Frustration was the order of the night for Detroit that Minnesota fed upon Tuesday night. The Wild’s 3-1 victory against the Red Wings had strong movement of the puck and a will to win at Xcel Energy Center to get back on the winning side of the board. The victory put them in a tie for third place in the Central Division with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Red Wings continue on their short road trip before the end of the year and went into Minnesota hoping that their lucky down south followed. Their handling of the Nashville Predators on Saturday showed that lacking Dylan Larkin did not break their strength. Though he was a game-time decision his return was on the horizon to help increase Detroit’s newfound scoring binge.
Before they could initiate that, it was an early fight for shots to the net with Minnesota leading the way. After nearly eight minutes of play, the Wild were first to strike with a fight for possession in the neutral zone. After getting the puck away from three Detroit players, Nino Niederreiter made a pass across to Charlie Coyle who went in on the glove side of Petr Mrazek scoring on a low shot that got behind Mrazek for his ninth of the season.
They nearly made it 2-0 on a drive that was tipped in by Matt Dumba but indications of hi sticking were alive and well in favor of Detroit. Officials received word from the league to back their assumptions before waving off the goal. It wasn’t enough to help out the Red Wings as their attempts to even the score went unanswered despite a late chance on the power play. Detroit outshot Minnesota 11-9 on shots to the net winning 12 of 18 from the faceoff dot.
The second stanza had both teams playing the majority of it on even strength. While each had their time with the puck, the shots on goal were looking to be less than what was produced in the previous period. By the time 12 minutes had elapsed the teams took five shots each with no real actions made on either side. With that being the current issue, both the Red Wings and the Wild wanted to change that up.
Minnesota got started in the final minutes of play showing some aggression in their movements. It caused a scuffle between Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader and Minnesota’s Ryan Suter as the two got into each other’s faces near the boards with 16 seconds left. It ended with both going to the box while 4 on 4 would finish out the second. The Wild had the leverage with ten shots on goal and a more successful winning 10 of 16 on the faceoff.
One goal still sad between the Red Wings and their chance to make something of the game. Before they could think about doing so, they had to battle off a surging Minnesota offense that easily found their way into position to fire pucks at Mrazek. Through a majority of the period it was the Wild looking composed to increase their score but the Red Wings netminder made some big saves from all spots.
They were outshooting Detroit 13-3 through 12 minutes that indicated Detroit’s slim chances of tying the game. On just their second power play, the Red Wings tried to break one behind the six and a half foot Devan Dubnyk but his stance in net kept everything out that included a great scoring chance from Riley Sheahan.
He had five minutes between him and a shutout against Detroit but he would need plenty of help from his defensive lines. The Wild was running into the Red Wings zone with their offense trying to get working on the deep end during their man advantage. A shot from Dumba in front of Mrazek went off the post and came back for a rebound. It was Wild captain Mikko Koivu who got hold of the puck and blasted the puck in for his ninth of the season.
Detroit had to answer before they went down in flames. It would be on the stick of Pavel Datsyuk that the Red Wings would kill off Dubnyk’s shutout. Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg set up the screen in the crease for the Magic Man to fly the puck through traffic and into the net for his fourth.
The effort went unnoticed as the continuation of Detroit’s empty net made them pay the price. Koivu got hold of the puck from Zetterberg an scored his second of the night making it a secure 3-1 victory. Though Dubnyk didn’t win with a shutout, he did overcome his recent troubles to snap a personal three game losing streak. His 15th win of the season had him stopping 28 against Detroit for a .966 save percentage.
Detroit will have to brush off the loss before they continue their road trip which heads north of the border to face the Winnipeg Jets tomorrow night.