The Detroit Red Wings are struggling. Plain and simple. Things are not going well for Detroit, and they look like a much different team than they did early on in the 2023-24 season. The team has not looked quite the same; frankly, they seem all out of sorts right now.
As the Detroit Red Wings play host to the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday, there are some things that they can focus on, with hopes of coming out on top and snapping themselves out of this horrendous funk. Detroit has to do something to change the way things are going. They're in rough water and need to keep paddling through it.
Ruts happen, and teams struggle at points during the season. Not everyone is the Boston Bruins, who can go out and seemingly muster out win-after-win-after-win. The Red Wings are not the Bruins, and after all, once you get into the playoffs, it does not matter how you got there.
There's been a lot of talk about head coach Derek Lalonde these last few days. Fans seemingly expressed their disdain for the head coach. While he has plenty to keep himself busy concerning ways he can improve, a firing does not seem imminent. Steve Yzerman will likely stay the course with Lalonde and keep on pushing, focusing on ways to improve things.
Here are 3 ways the Detroit Red Wings can snap out of the funk vs. Flyers.
1. Start fast and score first.
The Detroit Red Wings have needed help finding the back of the net first in recent games. The team has come out slower and flat-footed at times, and lately, the team is struggling to come out of the gates motivated. Things need to happen early in this contest with the Flyers.
If Detroit wants to come out and send a message, it starts with an early goal. The Red Wings need to get their lines rolling early and force some offense. This comes by putting pressure on in the offensive zone, forcing turnovers, and disrupting the Flyers on the forecheck to try and drum up some early scoring chances.
It's clear the Red Wings know how to score. It will just be a matter of setting themselves up to get it done.
2. A complete reset in the defensive zone.
Bob Boughner needs to return to the drawing board after the Detroit Red Wings' poor performance against the Jets in the 5-2 loss from Wednesday. The defensemen look lost, and even forwards are missing their guy at times. The defense collapses in on itself until someone on the opposing team is left wide open, waiting for the same dunk goal.
The Red Wings defensive zone work needs to be better. The defensemen need to stick to their posts, and if they release from their man, the communication has to be there to alert other players. On the other side of things, the forwards need to be better about collapsing too much in the defensive zone. Too many bodies flooding the middle has been a problem at times.
3. Break the puck out and command the neutral zone.
One of the other things, partially tied to the defensive zone, has been their transition game. Detroit has struggled to break the puck out of their own zone and get through the neutral zone to go on the attack. The Detroit Red Wings offense can show up, but getting there is half the battle.
The whole, carry it across the blue-line, chip it, and hope to beat the defender--shtick has almost always led to a turnover as of late, with the opposition closing their gaps and letting support rescue the puck and then come back the other way. However, coming through the neutral zone with a better approach on their zone entries will allow Detroit to control the puck and get set up, in turn boosting scoring chances.
Detroit will have their work cut out for them against the Flyers. Their level of play is in the gutter, and they have a lot to fix, but these are some things that may help them snap back into form. Not to mention, the Red Wings are without two of their goalies and will be relying on James Reimer and Michael Hutchinson to handle the duties between the pipes.