Detroit Red Wings battle back before going cold in 5-4 OT loss to Seattle Kraken

Detroit Free Press

An emotional day segued into a challenging evening.

The Detroit Red Wings played their first game Thursday since losing two teammates to trades, their fate once again to be sellers as another trade deadline rolls around. They chased and rallied against the Seattle Kraken before succumbing in overtime, 5-4.

“All in all, a pretty good point considering the emotions of today,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “We lacked urgency early on, gave them some easy offense. But we had some push back, created some offense. Everything considering over the lsat 24, 48 hours, I thought our guys responded pretty well.”

Oliver Bjorkstrand scored in the extra period while Moritz Seider was serving a penalty.

Ben Chiarot, Adam Erne, Jonatan Berggren and Jake Walman replied to Kraken goals through two periods. Ville Husso made his 29th save as a loose puck slid along the gaol line in his crease late in the third period, covering it up with his glove. Shots at end of regulation were 35-29 to Seattle.

The game came a week after the Wings (28-24-9) enjoyed a brief sojourn inside the Eastern Conference playoff picture. They’ve since gone 0-3-1 and are five points out of a wild card spot.

“It’s not like we’re dead in the water,” Chiarot said. “We’re still right in the mix. I think it’s important not just for this year to continue to play and make a push, but for building towards the next year and the years after, playing games that matter. It’s important especially for young guys that haven’t experienced the intensity that that can bring. Nothing really changes. Yeah, we’ve seen some good players leave, but the message stays the same — that these games matter for us.”

It was the last game before Friday’s trade deadline, and came after a 24-hour period that saw Tyler Bertuzzi traded to the Boston Bruins and Fillip Hronek dealt to the Vancouver Canucks.

“It’s a tough day any time you see teammates leave,” Chiarot said. “It was an emotional day for the team but you can’t let that creep into your game. I thought it did a little bit a little bit at the beginning, but overall we put up a good fight, take it to overtime.”

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Hectic first

It took just past the opening minute for the Kraken to score. Jordan Eberle threaded a cross-crease pass to Jared McCann, who angled the puck into the net from near the goal line. The Wings got that one back when Chiarot slung the puck on net and it went shortside on goalie Martin Jones, two minutes after McCann’s goal. But the Kraken again drove the Wings’ net and had successs, with Bjorkstrand redirecting Alex Wennberg’s pass from just outside Detroit’s crease, at 5:33. McCann scored again at 12:20. The Wings were able to cut the deficit to one goal when Seider fired a shot up middle to net and Erne redirected the puck into the net.

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Keeping pace

Berggren picked up his 12th goal of the season, tying the game four minutes into the second period. It took some nice work from fellow 2018 draft pick FIlip Zadina, who maneuvered the puck down low to set up his line mate. “They definitely give us a spark when they’re out there,” Walman said. “When they play their game they are hard to stop and these types of games are good for young guys and guys we are trying to build with.” Berggren’s goal Jones’ night, having given up three goals on 12 shots; Philipp Grubauer took over in net. The Kraken took advantage of the Wings’ sloppy defense to score against at 6:17, pulling ahead for the fourth time. It was Walman who leveled that lead, pulling up with the puck and going around a defender before unleashing a shot to make it 4-4, late in the second period.

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Vrana back on sidelines

With Bertuzzi traded, the Wings needed a forward — and looked to veteran bottom-six winger Erne rather than top-six winger Jakub Vrana. Coach Derek Lalonde said the decision was based on Erne being a penalty killer, adding his services to those of PK forwards Andrew Copp, Pius Suter, Oskar Sundqvist and Dylan Larkin. Vrana has played three games since being recalled in mid-February; he has no points in that span, but he was absent from NHL hockey for four months.

Contact Helene St. James at 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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