Joe Veleno showed what he can do with the puck, and Jakub Vrana continued to make Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman look smart.
Vrana set up Veleno for his first NHL goal Friday at Nationwide Arena and then scored one of his own as the Wings played the first of back-to-back games against the Columbus Blue Jackets to wrap up their season.
The Wings rallied from a two-goal deficit to win, 5-2.
The victory puts the Wings (19-27-9) within reach of 20 victories. Last season, they finished with 17 wins in 71 games.
SHAWN WINDSOR: Steve Yzerman is 2 years into Red Wings rebuild and his eye for talent is showing
THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: Red Wings approach final weekend with gratitude
Givani Smith #48 of the Detroit Red Wings and Andrew Peeke #2 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skate after the puck during the first period of the game at Nationwide Arena on May 7, 2021
The Wings were behind 2-0 when Veleno scored at 13:50 of the second period. Gavin Bayreuther scored for the Blue Jackets less than two minutes in when his shot hit Michael Rasmussen and bounced past goalie Thomas Greiss, and Nathan Gerbe stuffed a backhand in on a breakaway at 7:48 of the second period.
Danny DeKeyser scored less than a minute after Veleno did. Mathias Brome fired a shot that deflected around the back of the net and out to DeKeyser, whose shot knuckled behind Columbus goalie Matiss Kivlenieks. Vrana then scored on a one-timer at 16:52.
Since joining the Wings on April 12 in the trade that sent Anthony Mantha to Washington, Vrana has seven goals and two assists in 10 games.
Vladislav Namestnikov scored into an empty net with 2:02 to play — and then again with 48 seconds to go,.
Veleno scores first goal
Veleno, a first-round pick from 2018, netted his first NHL goal on a power play. Vrana had the puck at the top of the right circle, with Richard Panik by the net and Sam Gagner roaming near the slot. Vrana wired a pass to Veleno, who put the puck up under the bar and into his memories. Veleno has had a good showing since returning from spending the season in Sweden, showing off his strength and skill.
Rasmussen gets prime look
Rasmussen, whose strong play has been one of the season’s bright spots, centered what was the top line, between scoring wingers Vrana and Filip Zadina. Rasmussen had played with Vrana before, but with veteran two-way forward Valtteri Filppula on the other wing. This setup gave Rasmussen a chance to play between two offensive-minded wingers who, though it has only been a little more than three weeks since Vrana was acquired, have shown good chemistry.
Givani Smith appeared in his 16th game of the season, and his first since being returned to Grand Rapids on April 12 following the trade deadline. Smith started the game on a line with fellow youngster Veleno and veteran Sam Gagner. Smith (6-feet-2, 210 pounds) should be in the running for a spot on the Wings next season, given that he’s shown well when given the chance and would provide some grit.
Contact Helene St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings beat Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-2, behind Joe Veleno
Published: 2021-05-08 01:36:05
Tags: #Joe #Veleno #scores #NHL #goal #Detroit #Red #Wings #win #Columbus