The Detroit Red Wings goalie tandem of Jonathan Bernier and Thomas Greiss is gleaming – finally.
Take the past two outings: Greiss’ shutout shootout loss Tuesday and Bernier’s 50-save overtime defeat Saturday.
In total, the two combined for 83 saves on 85 shots on goal (SOG) in 125 minutes, 32 seconds – and neither earned a win.
“Both guys are in a good spot in terms of where their games are at,” coach Jeff Blashill said via Red Wings TV. “It gives you tons of confidence that you’re going to get good goaltending.”
With Blashill rotating the duo’s starts the past few weeks, Bernier is expected to get the nod tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.
As good as both have performed recently, early during the pandemic-shortened season, the goalie situation appeared bleak. Bernier suffered an injury and Greiss struggled to string together quality consistent starts.
“Both guys are in a good spot in terms of where their games are at, It gives you tons of confidence that you’re going to get good goaltending.”
– Red Wings Coach Jeff Blashill
Greiss, who earned his first Red Wings shutout during Tuesday’s 1-0 shootout loss, is 4-0-3 with a 1.65 goals-against average during his past three starts. He is under contract for one more season.
Coming off his career-high 50 save-effort last Saturday, Bernier is set to become an unrestricted free agent this season. GM Steve Yzerman is expected to make a push to bring Bernier back for a fourth season.
“Now we’re kind of in a groove where they’re going every other game,” Blashill said.
Will that groove continue with this tandem next season?
Veleno’s Red Wings Encore
Blashill said Joseph Veleno “looked like a guy who’s played two years pro” during the rookie center’s NHL debut Tuesday.
“He was strong on the puck, strong on his stick, played a 200-foot game (and) had some opportunities,” Blashill said Wednesday. “He got a decent amount of ice time and he earned it.”
Mostly centering a line flanked by Sam Gagner and Richard Panik, Veleno, 21, accumulated 14 minutes, 59 seconds of time on the ice (TOI). He was credited with two SOG, four faceoff wins on seven attempts and was trusted with shifts late in a scoreless third period and overtime.
“We wanted to see what he’s got,” Blashill said.
Now, Red Wings fans are eager to see what he’ll do for an encore tonight against the Central Division-leading Hurricanes.
Red Wings forward Adam Erne on Wednesday was placed on COVID-19 protocol, according to MLive.com. Erne was sidelined for eight games in January under COVID protocol. … For just the third time in Grand Rapids Griffins’ 25-year history, opposing players were awarded a penalty shot during the same game at Van Andel Arena. It happened Wednesday, in the Griffins’ 3-2 win over the Rockford IceHogs. Ex-Red Wings forward Taro Hirose missed his attempt, while Rockford’s Mitchell Fossier connected.