Detroit had a 2-1 lead at the beginning of the 2nd period and it evaporated. Goals by Duclair and Pageau 57 seconds apart followed by the eventual game winner from Tkachuk. Detroit made a noble effort to come back and got a tally from Mantha with less than 3 minutes left in the third. A sharp wrist shot off the far goal post and in.
If some of this sounds familiar, it is because on October 23 in Ottawa the scenario was almost identical. Detroit up 2-1 lets in 3 (and in that contest an empty net to seal it). The second period is at times a disaster for the Red Wings.
To be completely fair, it was a bit of a surprise for Detroit to have the lead after the first period. After Duclair’s first of 2 that night (he has 4 goals in 2 games against Detroit this year), the team seemed to come back with a beautiful shot from Hronek. The play was offside and the goal was taken back. Detroit was rattled, but found their way back. Fabbri continues his hot streak with a strange goal that resembled a pachinko pinball machine more than a hockey shot. Several bizarre bounces and a defensive gaffe later and it’s in the net. Filppula scored a beautiful short handed tally. Things looked good, but the 2nd period would undo it all.
Anthony Duclair must look forward to playing Detroit. He has 9 goals on the year and 4 of them have come against the Red Wings, in just 2 games. Both of his goals were beautiful. To his credit, he made some awe inspiring moves and added to his highlight reel. Pageau is also on a bit of a streak versus Detroit with 2 goals the past 2 games. For good measure, Duclair added an assist to Tkachuk’s tally. Duclair seems to have found a home. It is good to see a player find his game, just not against the team you follow.
There is good that comes out of this. Mantha has shown that he still has the best shot on this Red Wing’s club. He is a threat. Hronek can make plays, and while he missed out on his beautiful snipe, he did pick up 2 assists. Athanasiou also had a helper on Mantha’s shot. Filppula is finding his stride as well with a short handed tally. Guys are stepping up and participating.
The bad, of course, is the middle stanza. There needs to be a deep dive into why the team simply falls apart. Perhaps a 30 minute drill on line changes? Are too many players taking long shifts? There has to be some conceivable way to be better. Of course you eventually turn to the goalie but Bernier did a lot to keep this team in as well. No easy answers here.
What is impressive is Steve Yzerman’s ability to try and add pieces. Of course, Robby Fabbri for Jacob DelaRose is looking a bit lopsided now. Perlini is still trying to find his way. Filppula seems to be an important part of getting Athanasiou on track. There are moves that have already seen some positive impact. It’s refreshing to see a GM sending aid to a team that’s expected to be a bottom 3-5 team. In fact, I can’t really remember a time when I’ve seen so much done in this type of situation.
An addition to the defensive structure would be a welcome sight, but not for lack of effort. Biega was brought in to help stabilize the situation. Nemeth has shown signs of positive play. Dekeyser has also had good moments. Injuries have once again thinned out the blue line beyond what the GM can provide at this point
Detroit’s next contest will be against a Blue Jackets club in transition. An exciting trade deadline last year led to a lot of turnover. We’ll take an in depth look on Thursday at what we can expect as these teams meet.
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