Detroit Red Wings stung by pair of flubs in 2-1 loss to Flyers

The first game back home after a trip West is a challenge: The travel plus the time-zone change makes for a grind.

There wasn’t much going for the Detroit Red Wings or the Philadelphia Flyers early on Saturday, with the sides playing an uneventful game over the first two periods at Little Caesars Arena. There were maybe a dozen scoring chances between the teams the first two periods. An error by the Wings marred an otherwise even performance, and they wound up losing, 2-1.

“It just felt like one of those tight games that it’s going to be first mistake, and we made it,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “Tough to be completely upset with the game. You’re obviously upset with the outcome. Unfortunately they were the first team to make a play in the third, and we were the first team to make a slight mistake.”

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Scott Laughton got in behind the Wings defense midway through the third period, turning a pass from Kevin Hayes into a goal. The Wings undermined their chance to rally when Dominik Kubalik turned the puck over behind his own net, and Noah Cates turned that into a goal at 13:23. That prompted the wings to pull Ville Husso with nearly four minutes on the clock.

“It’s just very frustrating that we do things right and then Hayes makes a nice play there, but we kind of just stop playing. I didn’t pick up my guy and we were just kind of watching,” Dylan Larkin said. “They score that one and then they score another one, and those are both backbreakers in a close game like that.

“That’s the fine line in this league. It really stings that we were right there, and two mistakes and it’s in the back of our net.”

Lucas Raymond scored with 42.7 seconds left, going to the net to record his 15th of the season. Raymond had a great chance with seconds on the clock, but Carter Hart responded with his 30th save of the game.

“Loved the push at the end,” Lalonde said. “How that puck did not go in — he flexed his pad to keep it out. That was pretty impressive by the Hart kid.”

Tyler Bertuzzi missed the game with a lower-body injury, but he could be back as soon as Tuesday, when the Wings 19-18-8) host the San Jose Sharks.

Fighting fatigue

The Wings originally were scheduled to take the redeye home after Thursday’s game in Las Vegas, but about a month ago, Dylan Larkin suggested spending the night and flying home Friday. It worked the last time, after all: The Wings stayed the night after their Nov. 17 game in San Jose, California, flew home Friday and played Saturday—and won. The Wings matched energy with the Flyers, especially Husso, who made three quick saves in a row mid period as the Flyers threatened down low.

“I do think we responded well to travel, it’s always tough coming back from the West Coast,” Larkin said. “We skated this morning and guys looked pretty tired. We had a really strong effort tonight. I was happy with the way we played.”

Not much happening

Husso kept his side clean, and so did Hart. The Wings had a good push after a power play past the midpoint of the first period, and Jake Walman forced two saves early in the second period. The Flyers missed on their first several shot attempts of the second period, sending shots wide and failing to establish any cycles. It wasn’t until a handful of minutes in that Husso had to make a save, on a Cam York wrist shot from just outside the crease. Husso was at his best in the second period when he made four saves during a Flyers power play. The Wings had a 21-18 edge in shots after 40 minutes.

Contact Helene St James [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter@helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from Amazon,Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via your email.

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