The Red Wings lost their edge in some dicey moments against the Jets but came back with stunning momentum. Tomas Tatar scored two big goals, including the game winner to ground Winnipeg 4-3 on MTS Centre on Thursday night. Petr Mrazek picked up his first win in over a year making 28 saves on the night.
Detroit has a new look to their lineup against the Jets as the time for new players to make their stand arrived. Detroit’s new line consisted of Brian Lashoff and Xavier Ouellet on defense. Mrazek received the nod for the Red Wings in order to give Jimmy Howard time to rest. With confidence in the new kids playing for experience and possible security of a spot, continuing their recent road success could be difficult with the Jets on their best run as they are in competition for the Central division.
The period didn’t begin well for the Red Wings as Johan Franzen took a stick to the face from Andrew Ladd in the Jets zone. He found the strength to get up and sit back on the bench. Mrazek was challenged with shots from Winnipeg where he made terrific recoveries when battling around the crease to make the stops. Detroit put themselves in a hole late in the period giving the Jets a chance to get ahead before time ran out in the first. They successfully killed it off while maintaining the capability of shooting pucks to the net.
At the start of the second period, the Jets caught the upper hand on Detroit as a loose show of defense in their zone gave Dustin Byfuglien the opportunity to score the opening goal. It was his third of the season on a snapshot that put the Red Wings deeper. It got worse as Adam Lowry scored on a rebound from Mark Scheifele’s drive that at first thought the puck went off the crossbar but was shown to have hit the camera inside the net to be a good goal. Detroit came back on a great battle behind the net where Tomas Tatar got the puck and fired a shot from the blue line on a near open line to cut the lead in half.
The veterans contributed to a strong showing late in the second where Franzen took a short forehand shot that went in the back of the net to tie the game at two for his sixth of the year. Winnipeg caught a break to regain the lead as Mathieu Perreault fired a shot at Mrazek to go through traffic giving him two goals this season. Trying to come back, Detroit got two shots that went off the post in a quest to tie the game up. The struggle to get the game in the Winnipeg end faltered with their opponents on a hot streak to stay one goal ahead.
The endeavor to score for Detroit to score was being kept up by the Jets defense that worked hard to beat the Red Wings. Time continued to fall off the clock for a fight to tie the game before it was too late. After another pair of shots off the post, it was Justin Abdelkader who helped tie it on a tip in from Tatar’s shot to gain his sixth of the season.
Just two minutes later was where Detroit gained the advantage on the game as Tatar scored a huge goal with Abdelkader’s support to make it 4-3 with four minutes left in regulation. Winnipeg took one last fight in the Red Wings end to be closed off from scoring a game tying goal went completely Mrazek’s way for the big win. “I thought he made some real good saves and handled the puck well some timely and while their goalie was out he made some real good plays at the puck that allowed us to keep the pressure not allowing them any opportunities,” said Mike Babcock. Detroit took their first win in two tries against Winnipeg and their fifth come from behind victory this season.
“This is like a game that was going where you don’t think of what the score is at the time, but you just want to come and that’s what we did and started to play at the end and it paid off,” said Tatar to Fox Sports Detroit reporter Trevor Thompson as he has scored the game winning goal for the last two games.
The savior on defense won his first game since Nov. 3, 2013 against Edmonton and facing the Jets who were on their tale all game long it was one victory to be proud of. “It was a great win for us on the road and it was a good battle,” said Mrazek. “We were down 3-2 but we had to go hard to the net and score some greasy goals.” He got the best of his Czech countryman Ondrej Pavelec who took his seventh loss on 23 saves. “I feel great right night and I told him when I step on the ice I want to win.”
Detroit is on a two game winning streak and eking one out against Winnipeg who they have only beat once meant a lot to the Detroit head coach. “We dug in, got mad, and got playing and once we got playing and executing now the rink was level and we ended up with some good opportunities,” said Babcock. “Some guys who were good early ended up having really good games.”
The Red Wings next opportunity to play a good game will come Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs as they complete their three game road swing.