Using Qualifiers to enhance this postseason (it’s a breakdown of the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers and Round Robin action). Plus the Seattle Kraken!
The Detroit Red Wings beat the Boston Bruins, 4-2, at Little Caesars Arena on Friday– winning for just the 2nd time in their last 14 games.
Jonathan Bernier (3-4-1 record, 3.35 goals against average, .891 save percentage in 10 games played) made 26 saves on 28 shots against for a .929 SV% in the win.
The Red Wings goaltender also had two assists in the effort.
Boston netminder, Tuukka Rask (7-2-1, 1.99 GAA, .933 SV% in 10 games played) stopped 28 out of 31 shots faced for a .903 SV% in the loss.
Boston fell to 11-3-2 (24 points) on the season, but still in command of 1st place in the Atlantic Division, while Detroit improved to 5-12-1 (11 points) so far this season. The Red Wings are still 8th in the Atlantic.
The Bruins fell to 4-3-1 on the road this season, while the Red Wings snapped a four-game losing streak in their win over the B’s.
Boston also fell to 9-2-1 when scoring the game’s first goal this season and 1-2-1 when trailing after two periods.
The Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee), John Moore (shoulder), Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia), Joakim Nordstrom (infection), Par Lindholm (upper body), David Backes (upper body) and Jake DeBrusk (lower body) on Friday, but Miller, Lindholm and Nordstrom all practiced with the team while wearing red no-contact sweaters on Thursday at Warrior Ice Arena.
Per B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, Nordstrom is the closest among the three to returning to the lineup.
Miller and Moore have yet to make their 2019-20 season debuts, while DeBrusk is still being evaluated and did not travel with the team to Detroit.
In an official scoring change made after Tuesday night’s loss in Montreal, Zach Senyshyn had an assist added to Connor Clifton and Anders Bjork’s goals against the Canadiens, yielding two assists for Senyshyn in his season debut in the process.
Peter Cehlarik and Senyshyn were recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Thursday after Senyshyn and Cameron Hughes were originally assigned to Providence earlier in the week on Wednesday.
With DeBrusk out of the lineup, Cehlarik took over the second line left wing slot alongside David Krejci at center and Danton Heinen on right wing.
Senyshyn remained in his third line right wing spot with Bjork and Charlie Coyle.
Brett Ritchie (upper body) did not take part in warmups prior to Boston’s matchup with the Red Wings and was a late scratch from the lineup.
In his place, the Bruins went with seven defenders, allowing Steven Kampfer to join the lineup on the fourth line right wing in place of Ritchie– resulting in no healthy scratches for the B’s on Friday.
Kampfer, however, did not play a shift in Detroit.
On defense, Cassidy switched his first and third pairings up, moving Clifton to the first defensive pairing with Zdeno Chara to start the game and placing Charlie McAvoy with Matt Grzelcyk on the third pairing.
Krejci (2) kicked things off with the game’s first goal 69 seconds into the first period after Cehlarik worked the puck into the attacking zone, circled back towards the slot and found Krejci for the wrist shot goal on Bernier’s short side.
Cehlarik (1) had the only assist on Krejci’s goal and the Bruins jumped out to the, 1-0, lead.
But it was short lived.
Roughly 90 seconds after Boston scored, Dylan Larkin (5) skated past Clifton, wrapped around the net and banked the puck off of Patrice Bergeron’s skate and into the twine, tying the game, 1-1, in the process.
Madison Bowey (3) and Bernier (1) notched the assists on Larkin’s goal as the Red Wings pulled even at 2:41 of the first period.
A minute later, David Pastrnak hooked Detroit blue liner, Dennis Cholowski and was sent to the penalty box with a minor infraction at 3:40.
The Bruins managed to kill off Pastrnak’s minor, but went undisciplined midway through the opening frame as Brad Marchand took an interference penalty against Filip Hronek at 11:12.
Detroit only needed 37 seconds on the ensuing power play to capitalize on the skater advantage with Robby Fabbri (2) snapping a shot past Rask to give the Red Wings their first lead of the night, 2-1.
Tyler Bertuzzi (9) and Anthony Mantha (7) tallied the assists on Fabbri’s first goal with the Red Wings since being acquired by Detroit in a trade with the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.
The Blues acquired Jacob de la Rose in the transaction.
Fabbri’s first goal of the night came at 11:49 of the first period.
Less than a minute later, Bowey was guilty of holding Heinen, but the B’s weren’t able to convert on the resulting power play opportunity.
After one period at Little Caesars Arena, the Red Wings led, 2-1, and shots on goal were even, 12-12.
Boston led in blocked shots (6-4) and takeaways (1-0) heading into the first intermission, while Detroit held the advantage in giveaways (6-2), hits (9-7) and faceoff win percentage (57-43).
The Red Wings were 1/2 on the power play heading into the second period and the Bruins were 0/1.
Pastrnak hooked Larkin 28 seconds into the second period and presented Detroit with an early skater advantage to begin the middle frame.
Fabbri (3) made sure to capitalize on the power play opportunity, acting as the bumper in the slot and scoring his 2nd goal of the night on a one-timer at 1:30 of the second period.
He became the 7th player in Red Wings history to score two or more goals in his team debut.
Bertuzzi (10) and Cholowski (4) had the assists on Fabbri’s 2nd power play goal of the game and Detroit led, 3-1.
Torey Krug sent the puck over the glass and out of play, yielding an automatic delay of game penalty at 3:30.
Detroit’s resulting power play opportunity was cut short as Larkin tripped up Chara behind the Boston net at 3:50, resulting in 4-on-4 action for a 1:41 span before the Bruins would have an abbreviated power play.
The B’s did not score on the skater advantage.
Midway through the second period, Marchand and Hronek exchanged pleasantries and dropped the gloves. Each received a five-minute major for fighting at 11:16.
It was just the 2nd fight of the season for the Bruins (previous, Ritchie vs. Barclay Goodrow on Oct. 29th against the San Jose Sharks).
A couple of minutes later, things were still chippy as Krejci was penalized for roughing Valtteri Filppula at 13:35.
In response, shortly after failing to convert on the skater advantage, Filppula tripped Pastrnak at 15:56 and elicited a power play chance for the Bruins.
With only seconds to spare on the advantage, Krug ripped a shot from the point that was deflected by Bergeron (8) in front of the net to cut Detriot’s lead to one-goal.
Krug (11) and Krejci (5) had the assists on Bergeron’s power play goal as the Bruins trailed, 3-2, at 17:52.
Through 40 minutes of action in Detroit, the Red Wings led, 3-2, on the scoreboard, but trailed Boston in shots on goal, 24-22– including a, 12-10, advantage for the B’s in the second period alone.
Detroit held the advantage in blocked shots (10-9), giveaways (12-2), hits (17-14) and faceoff win% (52-48), while Boston led in takeaways (3-0).
The Red Wings were 2/5 on the skater advantage and the Bruins were 1/3 on the power play entering the third period,
Early in the final frame, Bowey slashed Marchand and was sent to the sin bin with a minor infraction at 4:34 of the third period.
Boston did not score on the ensuing power play.
Neither team found the back of the net until the Bruins pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker with about two minutes left in regulation.
Shortly thereafter, Mantha (10) pocketed an empty net goal at 18:32 and sealed the deal on the win for the Red Wings.
Bernier (2) had the only assist on the goal as Detroit finished the night with a, 4-2, win over Boston– dominating the third period in shots on goal, 10-4, bolstering their total shots on net advantage to, 32-28.
The Red Wings finished Friday night’s action leading in blocked shots (15-11), giveaways (17-7) and hits (27-21), while the Bruins finished the night leading in faceoff win% (51-49).
Detroit went 2/5 on the power play and Boston went 1/4 on the skater advantage.
The Bruins return home on Sunday for a two-game homestand against the Philadelphia Flyers (Sunday, Nov. 10th) and the Florida Panthers next Tuesday (Nov. 12th) before traveling to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs next Friday (Nov. 15th).
Anthony Mantha scored his first career hat trick in the midst of a five-point night on Sunday as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Boston Bruins, 5-3, at Little Caesars Arena.
Mantha became the first Red Wings player to record at least five points in a game against Boston since Steve Yzerman did so on Jan. 14, 1989. Yzerman had two goals and three assists that night.
Red Wings goaltender, Jimmy Howard (22-20-5 record, 3.02 goals against average, .909 save percentage in 52 games played) made 31 saves on 34 shots against for a .912 SV% in the win.
Meanwhile, B’s netminder, Jaroslav Halak (21-11-4, 2.40 GAA, .920 SV% in 39 GP) stopped 22 out of 27 shots faced (.815 SV%) in the loss.
Boston fell to 47-23-9 (103 points) on the season, but remained in control of 2nd place in the Atlantic Division. Detroit improved to 31-38-10 (72 points) and crept over the Buffalo Sabres for 6th in the Atlantic (Detroit leads in regulation-plus-overtime wins, 28-26).
The Red Wings finished the season series with the 2-1-1 advantage.
Midway through the first period, Mantha (20) fired a one-timer over Halak’s glove on the short side to give the Red Wings the lead, 1-0.
Larkin (38) and Tyler Bertuzzi (23) had the assists on Mantha’s first goal of the night at 10:26 of the first period.
A few minutes later, Andreas Athanasiou slashed Krejci and sent the Bruins on their first power play of the night at 13:38. It was unsuccessful and shortly followed by another Boston power play at 17:07 when Christoffer Ehn slashed Backes.
Grzelcyk cut the B’s skater advantage short when he slashed Athanasiou at 19:04 and the two clubs had three seconds of 4-on-4 action before an abbreviated power play for the Red Wings began.
As the seconds ticked away, it appeared as though the Bruins would be shorthanded to start the second period until Mantha (21) slapped another one-timer past Halak at 19:59 of the first period.
Niklas Kronwall (22) and Bertuzzi (24) tallied the assists on Mantha’s power play goal and Detroit led, 2-0, entering the first intermission.
After one period of play, the Red Wings led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and, 9-8, in shots on goal. Detroit also held the advantage in blocked shots (6-5), takeaways (2-1), giveaways (7-0) and hits (4-3), while Boston led in face-off win percentage (56-44).
The Red Wings were 1/2 on the power play entering the second period and the Bruins were 0/2.
Early in the middle frame, Charlie McAvoy sent Krejci up the ice with DeBrusk on a rush. Krejci sent a lead saucer pass to bring DeBrusk behind the Detroit defense and on his own towards the net, whereby DeBrusk (25) roofed a shot over Howard’s blocker to put the B’s on the scoreboard, 2-1.
Krejci (49) and McAvoy (20) had the assists on DeBrusk’s goal at 2:01 of the second period.
McAvoy later sent the puck over the glass and out of play at 8:12 of the second period and received an automatic delay of game penalty.
Marchand slid the puck over to Bergeron, awaiting a return pass while Bergeron dragged the rubber biscuit around Mantha as the Red Wings forward dove in a desperate attempt to breakup a passing lane.
Bergeron pulled the puck to his backhand and sent it across the slot for Marchand (35) to blast a one-timer past Howard as the Detroit goaltender slid across the crease.
The goal was Marchand’s 26th career shorthanded goal and put Marchand in sole possession of the Bruins franchise record for most career shorthanded goals with the club (Rick Middleton is now 2nd with 25).
Bergeron (46) and Carlo (7) notched the assists on Marchand’s shorthanded goal at 9:50 of the second period.
Noel Acciari took exception to the non-call as Witkowski charged an otherwise unsuspecting Nordstrom and exchanged fisticuffs with the Detroit skater.
Both players were assessed five-minute majors for fighting, while Acciari picked up an extra minor penalty for instigating and an automatic ten-minute misconduct as a result at 14:24.
Johansson served Acciari’s minor penalty while the Bruins were shorthanded, but Detroit’s ensuing power play wouldn’t last long as 20 seconds later, Athanasiou was called for interference at 14:44.
Neither team converted on the ensuing 4-on-4 action and abbreviated skater advantage for Boston thereafter.
With one minute remaining in the second period, Miller blasted a shot from the point that Backes (7) tipped behind Howard to give the Bruins their first lead of the night, 3-2.
Miller (7) and Krejci (50) had the assists on Backes’ goal at 19:00 of the second period.
Krejci reached the 50-assist plateau for the third time in his career (51 assists in 2008-09, 50 assists in 2013-14) with the secondary assist on the goal as Boston carried the, 3-2, lead into the second intermission.
Both teams were tied in shots on goal, 17-17, and takeaways, 2-2, after 40 minutes of play, while the Bruins led in blocked shots (15-8), hits (9-8) and face-off win% (53-47). The Red Wings led in giveaways (14-2) through two periods.
Detroit entered the third period 1/4 on the power play, while Boston was 0/3 on the skater advantage.
DeBrusk was penalized for interference 69 seconds into the third period and sent the Red Wings on the power play. Eight seconds later, Detroit tied the game.
Mantha (22) completed his first career hat trick on yet another one-timer– this time after Bertuzzi completed the pass through the low slot– and the Red Wings tied the game, 3-3, at 1:17 of the third period.
Bertuzzi (25) and Athanasiou (21) recorded the primary and secondary assists, respectively, on the goal as the hats were cleaned up off the ice at Little Caesars Arena.
On the ensuing face-off, Kronwall worked the puck up to Athanasiou through the neutral zone as Athanasiou sped into the attacking zone and dropped a pass back to Hirose (1) for the one-timer from the slot.
Hirose notched his first career NHL goal and the Red Wings led, 4-3, at 1:25 of the third period.
Athanasiou (22) and Kronwall (23) had the assists, but Detroit was not done scoring yet.
Midway through the third, Hronek (5) fired a one-timer from the face-off dot to the right of Halak past the Bruins goaltender and into the twine to make it, 5-3, Red Wings.
Mantha (22) notched his fourth point of the evening with the only assist on Hronek’s goal at 12:03 of the third period.
About a minute later, Hirose cut a rut to the penalty box for slashing Coyle at 13:17, but Boston’s power play didn’t capitalize on the skater advantage.
With less than four minutes remaining in regulation, Cassidy pulled Halak in favor of an extra attacker.
At 19:02 of the third period, Larkin (32) put Detroit in command of the, 6-3, victory with an empty net goal that was assisted by Mantha (23) and Hronek (15).
Upon the sound of the final horn, the Red Wings took home two points in a regulation win, despite trailing the Bruins in shots on goal (34-28), blocked shots (16-14) and face-off win% (52-48), but led in giveaways (16-4).
Detroit finished Sunday night 2/5 on the skater advantage, while the B’s went 0/4 on the power play.
Boston finishes the season swinging through Columbus on April 2nd, making a stop in Minnesota on April 4th and wrapping up the regular season on April 6th at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Detroit Red Wings have not won in Boston in five years. Even worse, the Red Wings are 0-9-0 at TD Garden in their last nine visits as a result of Saturday afternoon’s 8-2 loss to the Bruins.
Detroit’s last win in the Hub came on October 14, 2013.
David Pastrnak (3-0–3 totals) recorded his second career hat trick (third if you include his postseason hat trick against the Toronto Maple Leafs last April) as Boston won their fourth game in-a-row since losing 7-0 to the Washington Capitals on the road to start the season.
The Bruins improved to 4-1-0 (8 points) on the season, while the Red Wings fell to 0-3-2 (2 points) in their first five games.
Boston has a plus-13 goal differential through the first five games of the regular season and has outscored their opponents 22-6 in the last four games since being shutout by Washington on the road to start the 2018-19 regular season.
The Bruins are tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs for 1st place in the Atlantic Division, at least until the Leafs take on the Capitals Saturday night.
Detroit has a minus-12 goal differential through their first five games this season and is one point ahead of the Florida Panthers (0-0-1, 1 point) from the basement of the Atlantic Division. Florida is in action Saturday night against the Vancouver Canucks.
Rask got the start Saturday afternoon for Boston after Jaroslav Halak backstopped the B’s to a 4-1 victory Thursday night against the Edmonton Oilers.
Bruce Cassidy inserted Ryan Donato back into his lineup in place of Danton Heinen (scratched Saturday after no points in four games) on the third line and kept Joakim Nordstrom on the second line with Krejci and DeBrusk.
Late in the first period, Pastrnak (5) went end-to-end with the puck on his stick and fired a snap shot, high-glove side, past Bernier to open Saturday’s scoring for the Bruins, 1-0. Brandon Carlo (1) and Chris Wagner (1) picked up their first assists of the season on Pastrnak’s goal at 19:09.
After attempting to check Noel Acciari and instead reverberating off of Acciari’s solid frame, Dylan Larkin kept pressuring Acciari to crack. Instead, after the third attempt at a hit that included a quick left handed shove, Acciari dropped the gloves expecting Larkin to do the same.
He did not.
So both Larkin and Acciari received roughing minor penalties, with Larkin earning an extra one for good measure, giving Boston their first power play of the night at 19:44 of the first period.
The skater advantage would carry over into the second period, but the Bruins failed to convert on the advantage.
Through 20 minutes of play, Boston held onto a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard, despite the Red Wings leading in shots on goal, 12-8.
Detroit also led in blocked shots (5-2), hits (13-8) and face-off win percentage (64-36) after one period, while the Bruins led in takeaways (7-5) and giveaways (4-3). The Red Wings had yet to see time on the skater advantage, while Boston was 0/1 on the power play entering the first intermission.
Early in the second period on a face-off in the offensive zone, Bergeron won the draw back to McAvoy (1) who fired a shot from the face-off circle that deflected off an opponent in front of the goal past Bernier to make it 2-0 Bruins.
Bergeron (4) had the only assist on McAvoy’s first goal of the season at 4:44 of the second period. Boston did not let off the gas pedal the rest of the way.
DeBrusk (1) was sent into the attacking zone on a breakaway and slid the puck underneath Bernier’s pad– just squeaking the rubber biscuit past the goal line, but enough for the nearest ref to see the whole thing– to make it 3-0 Bruins.
Krejci (3) had the only assist on the DeBrusk’s first of the year at 11:26.
Moments later, Christoffer Ehn caught McAvoy with a high-stick and gave the Bruins their second power play of the afternoon 16 minutes into the second period.
Boston’s first power play unit only needed 20 seconds to convert on the ensuing skater advantage as Pastrnak (6) scored his second goal of the game on a one-timed slap shot. Bergeron (5) and Marchand (8) had the assists on Pastrnak’s goal– the 100th of his career– at 16:20 and the B’s led, 4-0.
Late in the second frame, the Bruins were guilty of minor penalties less than a minute apart. First, DeBrusk was sent to the box for tripping Detroit’s Andreas Athanasiou at 18:17. Then Marchand took a trip to the sin bin for sending the puck over the glass on a delay of game minor at 19:00.
The Red Wings would have 1:17 on the 5-on-3 advantage that would spillover into the third period.
After 40 minutes of play, No. 40 in the home goal (Rask) and the Bruins led 4-0. Boston recovered from trailing in shots on goal in the first period, 12-8, to leading in shots on goal, 23-20 after two periods. The Bruins outshot the Red Wings, 15-8, in the second frame.
Detroit led in blocked shots (10-4) and hits (18-14), while Boston held an advantage in takeaways (13-12), giveaways (7-6) and face-off win% (60-40) entering the second intermission. The Red Wings were 0/2 on the power play (but not for long) and the Bruins were 1/2 entering the final frame.
Filip Hronek (1) fired a clapper from the point 21 seconds into the third period as the first penalty expired for Boston, yielding a 5-on-4 power play goal and his first career NHL goal to put Detroit on the scoreboard, 4-1.
Just 1:44 after the Red Wings scored, David Pastrnak (7) completed his hat trick on a 2-on-1 with Brad Marchand in the offensive zone.
Pastrnak rushed in on a pass from Patrice Bergeron, giving the puck to Marchand, before No. 63 returned the vulcanized rubber to its sender for the snipe past Bernier. Marchand (9) and Bergeron (6) had the assists on Pastrnak’s third goal of the game and the Bruins led, 5-1.
It was Pastrnak’s first regular season hat trick since recording his first career hat trick in Raleigh, North Carolina against the Carolina Hurricanes on March 13, 2018 (he had 3-1–4 totals that night) and it was his first hat trick since his 6-point effort against Toronto in Game 2 of the First Round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Dylan Larkin (3) fired a wrist shot past Rask for his third goal of the season at 8:23 and brough the Red Wings to within three, making it a 5-2 game with plenty of time left in the final period of regulation.
Less than a couple minutes later, the Bruins responded.
Anders Bjork (1) scored his first goal of the season– and the first of his sophomore campaign since his rookie season ended prematurely due to left-shoulder injury.
Bjork’s goal was unassisted at 10:12 of the third period after No. 10 in black-and-gold was credited with a takeaway in the neutral zone and burst into the attacking zone with Donato on a 2-on-1. Instead of passing, Bjork sniped a wrist shot past Bernier to make it, 6-2, Boston.
Mantha and McAvoy received roughing minors for some extracurricular activity after the whistle at 13:57 of the third period and two minutes of 4-on-4 action resulted.
That’s about the time when DeBrusk sent a pass to Krejci on the left side, before the Czech center lobbed a pass to Brandon Carlo pinching in from the point, whereby Carlo found DeBrusk (2) in the low slot for the redirection past Bernier to make it 7-2 Boston at 15:15.
In the final minute of regulation, Detroit defender, Nick Jensen caught Ryan Donato with a shoulder to the head and Bruins fourth liner, Chris Wagner, immediately responded.
Though Wagner and Jensen had the gloves off and exchanged fisticuffs, both received unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalties, with Wagner serving two and Jensen picking up one unsportsmanlike conduct call and an illegal check to the head minor penalty at 19:35 of the third period.
In the closing seconds of the game, Sean Kuraly (1) added his first goal of the season and the Bruins sealed an 8-2 victory with 1.3 seconds remaining on the game clock. Kevan Miller (1) and Bjork (1) were tabbed with the assists on Kuraly’s goal at 19:58 (officially) of the third period.
The Bruins finished the night with the 8-2 win and leading in shots on goal (39-34), as well as, face-off win% (52-49), while going 1/3 on the power play. Detroit ended the game leading in blocked shots (12-9) and was 1/3 on the skater advantage, as well. Both teams finished Saturday’s matinee matchup with 21 hits.
Among other stats…
Miller was a plus-four for the Bruins, as only Wagner (even) and Acciari (minus-one) finished the game without a positive plus/minus for Boston.
Moore led the B’s in shots on goal with five, while Chara, DeBrusk, Nordstrom and Pastrnak all recorded four shots on net.
Acciari led the Bruins in hits with four. Carlo, Miller and Nordstrom each had three.
David Pastrnak is the third fastest to reach 100 career goals in franchise history for Boston, doing so in his 259th career game– trailing only Barry Pederson (100 goals in 187 games) and Dit Clapper (100 goals in 247 games). He also became the third fastest Czech-born player to score 100 goals, behind Petr Klima (231) and Jaromir Jagr (245).
Meanwhile, Gustav Nyquist and Frans Nielsen were minus-three on Saturday for Detroit. Filip Hronek not only scored his first career goal, but led the Red Wings in shots on goal with six from the blue line (Nyquist was second on the team with five). Joe Hicketts led the Red Wings in hits with five and Nick Jensen led Detroit in blocked shots with four.
The Bruins take on the Calgary Flames on the road on Wednesday, before facing the Oilers on Thursday and rounding out their Western Canada portion of the upcoming four-game road trip on October 20th against the Vancouver Canucks.
Boston travels to Ottawa for a matchup with the Senators on the 23rd before returning home to face the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden on the 25th.
Detroit Red Wings
30-39-13, 73 points, 5th in the Atlantic Division
Subtractions: D Adam Almquist (signed, SHL), F Colin Campbell (signed with Grand Rapids Griffins, AHL), G Jared Coreau (signed with ANA), F Turner Elson (signed with Grand Rapids Griffins, AHL), F Matt Lorito (signed with NYI), G Matej Machovsky (signed, ELH), G Tom McCollum (signed with Milwaukee Admirals, AHL), F Zach Nastasiuk (signed with Charlotte Checkers, AHL), D Xavier Ouellet (buyout, signed with MTL), D Dan Renouf (signed with CAR), F Ben Street (signed with ANA), F Eric Tangradi (signed with NJ)
Offseason Analysis: Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland is standing put this offseason. Tell me if you’ve already heard this story before.
Despite finishing 5th in the Atlantic Division (only two spots out of a playoff spot), Detroit was not at all a playoff contender by any means last season. The same remains true for 2018-19, unfortunately for Red Wings fans.
However, unlike most rebuilding teams this offseason, Detroit had a tremendous draft– landing Filip Zadina at 6th overall. Both Zadina and the Red Wings are ready to prove at least two or three other teams that passed over him wrong.
Holland didn’t just land one great pick that slipped down the order, but two with his second pick of the first round at 30th overall in Joe Veleno.
Re-signing Andreas Athanasiou, Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha protected the Red Wings core, while bringing in Jonathan Bernier as a backup provides stability in the crease behind Jimmy Howard.
Rebuilding is a long, slow process, but Detroit is ready to speed things up a bit as they look to get younger in the right places. One thing that’s holding them back, however, is their commitment to lateral moves during this time period.
Thomas Vanek is back (for now– just wait until the trade deadline, though he really wants to stay in a winged-wheel sweater) and so is Mike Green. Frans Nielsen is still on the books with his NMC/NTC strapped contract and the blueline at Little Caesars Arena continues to age– without Xavier Ouellet in the picture after Holland used a buyout on the 25-year-old defender reaching his prime.
Holland’s plans for next offseason have to include some kind of restructuring on the back end with four defenders aged 32-plus.
Regardless, 2018-19 is poised to be an average disappointment as a placeholder season while Zadina and Co. gain experience. Detroit is at least competitive enough to lose games by one, two or three goals instead of 5-0 blowouts every other night.
Any experience is good experience, but playoff hopes should be on hold for at least one more season Red Wings fans (because otherwise, they’d be making an early exit for sure).
Offseason Grade: C
Ken Holland didn’t do much, but rather just enough to potentially set the Red Wings up for landing a goldmine in the 2019 offseason. With that in mind, Detroit should line themselves up for another high-end draft pick next June and trying to land a top UFA in 2019.
This season, however, the focus remains on finding a focus. Fix an aging defense, find the next Jimmy Howard and set sights on having younger guys inserted into the lineup.
Could Jeff Blashill be on the hotseat this season? Sure. For better or worse. It’s really not the coaching in Detroit that’s the problem. It’s an average to below average roster that’s continuing to age in a tight salary cap (but again, there’s hope for some serious restructuring next offseason).
Our offseason previews for all 31 National Hockey League teams continues with the Detroit Red Wings and their outlook for the summer.
After missing the playoffs for the first time in over a quarter of a century, the Detroit Red Wings have only begun phase one of what looks to be a longer rebuild than some of the other recent rebuilds in the league– but one offseason, this offseason, can change the pace.
Detroit finished 5th in the Atlantic Division with a 30-39-13 record and 73 points on the season in 2017-18. While that’s two places removed from a divisional spot in the current Stanley Cup Playoff format, keep in mind that 73 points would put them just ahead of the Arizona Coyotes and tied with the Vancouver Canucks in the overall league standings.
So things, while they may seem otherwise, are pretty dire in the Red Wings organization.
Short of trading Petr Mrazek to the Philadelphia Flyers for Philadelphia’s stretch run to the postseason, the Red Wings didn’t make much news in the headlines or noise around the league.
General Manager Ken Holland signed a two-year extension in April to remain as Detroit’s general manager through the 2019-20 season and looks to see this rebuild through in his tenure with the franchise.
2018 NHL Entry Draft
The Red Wings currently have two first round picks in the Draft as part of seven total picks in the first three rounds (two firsts, two second round picks and three third round picks).
Pending any transactions, Detroit is expected to select 6th and 30th overall (via the Vegas Golden Knights, thanks to the Tomas Tatar deadline deal).
They’ll likely search for help on the blueline in Quintin Hughes, Evan Bouchard or Adam Boqvist with the higher of the two picks and could very well utilize any of the five other picks in the first three rounds on either prospects or additions to the current roster via a trade.
Author’s note (for those interested): Detroit has their own first round pick, Vegas’s first round pick, their own second round pick, Ottawa’s second round pick, their own third round pick, Philadelphia’s third round pick and Pittsburgh’s third round pick in the first three rounds of the 2018 Draft.
Pending free agents
Despite a lot of no-trade-clauses and no-movement-clauses to work around, the Red Wings have almost $17.4 million in cap space this summer and five pending-restricted free agents to re-sign, including Andreas Athanasiou, Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha.
It’s imperative that Holland finds a trading partner or two to ship out one or more of the players with NTCs or NMCs willing to waive their clause(s), because Larkin’s next deal alone (both in cap and clauses) could very well strap the team in a wedge of roster components that they cannot otherwise move around.
Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader and Gustav Nyqvist present themselves as viable options to move with Helm, 31, and Abdelkader, 31, having to waive their NTCs before agreeing to any deal and Nyqvist as a 28-year-old rental player with one-year remaining on his current contract.
Anthanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi, Martin Frk and Mantha are several key components to the club moving forward and should all be re-signed, while pending-unrestricted free agent forward, David Booth, likely could hit the open market.
Ericsson and Kronwall are two cornerstones of Detroit’s defense in both their tenure with the team in addition to their veteran presence, while Daley was signed last July after winning a couple of Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins. All three have some form of an NTC and are signed at a combined cap hit of $12.167 million next season, with Kronwall only signed through the end of 2018-19 at $4.750 million.
Holland will have to make some dance moves to address the overabundance of NTCs and NMCs sooner rather than later, but can probably put the defense on the back burner for another year as part of the long haul plan.
Mike Green is the only pending-UFA defender and since he wasn’t dealt at the deadline as a 32-year-old veteran seeking his first chance at a Cup, should not return to the organization.
Jimmy Howard is the number one goaltender in Detroit for the foreseeable future with one-year remaining on his contract.
As such, finding a competitive backup that could overtake Howard for the number one role remains a priority this offseason, given Jared Coreau‘s less than impressive bid for starting goaltender status.
Speaking of Coreau, the 26-year-old goaltender is a pending-UFA.
If Holland is willing to risk a season worse than this one in an already weak Atlantic Division, then the time is now to make some moves and truly bottom out before rising quickly back to Cup contender status like the great Red Wings teams of the 1990s and 2000s.
Other pending free agents throughout the organization include:
It’s another Wednesday in the NHL, so you know what that means: a supposed rivalry-filled schedule.
Let’s see how that pans out.
Tonight’s schedule starts at 7 p.m. with two contests (the New York Rangers at Ottawa [SN/TVAS] and Dallas at the New York Islanders), followed by Boston at Detroit (NBCSN) an hour later. Finally, tonight’s nightcap – Nashville at Vancouver (SN) – gets underway at 10 p.m. to close the game out. All times Eastern.
I had half of today’s games circled on my schedule from the start of the season.
- New York at Ottawa: It’s a rematch of one of last season’s Eastern Conference Semifinals.
- Boston at Detroit: It’s been a while since we’ve had an Original Six rivalry…
In honor of NBC finally featuring a real rivalry – and what is arguably a bigger game than meets the eye – let’s head off to Motown.
It doesn’t seem right that these teams are still in the playoff hunt considering they play in the same division that features Tampa Bay and Toronto, but such is life in the Atlantic Division.
The team currently occupying that third division spot is none other than the 14-9-4 Bruins, who are a full three points behind a Pittsburgh team that would be on the outside looking in if the postseason started today.
Don’t tell anybody, but Boston’s defense is quietly making a name for itself as one of the better corps in the league. Bruins fans witness their team allow only 2.74 goals-per-game, which is the seventh-fewest in the league.
Led by the solid efforts of F David Backes (3.1 hits per game), D Zdeno Chara (1.59 blocks per game) and F Riley Nash (team-leading 32 takeaways), Boston has allowed an average of only 29.85 shots to reach its starting goaltender each game, the fifth-fewest in the NHL.
That makes life pretty easy on 7-8-2 G Tuukka Rask, who doesn’t need all that much help to be exemplary at his job – he just needs rest. Now that Head Coach Bruce Cassidy is accepting the fact that Rask cannot start every game (Rask has started at least 62 games for the past three seasons and watched his save percentage drop) and playing 7-1-2 G Anton Khudobin more often, the 2014 Vezina-winning goalie is beginning to look like himself once again.
Rask has earned a perfect 4-0-0 record over his last five appearances (he relieved Khudobin in Nashville last week for no decision), posting a .955 save percentage and 1.1 GAA in that time to elevate his season numbers to a .912 save percentage and 2.43 GAA, the (t)18th- and sixth-best efforts, respectively, among the 35 goaltenders with at least 11 starts.
But we haven’t even gotten to one of my favorite things about this Bruins team: its penalty kill. Successfully defending 85.54 percent of its infractions, Boston’s PK ranks third-best in the league behind only Los Angeles and San Jose, some very good defensive company.
This is where Rask has truly shined brightest. He’s saved 92.8 percent of all power play shots that make it to his goal, which is the most of any netminder with at least 15 starts to their credit. Of course, he’s also had the luxury of facing only 70 such shots all season thanks to Chara’s team-leading 20 shorthanded blocks.
Meanwhile, the 11-13-6 Red Wings are trying valiantly to outperform everyone’s expectations, as they trail the third place Bruins by only four points. Unfortunately, it’s been an anemic offense that has held them back from glory, as they manage a fourth-worst 2.63 goals-per-game.
If anyone in particular is to blame for Detroit’s struggles, it can’t be the second line – specifically F Dylan Larkin (4-19-23 totals) and F Anthony Mantha (12-10-22). They are the team leaders in almost every offensive department, but have combined for only two game-winners. If that’s not an an indictment on the rest of this offense, I don’t know what is.
Additionally, the Wings also have D Mike Green making considerable contributions from the blue line, as he’s managed a decent 2-16-18 effort that is shaping into the best season of his three-year Detroit career.
Knowing that Green, who is slated to be a free agent this offseason, is having a bit of a resurgence but has nothing to show for his career beyond being named to two NHL First All-Star Teams, it’ll be interesting to see if/when he’ll be traded. It is certainly possible in this division for the Wings to regroup and sneak into the playoffs, but it is looking more and more likely that won’t be the case. Green very well could be on the move at or before February 26’s trade deadline.
If Detroit is going to win this game, it’s going to need its greatest weapon to be firing on all cylinders. Though the Wings struggle on offense as a whole, their power play success rate of 20 percent is actually the 11th-best effort in the league. They face a tall task in the previously mentioned Boston penalty kill, but I think Detroit’s best chance of finding a goal is while a Bruin is in the penalty box.
The power play is Green’s specialty, as he leads the squad with nine man-advantage points. However, all of those are assists. Instead, I’d bank on Mantha and his team-leading five power play goals being Rask’s primary focus this evening.
As long has the Bruins can keep Detroit’s two forwards under control, they should come away with a victory tonight.
Behind First Star of the Game G Andrei Vasilevskiy‘s third shutout of the season, the Tampa Bay Lighting defeated the St. Louis Blues 3-0 at Scottrade Center in yesterday’s DtFR Game of the Day.
For the Bolts’ second game in a row, Second Star F Brayden Point (F Tyler Johnson and F Alex Killorn) provided Tampa Bay’s game-winning goal. This one was struck with 45 seconds remaining in the first period.
Johnson entered the offensive zone with the puck on his stick, but Third Star D Colton Parayko did a good job to force him away from the front of G Jake Allen‘s net. Johnson instead traveled behind the cage, moving from Allen’s left to right before passing from the left face-off circle to Point at the top of the zone. Point ripped a wrist shot through two St. Louis defenders that found the right goal post, but he collected his own rebound to squeeze a shot behind Allen and off the left post.
Tampa’s two insurance goals weren’t struck until the third period. RW Nikita Kucherov (D Mikhail Sergachev) scored the first with 6:23 remaining in regulation, followed by Johnson (Point and D Victor Hedman) burying a wrister into an open net with 22 seconds remaining before the final horn to close out the game.
Vasilevskiy saved all 32 shots he faced for the shutout victory, leaving the loss to Allen, who saved 22-of-24 (.917 save percentage).
Home and road teams in the DtFR Game of the Day series are getting back into the holiday spirit and exchanging victories. With the road Bolts winning last night, the visitors have pulled back within 15 points of the 39-23-8 hosts.
You know that feeling you get when 5 p.m. rolls around on a Friday? Allow me to magnify that for you: there’s hockey on tonight!
Specifically, there’s six games happening around the league this evening, starting with two (Vancouver at Buffalo [SN360] and San Jose at New Jersey) at 7 p.m. and another pair (Washington at Detroit and Pittsburgh at Florida [TVAS]) half an hour later. The action continues at 8 p.m. when Minnesota visits Winnipeg before tonight’s nightcap – Montréal at Anaheim (RDS/TSN2) – closes out the festivities two hours later.
I was going to feature G Anders Nilsson‘s return to Buffalo this evening, but since he played in the Canucks’ game in Boston last night and is unlikely to draw back-to-back starts, I’m slightly more drawn to the action in Motown.
I know we’ve already watched the Red Wings once this week, but that’s what we get on days when the schedule isn’t exactly filled to the brim with exciting matchups.
And, considering expectations for the Wings this season (and the Capitals too, for that matter), we should enjoy watching them as much as we can while they’re still playing well and staying relevant.
How much longer 4-3-0 Detroit can keep up its solid start is certainly the question, as the Wings are currently the last team in if the playoffs started today (you know how important playoff positioning is in Week 3 of a 27-week season).
Earning them this better-than-expected start has certainly been their offense. It may not be as daunting as the days of old (à la C Steve Yzerman and basically anybody else on his line), but the Wings quietly run a decent top-two lines.
The top line is headlined by W Anthony Mantha (3-4-7 totals) and F Henrik Zetterberg (4-4-8), both of whom are averaging at least a point-per-game. If G Braden Holtby and the Caps can fend them off, a second line that includes the likes of W Justin Abdelkader (2-2-4) and F Dylan Larkin (1-7-8) are right behind to continue applying the pressure.
Two skaters that should also be included in that group are defensemen Mike Green and Nick Jensen. 32-year-old Green, a former first-round selection by the Capitals that played 10 seasons in Washington, actually leads the team in points scored with his 1-8-9 totals, while youngster Jensen has provided four assists from the third defensive pairing.
As Minnesota and Ottawa have already proven this season, teams that sleep on this squad are liable to miss out on points that should be earned against a rebuilding club.
That rebuild is no more apparent than when the Wings take to the power play. No matter how hard Green tries with his team-leading four power play points, the club has only converted four-of-27 man-advantage opportunities for an abysmal 14.8 percent success rate that’s eighth-worst in the league. Fortunately for the Wings, they aren’t exactly playing an exemplary penalty kill this evening (Washington kills only 78.6 percent of opposing power plays, 13th-worst in the NHL), so they might be able to find some success.
Of course, it seems the Capitals are experiencing a bit of a rebuild themselves. Though the offense is still trucking right along at 3.14 goals-per-game, the defense has definitely suffered following the offseason’s transactions.
It is no fault of Holtby’s that Washington is allowing an average of 3.43 goals against-per-game (10th-worst in the league). He’s still trucking along as well as ever with his .931 save percentage and 2.19 GAA, both of which are top-10 efforts in the NHL among goaltenders with at least three starts.
Instead, the Capitals are fielding (Icing? No, that’s a penalty…) a defensive corps that allows an 11th-worst 33.9 shots against-per-game – even with D Brooks Orpik blocking 2.6 shots-per-night. In particular, D Dmitry Orlov has been pretty rough to open the season. He has yet to produce a point after posting 6-27-33 totals last season, and has been on the ice for 11 goals against for a -3 rating (both team-worsts).
It seems losing both D Karl Alzner and D Nate Schmidt is proving a bit tougher to handle than previously hoped – and that was before D Matt Niskanen went down with an upper-body injury last Friday. Fortunately for the Caps, they may not notice those departures as badly this evening considering the Red Wings are not a club that likes to pepper opposing goaltenders.
It’s another game of evenly-matched offenses, which means Detroit should have the upper-hand in this game (that’s weird to say when Holtby is playing for the opposing team) based on its defense. The Wings should be more than able to take two points tonight, especially if G Jimmy Howard rediscovers his form from his first three starts.
Though they needed the shutout, the New York Islanders were able to beat the New York Rangers 4-3 at Madison Square Garden in yesterday’s DtFR Game of the Day.
The Islanders came out with guns blazing to start this game, as F Anders Lee (D Ryan Pulock and RW Jordan Eberle) was able to bury a power play wrist shot only 2:40 into the game. That early lead didn’t last long though, as C David Desharnais (D Kevin Shattenkirk and D Marc Staal) scored a tip-in only 2:22 later to level the game at one-all. Much to the Islanders’ delight, that tie lasted only 64 seconds courtesy of Second Star of the Game F Brock Nelson‘s (LW Andrew Ladd) wrister to retake the lead for the Boys from Brooklyn.
All goals are important, but C Mathew Barzal‘s (D Calvin de Haan and F Josh Bailey) wrister 75 seconds into the second period will stick out in the minds of the Islanders for the next couple of weeks. Not only was it the first of Barzal’s NHL career, but it also proved to be the one that ensured the Isles would make it to overtime.
The Rangers’ comeback began in earnest 3:29 into the third period when W Mats Zuccarello (Third Star D Brendan Smith) scored a wrister to pull the Blueshirts back within a goal. Brooklyn people and Manhattanites alike were on the edge of their seats until F Kevin Hayes (RW Jesper Fast and D Ryan McDonagh) leveled the game at three-all with a backhanded shot.
Even though a total of six shots were fired over five minutes of three-on-three overtime and the Islanders played the final 79 seconds on the power play, neither club could find the golden goal, forcing the first shootout of the 2017-’18 DtFR Game of the Day series.
- Zuccarello drew the first chance to fire at G Jaroslav Halak, and he made good on the opportunity to give the Blueshirts an early lead.
- Eberle tried to match it against G Henrik Lundqvist, and he did. 1-1 after two shooters.
- Next up for the Rangers was C Mika Zibanejad, but Halak was able to make the save.
- With the opportunity to take the lead, Head Coach Doug Weight sent out First Star C John Tavares. The captain converted the break to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead.
- Tavares’ goal forced a miss-and-lose situation for Desharnais and the Rangers, but the center wasn’t able to get past Halak. That gave the Islanders a 4-3 victory on a 2-1 shootout.
Halak earned the victory after saving 38-of-41 shots faced (.927 save percentage), leaving the shootout loss to Lundqvist, who saved 35-of-38 (.921).
The Isles’ road victory snaps a two-game winning streak by the 10-5-2 home teams in the DtFR Game of the Day series, but the hosts still have a six-point advantage.