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Dylan Larkin will wear the “C”
for the first time tonight as Detroit faces off against the Carolina Hurricanes. While we wait to get a good feel for what the “new look” but still rebuilding Red Wings will bring to the ice, I have just a few thoughts on what I hope to see out there.
2nd Period - Synopsis - if you’re currently on the “faceoffs don’t matter that much” train, get the heck off of it. Detroit has lost the majority of opportunities to get pucks on net in the O zone by losing the draw. Carolina crushes Detroit with its possession. Greiss is the bright spot here, he is singlehandedly keeping this team in it. Carolina is a well oiled machine and Detroit is still shaking the rust off.
You can take a look at my notes below. There were two major issues tonight. One, Detroit clearly has some rust. The second one, Carolina looks like a championship caliber team out there. The 3-0 score is incredibly deceptive. Greiss only let in 2 goals on 43 shots. The empty netter made the score look a touch more realistic.
Faceoffs. If you don’t think they matter, think again. Detroit couldn’t set up offensive zone pressure on the faceoff, and their zone entry wasn’t much better. You need those set faceoff plays to set up pressure. Beyond that, Carolina was dominant in every zone. They used size, strength and speed and had Detroit spinning around. The result was only 14 shots on net.
Greiss is a HUGE bright spot here. He gave these players chances they never would have had. The players need to get back up to speed, this will help. Playing this team again will be another reminder of how fast and strong they need to be.
I’m not going to make too much of this one. The roster has turned over in a huge way. 10 months away from the game is too long, especially against a team that had some post season play and are a very tight group. Let’s just hope this is the cup of coffee Detroit needs to find the next couple of gears.
1:10 - Greiss and team defense save a goal, wow. Trochek always plays hard against Detroit.
1:58 - Hronek draws a penalty. Another chance at the PP.
1 shot on the last power play
Faceoff loss and the puck goes out. Again
Bad bounce of the referee (they’re rusty too)
Detroit is not making passes.
Some better pressure leading to a Hronek shot (miss). Better looks
5:15 - Greiss continues to give Detroit a chance to be in this. 30 shots faced
6:45 - Merrill with a nice opportunity skating in off the bench, blocked
7:30 - Carolina with another flurry, Greiss still playing his heart out.
8:55 - Larkin shoots for a rebound, gets it. Couldn’t cash in, but was a smart play.
9:47 - Wings ice the puck
10:30 - Namestnikov with a nice wraparound try. Carolina just closing in too fast for Wings to sustain pressure
10:59 - Greiss with another save on a Dougie Hamilton shot.
Shots currently 35-12
13:06 - Wings ice the puck
Wings win draw but turn it over. Carolina gets some strong looks. Detroit just cannot handle the strength and speed of this team right now
14:03 - Detroit ices the puck again
Larkin wins the draw but the puck is turned over again.
14:50 - Larkin tripping penalty, Carolina PP
Detroit has 1 3rd period shot in almost 15 minutes
Carolina all over Detroit. Nemeth draws a hooking penalty
15 second 3 on 5
17:36 Carolina scores on their 42nd shot
Nice deflection by Dzingle.
The only reason the score is 2-0 is Greiss. Outshot nearly 4 to 1.
18:00 - Detroit can’t get the puck on net. Carolina masterful on blocking shots and defensive coverage
18:30 - empty net
Svechnikov scores from 200ft
Stecher makes 2 nice plays. Helps Larkin on the faceoff to get the puck out and protects allowing Greiss to get out and clear.
1:40 - Hronek and Fabbri make some nice one touch passes to get the puck out of the zone again.
2:33 - Wings ice the puck
Carolina wins faceoff and gets a good look
2:56 - another faceoff loss leads to another shot on net
2:57 - and again, lost faceoff turns into a shot on goal, leads to a Carolina power play.
3:06 - Carolina Power Play
Detroit wins faceoff, kills 15 seconds.
Detroit can’t clear, extended pressure by Carolina for. Min.
Glenny clears the puck.
Greiss makes 2 huge saves to bail out Detroit
Stecher clears the puck
12:42 - Detroit survives siege by Carolina. Greiss is singlehandedly holding down the fort. Carolina is dominating in every zone. Defense is something attempts, Offense is cycling. Detroit needs to use this commercial break to reset. Very luckily to only be down by one
12:42 - Detroit loses another faceoff, leads to another chance. They are getting killed at the dot.
9:00 - Detroit finally getting good pressure. Carolina acts as a five man defensive unit in their own zone. Total commitment
11:00 - Wings getting some better pressure
12:12 - wings ice the puck. Faceoff loss leads to another shot on goal
12:26 - Wings win faceoff, get puck out. Carolina gets it right back in, shot on net. Carolina is just overwhelming this squad.
13:20 - Larkin has some nice hustle that leads to a Detroit power play. He made that happen with some powerful skating
13:24 - Red Wings power play
Detroit can’t hold the puck in the zone. Jordan Staal still a terror short handed. Bad decision by Mantha causes the puck to be cleared. Lots of rust. Mantha gets a one time chance, was going wide but Mrazek grabs it.
Second unit loses faceoff, puck goes all the way down. Can’t break in on first attempt. Very close to giving up a breakaway.
Post power play pressure very good by Fabbri unit. Hronek had a good look.
Sam Gagner throws a huge hit on Staal and Hamilton takes exception. Gagner held his own pretty well.
First Period Synopsis - Detroit is showing a lot of rust. Dylan Larkin made a bad turnover leading to the Carolina goal. Thomas Greiss has held down the fort and kept Detroit in this. Carolina has had several good looks.
It’s a debate, but faceoffs are killing Detroit. No flow for offensive threat and too much danger losing in the defensive zone. We need to buckle it up. Fabbri looks rusty at the dot. Brome had the most exciting shift of the game for Detroit. Rang the pipe after a nice possession.
Interesting opening. Still cool to see the players skate out. Merrill has some serious mullet flow.
Opening faceoff, Carolina takes it back to their own zone. Nice movement to get the puck and good passing.
:30 Jon Merrill made a nice hit to keep the puck in the O zone. Very strong presence
1:00 Nielsen/Glendening/Erne line get two shots on goal
1:42 - good movement to get puck out of the zone. Merrill and Hronek working well. Close call with a turnover but they get it back out.
2:20 - Fabbri line gets the puck to the neutral zone. Nice dangle by Fabbri.
3:00 - Staal levels Stecher, Wings still get the puck out.
3:38 - Larkin turns the puck over to aho who feeds Neiderriter. Ouch
Shots 3-2 in favor of Detroit. Limiting pressure, but those are the kind of turnovers we need to avoid.
6:25 - Fabbri line looks disjointed. Lost an earlier faceoff and Carolina had a good look. The team needs to settle in and find their legs here.
7:00 - Greiss does a nice job directing defensemen, getting puck out. I
Commercial break - that sinking feeling returns. Carolina isn’t getting a lot of chances, but they always seem to look dangerous when they do.
9:30 - Nielsen/Erne/Glendening line looks slow. They get the puck out, lots of rust
10:14 - Skej makes a big hit on Hronek, lucky not to hit the curve in the glass. Bertuzzi takes exception. It’s a clean hit, but glad to see teammates sticking up.
11:23 - Gagner makes a fantastic move in the neutral zone, leads to Detroit’s most dangerous chance yet. He’s still brings such a fresh element to playing.
*Svechnokov turned down an 8 year deal? Interesting
13:30 - Greiss makes 3 straight stops and bails Detroit out. 4th on a Teravainen slap shot.
13:51 - Greiss stops a shot from Hayden Fleury, really quick movement pipe to pipe
We need to do better on faceoffs
15:00 - Zadina skates well into the offensive zone, but too many white sweaters.
Again, faceoff loss (though it leads to icing) killing Detroit’s ability to create pressure.
15:15 - larkin wins faceoff, generates a mini cycle for around 20 seconds. Important to build on that.
16:45 - Brome is a puck hound! Spin work in the corner, knocks off a defenseman behind the net, comes out and rings the pipe. Most exciting play of the game. Before that Mantha had some looks, starting to build momentum.
17:00 - 4th line did well to keep carolina’s top line hemmed in. Started with a faceoff win and several good retrieval’s.
18:01 - Carolina ices the puck
Fabbri loses faceoff to Trochek. Wings retrieve, but miss out on more solid pressure.
18:47 - Staal gets a piece of a pass to throw off a Svechnikov one timer. Bertuzzi clears it out.
19:45 - Bertuzzi with a nice move to get the puck into the O zone.
As with the Red and White games, I’ll be publishing my notes on this blog between periods. I’ll add my post game summary after it’s all said and done, again using the same blog. This way you won’t have to jump over to a new entry and we can keep the comments running smoothly.
The first games of the season last year were a bit anomalous. Mantha was an early season scoring machine and Detroit handled Dallas and Nashville well. While teams get back up to speed, it’s a bit of “anything goes”. For tonight, my hope is that the Larkin line scores two (Mantha 1G 1A, Bertuzzi 1G 1A, Larkin 2A). I’m hoping that the Fabbri line will produce, but more importantly I want to see them getting opportunities. Get pucks on net, extended offensive zone looks and taking some of the defensive pressure off of the top line.
In net, last year was brutal. My hope is that we see the goals against average drop from 4 to below 3 (even 3 is a huge improvement). Are the new tandem of Greiss and Bernier making important stops while there are turnovers. (And there will be turnovers).
Defensively - do we have three pairs that are able to make good outlet passes. I expect Hronek to be the main offensive threat, and he could well net one tonight. How are the gaps? Are we giving up fewer rushes (odd man or otherwise).
Third and fourth line - can you win own zone faceoffs and clear the puck? Make the other team skate a bit more by continually getting the puck out. Even if it’s just an offensive zone dump for a line change, it can make a huge difference. Brome has a lot of grit and looks to be a really good skater. My hope is that he creates scoring out of good defense.
Special teams - hold the line. Create chances on the power play and clear the puck on the PK. Don’t get puck chasing, and avoid point to point passes that turn into short handed opportunities.
What I’m watching for in Carolina:
Svechnikov - this is a player so potent that he can be completely covered and still score. It’s best just to enjoy the immense skill and creativity of the younger Svech. He’s a player that can break through and make you look bad even if you’re doing the right things. I really enjoy his game
Hamilton - one of the most underrated defenseman in the league (and one of the most disrespected). Whatever the issues that saw him traded twice, Hamilton could be knocking on the door for a Norris. He skates very well, uses his reach effectively, and has a really good shot. There are teams that are less dangerous if you can get the puck away from the forwards, this isn’t one of them. You need to try man to man coverage as much as possible.
Carolina is an exciting team that keeps getting better. They may be the Eastern Conference version of the Avalanche. Yeah, it hurts, but they are going to be something very special. Carolina isn’t “there” yet in terms of running the table, but they are going to do very well in this division (my opinion) and play hard for their coach.
Due to the anomalous nature, I think tonight could be a 4-3 OT win, and I’ll give Detroit the benefit. For the season series, I have Detroit winning 2 and losing 6. Tonight could be the rare win, but tomorrow night could get ugly. Again, all of this is a “best guess”. Let’s enjoy Detroit hitting the ice for the first time in 10 months!
What are you looking forward to tonight?