Dylan Larkin scores twice as Red Wings win in OT over Montreal
Detroit — The Red Wings finally cured the jinx that has been the Montreal Canadiens.
Dylan Larkin scored his second goal of the night, and sixth of the season, at 1 minute 41 seconds of overtime on Saturday to send the Wings to 3-2 victory over Montreal.
It was the Wings' first win in three games against Montreal (4-10-2) this season.
"I like the end result," said Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill, who felt his team played well in parts of the game, but not throughout. "Ned (goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic) was excellent. The puck stuck to him. There are lessons we have to learn. We have to keep getting better. We're giving up too many chances. We have to get better at our puck management.
"You want to learn lessons while you're winning and we did that."
Larkin and Lucas Raymond went on a 2-on-1 rush and Raymond's shot was stopped by goaltender Sam Montembeault. The puck bounced to Larkin near the goal line, who — similarly to his first goal — launched a shot that bounced off Montembeault and into the net.
"The puck popped right back out to me and I saw a lot of his net," Larkin said. "The first one, I saw an opening and just fired it. You have to be able to shoot where you want. I like to shoot from all angles, weird angles, and catch the goalie by surprise."
The winner was the 300th point of his NHL career.
"I see a guy with great passion and cares a ton," Blashill said of the Wings' captain. "To me, that's his best attribute and his inner drive and who wants to win and wants to be a great player. That's what pushed him to hit that milestone."
Montreal's Chris Wideman tied it 2-2 at 2:33 of the third period. Artturi Lehkonen slammed into the boards, but regained control of the puck seconds later, and from his knees backhanded a pass across the slot to Wideman, who beat Nedeljkovic (35 saves) from near the dot.
Larkin and Pius Suter greeted Montembeault with goals 45 seconds apart early in the second period to give the Wings (8-6-2) a 2-1 lead.
Montembeault replaced goaltender Jake Allen after Allen was shaken up on a collision with Larkin. Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry (Orchard Lake St. Mary/Michigan State) appeared to push Larkin, who was driving to the net, into Allen.
Larkin also seemed to be impacted briefly, but got up and skated to the bench.
"I was worried about Jake Allen," Larkin said. "I can't do much at full speed, and it was just a little push and I can't do anything (to avoid the goaltender). But it was a tough play and I feel bad about it."
Larkin then tied the score 1-1 on a goal from near the corner, along the goal line, the puck flying past Montembeault for Larkin's fifth goal.
With Montembeault trying to shake that quirky goal away, the Wings kept pressing and Robby Fabbri found Suter in the slot. Suter snapped his fourth goal past the shellshocked Montembeault, giving the Wings a 2-1 lead at 3:21.
"Sutes has played real good, probably since the Buffalo game (a week ago), he's played real good and starting to find his game," Blashill said.
Still, Blashill felt the Michael Rasmussen centered line, with Vladislav Namestnikov and Adam Erne, "was excellent tonight, that was our best line."
Ryan Poehling opened the scoring with his first goal, sneaking a shot past Nedeljkovic, with a shot from the right dot.
Nedeljkovic is 4-2-2 on the season and beginning to get into a groove, given his performances the last several games.
"He's been solid, just like Thomas Greiss has been solid," Larkin said of the Wings' goaltending. "He (Nedeljkovic) battled tonight, played the puck. When he had to defend, he was our best defender and he was our best player out there."
The Wings lost forward Mitchell Stephens in the second period, likely for a lengthy period of time.
Stephens crashed into the boards skates first and had difficulty putting any weight on his left foot before returning to the bench. Stephens was on the bench briefly, but headed into the locker room.
"Lower body injury, as you could probably tell," Blashill said. "He'll miss some time here. I don't know the exact amount but he'll miss some time."
Blashill wouldn't speculate as to who could be recalled from Grand Rapids, or when, but forward Joe Veleno, who was with the Wings briefly on the last road trip, would be a likely candidate to be promoted.