8 Observations from Red Wings 6-1 Loss to Montreal

Oct 23, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Detroit Red Wings goaltender Thomas Greiss (29) during the national anthems before the game against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Detroit Red Wings goaltender Thomas Greiss (29) during the national anthems before the game against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports /

There weren’t a lot of pretty moments in the Detroit Red Wings’ 6-1 loss Saturday night. What started out as an early lead on a Dylan Larkin power play goal devolved into a nightmarish goal scoring spree from Montreal, a team who had only scored four goals in five games. The Habs scored six against Detroit, and certainly brought even the most optimistic of Red Wings projections back to earth.

Here are eight thoughts about the 2-2-1 Wings:

1: The absence of Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Hronek certainly played a role in the game. Hronek being scratched certainly put the blue line in a tough spot early on, but Bertuzzi, who accounts for nearly half of the total team goals, was a major chasm in the lineup. According to head coach Jeff Blashill, it was his decision to sit Hronek. So begins the Blashill blender.

2: This was easily the Red Wings worst game of the season of the five they’ve played. They looked listless and when they fell down 3-1, it was as if they skated just to skate. It appeared at times as if they conceded defeat early on, evidenced by how Matthieu Perreault scored his third goal, beating Robby Fabbri by several strides to a puck that had whistled wide of an empty net. Maybe they didn’t take Montreal seriously enough, but whatever it was, it harkened back to the frustrating performances of past seasons.

3: Filip Zadina continues to frustrate fans with his inability to score or even generate high danger chances. On a night where the whole team looked poor, Zadina had a spotlight on him only because Montreal passed on the skilled winger back in the 2018 NHL Draft. Zadina famously vowed to fill the net of those who passed on him, but when these opportunities present themselves, and nothing happens, the impatience of fans increases. I still think it’s too early to write Zadina off one way or another, but the frustration is understandable.

4: Michael Rasmussen had another game where he really didn’t stand out, raising the point that he’s still not where the organization wants him to be by year three of his professional career. It felt like the big 6-6 center would make some more strides, but when the Red Wings need their younger players to step up, it’s felt as if many just aren’t able to rise to that next level.

5: The third goal seemed to deflate the Red Wings completely, seeing a period where they took penalties, and flailed about as Montreal scored goals. If not for some major misfires, the score could have been a lot worse as the Red Wings yielded one chance after another to the Canadiens, who seemed to be buzzing all night.

6: The goodwill that Blashill seemed to have been building after the first three games seems to have been washed away in two tough losses. Detroit has been outscored 9-1 in those games against Calgary and Montreal but worse, they hardly looked engaged in last night’s contest. This leads to an already skeptical segment of the fan base pointing directly at Blashill and arguing that once again, the team’s inability to score at 5 on 5 or their issues with zone entry show that with the same issues cropping up, a change should be considered behind the bench.

7: Back to Bertuzzi, knowing that he’ll be absent for another eight games in Canada also wipes away some of the early excitement from his hot start as now the issue many expected was forefront last evening. No one knows how the locker room feels about it. It’s anyone’s guess as to what Steve Yzerman thinks about all of it. Same with the coaching staff. Blashill wouldn’t comment as to whether Bertuzzi was suspended or not.  From the Free Press’ Helene St. James:

Take that for what it is. Regardless, it’s a storyline that won’t go away this season.

8: Should the Red Wings get thrashed by the Blackhawks tonight, a team that might be without Patrick Kane who missed practice and was placed in COVID protocol, it’ll be interesting to see what roster changes could occur. Givani Smith, Sam Gagner, and Mitchell Stephens have been quiet. Danny DeKeyser has looked slow, which though expected, certainly doesn’t help matters when the team has been outscored 9-1 in two games.

Things felt different after those first three games, but after the last two, it will be interesting to see if the Red Wings of old–the ones who would spiral into a long losing streak after some bad losses–return. This is the first early test of what this new collection of players bring.

Lucas Raymond, Moritz Seider, Alex Nedeljkovic and Nick Leddy weren’t around for the brow beating they received over the past two seasons.Perhaps they can help avoid the “here we go again” mentality that could potentially creep in.

But a bad loss to Chicago could certainly put some changes into motion.

More. Development is still essential for Rasmussen. light