ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Red Wings’ Euro-Twins got their Swiss sibling back Sunday night.
For just the second time this season, the Russian and Swedish stars joined forces with Damien Brunner to forge a dynamite Euro-Triplet line that accounted for both Wings’ goals. However, the Wings squandered the two-goal lead provided by the line and dropped a disappointing 3-2 decision to the Wild before a sold-out crowd at Xcel Energy Center.
Detroit started strong, especially behind the Henrik Zetterberg line with Pavel Datsyuk and Brunner. But Sunday’s loss is the second such defeat where they had a two-goal lead.
“It’s the same frustrations when we weren’t getting the good starts and now we have to find a way to get back,” said Zetterberg, who had two assists with a game-high six shots. “We just have to learn to play more of a 60-minute game. We won’t be perfect for 60-minutes, but we have to find a way to keep playing the way we want. Not get started thinking out there and second-guessing ourselves in situations.”
Brunner gave the Wings a 1-0 lead in the first period. His seventh goal of the season, off a mad scramble in front of Wild’s rookie goalie Darcy Kuemper, came after Zetterberg and Datsyuk both had shots blocked in the low slot. Finally, Datsyuk was able to slip a pass to the left side of the crease where Brunner redirected the puck behind Kuemper at 8:48 of the first period.
Datsyuk scored his seventh of the season – tying Brunner for the team lead in goals – when he roofed a shot over Kuemper’s left shoulder just 20-seconds into the second frame. Zetterberg and rookie defenseman Brian Lashoff were credited with assisting Datsyuk.
Lashoff’s assist was his first point since collecting his first NHL goal on Jan. 21 at Columbus.
But the Wings’ lead was safe from the Wild, who made their push, scoring three unanswered goals, all in the second period, including a pretty one by winger Jason Zucker, who was making his NHL debut. The rookie cruised down the right wing, vertically untouched, and fired a shot that beat Wings rookie Petr Mrazek, who was making his second career start.
“They got their goal and we kind of got rattled,” Zetterberg said. “A lot of teams will have a good period in a game where they will be in your end and score goals. … Just have to restart and flush that out and keep on playing the way we want to.”
NOTEBOOK: Backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson was named the No. 1 Star during his conditioning stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins on Sunday afternoon. He made 26 saves on 27 shots to help the Red Wings’ AHL club to a 2-1 win over Charlotte. Gustavsson hasn’t played since suffering a groin injury in a relief appearance in the season-opener at St. Louis. In six career AHL games, Gustavsson has posted a 4-1-1 record with a 1.11 goals-against average and a .956 save percentage. … Kyle Quincey needed more than 20 stitches to close a cut to his chin after he was struck in the face by Devin Setoguchi. The Wild’s forward received a 4-minute minor for hi-sticking, though he could have easily been assessed a 5-minute major for intending to injury the Wings’ defenseman. “I don’t know if the ref saw it,” Quincey said. “Maybe if he did he would have given him five, but he’s not a dirty player. He doesn’t have a history of that. Things just happen, I guess.”
THREE STARS: 3, Torrey Mitchell, MIN (1 Goal); 2, Darcy Kuemper, MIN (29 Saves); 1, Jason Zucker, MIN (1 Goal).
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