Winnipeg, Manitoba — It used to be the Red Wings and their fans dreaded shootouts.
Not this season.
As has been the case recently the Red Wings went past regulation time Tuesday, all the way to the shootout, and defeated Winnipeg 4-3.
It was 2-1 in the shootout with Thomas Vanek and Henrik Zetterberg (who had the game-winner) supplying the offense and Petr Mrazek three game-saving saves.
The Red Wings are now 4-0 in the shootout this season after having gone 13-29 the previous four campaigns.
“Our goalies have done a real good job,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “It’s hard to say for sure (what the difference is) but I would say the goaltenders have worked hard at it, we don’t do a lot of shootout in practice because we don’t practice enough, but certainly those guys have done a good job and the guys have done a good job scoring goals.”
Coach Jeff Blashill saw a more competitive team after the opening 20 minutes. Ted Kulfan
Winning these shootouts and winning in overtime regularly — this was the Red Wings’ sixth game stretching past regulation in the last eight games — the Red Wings are 5-1-2 in their last eight games (4-2 past regulation).
“It’s nice to get that second point, especially where we are in the standings,” Zetterberg said. “We need all the points we can get. Once you get there (overtime) you might as well go for the second (point).
“We had a few big saves from Petr and then you have to be a little bit lucky when it goes into overtime and shootout and we had the bounces tonight.”
Said Blashill: “They (points) are crucial right now. We need to get as many points as we can, keep grinding away points, because everybody in the league seems to be getting points and we have to do the same thing.”
Mrazek made a pair of game-saving saves including on Bryan Little on a breakaway.
The Red Wings overcame a sluggish first period, falling behind 3-1, to rally.
Anthony Mantha and Thomas Vanek scored second-period goals, tying the game 3-3. Tomas Tatar scored in the first period.
“Blash wasn’t real happy with our first period,” Mantha said. “Everyone in here knew it wasn’t the way we had to play.”
Blashill saw the energy he needed from his team the final 45 minutes.
“I didn’t think we had the jump, the compete level, that’s necessary for us to be successful,” Blashill said. “The one thing I’ve said a lot is we’ve got great culture in the locker room, great leadership, and they responded. They came out in the second and third (periods) and played much better hockey.”
The Red Wings outshot Winnipeg 10-3 in the third period, not allowing a shot until past the halfway point of the period.
Goalie Petr Mrazek said the Red Wings were a different team after the first period. Ted Kulfan
“For about 15 minutes I didn’t face a shot but you have to stay focused and watch the puck,” said Mrazek, who had to be sharp on a couple of Winnipeg chances late in regulation. “You never know when the puck is coming to you.”
Mrazek overcame a frustrating first period to keep the Red Wings in the game.
“That’s how hockey is, they had some bounces,” Mrazek said. “We got the next one (in the second period) and tied the game and that was huge in the game.”