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Nedeljkovic struggles as Red Wings lose 6–5 to Wild in shootout

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Photo credit:Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
8 months ago
Detroit Red Wings goaltender @Alex Nedeljkovic had himself a night to forget on Thursday.
The 26-year-old netminder allowed five goals on 30 shots through regulation and overtime before failing to stop a single shootout attempt in Detroit’s 6–5 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
Thursday’s game marked Nedeljkovic’s sixth time allowing at least five goals in his last 13 starts. The rookie goaltender has seen his numbers decline significantly in recent weeks after a stretch of play near the start of his season that vaulted him into the Calder Trophy conversation.
The undisputed lowlight of Nedeljkovic’s game against Minnesota came just past the midway mark of the opening period. With the score tied 1–1, Wild forward @Joel Eriksson Ek deflected a stretch pass high into the air toward the end boards in the Red Wings’ defensive zone.
Instead of letting the puck go, Nedeljkovic elected to try and slap it behind his cage. Unfortunately for the Red Wings, he ended up redirecting it right through his own legs for one of the most embarrassing own goals you’ll ever see.
The Red Wings tied the game just over two minutes later, with @Lucas Raymond and @Nick Leddy hooking up for a highlight-reel goal.
Raymond carried the puck deep into the offensive zone before sending it to Leddy at the point. The veteran defenseman proceeded to spin past Wild forward @Ryan Hartman before feeding the puck right back to a wide-open Raymond, who unleashed a one-timer past @Cam Talbot to make it a 2–2 hockey game.
Nedeljkovic picked up the secondary helper on Raymond’s 17th goal of the season. With his own goal and an assist already on the books, the Red Wings’ goaltender had the remaining two periods and change to pick up a fight and complete the “Goalie Howe Hat Trick.”
That outcome almost came to fruition after the final buzzer sounded to end the second period. A scrum ensued in front of the Red Wings’ net, with Nedeljkovic right in the thick of things.
As members of the Red Wings and Wild continued to swing away, Talbot made a beeline at Nedeljkovic all the way from the other end of the ice. The two goaltenders were separated before they could throw any punches.
@Matthew Boldy opened the scoring for Minnesota just 1:37 into the first period, but @Jakub Vrana responded less than five minutes later with his second goal in as many games.
After Eriksson Ek and Raymond traded the goals shown above, Vrana scored again in the dying minutes of the opening frame to give the Red Wings their first lead. Raymond followed suit with his own second goal of the contest (also assisted by Leddy) early in the second period to put the home side up by two.
Minnesota proceeded to score a trio of unanswered goals to re-establish its one-goal cushion. Boldy, @Mats Zuccarello, and @Kirill Kaprizov located the back of the net for the visitors to make it a 5–4 game.
The Red Wings found themselves trailing again with just 7:47 remaining in regulation time. As was the case in overtime against the Anaheim Ducks back on Jan. 31, the Wings found themselves a savior in @Jordan Oesterle.
The unheralded 29-year-old defenseman came up huge for the Red Wings with just 2:51 remaining in Thursday’s game, corralling a feed from @Filip Zadina in the offensive zone before firing a shot past Talbot to even the score at 5–5.
That was as close as the Red Wings would get to completing their comeback effort.
After a fruitless overtime period, the Red Wings succumbed to the Wild in a shootout that lasted just two rounds. Zuccarello and @Kevin Fiala both scored for Minnesota, with Vrana and @Dylan Larkin missing for Detroit.
The Wild outshot the Red Wings 40–34 in Thursday’s game. Leddy led the way with three helpers for Detroit, with @Joe Veleno (two assists), Vrana (two goals), and Raymond (two goals) also recording multiple points.
Despite picking up a point against Minnesota, the Red Wings (24–27–7) are now on a four-game losing streak and remain in fifth place in the Atlantic Division. They’ll return to action against the red-hot Calgary Flames (35–15–7) on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ET.

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