Home NHL Raymond's first NHL goal helps fuel Red Wings' fast start – NHL.com

Raymond's first NHL goal helps fuel Red Wings' fast start – NHL.com

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DETROIT — Lucas Raymond skated hard into the offensive zone, took a pass from center Dylan Larkin in the right circle and fired a wrist shot from the face-off dot past the outstretched stick of a defenseman. The puck whizzed past the goalie’s glove and into the upper right corner of the net, and there it was, Raymond’s first NHL goal.

“I’m probably going to save the puck somewhere,” the 19-year-old forward said after the Detroit Red Wings’ 4-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Little Caesars Arena on Tuesday. “I mean, it’s a special moment I’ve been looking forward to.”

Whenever a player scores his first NHL goal, it’s special. But some firsts are more special than others. The Red Wings and their fans have been looking forward to a moment like this for a while.

After making the Stanley Cup Playoffs for 25 consecutive seasons and winning the Cup four times in that span, in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008, the Red Wings have missed the playoffs in each of the past five seasons.

As part of the rebuild process, they selected defenseman Moritz Seider with the No. 6 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and Raymond with the No. 4 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. Now each is in the lineup.

Raymond is Detroit’s highest pick since it chose center Keith Primeau at No. 3 in the 1990 NHL Draft.

Seider was the defenseman of the year in the Swedish Hockey League last season. The 20-year-old has three assists in three games for the Red Wings (and didn’t even earn an assist on Raymond’s goal, despite starting the sequence with a nifty move to avoid an opponent in the Detroit zone and a pass to transition the puck the other way).

Raymond also came from the SHL and has scored three points (one goal, two assists) in three games for Detroit, which is off to a 2-0-1 start and hosts the Calgary Flames on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, SNW, BSDET, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).

“It will be very interesting to follow a player like Moritz Seider, who we saw a lot here in Sweden last year,” said Red Wings legend Nicklas Lidstrom, a Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman who lives in Sweden but came to Detroit for the start of the season. “He has a great future. He has all it takes to be a really good player and an asset for Detroit.

“And that goes for Lucas Raymond as well. He had a very good preseason and is a promising player. These younger guys on the team are very interesting players. It will be fun to watch them.”

Raymond’s goal, at 6:17 of the third period, gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead. He helped make it 2-0 with an assist 2:36 later, sending a saucer pass past an opponent along the right-wing boards in the neutral zone to Larkin, who fed forward Tyler Bertuzzi on the rush.

“Those are a couple real dynamic offensive plays,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “The one thing [Raymond] does pretty consistently is he plays a complete game, so what that does is earn trust, and if you earn trust, you get minutes. And he’s done a pretty good job of that.”

Video: CBJ@DET: Raymond buries a wrist shot on the rush

When a coach says a 19-year-old earns trust with a complete game, take note. That’s high praise.

Blashill said he has put Raymond on the top line with Bertuzzi and Larkin for two main reasons: One, an injury to forward Jakub Vrana, out at least four months due to shoulder surgery, opened an opportunity. Two, Bertuzzi and Larkin are good at going to get the puck.

That isn’t a strength of Raymond’s at this point, and it means the puck often will end up on the stick of a player with high-end offensive ability.

Seider and Raymond each has plenty of room to improve adjusting to the speed of the NHL game on the smaller North American rink. Blashill said Raymond is “a real cerebral player, and sometimes he can get caught just thinking his way through the game instead of thinking and moving his feet.”

But Seider and Raymond seem ready for the challenge. Again, Blashill offered high praise, talking about their combination of confidence, calm, respectfulness and drive.

“They’re not entitled people, but yet they have that confidence, and I think that’s important,” Blashill said. “I think [Raymond’s] got a maturity beyond his years, for certain. That’s certainly going to help him as he goes through any upcoming trials and tribulations that he’ll face.”

Raymond sounded like a veteran after scoring his first goal, saying that confidence comes from preparation in practice and the gym, that you have to work on it daily and try to keep it on a steady line so you don’t get too high or too low, and that he’s living in the moment.

“It’s been really fun, but kind of when you’re in it, you don’t really have time to stop and reflect on it,” Raymond said. “You just keep going and try to make the best out of every day.”

Detroit is looking forward to the days to come.

NHL.com/sv senior independent correspondent Janne Bengtsson contributed to this report

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