Well, it is tough to extract anything positive on the Detroit Red Wings side after such a pitiful performance in Boston against the Bruins.
Here are eight observations from the Wings fourth straight loss.
#1: Dylan Larkin is an important part of this team. This was a completely atrocious performance by the entire team – if Larkin was in, things wouldn’t have looked much better. However, there is something to be said about the energy he brings to the team. The Wings have looked absolutely lifeless in their last two Larkin-less games, with the offense falling apart and the special teams cracking. Larkin may not be a fix-all, but he certainly makes a difference on this tea,.
#2: Moritz Seider is a solid power play quarterback. At the start of the season, Nick Leddy was the captain of Detroit’s power play. But Seider has quickly taken the reigns, officially acting as the Wings power play quarterback. The power play still could use some improvement (it’s 15.4 success rate is 25th in the league), but it has taken significant strides since last year. A good chunk of Seider’s nine assists have come on the power play, and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing just yet.
#3: Lucas Raymond is a weapon. He was silent for a couple of games (to be fair, so was all of Detroit’s offense), but he returned to the stat sheet against the Bruins with a power play goal. Raymond finally adds a threat to the power play unit; whether it’s sliding slick passes across the net or sniping one timers, his scoring ability demands attention from defenders.
#4: The Offense lacks depth. Other than the top-line, the offense is just terrible for the Red Wings. The only time offense ever seems to be found is when the Larkin-Bertuzzi-Raymond line is out there, with Seider on the backend. The rest of the team has been absolutely silent thus far. The only real surprise there is on the second line. After a great preseason, the Fabbri-Suter-Zadina combo has just not been doing much, especially of late. If Detroit wants to improve this year, they need more than just their top players to contribute.
#5: Goaltending can’t do it every night. Want to know a great way to kill a goaltender’s confidence? Get outshot 37-15 and have a handful of defensive lapses. There were times last season where the goalie tandem will the Wings to victories – even if they didn’t necessarily earn them. That is not what good teams do. The goaltenders have been absolutely shellacked in this four game losing streak – it’s not their fault the offense is sputtering and defensive failings are a plenty.
#6: The penalty kill should be better. Among the bottom-six, the Red Wings have plenty of players that have strong defensive skillsets. Pius Suter, Michael Rasmussen, Vladislav Namestnikov and Mitchell Stephens all have the potential to be great additions to the penalty kill. It is just not working right now. For a team that relies heavily on a lot of stellar defensive play, the Wings have been quite bad against the man advantage. Three of Boston’s five goals came on the power play last night. Detroit can not afford to keep losing the special teams battle.
#7: Hronek has played better since the benching. Hronek has not played a bad game since he was benched for two games. He is playing significantly better hockey, more effecient on both ends of the night. Hronek had another good performance in Boston. Keep an eye on the young defenseman, because he is still an important part of this rebuild. If he can turn a corner and start finding consistently, it’s going to be a massive boost to this blue line.
#8: This rebuild still has a ways to go. After a solid 4-2-2 start, reality has come crashing back in as four straight losses tank the record to under .500. There is plenty of hockey left to be played, but there are glaring flaws on the team. The bottom-six has been especially inept to start the season. Fans will need to continue to practice patience and let the prospects slowly takeover the lineup – Seider and Raymond have already started that process.