Dylan Larkin scores OT winner, Wings rally to edge Capitals, 3-2
Washington, D.C. — The Red Wings continue to intrigue in these opening days of the regular season, and possibly no more than Wednesday in Washington.
Dylan Larkin capped a Red Wings rally in overtime with a 3-2 victory over the Capitals.
In overtime, Lucas Raymond carried the puck through the zone and dished it to Larkin near the dot. Larkin wristed a shot past goaltender Vitek Vanecek, Larkin's third goal, and sending the Wings to an impressive victory.
And, again, that was rookies Raymond and Moritz Seider drawing assists during three-on-three overtime on the game-winning goal.
"They're important for growth but that's not why we had them out there," said coach Jeff Blashill of having his two rookies on the ice with Larkin. "We think they give us a chance to make a real good hockey play."
Adam Erne and Robby Fabbri scored goals to tie the game, as the Wings rallied from 2-0 in a game that likely would have ended in defeat the previous several seasons.
"We've been in situations where we found our way to wins and that breeds confidence," said Blashill of the early-season difference for the Wings. "That's part of it. We have some guys who've matured over the years in terms of living through some of that, and as hard as those moments are hard to live, you hope you grow and a number of guys have grown through some of the difficulties we've faced.
"And we have some news that have calm demeanors to them and just keep playing."
Washington scored two power-play goals by Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, as the Wings continued to struggle with inopportune penalties.
But instead of faltering, the Wings stayed with it and steadily got back in the game.
"It shows a lot of character. It's (Washington) a highly skilled team with a lot of big names, and we just stuck with it, stuck to the game plan and eventually it paid off," Erne said. "We're confident in each other. We've had some young guys coming in, we still do, but every game and every season that goes by is huge for experience and confidence.
"You can see it with some of these young guys that they're gaining a feel for the league, and I know, personally, every year that goes by I feel little bit better, a little more confidence. You know what's going on. You know what to expect. That's probably the case is you're just seeing guys confident with the puck, making plays, getting used to the league and the systems."
The Wings moved to 4-2-1 on the season, and showed the ability to match one of the better teams in the NHL, and a Stanley Cup contender.
Larkin said Tuesday the Wings have a renewed sense of confidence.
"I like that it really hasn't been perfect yet," Larkin said. "We've played some good hockey, and when we've won, it feels like it can be repeatable. In the past couple years when we've won, it was a grind. It was hard, it was a war."
The Wings began a stretch against some potential playoff contenders such as Florida, Toronto, Boston and Vegas sprinkled in the stretch, and will give the Wings a true sign of where they are.
"We got a tough schedule coming up here, playing against good teams," Larkin said. "It's a great test. We're on the road, we have find a way to get in a rhythm and it started the last game (Sunday) in Chicago.
"We have to keep that up, we have to keep rolling."
Goaltender Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots, and rebounded from a difficult start Saturday in Montreal.
"In the third (period) Greisser stepped up big," Blashill said. "It's hard to win in this league without real good goaltending, that's the reality of it."
Fabbri tied the game 2-2 at 2:03 of the third period, his second goal. Erne lifted a shot from the slot that Vanecek stopped, but the rebound went to Fabbri near the crease, who flipped the rebound into an open net.
Erne got the rally going with his second goal at 9:17 of the second period.
Filip Hronek, who returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the last two games, made the key play.
Hronek pinched from the wing and slid a pass into the crease, where the hard-charging Erne slammed the puck behind Vanecek.
Ovechkin opened the game's scoring with his eighth goal, and 738th of his career, as he continues to amaze and dominate with his goal-scoring ability at age 36.
Ovechkin took a shot from the low circle toward Greiss, who made the initial stop, but let the puck bounce to the side. Ovechkin quickly gathered himself, and on one knee, put back the puck over Greiss.
The Capitals made it 2-0 early in the second period, back on the power play on Kuznetsov's snap shot off the draw.
But the Wings, unlike previous seasons, weren't going to skate away into oblivion this game. Again, it's early, but there's a different feel.
“Two things," Blashill said. "One is, I do think we infused some more talent. We have a better hockey team, so you have a chance to come back and with that you also have more belief that you can come back in those types of situations.
"I didn’t feel any frustration or panic on the bench at all. We just kind of kept playing and certainly to do it, to come back and have a chance to win in overtime you need good goaltending against that team. They have a lot of talent. They make plays out of nowhere.
“It was a good team win. There was a lot of guys that stepped up and played good hockey.”