Even during a 3-0 loss, the Detroit Red Wings still provided moments within the game to entertain the fan base–something missing over the last few seasons. Whether it’s a Moritz Seider hit on Milan Lucic, or Givani Smith tussling with the same Lucic, the action combined with tracking the progress of Steve Yzerman’s acquisitions and draft picks has given fans plenty to watch for with each game.
Winning doesn’t hurt, either. Aside from the blown lead and eventual loss to Tampa Bay last Thursday, the Red Wings had a pretty good first week of hockey, albeit against some teams that are struggling. Next up are Montreal and Chicago back to back, two teams sputtering out of the gate and having its respective fan bases calling for heads already.
Chicago scrapped its rebuild, and appeared all-in, only to see those moves not only fail to gain any steam, but have the Blackhawks’ worst start since 1997-98. Montreal, fresh off of a Stanley Cup Final appearance, has appeared listless and overmatched.
Both teams provide a great chance for the Red Wings to snatch a couple victories, and push their record to 4-1-1 by the end of Sunday. The weekend also provides a couple of trap games, especially the Sunday matchup which no matter what the record, a contest with Chicago usually means a tight game.
Zadina Has a Chance to Make Good on His Promise
In spite of some assessments, Filip Zadina has made terrific strides and has a chance to enjoy his first real chance at burying Montreal’s net with pucks this weekend. Though the Athletic’s Corey Pronman now has Zadina as a “projected middle of the lineup player,” this seems to be the first season where Zadina really has a chance to display the talent he was drafted for–goal scoring. Zadina bounced around the bottom lines when he started out in Detroit, often saddled next to “grit” guys instead of skilled playmakers who could set Zadina up to score.
Beyond that, head coach Jeff Blashill wanted Zadina to become a more complete 200 foot player, which is understandable. But with Zadina now on the top line and featuring prominently on the power play, it’s a chance for him to finally put up 20 goals this season.
There is more talent spread all around, as seen above with Seider feeding Zadina the puck. As I wrote earlier in the offseason, I expect Zadina to see that breakthrough season which will not only justify that sixth overall pick in 2018, but eventually reveal that Zadina has transformed into more than just a goal scorer.