Detroit Red Wings: Andreas Athanasiou joins the 30 goal club

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 23: Andreas Athanasiou #72 of the Detroit Red Wings skates during the second period against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on March 23, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 23: Andreas Athanasiou #72 of the Detroit Red Wings skates during the second period against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on March 23, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Detroit Red Wings remain scorching hot as they shutout the New Jersey Devils last night at Little Caesars Arena 4-0 last evening.

Dylan Larkin is starting to become an elite talent, he still isn’t quite to the level of other superstars throughout the NHL but let’s just say the elevator is heading towards the top floor, and in a hurry.  The future Detroit Red Wings‘ captain was coming off of a 12 shot, 2 goal effort in Buffalo two nights ago and he followed it up with an 8 shot night and saw twine once along with adding an assist.  Larkin now has 31 goals and 68 points on the season.

Andreas Athanasiou joins the 30 goal club after weaving his way through three Devils defenders and elevating a shot over the left shoulder of MacKenzie Blackwood the Devils netminder; it was a beautiful highlight reel type goal that ended “top cheese.”

The Detroit Red Wings hadn’t had a 30-goal scorer since 2009 when Marian Hossa was the top man in the country club with 40, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Johan Franzen all scored in the 30s.  Over the last two nights, the Wings once again secured a pair accomplishing the milestone.

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Yesterday we talked about the Wings’ core players playing at a high level, well it seemed to carry over because it was much of the same last night.  Dylan Larkin recorded a pair of points giving him six points over his last four games.  Tyler Bertuzzi accomplished back to back three point nights, he’s recorded six points over the last two games and Anthony Mantha added another assist last night after having 3 in Buffalo on Thursday.

Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Bernier would share the shutout because Bernier had to leave after two periods of work with an apparent upper-body injury.  Jimmy Howard would play the third and successfully secure the goose-egg. Taro Hirose was unable to record a point last night ending his point streak at five games; I can’t tell you how impressed I’ve been with the kid.  He’s been a great find for this organization and excellent work by Ken Holland to get him signed.

It’s a bit frustrating to watch the Detroit Red Wings climb the standings at this point in the season, fans want to see this team lose and be in a position to draft another generational player and I get it.  I want to add Hughes or Kakko too but how do you tell your players not to play hard?  Would you have sat Larkin, Mantha, Athanasiou, Bertuzzi, Hronek for the remainder of the season?  How do you think that would go over in the locker room with the players?  I personally suspect it would not sit well.

It is a lousy time to peak if you are not a playoff team and you are waiting for the draft lottery, but we need to be impressed with what we’ve seen over the last week.  The Detroit Red Wings beat both Vegas and San Jose both playoffs-bound teams’ in their buildings.  The last two wins are not impressive because who’ve them come against, but I’m inspired by the effort and the product on the ice.

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Let’s close with this; I know we want the best odds possible in the draft lottery, but I just don’t know how to do it in our particular situation, I mean we are playing Mclirath, Witkowski, Ehn, Frk, and Chelios.  To win the lottery you need to be lucky, let’s just cross our fingers and hope the pin-ball takes a Red Wings’ bounce.