After a thrilling 4-2 victory over Carolina Saturday night, the Detroit Red Wings face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets Monday in a noon matchup. Here’s a quick look at what to expect:
3 Reasons For Hope
- They won a game they absolutely would have lost last year. MLive’s Ansar Khan wrote about the difference (paywall) of having Bobby Ryan in the lineup was. Add in a stellar performance from Filip Zadina and you have a recipe for success. The key of course being scoring and production outside the top line. Seeing Ryan-Fabbri-Zadina out there generates excitement.
- Special Teams. They have yet to score a goal on the power play but both units have shown the propensity to control the puck for long stretches of time instead of shoot and then the puck gets cleared. They’ve been strong on the puck, generating chances which is an improvement from last year. The PK was crucial in Carolina’s final power play attempt, shutting it down without a shot. Those were the moments when the Wings wilted. Instead, they were strong, and it resulted in putting Carolina away a few minutes later.
- Filip Zadina. What a change a year makes. He’s been hard on the puck, and has definitely lived up to the more all around player that the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James alluded to before the season began. He interjected energy into his shifts and his two assists were an example of a player who has cultivated an all around game into his approach. Don’t get me wrong: I want that kid who promised to fill the net with pucks. But it’s great to see this, too.
2 Reasons for Doom and Gloom
- Offensive Production – In spite of the aforementioned progress above, Detroit is still spinning their wheels when dragging the puck into the zone. Outside of the top two lines, there have been few and far between with chances outside of anyone named Vladislav Namestnikov. (Which side note–the humorous Helm comparisons on Twitter about his stuffed breakaways were bringing back old memories). Obviously this is a work in progress, and will grow (hopefully) with time. But there needs to be secondary scoring and chances coming out of the top six.
- Brome on the 4th line – His presence on the ice, highlighted by Dylan Larkin’s quote, shows he needs to be freed from the purgatorial Red Wings checking line. Slide Gagner down and let Brome loose. It might spark a third line that had some decent chances.
1 Final Thought
- It was intriguing to read Larkin’s quotes about the attitude of the team. It’s certainly not to besmirch the former teammates he had but one has to wonder if Yzerman cleaning some out and bringing in new names/faces that haven’t been suffocated by losing has reinvigorated the drive of the team. St. James captured it here. Lines are below courtesy of the Red Wings. LGRW!
2 hours to puck drop!
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) January 18, 2021