October 14, 2017

Golden Knights drop first game as Red Wings explode in third period

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill put a lot of weight in this four-game road trip. A season after missing the playoffs for the first time in 25 years, Detroit was hoping a strong start could help chase away some of that disappointment.

So far, so good.

Gustav Nyquist scored twice and the Red Wings had four goals in the third period to beat the Vegas Golden Knights 6-3 on Friday night, handing the NHL’s newest franchise its first loss.

The Red Wings finished their trip with back-to-back wins after beating Arizona on Thursday, overcoming James Neal’s sixth goal of the short season for Las Vegas to improve to 4-1-0.

“You can’t play from behind in this league in the standings, you can’t be climbing all year,” Blashill said. “We knew when we looked at our schedule, the stretch in the beginning of the year it was a lot of road games, and the stretch at the end of the year there’s a lot of road games. So, quick starts are a big factor in success.”

Zetterberg finished with a goal and two assists for Detroit, which is 4-1.

“I think the start we had last night was nothing we’re proud about,” Zetterberg said. “I thought tonight didn’t go perfect, but it was better. I thought (goaltender) Petr (Mrazek) played well, made some key saves. Good to see.”

Vegas (3-1-0) is the first NHL expansion team to win its first three games.

Mrazek made 24 saves for the Red Wings, while Marc-Andre Fleury had 21 saves for Vegas.

After killing a penalty early in the third, Detroit’s Frans Nielsen and Zetterberg worked a 2-on-1 to perfection, ending with Nielsen poking what ended up being the winning goal past Fleury to make it 4-3.