Detroit Red Wings: 3 overreactions to the season opener

Oct 12, 2023; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86) celebrates his goal against the Detroit Red Wings during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 12, 2023; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86) celebrates his goal against the Detroit Red Wings during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Red Wings kicked things off against the New Jersey Devils in Newark for the season opener. The Red Wings ended up falling 4-3 in an opening-night loss. It’s so early in the season, but it’s worth considering that the Red Wings were not even the favorite on opening night, and they played an exceptional game of hockey to kick things off.

Even though the results did not favor the Detroit Red Wings, they did a good job competing against the Devils. There were things to be happy with and things to clean up in the loss to New Jersey. Since it’s been one game, any major takeaways can easily be classified as overreactions, which we’ll discuss here.

While some folks on Twitter are already trying to take pitchforks to Moritz Seider, claiming he needs to be benched, these “overreactions” are not meant to be that brash. These are simply some bold takeaways that could very well be stymied by the time games two and three roll around.

It’s one game; things can change swiftly with some quick adjustments from the Red Wings. Things are bound to change throughout an 82-game slate, so it will be interesting to see what adjustments are made and which areas of the game need to be cleaned up. That said, let’s dive in!

Overreactions from the Detroit Red Wings season opener.

1. The Detroit Red Wings defense is a problem outside of the top pairing.

Again, these are meant to be overreactions. The Red Wings top pairing of Jake Walman and Moritz Seider continues to look good, even in a new season. They played well in game one, which is good to see from their top pairing. However, there were some holes elsewhere.

It can easily be adjusted and fixed, but Jeff Petry looked a little rough and had two penalties, which is not ideal. It simply could have been a slow start, but it’s something to be concerned about if we’re overreacting.

Chiarot came out looking a little flat, struggling to get his skates under him, making some tough plays in the defensive zone. Overall, the defensive performance was alright and could have been worse, but if things do not improve as the season ages, the Red Wings could be in for some trouble.

2. The Detroit Red Wings goaltending could be worrisome in some games.

The Red Wings allowed four goals on Thursday night. Ville Husso was between the pipes and, at times, looked spectacular. Though there were a couple of times, things were on the contrary. Hughes’s first goal was soft, in my opinion.

While it was a beautiful shot from Hughes to tuck it from down at the goal line, Husso’s got to get to the post there and close out the gaps. The second goal from Hughes, where he cut across the center of the slot, was also one that I bet Husso would like to have back. But I will say Hughes basically fired a no-look shot here, resulting in the Devils’ second goal.

Overall, Husso played well. I thought he moved well laterally, making a couple of really tough saves for Detroit, including the big save on Dawson Mercer, who got in tight all alone on him. The overall performance was good, but if the goaltending falters this season, it will be problematic early on. I’m hopeful that Husso can cut down on the soft goals this year.

3. The Detroit Red Wings’ ability to finish may be an issue. 

The Red Wings looked a lot better overall in their season opener. The newly added offense saw some new faces getting involved and getting involved early. The team had a fast start in the game, controlling the momentum early, but they fell flat, and the ice tilted the other way.

One of the issues for Detroit in 2022-23 was that they struggled to get things going early, would pick it up in the middle of the game, and then struggle to finish. In game one, they controlled the momentum but could not hold on. The Red Wings need to show that they can play a full-60 or at least battle a bit.

In another light, the Red Wing’s ability to finish off plays needs to continue to improve. It’s a common issue the team has faced in the past. They can make plays and create scoring chances but then leave the open-net rebound there for the taking, or whiff on the sure-bet shot, or simply just falter, struggling to finish.

Looking at all three of these points, things could be remedied in a matter of games. These “overreactions” could seem minimal in a matter of a week after a few games. But, hey, that’s why they are overreactions.

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My hopes are high for Detroit in 2023-24, and they have a chance to come out and shock plenty of folks. They need to come out and get it done this season, making some leaps that it really feels like they can.