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For the first time this season
Detroit has beaten Chicago. Bernier’s strong performance in net was complemented by new names on the score sheet for the second straight game. Svechnikov, Helm, Nielsen all netted their first of the season. The power play scored for the first time in over 30 tries, giving Djoos his second goal of the season. Only Bobby Ryan (6th goal) had more than 1 or 2 goals on the season.
Detroit also scored 5 goals for the first time this season, and did it two games in a row. The previous high was 4 (against Carolina, Nashville and Florida) and each game was a victory. The gave against Nashville saw Gagner score his first (second, and third) of the season, while Glendening and Erne both had their second tallies. All 5 goals scored by depth players, and sorely needed.
When watching Detroit this season, a big issue on scoring is intercepted passes. Goalies and defenseman alike don’t feel (and haven’t had to) “respect” the shooter. That makes it painfully easy for the goaltender to get into position (if the shot makes it on net) and for the defenders to pick their coverage. When you watch a team with solid scoring, the goalie has to either cover the shot or cheat to catch the pass. That split second decision makes an immense difference. It also reduces the confidence of the opposition, which is also sorely needed.
With Larkin and Bertuzzi out, as well as the emotion of Detroit losing a dear friend in Tchekmarev, there seems to have been an increased sense of drive and pride. You don’t want bad things to happen, ever. Somehow, when teammates share in grief or loss, it strengthens the bonds. Everyone stands up to be counted.
Don’t get me wrong, when Detroit takes the ice tonight against Chicago, they are going to have an angry team with some elite level scoring throwing everything at the net. Bernier has been unbelievable for the past 2 wins. The power play finally got going, and boy Djoos has a wrist shot that I love to watch. All the things that went Detroit’s way could go the other way and completely flip the script. The hope is that confidence and the energy that comes from winning will help even more teammates step up and ease the burden of the top lines. Fabbri is generating points, Ryan just seems to be playing as hard as he can. If Chicago (or any team) feels like they have to focus on other players, those two may find some extra space.
And then, you get the advantage of a team playing from behind. Taking risks they don’t normally take. As with Svechnikov’s net drive from the neutral zone (that eventually led to his goal) you can get behind the defense when they’re scrambling to create offense. It’s a rare position for Detroit, and hopefully one they can replicate in tonight’s game.
So, who has stood out to you? Glendening? The guy who always shows up and finally gets rewarded? Gagner? Possibly the most creative playmaker Detroit has had in a while. Let me know what you think and what you hope to see in tonight’s second of this series.