Detroit Red Wings remain winless on the road against Montreal Canadiens

SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 12: Andreas Athanasiou #72 of the Detroit Red Wings in action against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on March 12, 2018 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 12: Andreas Athanasiou #72 of the Detroit Red Wings in action against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on March 12, 2018 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Still looking for their first win of the season, the Detroit Red Wings came up short against the Montreal Canadiens. In this matchup between two Original Six teams, the Red Wings lost 7-3.

First Period The Detroit Red Wings started the game hot. Maintaining control in the Montreal zone for the first 90 seconds, the starting five applied near constant pressure with no goals to show from it. Nifty defense led to some interceptions which extended the shift, but the tide turned soon after that. A slash from Filip Hronek gifted Jonathan Drouin a penalty shot, a goal, and the first lead of the night for the Canadiens. Shortly thereafter, Tomas Plekanec—in his 1000th career game—made the score 2-0. Andreas Athanasiou scored his first goal of the season to cut the lead to one goal, but that was as close as it would be. With less than 10 seconds to go in the frame, former Red Wing, Tomas Tatar, trickled a goal down the right shoulder of Jimmy Howard. Montreal ended the period with a 3-1 lead.

Second Period Tatar did not stop there, however, while playing his old teammates. He narrowly missed a second goal four minutes into the second only to turn it into a behind-the-back assist to Brendan Gallagher. Less than a minute later, Jimmy Howard let in a wide-open goal from Charles Hudon, which signaled the end of his night. Howard gave way to Jonathan Bernier for his first incomplete game of the year. The Red Wings were often playing shorthanded, which didn’t help matters, following four penalties in about eight minutes. The penalty kill staff was put to the test in the period. One power play goal from Drouin gave the Habs a 6-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.

Third Period The Red Wings were in get-out-of-town mode by the third period, though the offense did provide some reason to watch. Andreas Athanasiou notched his second goal of the night (and the season). Anthony Mantha forced a takeaway and fed Thomas Vanek for a highlight wraparound on a power play. But that was the extent of the Red Wings’ offense. Another former Red Wing, Xavier Ouellet got into it with Tyler Bertuzzi to make up for a hit (admittedly, uncalled for) on a shaken-up Drouin. The final nail in the coffin came when Paul Byron buried a nice pass to make it 7-3.

7. 152. Final. 3. 72

PLAY OF THE GAME While it did not lead to a score, the most exciting play came light in the third period. As time expired on his penalty, Filip Hronek shot out of the box like a cannon and disrupted an unbeknownst Canadien. This allowed Dylan Larkin to scramble for a bit of a breakaway. Hronek made up for some earlier miscues with this read, and in other circumstances, this ends up a highlight.

KEY STAT Entering this game, the three lines of defense for the Detroit Red Wings played a combined 1032 games. Niklas Kronwall accounts for 876 of them (85%) with Nick Jensen picking up most of the rest. This is a young defense, and while they may be partly to blame for the 15 goals against in the past two games, they can only get better as they gain experience.

RED WING OF THE GAME Andreas Athanasiou. He scored his first two goals of the sason, and had a breakaway in the first period that almost led to a third. In an otherwise bleak offensive night, Athanasiou had a good night for his statistics, if nothing else.

Next. Niklas Kronwall’s role on a young team. dark

Not all is doom-and-gloom, though. Excepting these past few games, the Red Wings have been in some close ones. As injured players return and young players learn their way around, elements will start coming together. We already see evidence of this in certain moments, but there is plenty of work to be done. With this loss, the Detroit Red Wings move to 0-4-2 on the season. They will play the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Thursday night.