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Givani Smith Debuts for Detroit, Joe Veleno Scores First Pro Goal for Griffins

 

The Detroit Red Wings had their losing streak extended as it reached seven games on Friday night. The Buffalo Sabres handed them the 2-0 loss.

Dylan Larkin speaks to the media following the loss. October 25, 2019. Little Caesars Arena. (Photo by Kevin Sporka)

Despite early offensive zone pressure in which Detroit had the edge on shots, missed shots and errant passes were the story in the first period. Valtteri Filppula had the best scoring chance of the period, as he stripped the puck at center ice and earned a clean breakaway, but the pad of goalie Linus Ullmark stopped the chance.

Although they registered shots on net, they weren’t all quality chances. In addition, there was a trend of poor passing that continued throughout the game. It was hard to lead breakouts with passes that went behind players’ skates.

Buffalo took the lead in the second period when defenseman Jake McCabe scored, with Sam Reinhart assisting. Jimmy Howard said he wasn’t able to see the puck as it was shot.

Reinhart scored to start the third period as well, leading to the 2-0 shutout. Detroit registered 21 shots on net in the third alone, totaling 41 shots on the night, but none could solve Ullmark.

Howard was solid all game in net, keeping the Wings afloat despite a nonexistent offense.

Givani Smith was playing in his first NHL game. He had 11:01 of ice time playing with Jacob de la Rose and Christoffer Ehn on the fourth line. He has earned this opportunity as his play throughout his time in the American League has been excellent. He has worked very hard since being drafted. He was throwing his body at people left and right when he was on the ice, something he has been known to do very well.

He said the players in the locker room made him feel comfortable before the game and noted that the experience was just as he thought it would be.

“I thought he played great,” said Dylan Larkin. “I think he was really excited before the game. He brought a physicality, size, and speed to our game, and I thought when he was out there he was really effective on the forecheck and made some nice plays. He’s a big body on the power play. I thought he had a positive impact [and] I’m really happy for him.

Here’s more of what Larkin had to say after the game.

Grand Rapids

Although Detroit didn’t get the win, the Griffins played very well in a 4-1 defeat of the Manitoba Moose from Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.

Jonathan Ericsson played his first game with the Grand Rapids Griffins since 2009 (he now wears #4). He was waived by Steve Yzerman this week as it was determined that he wasn’t worthy of a slot on the Detroit defense.

Matt Puempel scored a pair of goals to give the Griffins a two-goal lead for the first two periods, with goalie Calvin Pickard weathering a storm of shots. The Moose fired 12 and 13 shots respectively through 40 minutes. Chris Terry assisted on both goals.

The highlight of the night came when Joe Veleno scored his first professional goal. Young prospects Chase Pearson and Filip Zadina assisted. The goal came as the puck emerged from a goal-mouth scramble toward the slot, and Veleno pounced on it. There was a review to determine the validity of the goal, but it stood.

Puempel later potted the empty-net goal for the hat trick as the team won 4-1.

Pickard was spectacular, stopping 37 shots, bringing his totals after five games to 2.37 and .925.

The Griffins had a slow start to their season but now have four wins, just behind the Iowa Wild in the Central Division (five).

Their next game is against the Texas Stars tonight (7:00 ET) before they face Iowa on Wednesday and Manitoba again next Saturday and Sunday.

Kevin Sporka

Kevin Sporka

Kevin Sporka is the Senior Media Analyst and Detroit Red Wings beat writer at HOHM. He is also the author of the Fantasy Hockey Fridays, In Retrospect, Milestone Monday, and Legends By the Number segments.
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