Red Wings: Derek Lalonde is still trying to ‘hunt down’ Dan Campbell

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Red Wings are in the midst of a mini-two-game win streak having beat the Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs this past week.

Despite winning both games, it was the tale of two stories. The Detroit Red Wings filled the net against the Jets en route to a 7-5 victory. Detroit did not play well at all defensively and gave up far too many scoring chances and a high volume of slot chances. Despite losing, the Jets carried most of the play and dominated in puck possession. But a win is a win.

On Thursday evening against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Detroit Red Wings played one of their most complete games of the season. Detroit was able to limit the talented Leafs scoring chances and slot chances despite being outshot 33-23. The Red Wings continued to control the middle of the ice in their defensive zone keeping Toronto to the outside where the damage would be limited.

The Detroit Red Wings continue to focus on improving their special teams. Special teams have been the Achilles heel for head coach Derek Lalonde’s group this season. Overall the Red Wings are maintaining a power play that converts on 20.5% of their opportunities which is nearly 2% below the league average. Like the power play, Detroit’s penalty kill is almost 2% below the league average operating at a 75.6% clip.

Things have been better of late when it comes to special teams. Detroit was 1-3 on the power play earlier in the week against the Jets. They also went 2-3 on the penalty kill. Against Toronto, the Red Wings converted on two of their five power play chances and was a perfect 3-3 on the penalty kill.

Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde is still trying to hunt down Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell.

This past Friday, Detroit Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde joined the Stoney & Jansen with Heather Show on 97.1 The Ticket to discuss the team’s most recent matchups. Lalonde also spoke about his expectations for Detroit this season.

Lalonde mentioned that he’s pleased with Detroit’s overall performance this season. He wants the Red Wings to be a difficult team to play against, a team that focuses on team defense. The Red Wings’ goal differential last season was a whopping -82, yet they are a -10 to date this season. Although not where you’d like to see the Red Wings, it’s a vast improvement; especially considering the abundance of injuries the organization has suffered this season.

Lalonde also talked about hockey analytics. Detroit’s head coach uses analytics, but you can sense in this interview that he doesn’t consider analytics the be-all, end-all of evaluating a player or team’s overall performance.

Lalonde discussed how Tyler Bertuzzi is working hard to find his game since returning from injury. The gritty forward has suffered two broken hands this season; Lalonde joked that Bertuzzi has run out of hands to break. Lalonde also mentioned that we forget Bertuzzi missed the beginning of training camp with an injury, so he’s really struggled to get back into his groove. The Detroit Red Wings need Bertuzzi to return to form. The do-it-all winger is coming off a 30-goal season last year but has been limited to one goal and four points through 11 games this season.

Detroit’s head coach did address the rumor that he’d like Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell to address the Red Wings. Lalonde said he’s been trying to hunt him down. The whole interview can be heard in its entirety here.

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The Detroit Red Wings will look to continue stringing together wins this Saturday night when they square off against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Little Caesars Arena.