Detroit Red Wings dominated again by Avalanche in 5-1 loss in Simon Edvinsson’s debut

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Red Wings looked like they might make a game of it, but again it was the Colorado Avalanche who looked like the much better team.

An entertaining — at least through two periods — Saturday matinee at Little Caesars Arena ended with the Wings losing for the 10th straight time to their former rivals, falling, 5-1.

“Special teams was a big part of it,” Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “They get a power-play goal to make it three; we get a power play at 3-1, and they get a shortie.

“This will be frustrating but it’s probably the reality of where we are down the stretch here. Analytic minions are going to tell us we out-chanced them; all the underlying numbers are going to say we played a pretty good game. But, we didn’t execute and their difference-makers were difference-makers. We had some flashes of some pretty good hockey, but obviously not enough.”

Pius Suter scored an early equalizer and Ville Husso made 15 saves through two periods, when it was a respectable 3-1 deficit. But the defending Stanley Cup champions scored twice 62 seconds apart early in the third period, and the goals from Lars Eller (shorthanded) and Mikko Rantanen prompted the Wings to swap Husso for Magnus Hellberg with 14:44 to play. Center Nathan MacKinnon and defenseman Cale Makar each had three points, similar to their production in the Avs’ 6-3 victory over the Wings in January in Denver.

The Wings (30-29-9) outshot the Avs, 34-23, with nine shots coming during three man advantages.

“We didn’t capitalize on our chances, our power plays,” Dylan Larkin said. “The game was in a spot where we still think it’s reachable and then we get a power play and give up a shortie and then another one right after. We left Hus out to dry.”

Solid debut

It was a big day for 2021 first-round pick Simon Edvinsson, who made his NHL debut because Gustav Lindstrom is dealing with an undisclosed injury. The result disappointed, and his family didn’t make it over from Sweden, but he still had “a great experience.”

“I was nervous in the beginning but it was awesome to go out there,” Edvinsson said.

Edvinsson, 20, played just north of 15 minutes, had an early hit on Logan O’Connor, took a penalty and drew a penalty.

“I thought he did good,” Lalonde said. “You didn’t see egregious turnovers, he was physical, he had some chances. For a first game, against a team like that, I thought he did really well, and it gets me optimistic going forward.”

Edvinsson will stick around, unless Lindstrom is available Monday vs. Florida.

READ MORE:Why Simon Edvinsson’s NHL debut has Red Wings so excited

Keeping pace

Giving up a goal on home ice early in a game isn’t a great way to start, but Devon Toews teed up a feed from J.T. Compher five minutes in, firing a shot from the blue line that snuck by Husso. The Wings came right back and tested Alexander Georgiev, with Olli Määttä and Filip Zadina getting pucks on net down low. Suter beat Georgiev, firing a shot from the right circle that rolled off a defender and sank below the cross bar. That was Suter’s 12th goal of the season and second point since he was moved to the top line last week. The Wings had two power plays in the period, and outshot the Avs, 16-6.

Those two again

MacKinnon made it look easy when he put the Avs up 2-1 at 7:24 of the second period: He got the puck, cut right through defenders Jordan Oesterle and Moritz Seider and scored goal No. 30 of the season. Makar drew an assist, his second of the game. He picked up his third to make it 3-1. MacKinnon fired a shot during a 4-on-3 power play that Husso stopped, but Bowen Byram made the the rebound count. It was Makar and MacKinnon who feasted on the Wings back in January, too, when MacKinnon had two goals and two assists, and Makar had two goals and an assist.

Contact Helene St. James at Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.

Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. 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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