Adam Erne producing results on Red Wings’ grind line

Detroit News

Ted Kulfan
 
| The Detroit News

Detroit — The line of Luke Glendening centering Adam Erne and Darren Helm doesn’t do anything flashy.

If you want a grinding, no-frills, physical and hard-driving line, this is the one for you.

“We keep it pretty simple,” said Erne on Wednesday during a Zoom media chat.

That they do, but when they’ve been brought together by coach Jeff Blashill, the line has been effective for its lunch-bucket, hard-hat approach.

“They keep it simple and get to the net, and ultimately they’ve been successful with it,” Blashill said.

The line has tried to make life as uncomfortable as they can for opposing scoring lines.

“A lot of nights we’re getting the other team’s top lines and we’re trying to make them defend as much as possible,” Erne said. “The more we get pucks behind their defense and be hard on them (physically) and make them play defense, that’s what we’re trying to do.

“We play real hard and real simple and then work hard. We’re all on the same page, and we play real well together.”

Erne has been a bright spot in terms of his contributions this season, compared year to year.

Arriving in a trade from Tampa in August 2019, Erne played in 56 games last season with only five points (two goals, three assists).

Erne’s season was cut short by knee surgery, but he never was able to get on track earlier.

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Erne has already surpassed his offensive output from a season ago, with seven points (three goals, four assists) in only 19 games.

Erne scored a power-play goal Tuesday against his former team, has three points (one goal, two assists) on the power play since Blashill put the burly forward on the unit.

“It’s been good to capitalize on some chances and have some success on the power play,” Erne said. “We’ve been better of getting the puck in the zone and setting up and that was a big issue for us early in the season.

“Now we’ve been able to set up and run some plays and we’ve been successful.”

Tampa (and current Wings general manager Steve Yzerman, then in Tampa) drafted Erne in the third round of the 2013 draft.

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There was a comfort level with the Lightning organization, so when Yzerman acquired Erne for the Wings, it was a bit of an adjustment.

“Tampa was all I knew in the NHL,” Erne said. “Everything they taught me was kind of ingrained in me.

“This year, I definitely feel more comfortable (with the Wings), and what to expect.”

Blashill has liked the way Erne has gone about earning more minutes and carving out a role.

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“He’s done a good job,” Blashill said. “He’s earned more and more ice time as we’ve gone along. He’s got on the power play as guys were out and he did a good job with it, so he stayed on the power play and he’s earned it.

“That’s one thing I would say, he’s earned any of the opportunities he’s gotten, and good for Adam and good for our team.”

Tough season

Goaltender Thomas Greiss appeared to be on his way to a much-needed victory Tuesday.

But the Lightning tied the game midway in the third period, then won it in overtime, again keeping Greiss out of the win column.

It’s been a frustrating and disappointing season for the free-agent signing, as Greiss fell to 1-11-4 on the season, with an inflated 3.41 goals-against average and .883 save percentage.

“It’s unfortunate,” Blashill said. “He played a good game against, obviously, a real good team, probably the best team in the league right now. He played a real good game. He’s done a pretty good of having a short memory, as you have to do to be a goalie in this league.

“He’ll have to continue (to have a short memory) and when he gets an opportunity he has to attack it.”

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan

Lightning at Red Wings 

Faceoff: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Outlook: The Red Wings (7-16-4) and Tampa (18-4-2) conclude the two-game series…Tampa has won all three games between the teams this season, and have won 19 of the last 20 regular-season games against the Wings…Tampa ranks fourth on the power play (28.9 percent) and penalty kill (86.9 percent) in the NHL.

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