| Detroit Free Press
Jeff Blashill: Why confidence is critical for Detroit Red Wings forward Filip Zadina
Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill, March 4, 2021.
Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
Another close game slipped away from the Detroit Red Wings.
Their outing Thursday at PNC Arena against the Carolina Hurricanes — one of the best teams in the NHL — featured two fairly even periods. The Wings looked solid defensively, converted on a power play, and celebrated a good performance from a young forward. But three minutes into the third period, that tied game turned into a two-goal deficit, and it ended with a 5-2 loss.
The Wings (7-16-3) fell to 0-4-2 when tied after two periods.
Filip Zadina was a bright spot, though, recording a two-goal game.
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Jonathan Bernier played better than his four goals allowed on 31 shots line showed. He got beat by a laser shot from Andrei Svechnikov on a power play in the first period and a seeing-eye puck from Martin Necas late in the second period. Jordan Staal scored on a deflection in the opening minute of the third period. It was the fourth goal that really smarted: Christian Djoos coughed up the puck behind Detroit’s net, and the play ended with Jesper Fast finding an open net, two minutes after Staal’s goal.
The Wings gambled and pulled Bernier for an extra attacker with 5:15 to go; it backfired, as Nino Niederreiter scored into the empty net 10 seconds later.
It wasn’t as ugly of a meltdown as the previous two games, when the Wings failed to win individual battles and gave up tons of Grade-A chances, but it was another night they couldn’t find a way to push back.
Top-line forwards Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi and defenseman Troy Stecher were out with injuries. The Wings have a four-day break before a series against the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning at Little Caesars Arena.
There were two sets of brothers facing off, with Wings defenseman Marc Staal up against Canes center Jordan Staal. They’re used to seeing each other, though, as veterans. But it was a special night for Evgeny and Andrei Svechnikov, who have been waiting to play one another in the NHL for nearly three years. The Canes drafted Andrei — who, like his brother, wears No. 37 — with the second overall pick in 2018, three years after the Wings drafted Evgeny at No. 19. Andrei scored 21 seconds after Zadina’s first goal, and also assisted on the fourth goal. Evgeny picked up an assist in the second period, his fourth point in four games.
Points coming for Zadina
Zadina raced off on a breakaway early in the first period but was denied on his attempt to go five-hole on Alex Nedeljkovic. Midway through the period, Sam Gagner flicked the puck down low to Vladislav Namestnikov, who sent it to Zadina. Zadina fired a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot that sank into the far corner. Zadina scored again in the second period, going short-side from the right circle during a power play. Zadina had a tough start to the season, missing two weeks in pandemic protocol, but he has picked up four points in five games.
Power play clicking
The Wings appear to have figured out their power play after going through a stretch of 40 opportunities without converting. They’ve now scored in four straight games, equaling their longest positive stretch since the final four games of the 2018-19 season. Zadina, Svechnikov, Erne and Djoos each have two power play points in that stretch.
Contact Helene St. James at email@example.com. 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.