Dylan Larkin was knocked down, bounced around, and was having a forgettable game Monday against Finland at the men’s world championships in Slovakia.
But in overtime, with the game on the line, Larkin scored with 1:13 left, giving Team USA a 3-2 victory.
It was Larkin’s first goal of the tournament, after getting two assists in Sunday’s 7-1 victory over France.
Larkin took a pass on the game-winning goal — the tournament has a 3-on-3 overtime, similar to the NHL — skated to some free ice to near the right circle, and snapped a shot from the dot that got past Finnish goalie Veini Vehvilainen.
Finland’s bench were angry after Larkin’s goal that no penalty was called for an open-ice hit against a Finnish player, just before Larkin got control of the puck.
“We’re taking steps in the right direction and that’s great to see,” Wings’ coach Jeff Blashill, the head coach of Team USA, to reporters afterward. “They’re (Finland) a tough team to play against and I give our guys a lot of credit. They battled hard all game long and deserved to get rewarded with points.”
Finland appeared to be close to getting the game-winning goal on the previous shift thanks to an impressive shift by NHL Entry Draft prospect Kaapo Kakko.
Team USA's Jack Hughes and Kakko — the projected top two picks in June's Entry Draft — both played, but it was Kakko (five goals in the tournament) who was more noticeable with the larger role on his team.
The overtime goal wasn’t a total shock for Larkin. He set a Red Wings’ team record with four ovetime goals this season.
The victory gave Team USA a 2-1-0 record (five points in Group A) in the tournament. Finland is 2-0-1 (seven points).
Brady Skjei and Johnny Gaudreau scored for the U.S., with Alex DeBrincat (Farmington Hills) assisting on Skjei’s goal. It was DeBrincat’s fourth point of the tournament (three goals, assist).
Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha continued his impressive start to the world championships.
Mantha had a goal and an assist Monday, helping Canada to a 6-5 victory over host Slovakia.
Canada’s Mark Stone scored a power-play goal with two seconds left in the game to break a 5-5 tie.
Mantha is second in the tournament in scoring with seven points (three goals, four assists).
The line of Mantha, Kyle Turris (Nashville Predators) and Jared McCann (Pittsburgh Penguins) has arguably has been the best of the tournament.
“The chemistry was there since Day One,” Mantha told the TSN sports network.
Canada has six points (2-1-0) in Group A, while Slovakia has three points (1-1-1).
Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi was a healthy scratch for Canada on Monday, replaced by newly added Pierre-Luc Dubois (Columbus Blue Jackets).
The Toledo Walleye, the Wings’ East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) affiliate, is halfway to reaching the Kelly Cup Finals.
Toledo defeated Tulsa 4-1 Sunday at Huntington Center, taking a 2-0 series lead over the Oilers.
The best-of-seven conference finals now shift to Tulsa, Okla., for the next three games, if necessary. Game 3 is Wednesday.
Walleye goalie Pat Nagle (Bloomfield Hills/Ferris State) stopped 39 of 40 shots Sunday to key the victory. During the playoffs, Nagle has a 10-3 record with a 1.66 goals-against average and .944 save percentage.
A.J. Jenks (Wolverine Lake), Wings prospect David Pope, Greg Wolfe (Canton/Michigan State) and Chris Crane had Toledo goals.
Wolfe (14 points, seven goals, seven assists) and Pope (12 points, nine assists), Wings’ prospect Dylan Sadowy (11 points) and Shane Berschbach (Clawson/Western Michigan) have led a balanced Walleye offensive attack.