Friday was finally fruitful for two frustrated forwards.
Detroit Red Wings youngsters @Filip Zadina and @Givani Smith both scored in their team’s 3–2 shootout victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 29.
Smith’s goal ended a 15-game individual scoring drought. Zadina’s go-ahead marker late in the second period snapped his 18-game goalless streak.
Red Wings rookie @Lucas Raymond scored the shootout winner to ensure that Friday’s game was a uniformly positive experience for Zadina and Smith. Both players entered Detroit’s organization during Ken Holland’s tenure as general manager along with the lofty expectations that almost always accompany high draft choices.
Smith, 23, was Detroit’s first of two second-round selections at the 2016 NHL Draft (the second, taken seven picks later, was @Filip Hronek). The 6’2″, 215-pound winger opened the scoring late in the first period on Friday, locating the rebound of a @Sam Gagner shot and sliding the puck between the pads of Penguins goaltender @Casey DeSmith.
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@Joe Veleno also assisted on Smith’s goal for his first point in 15 games.
After @Jake Guentzel responded for the Penguins at the 5:54 mark of the middle frame, Zadina restored Detroit’s one-goal lead on a power play in the dying minutes of the period. It was a fortuitous goal, to be sure, but make no mistake — he’ll take it.
Once the Red Wings’ second power-play unit managed to get set up in the Penguins’ defensive zone, the puck came out to defenseman @Nick Leddy at the point. The 30-year-old rearguard one-timed a Hronek pass toward the net but the puck deflected off @Michael Rasmussen before it could reach DeSmith.
With the puck still flying through the air, Zadina swatted at it on his backhand and managed to make contact. For the first time since Nov. 30, 2021 in Boston, the 22-year-old winger managed to direct the puck across the goal line.
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Guentzel scored his second game-tying goal of the contest just 27 seconds into the third period, setting the stage for a good old-fashioned skills competition.
The Penguins outshot the Red Wings 38 to 32 during regulation time, with Detroit goaltender @Calvin Pickard making 36 saves in his first start of the season.
After Guentzel missed for Pittsburgh, @Lucas Raymond went first for Detroit in the shootout. The 19-year-old winger made it look easy.
Raymond’s goal stood as the only one in the shootout. Pickard was perfect at the other end of the ice, denying Guentzel, @Sidney Crosby, and @Kris Letang en route to his first win since the Wings beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4–1 on Mar. 28, 2021.
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Speaking of Crosby: @Moritz Seider greatly annoyed Pittsburgh’s captain during a post-whistle scrum late in the third period. The 20-year-old rookie is already growing up so fast.
With the win, the Red Wings snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 19–19–6 on the season, the fifth-best record in the Atlantic Division. Pittsburgh remains atop the Metropolitan Division with a 27–10–7 line through 44 games.
Detroit will return to action at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday to take on the 26–10–3 Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:00 p.m. ET.
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