Teemu Pulkkinen has been trying all season to impress not only his Red Wings teammates, not only his coach, but also the fans who believed in him. In overtime, he stepped up scoring the game winner with little time left to beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 at Scottrade Center Saturday night.
Detroit comes off a huge win at home against the Los Angeles Kings holding them off in the final minutes of the third to get back on the winning side. Unfortunately for them, it required them to leave the same night to play the next night against the Blues who second in their division having won against the Sabres two nights ago.
As they continue their home stand, St. Louis hoped to have Colton Parayko back in the lineup. The rookie missed two games with a lower body injury on Monday. He current leads the team with 12 points. For Detroit, the worry came on rookie Dylan Larkin who fell on his knee after tripping on a puck during Friday’s game. Though he is likely to start, the Red Wings will move him up to the first line giving another setup its chance against the Blues.
The Red Wings battled with the Blues in the first period keeping pace with their offense before making a legitimate play. It came six minutes in on a shot from Larkin that stopped on the pad of goalie Jake Allen before snatching it up. The Blues went in to the Detroit zone challenging Jimmy Howard in net but coming up short with the Detroit defense covering the slot.
When they gained back the puck, the Red Wings moved quickly into the Blues end with Green sliding the puck towards the boards behind Allen. Pavel Datsyuk got to it time before passing it to Richards but it was his teammate that sent it back giving
Datsyuk his first goal of the season with a 15 foot shot into the net. The Blues responded three minutes later with Kyle Brodziak skating on the low side before rifling the puck top shelf over Howard to score his second of the season and then 100th goal of his career.
A bad read from the Detroit allowed the Blues to work in an open part of the ice that clearly worked in their favor. Just 100 seconds after the Brodziak goal Jori Lethera scored on a tip in he got from Jay Bouwemeester giving him this third. There was just four minutes left in the period and St. Louis completely turned the tide of the game.
In the final minutes of play, Detroit tried to get things even before the conclusion of the period. With 90 seconds left, the Detroit fourth got to work against the Blues and made their efforts count. Luke Glendening made a rush towards the net where his shot threaded through Allen to notch his first this season and tie the game. Their late charge in the period made a clear indication that travel would not be an issue on playing their former division rivals.
The second period had both teams settling down a bit, as the shots on net didn’t come as sporadically. The Blues had been the only ones to shoot on Howard through eight minutes of play. The Red Wings recorded one against Allen but he made an easy stop of the pucks momentum. It was enough to get them heated up on offense as the first line shift did good work staying in the St. Louis zone.
Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg worked with Larkin who positioned himself near the glove side to tip the puck in off his body to record his eighth this season. Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader recorded assists on the goal making it their third consecutive assist each. The Red Wings maintained a stance against the Blues; making their shots count against Allen. When they didn’t have possession, the Detroit defense made the stops and blocked shots helping out Howard as well as holding the lead after 40 minutes of play.
The Red Wings made their stance known to the Blues that they would do anything to win this game. They blasted away in the St. Louis zone giving it all in the third period. Larkin was looking to increase his goal scoring as he sat on a four game scoring streak. He nearly earned his second but he was cut off by Allen at the end of the play. The Blues were trying to find a way to work their offense against the Red Wings but the coverage they had against them was solid not missing an open man who might have had a shot on net.
The remaining half of the period flew by with the Blues in control of their destiny. They only shot once through five minutes indicating a rough opportunity to make things even between them and Detroit. In their way was Howard who continued to look good in net making big saves for the Red Wings. He wasn’t ready to allow any cheap shots, as four minutes was all that was left standing in his way of a win.
His teammates made some good saves of their own near the Detroit crease clearing the puck away before an opportunity could come to the Blues. With 2:10 left, the Blues found their chance on a bad transition by Detroit.
Zetterberg’s attempt the flip the puck to his teammate across the ice was stolen by Kevin Shattenkirk before setting up Vladimir Tarasenko. The 23-year-old forward jumped on the puck and zipped through the Detroit defense before scoring his 13th goal to tie the game at three all. Tarasenko’s goal tied him for the league lead with Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Detroit didn’t have much time to maneuver a good play to break the tie and saw themselves in another overtime situation. St. Louis spent their chances with the puck but didn’t find a good shot to score the game winner. It led to 3 on 3 hockey that had Detroit’s first line on the ice to begin the five-minute period.
The short period went almost all the five minutes with things getting dicey as the Red Wings were looking for a good look on the puck and end it. They took three shots on Allen coming so close to giving them the win while trying to keep up with the Blues had the puck.
They gained a huge opportunity going to 4 on 3 with a power play that would go long enough for the game to end. With just 19 seconds left, the young Finn who has been doing everything to get some offense going for himself got the game winner on a sniper shot that went top shelf dead center giving Detroit a huge win on the road.
“When you’re on a power play and its 4 on 3 there is a lot of space on the ice,” Pulkkinen told Fox Sports Detroit report John Keating. “I just tried to find the open spot and Richards made me a nice pass so I tried to shoot.” It was his first goal in four games and the one that would stay with him forever. “It’s nice to score goals and obviously it’s a good feeling.”
The Red Wings had plenty of good to be feeling as they found themselves thrilled to go back to Detroit with a winning streak and success on back-to-back wins. They will begin the Thanksgiving holiday week by hosting the Boston Bruins on Wednesday giving them plenty of time to rest.