A Look at the Detroit Red Wings’ fourth game of the season: Chicago Blackhawks
The game against Chicago was a coach’s game. Playing on three days of rest gives the team a chance to adjust and make corrections and changes. The first three games in four days involve reacting, and the players needed to make most of the adjustments. Now the Red Wings are down two of their top six forwards.
They have had practices, film study, and preparation for Zadina, Veleno, and Kubalik to play a larger role. Coaches usually have limited impact, but the game against the Blackhawks is mainly on the coaching staff.
A road game against a charged-up team playing their first home game of the year. The road game was almost Blashill-like low-event hockey. The defense tightened up the gaps between forward and defense more than against Los Angeles.
The centers are losing a lot of face-offs that place pressure on the defense. And losing a two-goal game against a poor team is less than ideal. The Chicago tying goal was also an indicator that Larkin was injured. He avoided physical contact behind the net and lost control of the puck, then did not move to cover the front of the net. No one questions the toughness of the captain, but he was in serious pain.
Detroit Red Wings: Game Four Individual Reports
Ben Chariot — Grade B-. Chiarot rushed the puck in deep several times, even behind the net. When he moves the puck, it is a slow process. Physically, this guy is a menace. How strong is Chiarot? He manhandles large opponents at will and seems to enjoy it,
Moritz Seider — Grade B. Seider appeared to be playing more within himself Friday. He was choosing his moments more carefully. He does not need to be the star every night. He is the core. Seider is nearly as physically imposing as Chiarot. Watching him clear the crease while being paired with Hronek after a penalty kill in the second period was the kind of take-charge physicality that was much needed.
The slow start for Seider is likely due to good opposition scouting. Players are not challenging him physically but trying to cover the outlets, trap him in the neutral zone, and pressure him into a mistake.
Filip Hronek — Grade C. Hronek quarterbacked the successful first-period power play. Unless he is shooting, his power play work has much improved. He yielded a penalty shot by being a half-step out of position, on a bouncing puck and with a speedy Athanasiou. A bit of a bad break. A final issue holding on to the stick is an important task. The stick was knocked out of his hands three times which led to scoring chances against.
Ollie Määttä — Grade B+. Maatta jumped in to cover for Hronek and ultimately caused the penalty shot against them. Maatta is smart at throwing the puck at the net. He picked up another assist. Last year: eight points in 66 games. This year: five points in four games.
Gustav Lindstrom — Grade D. This was a weak game for Lindstrom. He was consistently chasing the play from the outset. He struggled to find the dangerous person in coverage on multiple occasions. The second Blackhawks goal was largely due to Lindstrom getting lost in his zone. Clearly, Lindstrom is the weakest player of the six blue-liners. It may be time to give Oesterle a chance.
Robert Hägg — Grade C. Lindstrom and Hagg earned assists on the first goal. The third pairing struggled in their own zone. He also took a delay of game penalty in the second period that disrupted some of the Detroit Red Wings momentum at the time.