MONTREAL — With dreams of clinching a playoff spot all but over, the Detroit Red Wings leaned on the positives to end their season.
The team suffered a crushing 6-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets last Friday, but bounced back with two high-scoring wins to cap off a three-game Canadian road trip
After taking down the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 last Sunday, the Red Wings grabbed a 5-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
“It’s been about us playing the right way,” said Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde of the recent stretch of game. “Getting a little rhythm with our forward lines, getting a little rhythm with our (defensive) pair, getting great goaltending.
“I just like how clean the game was from start to finish. We played a really good game so it’s very encouraging.”
David Perron scored two goals and added an assist. Lucas Raymond, Matt Luff and Joe Veleno also scored for Detroit (35-33-9). Jordan Oesterle and Olli Matta collected two assists.
Back from missing the last seven games with a lower-body injury, Ville Husso recorded a 24-save shutout.
“I got a good start right away, and even in practice I felt good,” Husso said. “I was always a little nervous before the game, it’s been two weeks that you played but I felt good overall.”
“I thought Ville was excellent,” Lalonde added. “A couple of big saves early, but he just looks sharp. Helped us out a ton.”
In his second start for Montreal (30-42-6) this season, Cayden Primeau made 16 saves.
The Canadiens haven’t scored in the past two games. The final goal came from Rafael Harvey-Pinard at 18:35 of the third period in Montreal’s 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on March 30. Harvey-Pinard has been out with a lower-body injury since.
Habs coach Martin St. Louis said that his team “shot itself in the foot” by conceding two first-period goals and it was all downhill from there.
“We were ready, we had good intentions, I liked our start but then all of sudden it’s 2-0,” said St. Louis. “After that you’re playing catch-up. Our execution wasn’t perfect but we had good intentions.”
Raymond shocked Primeau with a wrist shot from point-blank range to open the scoring for Detroit 4:55 into the opening frame.
Oesterle found Perron with a long stretch pass to create a breakaway and the native of Sherbrooke, Que., deked Primeau to double Detroit’s lead.
“You don’t you don’t see me get those breakaways too often either,” said Perron. “Once I felt the space in behind, I couldn’t miss. I needed to score that one just for the feeling of scoring in this building.”
At 7:12 of the second period, Luff hopped on a loose puck in the slot to score his second goal of the campaign.
Detroit added a power-play goal late in the second when Veleno redirected Jake Walman’s shot from the point to score his first goal against his hometown team.
Maatta located Perron with a centring pass in the slot, who tapped in his second of the night at 7:26 of the final frame.
Once again, the Canadiens had to cope with injuries ahead of Tuesday’s game. Goaltender Jake Allen, forward Rafael Harvey-Pinard and defenceman Jordan Harris (lower-body) were ruled out against Detroit.
Harvey-Pinard and Harris were replaced by Joel Armia and Corey Shueneman, respectively.
“I think staying healthy throughout a season is a little bit of an art,” said Habs coach Martin St. Louis before the game. “It’s balancing everything and still doing your job, taking care of yourself off the ice, getting in the gym a little bit, but also preventing when you feel like something’s coming.”
Referee Marc Joannette skated in his final game Tuesday after officiating more than 1,500 games in the National Hockey League and three Stanley Cup finals. Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis gifted the Verdun, Que., native with a silver plaque and a bottle of wine.
Public address announcer Michel Lacroix acknowledged his retirement during a television break in the first period. Following the game, both teams shook Joannette’s hand before heading to the locker room.
The Canadiens host the Washington Capitals on Thursday.
The Red Wings entertain the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 4, 2023.
Tristan D’Amours, The Canadian Press