Red Wings’ power play, under new direction, humming in preseason

Detroit News

Detroit — It’s the exhibition season. These games don’t count in the standings, and teams often are playing different lineups — waves of players who aren’t going to play in the NHL, and veterans are still getting into shape.

All that is understood.

But no one can deny the Red Wings’ power play has been looking good in these warm-up games, and has been productive.

Assistant coach Alex Tanguay was hired in the offseason to replace Dan Bylsma and oversee the unit, and so far is getting results that would have been unheard of the last several seasons.

All four of the Wings’ goals in Monday’s 6-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks were scored on the power play.  The Wings are 8-for-19 on the power play during the exhibition season.

Basically, being patient and moving the puck quickly are the main points Tanguay has attempted to preach.

“Certainly our puck movement’s been good,” coach Jeff Blashill said after Monday’s game. “We’ve moved it quick. That’s been a big piece of what Alex has been trying to get them to do is just take what’s given and move it quick.

“Then eventually, you’ll find a seam. But don’t force pucks; take what’s given.”

Playing against a fairly stacked Chicago lineup with established veterans such as goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, defenseman Seth Jones, and forwards Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat (Farmington), the Wings matched with their own regulars.

Dylan Larkin, Bobby Ryan, Lucas Raymond, Taro Hirose and Nick Leddy were on the first unit, while Moritz Seider, Robby Fabbri, Pius Suter, Filip Zadina and Filip Hronek were on the second group.

Ryan, Raymond, Seider and Fabbri scored goals.

An interesting wrinkle on the second unit was moving Hronek to the flank (Seider was on top). Hronek was effective, setting up Fabbri for a goal.

“He’s got a really good one-timer,” Blashill said of Hronek. “It’s pretty accurate. So he’s a weapon over there for us. With him and (Seider), Seids can get the puck through pretty good. Then he can get over to Hronek, so you got two weapons there, people have to honor, and ultimately, that opens up the middle.”

Raymond, who had a power-play goal and assist and made another big surge to make the opening night roster, feels the Wings’ speed is also a factor.

“We have that speed on top, with both me and Dylan (Larkin) coming with speed on both sides, and then we can find passes from there,” Raymond said. “But the style that we’re playing right now, it opens up a lot when you get that puck down the wing. You can have (it go) back to the top, seam, down the middle, a shot, you have options.”

Efficient Raymond

Raymond has done an impressive job of getting the puck and creating offense thus far in the exhibition season, maybe even more than during the prospects tournament.

“He’s done a good job, done a better job here so far than I thought he did in the prospects tournament,” Blashill said. “He seems to have it more, he’s attacked more with it. He’s went and got it (puck) way more.

“He’s also got a pretty mature game. Over a couple games that Zadina-Larkin-Lucas (Raymond) line has been pretty good.”

By mature, Blashill feels Raymond accepts what is presented him on the ice.

“Some guys are flashy and talented and don’t play efficient hockey, meaning create more than they give up,” Blashill said. “(Raymond) takes what’s given. Ultimately when you take what’s given, you’re creating offense without giving up a whole bunch, and so he’s done a good job of that. It was a pretty good lineup Chicago had, it had some real defensemen out there, and he did a good job.

“He met the challenge well.”

Staying hot

Fabbri scored his third goal of the exhibition season and was robbed of a fourth, when Fleury made a highlight-reel glove save on Fabbri in close, which would have tied the game in regulation time.

Fabbri and Suter, who were junior linemates, appear to have regained whatever chemistry they had as teenagers and are offering promise of a productive, dangerous second line, with possibly Raymond, Bobby Ryan, or another winger.

“Fabbri has played his (butt) off so far, in the preseason games and in practice,” Blashill said. “He’s a great example of the competitiveness we are going to have to have if we are going to be successful.”


Red Wings at Blue Jackets

Faceoff: 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

TV/radio: No TV/97.1 FM

Outlook: The two teams meet for the second time this preseason, with the Wings winning the first meeting. … The Wings begin the final three-game stretch to conclude the exhibition season, with three games in four days, finishing Saturday at Buffalo.

Twitter: @tkulfan

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