The Detroit Red Wings recorded back-to-back wins to open the season. While historically it has been shown that a quick start doesn’t always translate to later success, this is encouraging for the fan base, front office and players.
Friday’s competition featured a dominant performance, while Saturday resulted in victory without the Red Wings being at their best.
Ahead of Monday’s clash against Los Angeles, the Red Wings will have their hands full with a strong Kings roster.
Here are four observations, questions, or thoughts after two games.
1. How does Tyler Bertuzzi’s injury affect things?
Head coach Derek Lalonde was noncommittal when asked about Bertuzzi’s status, saying it was an upper body injury that was being sorted out more today. Bertuzzi is a spark plug for the team. Whether it’s a minor thing that keeps him days away from something that could involve surgery at worst — likely a few months — the Red Wings will miss out on what Bertuzzi puts on the ice.
However, in one of the few luxuries this team is enjoying for the first time in many seasons, there are some high-profile players working both in and out of the roster. If there is a ray of hope should Bertuzzi be absent for a long time, it is the depth that is there.
2. Red Wings shows both sides of the coin…and still wins
There couldn’t have been a bigger difference than the games on Friday and Saturday. Detroit ran the show on Friday. Saturday was a tougher sled, but the Red Wings came through and emerged victorious.
As DHN’s Bob Duff wrote in Saturday’s breakdown, Saturday was absolutely a game Detroit lost last season. But they found a way. If anything should encourage Detroit fans that things could change, it’s there. Sure, they, the Red Wings, will surely lose some tight contests and have those off nights when things just don’t go their way.
There were moments last season when they came so close and yet weren’t where they should have been. Of course, there were also the blowouts.
It was only a couple of games, but the promise to play fast and aggressive has paid off — even in games where they’re not playing their best hockey.
3. Back end of the ice looks much stronger
Two games – two goals conceded. A great start for a team that certainly often saw the puck in their own net last season and conceded the third-worst goals in the league. General manager Steve Yzerman shored it up, and combined with Lalonde’s insistence on improved play off the puck, results improved.
“Our third third looked a lot like us last night,” Lalonde said during a post-match interview with Bally Sports after Saturday’s game. “You saw the obligation to win in the third – we come over pucks, our tracking. And obviously we ate a few pucks and blocked a lot of shots.”
Add to that a shutout by Ville Husso on Friday night and a performance by Alex Nedeljkovic with 37 saves on Saturday. It’s certainly a great start to the season for the defensive pairings and the goalkeeper tandem.
4. Red Wings will soon face tougher tests
The next four games saw a shambles of opponents in Los Angeles, Chicago, Anaheim and another tilt with New Jersey. At the end of the month, the Red Wings have their hands full with Boston, Buffalo and Minnesota.
It’s been written that quick starts can be misleading, but the Red Wings certainly have a chance to go into the end of the month with an impressive start.
Tonight’s game against a burgeoning LA team will provide another indication of what the Red Wings are capable of.
Welcome to your new home for the latest Detroit Red Wings news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us Twitter and don’t forget to subscribe to DHN+ for all of our member-only content from Kevin Allen, Bob Duff and the National Hockey Now network.