The sunshine state awaits the Detroit Red Wings as they try for a third time to build on a nascent winning streak.
Calvin Pickard enters a week that features miniseries at the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning as the Wings’ X-factor, so dubbed by captain Dylan Larkin after helping them win consecutive games. The weekend celebrations came after two losses at Nashville, which gave rise to a change in starting goaltenders.
There may be some lineup changes Tuesday, as Bobby Ryan is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Givani Smith was called up Monday, a sign the big winger could get another chance to demonstrate if he can help the Wings.
Calvin Pickard went 2-0 when given a chance, and he leads off this week’s stock watch.
Steve Yzerman signed Pickard in 2019 to be with the Grand Rapids Griffins and serve as insurance for the Wings. Pickard’s numbers in a Wings uniform coming into last week weren’t pretty: one start, four appearances, a .821 save percentage and 4.66 goals-against average. Then he was called upon to replace Thomas Greiss after he had a bad start March 25 at Nashville. Pickard played well enough to earn the nod Saturday against Columbus, earning a second straight start Sunday. He’ll continue to get the starts until there’s a reason to do otherwise.
He’s indefatigable in the face of being waived, sent to the minors or booted from the lineup. His skating isn’t great but Svechnikov finds ways to score when he’s given a chance. He played in the weekend series against Columbus and provided the first goal Sunday and he was plus-2 on the weekend. That bumped his season output to three goals and two assists in eight games. Of his five points, three have come at even strength, when he’s not in the top-six mix.
He led the way with three points in four games, setting up the goal in Nashville that ended a 150-minute drought and netting the game-winner Saturday. Fabbri is on a three-game point streak, fitting for the team’s most consistent scoring threat.
He’s basically become a fixture on the downside of the stock watch, which is damning for a guy signed through next season at a $3.6 million cap hit. Greiss went 0-2 last week, posting a .878 save percentage and 4.68 GAA. When the season began the Wings switched back-and-forth between Jonathan Bernier and Greiss, until both guys gave reason for Bernier to get more starts. Now Greiss has been outplayed by Pickard. Greiss’ seasonal save percentage (.885 in 21 games) is almost as poor as Jimmy Howard’s (.882 in 27 games) was last season.
In a game the Wings would like to forget, Stecher stood out in the 7-1 rout for being a team-worst minus-4. On one of the goals, he got caught standing still at his own blue line. The game after that, the Wings switched from the 11-forward, seven-defensemen configuration back to 12-6, and Stecher was the odd D-man out. He was minus-5 in the two games at Nashville.
As noted, Svechnikov has three goals on the season. So does Zadina, but he’s played 29 games and he’s played with the likes of Fabbri, Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha. Zadina had one assist in four games last week, and had an especially tough time defensively; Bobby Ryan gave him a sympathetic hug after Rocco Grimaldi scored his fourth goal off a turnover by Zadina in the Nashville rout. Zadina has looked stronger this season, but he needs to finish more of his chances.
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.