Shootout shuffle brings win for Red Wings
Detroit — Shootouts haven’t been all that kind to the Red Wings this season.
But using a bit of a different lineup and a hunch, the Red Wings won the shootout and won the game, 2-1, Tuesday over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Riley Sheahan (who scored a short-handed goal in regulation) and Andreas Athanasiou scored shootout goals, as the Red Wings outscored Columbus 2-0 in the extra session.
The Red Wings are 2-5 in the shootout this season.
Coach Jeff Blashill started with Pavel Datsyuk in the shootout, then went with the two young players, hoping to find shootout goals.
“A bit of a hunch,” Blashill said of his decision to go with Sheahan and Athanasiou.
“I wasn’t sure what I was going to do,” said Athanasiou, who didn’t decide on his ultimate forehand-backhand-forehand move until he got to the hashmarks. “I went with what works. It was a lot of fun.”
It was a big win for the Red Wings (30-20-11), who ended a four-game winless streak (0-2-2) and earned a crucial two points with so many teams near them in the Eastern Conference standings winning Tuesday.
“It was big,” Blashill said. “We got the (single) points the last two games but we needed two points at home, needed to find a way, and we found a way.”
Petr Mrazek stopped 30 shots for the victory, while Columbus goalie Curtis McElhinney stopped 25 Red Wings shots.
Mrazek almost made a sensational play in overtime when he stopped Brandon Dubinsky on a shot in the slot, and saw Pavel Datsyuk open for a breakaway.
Mrazek made a stride or two out of the crease with the puck, which is illegal, and the play was whistled dead immediately.
“I was mad,” said Mrazek, who was briefly irate. “He just told me I can’t skate with the puck.”
The Red Wings, too, had their overtime opportunities after not generating many in the third period.
Athanasiou made a brilliant individual rush with just under two minutes left but was stopped by McElhinney, probably the Red Wings’ best chance.
Columbus had the better of the opportunities late in the third period.
With just under five minutes to go, Mrazek stopped Cam Atkinson on a 2-on-1 rush, then turned aside a rebound attempt, keeping the score 1-1.
“They were coming hard in the third period,” Mrazek said. ”They had some good looks.”
Boone Jenner had the lone goal for the Blue Jackets (24-29-8), a team that began the season terribly, but has found success of late.
“They did a real good job, they’re playing good hockey,” Blashill said. “It was a muddy track out there and the puck was bouncing around and there wasn’t a lot of clean things going on. We had moments of good, and moments of not so good, but it was a good two points.
“I don’t think we had as many (offensive) chances as we need to have, and we didn’t get inside of the ice well enough. We didn’t have enough quality for sure, so we have to build on that.”
Sheahan's short-handed goal made the Wings the last team to score one this season. Their latest short-handed goal had come in the penultimate game of last year's regular season.
Alexey Marchenko made the key play, stripping Dubinsky of the puck near the blue line.
Marchenko flipped the puck down the ice to Sheahan, who was behind the Columbus defense. Sheahan cut through the slot and beat goalie Curtis McElhinney stick side for his ninth goal.
Sheahan's goal ended a 17-game drought without a point for him, and was Sheahan’s first career short-handed goal.
“You want to be a scorer and contribute on the shore sheet,, especially when you put up OK numbers in the past,” Sheahan said. “You can’t let it get to you. It’s a long grind and if it gets you mentally, it get you down.
“Definitely it felt good. You’d like to get on the score sheet as much as you can but at the same time you have to do the little things right.”