‘It’s still game on’: Red Wings earn point in OT loss against Kraken

Detroit News

Detroit − The Red Wings traded away a couple of key players but it looks as if the players remaining aren’t done with the idea of making the playoffs.

The Wings gave a determined effort, earning a point in the standings, but Oliver Bjorkstrand’s overtime power play goal at 3 minutes, 33 seconds, gave Seattle the 5-4 victory.

Filip Hronek (to Vancouver) and Tyler Bertuzzi (Boston) were traded in deals leading up to Friday’s 3 p.m. deadline, and the Wings lost Michael Rasmussen (lower-body) to a season-ending injury last weekend, causing much of social media to end the season and begin talk about the Entry Draft.

But Wings players aren’t thinking along those lines, and Thursday’s effort proved that.

“It’s not like we’re dead in the water, we’re still right in the mix,” defenseman Ben Chiarot said. “It’s important, not just for this year to continue to play and make a push, but for building toward the next year and years after playing games that matter. It’s important especially for the young guys who haven’t experienced the intensity that could bring.

“Nothing really changes We saw some good players leave but the message stays the same, these games matter for us and we’re trying to win and fight for points every single night.

“It’s still game on for us.”

BOX SCORE: Kraken 5, Red Wings 4 (OT)

Chiarot, Adam Erne (recalled after Bertuzzi trade Thursday morning), Jonatan Berggren and Jake Walman scoreed goals and goaltender Ville Husso stopped 32 shots.

Walman tied the game 4-4 at 14:48 of the second period with his sixth goal. Walman intercepted a pass, faked a Kraken defender to the ice, then whipped a shot past goaltender Philipp Grubauer.

With the way the day unfolded, and losing two friends and teammates to trades, coach Derek Lalonde was pleased how the Wings responded.

“Probably a good point considering the emotions of today,” Lalonde said. “Then to be down 3-1, we just lacked a little urgency early on and gave them some easy offense, but at 3-1 I liked our game We had some push back and zone time and created some offense. We played a fairly good game considering everything over the last 24, 48 or 72 hours.”

The Wings appeared dazed early and fell behind 3-1 in the first period to Seattle. But a late goal by Erne, deflecting Moritz Seider’s slap shot, cut the lead to 3-2 at 18:39 of the first period.

Berggren then tied it 3-3 off a nice little feed from Filip Zadina, Berggren’s 12th goal, at 2:59 of the second period.

“I give this group credit all year, they push back and fight,” Lalonde said. “We’ve got some games on our resume we’ve been down three or four goals, and this one was two, and we did it the right way. Our team game improved slowly, we pecked away, and it was just some tough timing goals.

“We kill two penalties, they scored with four seconds left in the overtime (power play), which we had done a good job on the kill.”

The Wings (28-24-9) trail the New York Islanders (Saturday’s opponent on Long Island) by five points (70-65) for the second and final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

Buffalo, Florida, Ottawa and Washington all have 66 points.

“We talked about it in the room after the game, for us right now, every game is a playoff game,” Walman said. “Stuff happens on the outside we can’t control. But we’re playing hard and we’re not giving up. This is a good experience for everybody and a good challenge for us.”

Walman, who earlier in the week signed a three-year contract extension instead of becoming an unrestricted free agent, believes there’s a promising Wings future.

“There’s a lot to be excited,” Walman said. “We have a good base. We got guys starting last year, and I found in my time here, we have guys who want to win. The leadership group, those guys lead from example and it’s a good building stone.

“We lost Bert and Fil and those were great teammates that every team would want. But we have to build from what we got and there’s a plan.”


Twitter: @tkulfan

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