Finally, Filip Zadina shows some offensive firepower in Wings’ latest loss

Detroit News

Ted Kulfan
| The Detroit News

Detroit — This was one of those nights where Filip Zadina felt like a dangerous offensive player in the NHL — a guy who when he had the puck on his stick, knew something good was going to happen.

For long stretches Thursday, there really wasn’t anyone else on the Red Wings who was making a similar impact to Zadina.

Zadina had both goals — one on a resurgent power play — but he couldn’t do it alone in a 5-2 loss to a Carolina team that looks like a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

The Wings aren’t anywhere close to that right now. But with Zadina gaining more experience, and learning how to become a consistent star in this league, and more talent around him, he could help the Wings get there one day.

“Sometime the puck is going the way you want, and you get the puck on your stick and you just feel like you want to shoot it,” said Zadina, who had six on net. “You see the option to shoot the puck, and that’s what I do.

“I probably have to do that more often, have more focus on shooting the puck.”

The two goals were only the second and third of the season for Zadina, who hadn’t scored in 11 games.

It’s been a strange season for Zadina. Few will deny he’s been significantly better defensively and is clearly becoming a dependable and effective player all over the ice. But offensive, a part of the game that was supposed to be Zadina’s calling card since being drafted in 2018, has been missing.

“I’m really glad for those goals, and hopefully they will keep coming,” Zadina said. “Shoot the puck more, and good things will happen.”

Zadina’s development as all-around player has pleased coach Jeff Blashill, who felt the goals would also give Zadina a boost in terms of confidence.

“When you’re a guy who scores, confidence is a critical thing,” Blashill said. “For those pucks to go in is important for him. Both were really good goals, so hopefully he can continue to build on that.

“He’s played really hard most of the season. He’s done it the right way. He tries to play from the defensive side of the puck. He tries to check for his chances, and he’s done a good job of that.

“He’s just got to stay on it.”

More: Grand Rapids report: Livonia’s Max Humitz scores twice in 9-4 win over IceHogs

Svechnikov battle

The much-hyped first battle between Evgeny Svechnikov and his younger brother Andrei of the Hurricanes was clearly won by Andrei.

Andrei Svechnikov had a goal and assist while helping lead Carolina to the win.

Evgeny had an assist in 11 minutes, 29 seconds of ice time, and now has four points (two goals) in four games since being inserted into the lineup.

“Svech created a real good chance on the power play late, he did a solid job,” Blashill said. “I’m sure it was an emotional night.

“He’s an emotional kid, a great person, and i’m real glad he had a chance to play against his brother.”

More: Limited number of Red Wings tickets for March go on sale

Bad gamble

Blashill saw an opportunity and he went for it. But the move didn’t pay off.

Blashill pulled goaltender Jonathan Bernier for an extra skater, the Wings trailing 4-2, and 5:15 left.

But the move backfired when the Wings didn’t control the puck effectively, and Carolina’s Nino Niederreiter scored into an empty net only 10 seconds later.

“It was a calculated risk and I lost on the risk,” Blashill said. “We don’t score very easy and it was an advantageous situation for us with the icing (called against Carolina).

“We ended up winning the face-off, but we got to do more with the puck there.

“It’s a calculated risk and when those decisions end up in your net then it looks like a bad decision.”

Twitter: @tkulfan

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