In the first four games of the season, the focus of offensive power came from Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. They combined for three goals and two assists in those four games. In the fifth game of the season, they combined for three goals and three assists.
Even with their ridiculous input for the fifth game, our firing power doesn’t always have to come from the EuroTwins. It’s something we have all known for quite a while now, but something we definitely take for granted. Because it’s easier to yell at our supporting players when they don’t do things right than to praise them when they actually do things right.
Saturday night’s game started quite well with Todd Bertuzzi scoring the Red Wings’ first power play goal of the season. And it opened the floodgates. Unless you listened to the two women who sat behind me at the game who exclaimed loudly three minutes after his goal that Bertuzzi was having a terrible year.
(They were also those annoying fans who yell “SHOOT!!” on power plays and “CLEAR THE ZONE!!!” on penalty kills. Because the players can totally hear you from the fifteenth row of the upper bowl. Totally.)
The second goal game from Niklas Kronwall, also on the power play. We’re used to defensemen scoring on the power play, but it hasn’t happened as much since the departure of Nicklas Lidstrom. Kronwall has had his struggles with producing offensively, so to see him get his first goal of the year this early is a little heartwarming.
So let’s turn to Daniel Alfredsson. After his play in the last three minutes of the game against the Phoenix Coyotes, you could hear fans around the Metro Detroit area cursing his name to the high heavens. Before the game started, I said Alfredsson would score his first goal as a Red Wing during the game because I want him to do it in Detroit (I was at the game when Mike Modano scored his first goal as a Red Wing and it was one of the loudest times I’ve been in that arena.)
In case you didn’t know, the exchange rate is three assists for one goal. Just kidding. Alfredsson did not score against the Philadelphia Flyers, but he sure as heck helped out offensively, raking in three assists for the evening. He may still be a -3 in +/-, but that’s what happens when your assists come on the power plays.
It’s no secret that Datsyuk and Zetterberg make the players around them better. It’s just a perk. Saturday night’s game showed that our second, third, and fourth lines shouldn’t be underestimated either. Even Dan Cleary was looking nitty-gritty and getting a handful of decent chances.