The Detroit Red Wings secured an impressive win on the road, beating the Pittsburgh Penguins in a shootout. Let’s extract some observations from the Wings victory.
#1: Calvin Pickard was excellent between the pipes. In his first start of the season (second appearance), Pickard 36 saves, finishing the game with a .947 save percentage. Detroit hasn’t gotten much out of their backup goalies all season, so to see one steal the game for them was a pleasant surprise. Maybe we see a bit more of Picks from now on?
#2: Filip Zadina finally scored. Well, the controversial young forward finally found the back of the net. It’s been a while – nineteen games, to be exact. It was the prettiest of goals, but it might be the confidence boost that Zadina needs to get back on track.
#3: Givani Smith had a great game. Smith had his best night of the season against the Pens. He scored his third goal of the season and looked strong on most shifts. In under eight minutes, the young forward made an impact on the game.
#4: The power play has scored in three of the last four games. The man advantage has been taking steps in the right direction of late. Puck possession is key here; while zone entries can be tough, the power play unit seems to be doing a better job of staying in the offensive zone (thanks to Moritz Seider).
#5: The penalty kill is regressing a bit. The Red Wings power play has struggled of late. Even if they don’t score, the unit usually gives up a boatload of possession, relying on poke checks and blocked shots. With a lethal schedule ahead, the pk unit will only face tougher tests.
#6: The bottom-six had a good night. It wasn’t just Smith that had a good night. Michael Rasmussen and Joe Veleno also looked solid, collecting an assist apiece. Detroit has been missing depth scoring from their wingers all season, so a game with a couple of depth-scorers is always welcome.
#7: Three-game losing streak snapped. After three straight losses, the Red Wings are back to their winning ways. Looks like the hot-and-cold Wings might be getting hot.
#8: Hardest part of the schedule coming up. The Red Wings have the hardest remaining schedule in the NHL. Pittsburgh is just the start of a brutal stretch – things don’t get much easier from here. Fans, enjoy wins like this while you can, because they might not be frequent in the coming months.