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'Hardened' Detroit Red Wings show growth in two-game winning streak

BOSTON — The fun thing about winning is the good vibes it engenders.

The Detroit Red Wings take a nascent little two-game streak into Sunday's matinee against the Minnesota Wild, the other team that went to Sweden and came back with two losses. The Wings (10-6-3) have distanced themselves from the disappointment of leaving Stockholm with just one point with two energetic performances that have yielded four points.

"There was some adversity there," coach Derek Lalonde said after Friday's 5-2 victory at TD Garden. "A lot of emotion went into the European trip. It’s a results-based league and we didn’t get results, but man, we played pretty darn good out there, and I really give our guys a little bit of credit for not accepting not getting results out there, putting a little more focus in their approach, and so far putting together a couple good performances."

They followed up Wednesday's 4-0 dismantling of the New Jersey Devils by going into Boston on Black Friday and handing the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins only their second regulation loss of the season.

Detroit Red Wings' Ville Husso (35) celebrates with Daniel Sprong (88), Dylan Larkin (71) and Michael Rasmussen (27) after defeating the Boston Bruins at TD Garden in Boston on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023.
Detroit Red Wings' Ville Husso (35) celebrates with Daniel Sprong (88), Dylan Larkin (71) and Michael Rasmussen (27) after defeating the Boston Bruins at TD Garden in Boston on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023.

'A BIG FEAT': Red Wings hand Boston Bruins 2nd regulation loss this season, 5-2

The Wings are responsible for both.

"We are a good team," Ville Husso said after making 25 saves at TD Garden. "If we bring it every night, every day, we can beat any team in this league, and we just have to do it every day. The last two games, I feel like we’ve been outstanding defensively and got two big wins. We just have to keep building and keep moving forward."

It was Husso's first game in two weeks because he left Stockholm, less than 48 hours after arriving, to return to Detroit to welcome a baby daughter.

"He should have a kid every six weeks," Lalonde said, smiling. "Credit to him in that it’s tough in that position to be away from the rink for almost a week, but to still get his reps and be ready. It was a really good performance for him."

While Husso enjoyed a spot of paternity leave, third-string goalie Alex Lyon put together two strong back-to-back outings, in the Devils victory and in a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 17 in the second of the Global Series games. (James Reimer was in net on Nov. 16 when the Wings rallied from four goals to lose, 5-4 in overtime to the Ottawa Senators).

Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle (13) leaps to avoid an incoming shot on Detroit Red Wings goaltender Ville Husso (35) during the third period at TD Garden in Boston on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023.
Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle (13) leaps to avoid an incoming shot on Detroit Red Wings goaltender Ville Husso (35) during the third period at TD Garden in Boston on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023.

"Those two games in Sweden were very intense, very emotional," Dylan Larkin said. "We got a point but we didn’t play up to our standards, and we came home with that same intensity, which is really hard to do, with travel an all that. I think Alex Lyon started it — last game, he played out of his mind, and really got the confidence going for our group, and Hus followed it up. That’s what we need. I think we have three goalies that can play in this league, and play at a very high level, so that’s a really good thing to have."

Larkin called it "a big feat" for the Wings to win in Boston. He scored a power play goal less than a minute after the Bruins had made it 3-2. While the Wings did squander 61 seconds with a two-man advantage while up 4-2, this two-game winning streak has seen them re-ignite their power play, which has accounted for three of the nine goals.

Lalonde spoke earlier in the week of the Wings have been "hardened" by coming up empty in games where they have played well. The game against the Leafs was one example: The Wings led, 2-0, going into the third period — and the way it felt to lose was on their minds when they took a 3-1 lead into the third period Friday.

"Anytime you give up a two-goal lead in the third period like that, it’s kind of a little bit of a gut check," Andrew Copp said. "I think going into the third period, that was something that we knew we had to right the ship on. Maybe it woke us up a little bit — can’t coast through the third period, especially against a team like Toronto or Boston.

"The two games we played over there were in general pretty good, but we didn’t get the results at the end of the day. It was important to get a couple wins coming back from that and we have to find a way to continue it into next week."

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her @helenestjames.

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 her e-mail. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter.

Next up: Wild

Matchup: Red Wings (10-6-3) vs. Minnesota (5-9-4).

Faceoff: 1 p.m. Sunday; Little Caesars Arena, Detroit.

TV/radio: Bally Sports Detroit; WXYT-FM (97.1).

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings' win streak grows out of lessons from Sweden