Red Wings earn rare shootout win after Wild rally in third period
Gustav Nyquist and the Detroit Red Wings are rolling into the All-Star break on a five-game winning streak.
Their latest victory even came in a shootout — that fickle tiebreaker that has confounded the Red Wings all season.
"We’ve had some troubles with that. I don’t know our stats really, but they’re not good," Nyquist said. "Every win you get in a shootout is a nice bonus point there."
Nyqust and Pavel Datsyuk scored in the shootout, and Detroit outlasted Minnesota for a 5-4 victory Tuesday night after the Wild rallied from three goals down in the third period. Detroit won for only the second time in nine shootouts this season. Nyquist also scored in regulation, but the Red Wings blew a 4-1 lead in the third period.
Zach Parise scored twice for Minnesota, but he missed his attempt to start the shootout. Mikko Koivu, who also scored in regulation, had his shootout attempt stopped by Detroit’s Petr Mrazek.
Nyquist’s backhander under Minnesota goalie Darcy Kuemper gave the Red Wings the win.
"I was really pleased with our battle level. Of course, we made a couple of mistakes. That always happens. And every time it happened, it seemed to wind up in the net," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. "I give everybody a lot of credit tonight."
When the season began, the big question was whether the Red Wings could extend their streak of 23 consecutive postseason appearances, but now they have reached the All-Star break just a point behind Tampa Bay for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Detroit’s five-game winning streak is its season high.
Detroit’s Teemu Pulkkinen opened the scoring with his first NHL goal, beating goalie Devan Dubnyk from the high slot. The 23-year-old Pulkkinen was leading the AHL in goals when he was called up to the Red Wings earlier this month.
"It was good to get that," Pulkkinen said. "Obviously it was a great pass from (Stephen Weiss.) I kind of had an easy job there because I was in the middle and I just shoot it."
Koivu scored 7 seconds into a Detroit penalty to tie it, but Jonathan Ericsson’s shot from the point found the net for the Red Wings just over a minute later.
Nyquist deflected a shot past Dubnyk early in the second, and Xavier Ouellet’s shot bounced in off the foot of Minnesota’s Justin Fontaine to put the Red Wings ahead 4-1.
Dubnyk was pulled, having allowed four goals on 10 shots. Kuemper stopped all 14 he faced before the shootout.
Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard is 0-6 in shootouts this season, but he’s out with a groin injury. Mrazek had 34 saves for the Red Wings, although the Wild rallied to salvage a point by scoring three goals in the third.
Parise’s power-play goal made it 4-2, and Thomas Vanek backhanded a shot over Mrazek with 9:59 remaining to pull the Wild within one.
Parise then tied it with a terrific individual effort. Ericsson was attempting to clear the puck with a pass up the middle from behind his own net, and Parise intercepted it at close range and suddenly had the puck right in front of Mrazek. His unassisted goal with 6:39 to play made it 4-all.
But Parise shot over the net in the shootout, and Koivu’s bid toward Mrazek’s glove side was turned away.
"The shootout, it’s 50-50," Mrazek said. "The first one, he missed it. The second one, I thought he was going to go high glove, so I was prepared for that."
NOTES: Kuemper played for the first time since Jan. 6. He had been out with a lower-body injury. … The Red Wings were without Johan Franzen (upper body).