Jeff Blashill on the Red Wings' losing, regaining third period lead The Detroit News
Columbus, Ohio — It could have been real bad, the way the third period was trending and the way the Red Wings were letting Columbus back in the game.
The problem of the Wings’ unraveling has happened more than once this young season.
But give the Wings credit Tuesday, after seeing Columbus rally, the Wings reset themselves and pulled out an impressive 5-3 victory.
Tyler Bertuzzi scored his fifth goal at 16 minutes, 36 seconds to break a 3-3 tie — after Columbus had rallied for three third-period goals — and stem a Wings' third-period collapse while ending a seven-game losing streak to the Blue Jackets dating to Dec. 9, 2016.
“Last year that would probably have killed us, giving up three there,” said goaltender Jimmy Howard, who made 34 saves. “Tonight, the guys battled and created havoc in front of Bob (Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky) and Bert had a great goal.”
Dennis Cholowski made the play, skating in from the point to behind the net before finding Bertuzzi in front.
“Excellent play by Cholo,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “As he was walking down, I was saying to myself ‘make a play kid,’ and players make plays at big moments and he’s a guy who is in because he can make plays.”
Dylan Larkin scored into an empty net with 42.7 seconds left, his second goal of the game (3 points total), to make it 5-3.
The Wings (3-7-2, 8 points) have talked about not getting rattled and coming back from adversity — and they did in this game.
“After they scored, we answered and played good hockey,” said Blashill, who called a timeout to settle down his team after the third Jackets goal. “That’s a real important thing. You’re going to have stuff like that happen to you and we answered well.
“I didn’t have to say much. I just said at the end of the day it’s 3-3 and we have eight minutes to play, so let’s go play and win the hockey game. We weren’t down, it wasn’t anything, it’s 3-3 and let’s go win the hockey game, let’s find a way.”
The Jackets' surge was a complete change from most of the evening, as the Wings were the more energetic, better team.
The Wings scored three goals in a 12:27-span during the first period, chasing Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo.
Jimmy Howard on the Red Wings defeating Columbus The Detroit News
Michael Rasmussen (power play) scored his first NHL goal at 1:06, followed by Larkin scoring shorthanded at 9:30. Anthony Mantha capped the explosion, converting a 2-on-1 rush with Larkin at 13:33.
Larkin played a team-high 23:04, was a plus-1 to go with the three points, had a team-high seven shots, had three takeaways, and was 56 percent in the faceoff circle.
In short, it was arguably one of his best games a pro.
“Maybe, I guess,” Larkin said. “I was getting some puck luck in the first and pucks were bouncing and we had some 2-on-1’s. It was an open game, back and forth, and we traded chances.”
The Wings were without forwards Frans Nielsen and Andreas Athanasiou, both out with injuries, and losing the third member of that line, Thomas Vanek, with a lower body injury.
Vanek set up Rasmussen on the power-play goal but only played four shifts for 1:20 before exiting the game.
Blashill said Vanek could be out two to three weeks with a lower body injury. The Wings will recall one or two forwards from Grand Rapids, depending on Athanasiou’s availability for Thursday’s game against New Jersey.
Rasmussen’s first goal began the Wings’ explosion and got a growing monkey off Rasmussen’s back.
“I was a little snake-bitten,” Rasmussen said. “I’ve had quite a bit of chances, and just to get that one, get the win, it feels better when we get the win. The guys have been supporting me real well and it’s great to get it.”
Living with Larkin has given Rasmussen a clear idea of how to go about life as a young player in the NHL.
“He’s a great guy, always supporting me,” Rasmussen said. “Definitely when he gets to the rink and gets on the ice, it’s definitely another level, and it’s something I haven’t seen before in anyone.
“He definitely drove the bus tonight, but he’s like that every night.”
The Red Wings’ coaching staff also got nicked Tuesday.
Assistant coach Pat Ferschweiler suffered a cut lip and broke a bone in his face when hit by a puck.
“He’ll be OK,” Blashill said. “It (the puck) was coming in hot.”