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Despite Strong Finish, Red Wings Lose in OT

The Red Wings dropped their 8th game in a row on Sunday night to the St. Louis Blues. Even without superstar Vladimir Tarasenko on the ice and the Blues having played the night before, the team still struggled to figure things out.

Tyler Bertuzzi speaks to the media after the overtime loss. (Photo by Kevin Sporka)

The first period was arguably the sloppiest period of the season. Detroit had very few chances as the play was constantly in their own end. Even on the power play, they had troubles breaking out of the defensive zone. And when the play finally progressed down the ice, bad passing and intercepted passes led to quick turnovers and then it was back to playing defense.

This culminated in two goals. Just two minutes in and on an early power play, Brayden Schenn scored on the Blues’ first shot of the game. Ryan O’Reilly had the primary assist, the first of many points in the game. It was a defensive breakdown and lack of adequate coverage that led to the goal. Next Zach Sanford made it 2-0 with help from Alex Steen and O’Reilly. It was a low shot from the high slot by Steen that Jonathan Bernier may or may not have been able to track as Sanford deflected it into the net. Detroit had only one shot in the first ten minutes.

It wasn’t until Filip Hronek fired a booming slapshot past Jordan Binnington that the Wings had any life. You could see the sense of relief pouring over the players on the ice following that goal. Hronek has continued to be the most consistently good blueliner on the team. He moves the puck incredibly well, skates great and his shot, when it’s on point, is very dangerous. On a relatively weak back end, Hronek is shouldering a heavy load. He played 27:07 Sunday, while Nemeth and Green played 24 and 23 minutes respectively. It is clear that Blashill puts a lot of trust into the young defenseman. Dennis Cholowski, on the other hand, played just 16:39.

A minute and a half later, O’Reilly restored the two-goal lead as he absolutely sniped the top left corner of Bernier’s blocker side. Sometimes it’s impossible to stop a star player when they’re hot. Detroit would later allow a shorthanded 2-on-1 in the same period.

Early in the third, Tyler Bertuzzi fished the puck out of the corner and fed it to linemate Dylan Larkin, who fired a quick shot that bounced off the glove of Binnington and in.

Taro Hirose displayed a little of what he has to offer as he earned a quality scoring chance, swiftly deking toward the net and freezing a Blues d-man on the play. He has yet to register a goal this season, but the skill level is there.

Valtteri Filppula tied the game not long after when his cross-crease pass intended for Andreas Athanasiou deflected into the net from the left skate of Alex Pietrangelo. From the angle in the press box it looked like it might have been Athanasiou’s skate, which would have given him his long awaited first goal of the season. Through ten games played, double-A has easily been the most disappointing player, as he has just two assists. Prior to Sunday night, Filppula only had two assists as well, but much more is expected of the high-skilled winger than of the veteran.

Bertuzzi then gave Detroit their first and only lead of the game as he snapped a low percentage shot that made its way between the blocker and right pad of the netminder.

St. Louis managed to bring it even at four as a goal-mouth scramble had Bernier out of position and Hronek and Darren Helm playing netminder. David Perron fed a pass to O’Reilly in the slot who capitalized on the golden opportunity.

In OT, Perron would score in a similar fashion to O’Reilly’s wrister in the second period and the Blues prevented the Wings from earning the second point.

Detroit will try to find the win column Tuesday vs. Edmonton before traveling to Carolina and Florida Friday and Saturday. The Oilers sit first in the Western Conference while the Canes and Cats both sit third in their respective divisions.

Follow me on Twitter @KevinSporkaHOHM

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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