Red Wings-Canadiens wrap-up: in 600th meeting between franchises, Larkin’s 300th point is the OT winner

The Detroit Red Wings’ 3-2 overtime victory over the Montreal Canadiens felt a little bit unbelievable given how badly the Red Wings were out-played in the 3rd period, but Alex Nedeljkivic made 13 stops, some spectacular…

And Detroit managed to sneak their way into overtime, where Dylan Larkin scored a beautiful goal off Samuel Montembeault, who replaced Jake Allen after Larkin was very dirtily shoved into Allen by Jeff Petry earlier in the game.

For what it’s worth, Larkin had this to say to the Free Press’s Helene St. James:

Larkin said he was worried about Allen on the play. “I can’t do much,” Larkin said. “I’m full speed, Petry is full speed. A little push. I’m can’t move. I’m tired, I’m at the end of my shift. I can’t do anything. I think about him, I think about myself, yes, with injuries. It was a tough play and I feel really bad about it.”

Thanks to Larkin’s OT goal, most things ended well* for the Red Wings, who finish with 3 victories on their 4-game home-stand by taking their only victory of the season from the Canadiens.

MOOD 🙌 pic.twitter.com/8krCmrnOK9— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) November 14, 2021

Game. Over.#LGRW pic.twitter.com/gAZPVRRKmD— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) November 14, 2021

Dylan Larkin scored the sixth overtime goal of his NHL career to move past Brett Hull, Gustav Nyquist and John Sorrell for sole possession of seventh place on the @DetroitRedWings’ all-time list.#NHLStats: https://t.co/bQq4zywIRa pic.twitter.com/JAgYrKmdR2— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 14, 2021

*The Red Wings did lose Mitchell Stephens to a lower-body injury, and coach Blashill suggested that the Red Wings will have to call someone up from Grand Rapids as Stephens “will miss a while.”

So the Wings will head on the road, to play the final 4 games of their 11-game-in-17-night stretch in only 6 evenings–with the road trip involving games in Columbus (Monday), Dallas (Tuesday), Vegas (Thursday) and Arizona (Saturday).

Not surprisingly, for our friends from Montreal, the Larkin-Allen play was seen as the game’s turning point, as Sportsnet’s Eric Engels suggested:

“Larkin was coming quick,” [coach Dominique] Ducharme told reporters on site. “There was a movement from Petry at the same time. It happened fast. Could he have avoided the goaltender? It happened fast…”

Allen’s mask went flying off his head, and his head went flying into the post, leaving him down behind the goal line and clearly stunned.

How the situation left Samuel Montembeault was almost as concerning, because he instantly became one of two inexperienced goaltenders tasked with carrying the Canadiens back to respectability — a road that seems untravellable considering their 4-11-2 record.

The 25-year-old backup to the backup hasn’t won a game in the NHL since Feb. 11, 2020, and he wasn’t much closer after allowing goals the first two shots he faced in Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Red Wings.

The first one came off Larkin’s stick — a great shot from an impossible angle Montembeault later said he should’ve stopped. That was at 2:36 of the second period.

Detroit’s second came 45 seconds later — a wrister from Pius Suter that trickled in off Montembeault’s glove and deflated the Canadiens.

“I had already allowed the first shot and after that I started thinking about it,” he told reporters after the game. “The second shot then comes from the slot.”

The Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey agreed with Engels’ assessment

The momentum of this game changed after Allen was pulled off the ice with 48 seconds remaining in the first period to undergo the NHL’s concussion protocol. Larkin had step on Jeff Petry as he drove to the net when Petry gave him a shove from behind. An off-balance Larkin then plowed into Allen with 1:09 remaining. Larkin appeared to take the worst of the collision but, after resuming his position in the net, Allen left the ice at the next whistle and was replaced by Samuel Montembeault.

Montreal failed to score on a power play that overlapped the first two periods and the Red Wings took a 2-1 lead when they scored on the first two shots against Montembeault.

Larkin showed he was no worse for wear when he tied the score with a shot from an impossible angle. He launched it from the goal line, which went behind Montembeault and went in off the far post. It was a great shot, but also one Montembeault could have stopped if he had been in position.

The Red Wings took the lead 45 seconds later when Pius Suter scored on  a drive from the high slot that found an opening between the goaltender’s body and his arm.

Montembeault was more comfortable after the two early goals and made 22 saves before Larkin potted the winner.

And Hickey’s “In the Habs’ Room” article told a similar story via player quotes:

The Canadiens seemed to put the blame for the hit on Larkin with Ryan Poehling, saying it was one of the worst cases of goaltender interference, while Chris Wideman said he knew Larkin and “he’s not that kind of  player.”

He’s right in that respect because Larkin wasn’t the guilty party in this incident. Jeff Petry, who was trying to catch up to the play after he was caught pinching in, gave Larkin a push and he was unable to avoid Allen.

Montembeault gave up goals on the first two shots he faced before before settling down to stop the next 22 shots before Larkin’s winner. Coach Dominique Ducharme said the Canadiens contributed to the first two goals by turning the puck over.

“I don’t think we fell asleep, but those two goals gave them life,” Ducharme said. “They got the momentum, but we had some mistakes. I liked the way we played in the third. There are always going to be ups and downs in a game.”

The Canadiens also spoke with NHL.com’s Dave Hogg about their assessments of the game

“Obviously, I didn’t want to come into the game and give up two goals,” Montembeault said. “But I couldn’t let that bother me. They were on the board and there was nothing I could do about it. I just tried to keep making saves and give us a chance to come back.”

Wideman tied it 2-2 at 2:33 of the third, one-timing Artturi Lehkonen‘s pass inside the post. Lehkonen, who had just slammed into the boards, made the pass from his knees.

“That was an incredible play,” Wideman said. “I don’t even know how he saw me, but he gave me a perfect pass.”

Montreal took a 1-0 lead at 4:39 of the first period on Ryan Poehling‘s first goal of the season.

“It felt great to get one,” said Poehling, who hadn’t scored since Jan. 13, 2020 against the Calgary Flames. “I thought we played a very good game, but we fell asleep for a couple minutes in the second period. That’s all it takes in this league.”

Multimedia:

Highlights: Sportsnet posted a 7:48 highlight clip:

NHL.com posted a 9:12 highlight clip:

And the AP’s recap will serve as our pivot point between the Canadiens and Red Wings’ perspectives:

Poehling struck first at 4:39 of the first period, but Larkin and Pius Suter erased the deficit with goals that were less than a minute apart.

”Those two goals changed the momentum,” Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said. ”That gave them life and put us on our heels. I really liked how we came out for the third.”

Montembault added: ”Obviously, I didn’t want to give up two quick goals like that, but once it happened, I couldn’t do anything about it. I just had to try to get myself into the game. I thought I made some nice saves and we did a good job of getting back into the game.”

Larkin’s first goal came on a shot from the left corner despite having very little net to shoot at from an angle, but found the upper right corner.

”I like to shoot from off angles and odd angles,” Larkin said. ”On the first one, I saw an opening. He was down and I saw the top of the net and I shot it.”

As for his goal in overtime…

Larkin took a puck coming off the boards from Lucas Raymond, who was credited with an assist, and scored top shelf to goalie Sam Montembeault’s stick side. It was his seventh of the season, and gave him 300 career points.

”It popped right out to me and I saw him off the net,” Larkin said, ”and just tapped it in.”

Detroit goalie Alex Nedeljkovic made 35 saves.

”I thought Ned was excellent,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. ”The puck stuck to him. That was his best game, I think. The puck stuck to him a ton. He was able to control all those rebounds. That was critical for us.”

Blashill said this to the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan about the Wings’ game, given that the team surrendered 1-0 and 2-1 leads…

“I like the end result,” said Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill, who felt his team played well in parts of the game, but not throughout. “Ned (goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic) was excellent. The puck stuck to him. There are lessons we have to learn. We have to keep getting better. We’re giving up too many chances. We have to get better at our puck management. You want to learn lessons while you’re winning and we did that.”

Larkin and Lucas Raymond went on a 2-on-1 rush and Raymond’s shot was stopped by goaltender Sam Montembeault. The puck bounced to Larkin near the goal line, who — similarly to his first goal — launched a shot that bounced off Montembeault and into the net.

“The puck popped right back out to me and I saw a lot of his net,” Larkin said. “The first one, I saw an opening and just fired it. You have to be able to shoot where you want. I like to shoot from all angles, weird angles, and catch the goalie by surprise.”

The winner was the 300th point of his NHL career.

“I see a guy with great passion and cares a ton,” Blashill said of the Wings’ captain. “To me, that’s his best attribute and his inner drive and who wants to win and wants to be a great player. That’s what pushed him to hit that milestone.”

In DetroitRedWings.com’s Brett McWethy’s recap, Larkin recounted his goals

Larkin’s game-winning goal marked the 300th career point in his young NHL career. Detroit (8-6-2; 18 points) ends its four game homestand with a 3-1 record. The Red Wings will now hit the road for four straight games, beginning with Monday’s game at Columbus.

Both of Larkin’s goals were from improbable angles, from the left side of the cage and along the goal line. The overtime tally was closer to the net, but both required firing the puck into a small window.

“The first one, I saw an opening. He was down and I saw the top of the net, and I just shot it,” Larkin said. “We hadn’t got much going, we hadn’t really tested their goalies, and I saw an opening, and just fired it. The second one there, the lively board’s there, and it popped right back out to me. I saw him off his net, so tapped it in.”

And coach Blashill’s praise for Nedeljkovic continued–with a caveat:

Nedeljkovic faced nine shots in the first period, 13 in the second and 14 in the third frame. It marked his fifth game this season with 30 or more saves.

“I thought tonight was his (Nedeljkovic’s) best game,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I thought the puck stuck to him a ton, and I think that’s the huge key for goalies, especially if you’re undersized at all, that the puck sticks to you. They hit him in a lot of different areas, and he was able to control all those rebounds.

“Montreal does a very good job of being hard at the net, so for him to do the job he did, in terms of controlling those rebounds, I thought was critical for us tonight.”

Also of note, from Detroit Hockey Now’s Bob Duff’s Five Takeaways, was this quip about Mickey Redmond from Larkin

Detroit scored all three goals on Sam Montembeault, Allen’s replacement. Two of the goals were top-shelf efforts.

“Mickey Redmond . . . he’s always talking about roofing it and that’s what you got to do,” Larkin said, referring to the two-time 50-goal scorer for Detroit who works on Red Wings broadcasts. “The goalie that came in there tonight, he’s a big guy and you got to get it up to beat him, or get him moving, and we did. Mickey will tell you guys all the time that’s how you score goals in this league.”

And this from Blashill regarding the penalty-kill:

Going 3-for-3 while shorthanded Saturday, the Red Wings have now successfully killed off 17 consecutive penalties over their past six home games. Keeping the sheet clean in this category on Saturday assured that victory would be attainable.

“That’s an easy way to quell momentum, is to give up a goal there,” Blashill said. “Our PK needed to step up and they did. We just gotta keep grinding away at that PK, because I do think we gave up a chance or two more than we wanted to, but in the end our thought our PK was solid and we need it to be real good.”

The Free Press’s Helene St. James offers a quote worth repeating in her brief recap:

“I like the end result, let’s start with that,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “There’s lessons we have to learn that we have to keep getting better at. We still give up too many chances, our puck management needs to get better. But in the end you want to learn lessons while you’re winning, and we did that.”

Post-game: The Canadiens posted the post-game remarks of coach Dominique Ducharme…

Ryan Poehling…

Sam Montembeault…

And Chris Wideman:

Bally Sports Detroit posted a 2:03 clip of Trevor Thompson’s interview with Dylan Larkin…

And a 1:27 clip of Mickey Redmond’s post-game comments:

The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted a 6:23 clip of Larkin’s post-game presser:

St. James also posted coach Blashill’s full 6:59 post-game presser:

The Red Wings posted a 6:35 combined clip of Larkin and Blashill’s comments:

Photos: The Free Press posted a 20-image gallery;

The Detroit News posted a 12-image gallery;

NHL.com posted a 41-image gallery.

Statistics: Here are the Game Summary and Event Summary:

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.