The Red Wings ended a long standing losing streak at the Honda Center Sunday night. Their will to keep a winning streak alive paid off to beat the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. Goals from Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan helped secure a four game winning streak during their road trip out west.
Detroit came into Anaheim hoping that their successful road trip so far could continue in Southern California where they haven’t had much luck against the Ducks. The Red Wings made small changes to their lineup in order to stay under the salary cap while maintaining a strong roster. Jakub Kindl was put on waivers Saturday but cleared them Sunday morning keeping him on the team.
While he is ineligible to play, it made room for Kyle Quincey to get back onto the ice. Petr Mrazek continues to fight in net getting the nod to face Anaheim is still finding their niche this season. While they sit in fourth place, they still hold a three game winning streak over Detroit’s heads.
They have one of the best penalty kills in the league which would make Detroit’s struggling special teams struggle further. Getting an early edge on even strength would give the Red Wings and their list of great scorers the chance to march on in the second half of their road trip.
On the opening faceoff, the teams got the puck into the boards where they got it out of the side and into play in the Ducks zone. They scored just 21 seconds in where an easy goal from Tatar went through an open part of the net giving him his 13th on the year.
They got a power play four minutes in but faced great penalty killing from the Ducks. A second chance came their way but they nearly messed it up as Ducks defenseman Josh Manson scared Detroit with a shorthanded breakaway that he shot wide on. It was their first shot in the first eight minutes of the game indicating a late start on ice.
Their second arrived with 6:25 left on the clock as Corey Perry launched the Ducks second shot that got them on the board. His drive to the net ended with him at the stick side of Mrazek where he lifted up to the stop shelf scoring his 16th of the season to tie the game at one. Things got dicey in the Detroit zone as they suddenly went on a boost of offense skating stronger and taking the puck to the net as best as they could. They recorded a pair of shots that were so close to giving them the lead but a big stop in the slot from Mrazek saved them from the brief siege.
Another would soon come against them as they put Anaheim on the man advantage where they increased their shots on the Detroit netminder but not finding one behind him. By the time the horn sounded, they had evened with Detroit shooting seven times each with the rest of the game left to play. Detroit gave away the puck four times that led to the Ducks comeback but held strong on the faceoff winning 10 of 17.
The second saw both teams even through eight minutes of play where they each took five shots on goal with no lead change. The Red Wings gave the dangerous Anaheim squad a chance to counter midway into the period but their PK along with Mrazek kept the game steady at one with both teams still neck and neck on shots on goal.
The remaining minutes of the period flew back as the actions of both teams got intense with both Mrazek and Ducks goaltender John Gibson doing well in the second. The Red Wings got one more chance on the power play with 1:03 left but the Ducks killed off a chunk of their time on the man advantage leaving them 57 seconds to use in the third.
Anaheim outshot Detroit 11-7 as their intensity was increasing as the game went by. With things tied at one it was going to be a staring contest where one blink would bring either one to its knees.
Anaheim made the push out front in the third showing their stance against the Red Wings to prevent them from gaining the important lead that hung in the balance. The took a 5-2 lead on shots to the net seven minutes in before Detroit got out of trouble. They pressed back in the Ducks zone but couldn’t break Gibson who knew that there was plenty on the line. The same could be said for Mrazek who also had been flawless through 37 minutes of play.
Little opportunity was left for either team as signs of overtime were approaching on the horizon. Detroit didn’t want to be anywhere near that as they have too much experience to bring it on the road with them. With 3:44 on the clock, the Red Wings countered on a bad pass in the Anaheim zone where Dylan Larkin with in with Sheahan where the 24 year old forward went in on a stunned Gibson to score the leading goal for Detroit.
Both teams took a time out in the two minutes with Gibson being pulled out with 1:57 left on the clock. Six Ducks attackers were all around the Detroit but couldn’t find a great opening to push the game into overtime. They would never seen it coming as the Red Wings held their ground to secure a fourth victory and the first against the Ducks on their home ice in years.
It was Detroit’s 17th one goal game winner and one that the Red Wings needed as winning out west hasn’t been easy. With Mrazek in net, it clearly helped him out as he helped bring home the win again. He picked up his 15th win of the season stopping 30 of 31 with a .968 save percentage. In his last ten games the 23 year old Czech netminder has 1.76 Goals Against Average with a 7-3-0 record. Its always a fun competition between goals and I’m always happy that I’m on the winning end,” Mrazek told Fox Sports Detroit reporter Trevor Thompson.
While he gets Monday off, goaltender Jimmy Howard will try to do everything he can to end his slump and bring a win for his team as they play the Los Angeles Kings tomorrow night.