn’t practice Friday, so there was no update. But, Lalonde didn’t sound as if this was somewhat more precautionary, more than anything.
“One of those tweaks, the lower body, we thought it was in everybody’s best interest (to take Bertuzzi out),” Lalonde said. “You could feel it creeping into his game in the second period. The trainer pulled him for the third.”
The Wings went with 11 forwards in the third period, and had good energy under the circumstances.
“We managed our third period much better than we did the other night,” Lalonde said.
Lucas Raymond had a goal Thursday, and now has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his last six games and 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in his last 15 games.
“I’m feeling good out there and just trusting what I do, and trusting if I do the right things my skill will take over,” Raymond told BSD. “It’s huge for everyone to get on a roll here.”
… Larkin has a point in six consecutive games and eight points over that span (two goals, six assists).
… Goaltender Ville Husso made 33 saves to earn the victory and end a five-game losing streak to Vegas in his career (0-4-1 previous five games).
“I don’t think we gave easy offense for them and kept them outside,” Husso said. “Unfortunately, they got a lucky bounce at the end (to cut the score to 3-2). Overall, it was a good effort. There were a couple of shots from the blue line, and I saw all of those. Guys boxed out well. It was not an easy night, but it was one of the nicer nights to play as a goalie.”
Flyers at Red Wings
▶ Faceoff: 7 p.m. Saturday, Little Caesars Arena
▶ TV/radio: BSD/97.1
▶ Outlook: Philadelphia (19-20-7) has been a mild surprise, having won seven of its last 10 games (7-3-0) … This is the first game between the teams this season … RW Travis Konecny (24 goals, 48 points), C Kevin Hayes (27 assists) and G Carter Hart (13-14-6, 3.00 GAA., .907 SVS) lead the way.