The Detroit Red Wings’ first-round picks in the 2019 and 2020 entry drafts have been a major reason for their early-season improvement.
Buried at the bottom of the standings in recent seasons, Detroit brings a .500 record into its home game against Vegas on Sunday.
Defenseman Moritz Seider, chosen with the sixth pick in the 2019 draft, scored his first career goal on Saturday and it was a game-winner. Seider scored midway through overtime to give his team a 4-3 win over Buffalo.
“Mo’s a real talent,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He’s got a swagger to him but he’s also got talent to him. So it was a big-time goal, for sure.”
Seider has already become a fixture on the backline. The 20-year-old has nine assists in his rookie campaign.
Forward Lucas Raymond assisted on all three regulation goals on Saturday. The fourth overall pick of the 2020 draft has five goals and eight assists.
“They bring so much energy,” said forward Tyler Bertuzzi, who had two goals and two assists. “It’s so much fun to watch them play.”
Detroit snapped a four-game losing streak by rallying from two goals down in the third period.
“We proved to ourselves we can battle back and grind in some games, really dig deep in the third and pull out a win,” Bertuzzi said.
The Wings don’t have much time to enjoy the victory. They return home to face a quality Golden Knights team coming off a 5-2 win in Montreal. Vegas has won five of its last six games with the last two coming on the road.
“It’s big but it’s bigger if we play great tomorrow,” Blashill said of Saturday’s win. “It’s a relentless league. We’ve got to find a way to come in tomorrow and win a hockey game.”
The game against Vegas kicks off a four-game homestand.
“We had a couple of tough ones on the road, not a good performance in Montreal and in Boston, so it was really good to finish the road trip strong,” Seider said. “Now it’s just about getting some points at home for the four-game stretch.”
The Golden Knights finally ended a season-long drought with two power-play goals in Montreal. Alex Pietrangelo and Dylan Coghlan had the man-advantage tallies as Vegas scored five unanswered goals in the last two periods.
“You go into another game without scoring on it and the pressure starts to build,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “We’ve got some new combinations with the guys we have out of the lineup, and it’s taken a little bit of time but obviously timely tonight. It’s nice not to have to deal with that goose egg anymore.”
Goaltender Robin Lehner made 36 saves and kept his team within striking distance during a poor start.
“I don’t think anybody was happy with the way we played in the first,” DeBoer said. “We left (Lehner) out there hanging. Thankfully, he showed up on time and gave us a chance. We started to compete in the second period and found our way back into the game.”
–Field Level Media