Wings credit ‘character’ for comeback, 10-game surge

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — They look like a different team, a team so unlike the one in October as the Red Wings crawled out of the starting gate.

The Red Wings team that defeated Nashville 5-4 Saturday in overtime looked completely different.

Even trailing by two goals in the third period, there was a sense the Red Wings would recover and find a way to at least tie and earn a point in the standings.

They did, and then some.

Gustav Nyquist’s overtime goal stretched the Red Wings’ current streak to 10 consecutive games (7-0-3) with at least a point.

And coach Jeff Blashill sees building confidence with this particular team.

“Winning breeds confidence,” Blashill said. “Losing does the opposite. We have a good leadership group that makes sure we stay level-headed and continues to try to get better.

“But winning certainly breeds confidence.”

A popular word around the Red Wings’ locker room Saturday, after the dramatic late comeback, was “character.”

The Red Wings certainly could have sagged after Nashville defenseman Shea Weber’s third power-play goal of the evening gave the Predators a 4-2 third-period lead.

But Dylan Larkin scored to cut the deficit to a single goal, and the Red Wings tied it with Justin Abdelkader’s power-play goal.

“We started to believe we could come back,” said Tomas Tatar, who had a goal and assist. “There’s a lot of character in this locker room and we proved it again. We’re playing for each other and we’re having fun out there.”

Said Blashill: “It was great character by our guys. We did a good job of staying patient and just staying with it.”

Home-ice advantage

Saturday’s game ended a six-game homestand in which the Red Wings earned 10 of 12 points (4-0-2).

This was a crucial stretch in which the Red Wings needed to take advantage, as the Red Wings have played 17 games at Joe Louis Arena — compared to only 10 on the road.

So, there will be plenty of road games ahead.

“We knew we had to take these points at home,” Tatar said. “It’s an advantage to play home games but you are going day to day. All these games were at home so obviously you want to pick up as many points as you can.

“(But) we want to continue on the road, too. It’s going to be a little different after a while to go play somewhere else than The Joe. But we just have to focus on the next game.”

Richards breaks through

Brad Richards had been coming so close the past few games.

On Saturday, Richards finally scored his first goal as a Red Wing, with a shot that bounced off the skate of Weber and past goalie Pekka Rinne.

It was Richards’ first goal in 14 games and could signal one more offensive threat for the Red Wings.

“I don’t care how long you’ve been around, it feels good to score,” Blashill said. “It makes you feel good about yourself and gives you more confidence.

“Richie has been an incredible pro. He’s done a great job adding to our culture here.”