8 Observations: Red Wings Struggling to Find Momentum

The last two games for the Detroit Red Wings have not looked good. Peruse Red Wings Twitter after the Red Wings 5-1 loss to Boston Sunday afternoon and there’s a lot of agreement that head coach Jeff Blashill has taken them as far as he can.

True or False? The majority of these observations look at that and more

1: After a two-week layoff, the Red Wings were unable to put away Washington and saw the bottom fall out in the later stages of the game against Boston. Again, this is a team coming back from a layoff where Covid put the majority of the team–including Blashill–into protocol. But the optics of this aren’t positive–especially with excited talk about the Red Wings being in the playoff conversation in January

2: The lack of scoring in the last two games is troublesome, but worse has been the lack of goal scoring when they need it most. Tyler Bertuzzi was the only one who scored and it felt like the team was forced to the outside for the majority of the game. Dylan Larkin went back to one of his wrap around attempts and it was easily saved. In order to take that next step, Detroit has to be able to rely on scoring beyond the top two lines.

3: The Power Play is anything but powerful these days, going a pitiful 0/4 and generating next to nothing when on that power play. Boston kept passing and shooting lanes clogged, but also chased the Red Wings around the zone, throwing off any chance for Detroit to setup. Teams are wise to what they’re doing now, and it’s time for Alex Tanguay to adjust.

4: Which brings up the next point: If there is ever one major criticism about Blashill it’s the lack of in-game adjustments when needed most. Go back to the Nashville game where he deploys Michael Rasmussen in overtime. It nearly cost them on the one shift he played, which slowed Detroit’s attack. This afternoon was no different–there needed to be an adjustment to the power play in some way after the first attempt. Be it personnel, positioning, something–that would throw Boston off.

Instead, it felt similar to last season. Just throw those wet noodles at the wall and hope they stick.

5: No decision will be made on Blashill until the end of the season–unless the season goes to hell. If we’re to follow what Yzerman has said about his plans, it’s less about wins and losses and more about development.  And that’s the interesting part. When it comes to wins, the Red Wings seem ahead of where they should be. But what about that development?

6: Much has been written here about Filip Zadina and Michael Rasmussen this season, two guys who were expected to take that next step this season. It hasn’t happened. Zadina is looking more like a playmaker than sniper while Rasmussen continues to figure things out. Are they make or break for Blashill? No. But with each passing game where they’re just “there” and not contributing as a sixth and ninth overall pick should be, it makes things questionable if they ever will.

7: One other Power play question: Why is Lucas Raymond on the bumper?

8: The games later this week is going to pit them against some interesting teams. They get a much better San Jose team this season twice–once at home and then a week from Tuesday on the road. But both Los Angeles and Anaheim are stingy defensively. For a team struggling to get secondary scoring and setup on the power play, it looks like a long week on paper.

This team has been streaky all year and will ebb and flow until the final game. But there are certainly issues that have been consistent in Blashill’s tenure that continue to hurt them.

It’ll be interesting to see what adjustments are made and if they’re effective.

Otherwise, it could be a long week ahead.