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Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

WN Postgame: NOT REALLY A RIVALRY BUT IT LOOKED LIKE ONE

The Red Wings came into Wednesday on a two-game winning streak, beating two Eastern Conference teams that currently have a hold on a playoff spot.

This two-game streak came on the heels of Detroit losing 10 of their previous 11 games (1-5-5). They were taking on a team that is all too familiar with lengthy losing streaks, as the Philadelphia Flyers lost 10 in a row (0-5-5) from November 11th to December 2nd. However, the Flyers came into tonight’s game having won six of their last seven and averaging 3.14 goals for per game over that span.

First Period

Despite playing last night the Red Wings came into tonight’s game with a lot of energy, getting on the Flyers early. They had two breakaways early in the first period, but Brian Elliott was able to turn both Gustav Nyquist and Andreas Athansiou away on their respective chances.

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After a slow start the Flyers turned things around and started to take the play to the Red Wings but Jimmy Howard was up to the task. With under five minutes left in the period an odd bounce ended up with Dale Weise bouncing the puck off of Howard on a wraparound attempt and gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead.

With the period winding down the Red Wings were given a man advantage on a Claude Giroux slashing penalty. The power-play didn’t start great but the period ended well with Dylan Larkin finding Martin Frk with a gorgeous saucer pass and Frk went high, short-side to tie things up under two seconds left in the first.

Second Period

The Red Wings started the period tied but without Luke Glendening, who suffered a hand injury while blocking a shot in the first period. However the Flyers that found themselves shorthanded early in the period as well with Jordan Weal taking a four-minute high-sticking penalty. Detroit was able to capitalize on the power-play again with Mike Green firing a point-shot home, assisted by Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou.

Shortly after Gustav Nyquist rang one off of the crossbar, Jonathan Ericsson took a holding minor and the Flyers went to work. Philadelphia’s power-play came in red-hot and stayed that way with Wayne Simmonds finishing of a gorgeous tic-tac-toe passing play. 2-2.

On the next shift, former Red Wing Valtteri Filppula was outmuscled in the corner and Zetterberg found Nyquist in front and the Swede dangled around Elliott to make it 3-2 Detroit.

The Flyers and Red Wings continued to trade chances as defence appeared to be optional. Not long after the Red Wings took a 3-2 lead, the Flyers won a board battle, Giroux found Robert Hagg at the point and a seeing-eye shot worked through traffic to tie the game—Hagg’s first career NHL goal.

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Things would eventually stiffen up with each team trading a few chances through the remainder of the period but the clock ran out with this one tied 3-3.

Third Period

The third period was another hotly contested period and the refs did a tremendous job putting the whistles away in this game and letting the boys play a physical brand of hockey. It was reminiscent of playoff hockey but in December, it was a great thing to watch.

Unfortunately for the Red Wings, Sean Couturier buried a goal 5:57 into the third period and they would go on to be outshot 10-4 in the frame and lost 4-3, despite playing a good game on no rest.

The top line of the Flyers was just too much for the Red Wings to handle as they combined for two goals, four assists and 12 shots on goal on the night.

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Motor City MVP

Larkin once again. We continue to see the evolution of Larkin in 2017-18 and on Wednesday he led all Detroit skaters with four shots and picked up another two assists, to bring his total to 24 on the season. Larkin continues to be the Red Wings most consistent player night after night and continues to grow right before our eyes. There are gloomy days ahead but players like Larkin make the Red Wings watchable every night.

What’s Next?

The Red Wings will wrap up (pun intended) their pre-Christmas schedule in Boston on Saturday. Detroit had a 3-2 overtime loss to the Bruins last Wednesday. I will have your pre-game coverage as usual.

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