Detroit Red Wings skate to 4-1 preseason win over St. Louis in Hockeyville game at Calumet Colosseum
When the festivities ended, the Red Wings emerged victorious, 4-1.
For the Red Wings, who served as the home team for the night, three emerging members of the new, young corps stepped up. Winger Anthony Mantha and center Michael Rasmussen each struck twice in the victory. Defenseman Dennis Cholowski chipped in with two assists.
For Mantha, who scored his third and fourth goals of the preseason, the game was another step in following up a strong showing at last spring’s World Championships.
“(My) confidence is there since last season,” he said. “Plays are just coming through right now.”
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill, who grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, was pleased with the efforts of his young players, especially Mantha, Rasmussen, Cholowski and winger Taro Hirose, who added another assist in the win.
Mantha’s first of the night put the Red Wings up 1-0 late in the first period. After both teams spent most of the opening frame feeling each other out, the Red Wings found themselves on a power play late in the period thanks to a hooking minor called on Blues defenseman Vince Dunn.
After a turnover in the offensive zone, Mantha snatched up a clearing attempt and worked a give-and-go with Cholowski which ended with a slap shot from Mantha that beat Blues netminder Jordan Binnington.
Mantha’s second tally came just 22 seconds after the Blues had evened things in the second period when he stole a puck at center ice and skated in, beating Binnington cleanly again.
Blues coach Craig Berube felt that goal was a turning point in the contest.
“It’s definitely not a good situation to give up a goal right after you score one,” he said. “It kind of sets you back a little bit and it kills your momentum for sure.”
Rasmussen scored his first of the night at 13:18 of the middle frame, shortly after escaping from the penalty box. He went hard to the net and picked up a rebound off a shot from center Dylan Larkin. Rasmussen muscled the puck through Binnington, giving the Red Wings a 3-1 lead.
He struck again 2:15 late by again getting to the net and tipping a shot from Cholowski past Binnington.
“I get confidence from doing all the little things like winning my draws, finishing my checks, little stuff like that,” Rasmussen said. “It’s always good to score. It’s fun to score, so it is nice to help out the team.”
Blashill was pleased with Rasmussen’s game, feeling that the youngster is beginning to use his strength well around the net.
“I think his game’s grown as its went along,” Blashill said. “Obviously, we’ve put him at center, I want to keep them at center. I think long term, he can be a really good defensive center and then add his offense with his net front play and he’s a big guy.
“I heard somebody refer to the centers as a kind of the third defenseman and ultimately, that’s what they are and when you are 6-foot-7, with that kind of reach, it’s a real advantage to have him at that position. So we want to keep them there.”
Despite having his starting goaltender give up four goals, Berube was happy with the efforts of Binnington, but less so with the game his defenders put in.
“We weren’t very good,” Berube said. “I thought Binner (Binnington) played really well in the first…. I thought he played excellent.”
Center Ryan O’Reilly, who played in the Marquette Hockeyville game three years ago for the Buffalo Sabres, scored the lone goal for St. Louis just after a power play opportunity just 43 seconds into the second period. He redirected a pass from winger David Perron past Red Wings goaltender Calvin Pickard.
Pickard turned away 37 other shots the Blues sent his way, including all 17 they put on goal in the third period.
The Red Wings return to action tonight when they host Toronto at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The Blues also return to action tonight hosting Washington.