One of the low points of the 2020-21 NHL season for Thomas Greiss had to come when the Detroit Red Wings goalie was pulled after yielding three goals in just 4 minutes 54 seconds against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“We left (Greiss) out to dry there,” Red Wings forward Luke Glendening admitted to nhl.com after the game.
In his first season with the franchise after signing a two-year deal during the pandemic-challenged offseason, Greiss’ veteran presence was intended to inject confidence into the young and, at that point, underachieving roster.
Early, it wasn’t meshing.
The early benching came during his eighth appearance of the season, and he had yet to earn a win. With Jonathan Bernier injured, the Red Wings brass’ was forced to keep going with Greiss.
Good thing they did.
Red Wings Goalie Rebounds
Delivering a strong second half despite a season-long lack of goal support, Greiss proved to be the Red Wings’ 2020-21 most resilient player this season.
Two days after the deflating start against the Lightning, Greiss got the call again against the defending Stanley Cup Champions and stopped 29 shots during the two-goal loss, which included an empty-netter.
Griess may have dropped to 0-7-2, but he showed signs of turning around his fortunes.
Two days later, Greiss stopped 36 of 37 shots on goal in a convincing win over the Florida Panthers.
From there, Greiss continued to perform at an all-star level.
Over his final five appearances (four starts), Greiss earned three wins, including a shutout win and shutout loss, while turning aside 142 of 147 shots he faced
Greiss earned the most resilient player award despite not having many surplus goals to work with. The NHL’s No. 31-ranked offense generated at least four goals only twice during his opening 21 starts.
Entering the Feb. 11 match against the Nashville Predators, Greiss’ goal support was 1.5 goals per game, the lowest in the league.
The trend continued until the end.
In his final start last Friday, the Red Wings scored five goals. The outburst, bolstered by two empty-netters, improved Greiss’ season goal-support average to 1.98, the second-lowest in the NHL.
Tankathon.com on Sunday had the Red Wings (19-27-9) listed with a 7.5 percent chance of landing the top overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft. … Forward Jakub Vrana collected eight goals, including three game-winners, since being acquired at the NHL Trade Deadline. … Defenseman Christian Djoos played Saturday for the first time in 12 games.