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WEEKEND RECAP: DeKeyser’s Heroics Propel Wings To Three Game Win Streak

The return from the bye week generally goes one of two ways. Either a team is well-rested and ready to play hard or they’re still in vacation mode and look sluggish. The Red Wings fell somewhere in the middle this week.

Friday was the first game back for both the Red Wings and the opposing Maple Leafs. After an extended pre-game ceremony in which the team retired eight time Stanley Cup winner Red Kelly’s number, both teams put on a sloppy performance. The Wings gave up two one goal leads, one in the first and one in (shockingly) the third, before finishing it up in overtime. Gustav Nyquist had two points (1G, 1A) and Andreas Athanasiou had three assists, including on Danny DeKeyser’s game winner.

Despite the sloppiness of their play, stealing a win from one of the best teams in their division (and the league) was a real morale and confidence booster. “…we gotta keep grinding here. It’s a relentless league and you gotta play every single night. We got a good challenge ahead of us tomorrow (in Ottawa) and we gotta make sure we’re ready to work,” said Jeff Blashill.

One player more than the rest was ready for the Senators on Saturday night. Jonathan Bernier, starting in his first game since January 20th, made 35 saves in the team’s 2-0 victory. It was his first shutout of the season and his team didn’t make it easy for him as the Senators out-attempted them 54-36. The Wings only recorded 21 shots on net, which is the 2nd least amount in a single game this season.

Luckily for them, DeKeyser had a hot hand, scoring midway through the 1st period. Darren Helm added a second a mere 30 seconds later, but DeKeyser’s would stand as the game winner, making him the second defenseman in Red Wings franchise history to score a game-winning goal in consecutive days, per NHL Public Relations. The first one to do so was Anders Eriksson in December 1997. Though DeKeyser made history, the story of the game was really Bernier.

“Obviously, he’s had some tough games,” DeKeyser said of the netminder. “The second night of back to backs is when he’s playing usually, so it’s tough on him. I’m just glad we got a win for him.”

“I’m happy for Bernie,” Niklas Kronwall added. “He deserves it.”

HOLLAND’S SPECIAL NIGHT

It wasn’t only DeKeyser making Red Wings history last night as Ken Holland moved past Jack Adams to become the most winning general manager in franchise history. The team’s win was Holland’s 914th as general manager.

“To go by Jack Adams’ record for wins means a lot. It’s an Original Six franchise, he was a great manager,” Holland said.

Holland doesn’t have the same iron fist that Adams did, but his wheeling and dealing kept the Red Wings competitive for more than 20 years. Keeping them successful as the league transitioned into the salary cap era was an accomplishment in itself and adding a Cup to the rafters afterwards was icing on the cake.

Though Holland’s fallen out of favour among fans recently due to the team’s fall from grace, it should never be forgotten that he brought Detroit three Stanley Cups as general manager and dozens of other accolades and awards. The future is still unwritten, but Holland is already a Red Wings great.