May 27th, 2024

Red Wings miss playoffs in ‘gutting’ fashion despite 5-4 shootout win over Canadiens

By Daniel Rainbird, The Canadian Press on April 16, 2024.

Detroit Red Wings goaltender James Reimer (47) makes a save against Montreal Canadiens' Christian Dvorak (28) as Red Wings' Shayne Gostisbehere (41) defends during first period NHL hockey action in Montreal on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi

MONTREAL – The Detroit Red Wings were knocked out of playoff contention once again on Tuesday night, and it hardly could have come in more gut-wrenching fashion.

Patrick Kane scored the shootout winner in a 5-4 Detroit win over the Montreal Canadiens in their regular-season finale, completing a comeback after a dramatic game-tying goal from David Perron with 3.3 seconds left in regulation.

But it didn’t matter.

The Red Wings entered the night tied with Washington for the East’s second wild-card spot with 89 points, but the Capitals held the tiebreaker over Detroit with more regulations wins.

Meanwhile, Washington was visiting Philadelphia, and the 87-point Flyers needed a regulation win and a Detroit regulation loss to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Just after the Red Wings celebrated Perron’s heroic, game-tying goal, the Flyers, not realizing that Detroit had forced overtime and effectively ended their season anyway, pulled the goalie with three minutes remaining in a 1-1 tie with Washington to attempt a win in regulation.

T.J. Oshie, however, quickly scored into the empty net to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead, and Washington ultimately booked its ticket to the post-season.

“The way it played out, you can’t even make that up,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said.

“It’s hard, it’s gutting, we’re pretty sad in here,” captain Dylan Larkin added from Detroit’s locker room. “This year coming to an end like that, is very, very sad. Very hard.”

Over in Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella said he became aware of Detroit’s equalizer just after Washington had scored the empty-netter.

“That was the right time to pull (the goalie),” Tortorella told reporters. “Didn’t know anything about what was going on with Detroit at the time, but immediately after that our video guys told us that Detroit just went to overtime.”

Daniel Sprong had a goal and an assist, while Moritz Seider, Joe Veleno and Perron also scored for Detroit (41-32-9). James Reimer stopped 29 shots.

The Red Wings prevailed in a dramatic 5-4 overtime victory over the Canadiens on home ice Monday as Lucas Raymond scored a game-tying goal with the goalie pulled before burying the overtime winner.

And despite pulling off another jaw-dropping comeback on Tuesday, Detroit will miss the playoffs for an eighth straight season.

“We just wouldn’t go away, we wouldn’t die. Comeback after comeback,” said Larkin, who added the Red Wings found out they’d be packing their bags for the off-season before the shootout.

“To hear the way it went down, I guess, that stings. Our group, very resilient, came back in the game and you know, it’s just very unfortunate.”

Brendan Gallagher and Juraj Slafkovsky had a goal and an assist, while Alex Newhook and Cole Caufield also scored for Montreal (30-36-16). Cayden Primeau made 36 saves.

Canadiens fans got a first glimpse of some up-and-coming blueliners in the organization. Logan Mailloux made his NHL debut after spending the entire season with the American Hockey League’s Laval Rocket. The 21-year-old produced one assist for his first NHL point.

Meanwhile, 20-year-old Lane Hutson showed his moves, received loud applause and produced a crucial assist playing at the Bell Centre for the first time. He debuted Monday in Detroit, where he earned one assist.

“The crowd was awesome “¦ I kind of feed off of it,” Hutson said. “It’s really cool. I mean they’re some smart fans. They know when a play can happen and you hear it all game, so it’s really special.”

Down 3-2 after 40 minutes, the Red Wings tied the game 3:31 into the third period as Sprong banked a shot from behind the net off Primeau.

Slafkovsky put Montreal back ahead with his 20th of the season, deflecting a point shot from Hutson at 12:46.

With Detroit’s season on the line and the goalie pulled, Perron equalized with a one-timer off an offensive zone draw after a questionable icing call went against Montreal with seven seconds left.

It kept the Red Wings’ season alive, only momentarily.

“It’s crazy, it stings a lot obviously,” Perron said. “From going to look at the clock, there’s seven seconds, and then scoring that goal and then coming back to the bench, you kind of hear (we’re out) not too long after that.

“Obviously Philly is thinking that we’re losing that game maybe with seven seconds (left), they pull the goalie, they do their thing and Washington scores, so it hurts a lot.”

Newhook opened the scoring 11:32 into the first period. Mailloux sent a stretch pass to Gallagher, who fed Newhook for a one-timer on a 2-on-1.

Seider tied the game with 1:31 left in the period but Montreal retook the lead at 6:17 of the second when Gallagher tapped home a shot from Joel Armia that trickled through Reimer.

Caufield doubled the lead with his 28th at 10:09 and Veleno put Detroit back within one 36 seconds later.

Later in the period, Reimer denied a one-time from Caufield by stretching out for a highlight-reel blocker save, losing his stick in the process, to keep the Red Wings deficit at one.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2024.

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