Magnus Hellberg solid as the Detroit Red Wings beat the St. Louis Blues

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The Detroit Red Wings had a quick turnaround on Tuesday as they squared off against the Blues in St. Louis just hours after dropping their third straight game Monday night. The Red Wings lost to the Florida Panthers at home Monday 5-2, which followed a 5-1 loss Saturday to the Colorado Avalanche. If you are wondering, Ville Husso started both of those games, but Detroit’s top netminder would get a breather on Tuesday as head coach Derek Lalonde turned to Magnus Hellberg.

The Detroit Red Wings recalled forward Matt Luff on an emergency basis on Tuesday, and he got the nod for Adam Erne, who is sidelined with a lower-body injury that occurred Monday night. Tuesday night is the first of what will be a home-and-home between the two clubs. The two will meet again on Thursday evening in Detroit.

Rookie defenseman Simon Edvinsson, who had been arguably Detroit’s top player on Monday night, took a questionable hit from Florida’s Radko Gudas and wasn’t feeling the best. Gudas stuck his knee out as Edvinsson was skating past; it was beer league-ish. Before the start of the game, head coach Derek Lalonde mentioned that both Edvinsson and Gustav Lindstrom, also battling an injury, would take the pregame warmup, and then they’d decide who plays. It was Lindstrom that got the call. The fact that Edvinsson skated in the warmup suggests that this won’t be a serious issue, and he will likely return to Detroit’s lineup on Thursday.

Here we are again; the Detroit Red Wings didn’t get off to a good start.

The St. Louis Blues struck early in this one. It was veteran defenseman Robert Bortuzzo scoring just 2:21 into the first period. Bortuzzo skated down broadway while Robert Hagg and Gustav Lindstrom remained bystanders. It was an embarrassing defensive effort from Detroit or lack thereof. It was Bortuzzo’s second goal of the season. As he broke in towards Hellberg, his shot redirected off the skate of Joe Veleno, who had his man tied up in front and in.

The Detroit Red Wings would have an answer at the 7:49 minute mark of the first period, thanks to Alex Chiasson. The veteran winger was parked in his spot in front of the net while Detroit was on the power play. While in the bumper spot, Dylan Larkin received a pass from Moritz Seider. Larkin then chipped a pass over to David Perron, who fired a firm pass toward a waiting Chiasson with his stick on the ice.

It’s Chiasson’s fourth goal of the season, all of which have come on the power play in his ninth game of the year. Chiasson joined the Red Wings to replace Oskar Sundqvist following the trade deadline and has become an upgrade. I wouldn’t rule out general manager Steve Yzerman bringing back the 32-year-old on a cheap one-year deal as a fourth-line winger that etches out a role on the power play next season.

Marco Scandella scored just over two minutes later to give the Blues a 2-1 lead. It was a point shot that seemed relatively harmless but was feathered through traffic. Hellberg gestured as though he didn’t see the shot, or it hit something and changed direction along the way.

Filip Zadina tied the game back up with just over two minutes to go in the first period. It was a bit of an odd goal. A Dominik Kubalik shot attempt from the right side was blocked and redirected right to an open Zadina at the top of the left circle. Zadina ripped a firm shot that beat Joel Hofer on the blocker side as he pushed from his left to right, trying to track the initial shot attempt. It’s Zadina’s third goal of the season and first over the last 13 games.

It’s worth mentioning Hellberg made a miraculous save in the period off a Jakub Vrana one-timer at the side of the net. Robert Thomas made a gorgeous pass that found its way over Seider’s stick and right to the tape of Vrana, who surely thought he had a sure goal. The lanky Hellberg made a strong push from his left to right and made a spectacular right-pad save. The shots following the first period were knotted up at seven.

Second period

There was no scoring in the second period, and to be frank, it was pretty dull. The Detroit Red Wings outshot the Blues 8-4 in the frame and had two glorious scoring chances. Joe Veleno had a breakaway but deked himself into the first row as he tried the ‘Forsberg’ move but lost the puck while trying to go to the backhand on the finish. Detroit got another excellent chance in the dying seconds of the period as Lucas Raymond took the puck right toward the net after the Red Wings won a faceoff at the right dot. The puck sat loose under a sprawling Hofer but stayed out.

Third Period/Overtime/Shootout

The third period was similar to the second; there was no scoring in the frame, and Detroit outshot the Blues to the tune of 1To keep it tied, 3-8. Hellberg made a couple of key saves midway through the third p tied. The Blues came on late as Detroit’s legs became noticeably heavy, as expected, knowing they played Monday.

The skills competition would decide this game. The best scoring chance in overtime came from former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Leddy. Leddy broke in on a breakaway but was denied by Hellberg. The goaltenders were strong before Lucas Raymond won it in the fourth round of shooters; it was the only goal scored in the shootout.

It was a much-needed 3-2 victory for the Red Wings. Detroit outshot the Blues 30-22 in the game, also winning 54% of the faceoffs. Detroit went 1-3 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. These two teams will meet again on Thursday evening in Detroit.

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