| Detroit Free Press
Jeff Blashill breaks down Red Wings’ victory over Hurricanes
Jeff Blashill interview, Jan. 16, 2021.
Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
Bobby Ryan scored in his Detroit Red Wings debut, and two key rebuilding blocks helped the team win its first game of the season.
After being shutout in the season opener, and though the first period Saturday at Little Caesars Arena, the Wings found their scoring touch early in the second period. Their effort paid off with a 4-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, one of the best teams in the Central Division.
Bobby Ryan buried a one-timer from Filip Zadina, giving the Wings a little breathing room. The Canes struck while Danny DeKeyser served his second penalty of the game early in the third period, with Andrei Svechnikov firing a shot that went in off Vincent Trocheck, but the Wings responded right away. Dylan Larkin scored his first goal since being named captain on Wednesday, 18 seconds after the Canes goal. Larkin swooped around the back of the net and throw the puck out front, where it banked in off two Carolina defenders and past former Wings goalie Petr Mrazek
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Svechnikov showed why the Canes drafted him second overall in 2018 midway through the third period when he took the puck from Wings defenseman Marc Staal behind the goal line, raced to the slot and ripped the puck into Detroit’s net.
Zadina picked up a second assist when he set up Robby Fabbri’s goal with 2:42 to play, and Larkin found the back of an empty net with 1:56 to play.
Bernier’s first start
Newcomer Thomas Greiss made an excellent impression in his debut, turning away 41 shots in the opener. Saturday was Jonathan Bernier’s turn. He didn’t see his first shot on net until 4:02 (at which point Thursday the Canes already had a lead), when he denied Jacob Slavin on a wrist shot. The Wings didn’t get a shot on net until Vladislav Namestnikov skated the puck into Carolina’s zone and fired the puck at Mrazek. The Wings’ penalty killers did a good job while Danny DeKeyser was in the box and then, three seconds after that penalty, Mathias Brome cooled off in the penalty box, limiting the Canes to one shot. Bernier made 10 saves in the first period, to five from Mrazek.
The Ryan factor
Ryan missed Thursday’s game with an undisclosed injury. He skated Saturday on a line with Robby Fabbri and Zadina, bumping Namestnikov onto the third line with Valtteri Filppula and Sam Gagner. Brome, another new face, played on the fourth line with Luke Glendening and Adam Erne, bumping Frans Nielsen from the lineup. The Wings see Ryan, who shoots right, as someone who could be an asset on power plays. When they got one at 13:35 of the first period, though, Fabbri’s group with Gagner, Zadina, Filip Hronek and Jon Merrill, nominally the No. 2 unit, only got 20-odd seconds of man-advantage time, and Ryan never made it onto the ice.
The Wings did a better job of getting shots through than in the opener. Larkin’s line with Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi looked more like their usual selves during a shift in the second period when they maintained possession of the puck with crisp passes. Newcomers Merrill and Troy Stecher both got shots through. The Wings had 14 shots after two periods, which is as many as they had total in the opener. The Wings finished with 21 shots.
Contact Helene St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.