The Detroit Red Wings return from a highly successful road trip to face two of the Eastern Conference’s best teams.
They’ll host the New York Rangers on Thursday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
Detroit has won six of its last seven games, including a 3-1 triumph over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. The Red Wings collected four victories during a five-game road swing.
“You can’t ask for more, eight of 10 points and the way we won, in some very tough buildings against some top teams,” coach Derek Lalonde said.
The latest win was sparked by Pius Suter, who has suddenly caught fire after making spotty contributions prior to the All-Star break. Suter scored two goals against the Capitals, giving him five in the last five games. That doesn’t include his decisive shootout goal at Edmonton on Feb. 15.
Suter, who now has 11 goals, notched only 12 points in his first 48 games this season.
Ville Husso made 26 saves and the Red Wings blocked 28 shots. They played most of the game without team captain and leading scorer Dylan Larkin, who drew a game misconduct for crosschecking T.J. Oshie during the first period.
The Red Wings are hoping he won’t also be given a league suspension.
“It wasn’t malicious,” Lalonde said. “We already lost him for basically an entire game (Tuesday), so hopefully we’ll have him for Thursday.”
Another forward, Lucas Raymond, could return to action after missing the last six games due to a lower-body injury.
The hot streak has put Detroit in the wild-card hunt. The Red Wings will look to win the three-game season series against the Rangers.
They split the first two meetings in early November. Detroit recorded a 3-2 victory at New York after Dominik Kubalik’s overtime goal on Nov. 6, however the Rangers rolled to an 8-2 victory in Detroit four nights later.
The Rangers have lost their last two games (0-1-1) following a seven-game winning streak. Calgary snapped that streak with a 3-2 decision in overtime on Saturday before New York saw its 10-game point streak ended with a 4-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at home on Monday.
The Rangers were stymied by goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, who made 50 saves.
“He was great, not a lot of rebounds,” Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said. “He was where he needed to be. Simple. He doesn’t get out of position or make the acrobatic, crazy save because he doesn’t put himself in that position. He was good, controlled the rebounds and there wasn’t a lot of second chances for us.”
Vincent Trocheck’s goal in the second period was the only time the puck got past Hellebuyck.
“We were getting some really good Grade A chances in tight,” forward Chris Kreider said. “We got our looks … we got our chances, and the puck wouldn’t go in.”
Artemi Panarin’s seven-game point streak ended. He’ll look to start a new streak against a team that has struggled to defend him. Panarin has 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) in 18 career games against the Red Wings.
The Rangers will be playing their fifth road game in a stretch of six out of seven away from home. New York is 17-5-5 on the road this season.
–Field Level Media