8 Observations From the Red Wings’ 3-1 Win over Vancouver

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

It’s been two very aggressive contests for the Detroit Red Wings, especially after a hard fought 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. There are so many things to talk about that it’s hard to figure out where to start. This team looks very different from what we saw last year in so many ways.

Here’s where we start.

1: Thomas Greiss absolutely stood on his head last night. He was unequivocally the first star of the game, and continues what was a terrific April and May last season. He stole this game for Detroit where they were heavily outshot and made some key snags down the stretch that cemented the victory. He never appears to panic and stays calm between the pipes, something that will only bolster this younger group.

2: Jeff Blashill might have earned some points with the fanbase tonight after his verbal sparring with the linesman following the brouhaha after the Zadina hit.  Blashill was letting him have it, and he’s also supporting his players after the hit on Larkin that earned him a suspension. For the last few seasons, it’s felt that Blashill has engaged in the coach speak that walks the line to not incite the opponent or provide false hope to his team and the fanbase. Blashill has been very candid and  straightforward from the start of the preseason and this peek behind the curtain seems to be giving more skeptical Red Wings fans some pause on their disdain.

3: Twisted Sister’s anthem We’re Not Gonna Take It seems to be the Red Wings rallying cry through two games. It’s revealed a team that stands up for one another and refuses to back down after shots are taken. Tyler Bertuzzi has been the one leading the brigade, while others like Robby Fabbri, Filip Hronek, and Moritz Seider among others have mixed it up when necessary. This team was a league punching bag for two seasons and it appears that not only are they seeking to change that perception, but they have the backing of their coach as well.

4: Tyler Bertuzzi continues to be the Roy Kent of the team (the popular character from Apple TV’s Ted Lasso. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it—now!). The popular chant He’s here, he’s there, he’s every f—-where seems to apply well after these last two games. In the first one, he nets four goals and  in the second game, he’s in anyone’s face who even looks like they’re breathing the wrong way on his teammate. He was chirping Alex Chiasson on the bench (along with Fabbri and Raymond) and generating chances on the ice.

So far, he’s earning every penny of that extension.

5: Moritz Seider has Blashill’s trust as he logged minutes late in the game. Contrast that with younger players of Red Wings past under Blash’s tutelage, and you might have another reason why Blash is getting some more love from the fanbase. However, in his defense of having that short leash in the past (though even I disagreed with this), the caliber of Seider and Lucas Raymond are entirely different that anything Blash has enjoyed on the roster.

6: The power play has gone from a two minute exercise of frustration to a must watch moment with more talent on both units. The passing is crisper and more liberal–with players taking more chances and refusing to hold onto the puck for too long. On Zadina’s goal, Seider simply cradled the pass from Hronek and then teed up Zadina for the one-timer. That speaks to what Tanguay is teaching and the type of player Seider is: play to the strengths, don’t hold onto it for too long, and shoot often.

7: Filip Zadina finally gets a goal–and a beauty to boot–and then ends up going down the tunnel after the contact with Conor Garland. Initially it looked more vicious than it was, and Robby Fabbri’s decision to hit him and then follow with a love tap only intensified that earlier feeling about the hit. Zadina has looked good early on and here’s hoping that he’s okay.

And last but not least, Steve Yzerman has to be enjoying the snarl his team has been showing. They don’t have Luke Witkowski up but at this point, seeing Red Wings from  Fabbri to Bertuzzi stand up for teammates throughout the game. Hell, even Filip Hronek got escorted off the ice after having a guy in a headlock as time was winding down. Marc Staal said in his postgame interview that it’s reactionary to what’s happening on the ice.

Going with point #3, this Red Wings team looks sick of losing, tired of being pushed around, and has a “give them hell” attitude that personified Yzerman teams in Tampa. Obviously, no one wants to see any injuries so protect guys at all costs.

But is it fun to see the team identity begin to form a little more with each game.

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