The Washington Capitals lead the Detroit Red Wings 2-0. After a 3-2-1 start to the season, reality seems to be setting in for a young Detroit lineup.
About halfway through the second period, Adam Erne slides the puck into the net after a behind-the-net pass from Filip Hronek. Ah, well, the Caps are a stacked lineup and still have a one goal lead.
Two minutes into the third, Robby Fabbri knocks in a rebound and the game is tied up at 2-2. But still, Washington’s experienced, highly talented and it’s a home game. No need to panic.
The game grinds on, and eventually, the horn blares to signify the end of the third period. Still 2-2. But Washington has Alex Ovechkin, one of the best goal-scorers of this generation, and a bevy of other veteran talent. It’s time to put that young, hard-nosed lineup back in their place and skate away with the extra point.
But a minute and a half into 3-on-3 overtime, Dylan Larkin gets just a bit too much room in front of the net and snipes the upper corner of the net, completing the Red Wings two-goal comeback and earning the extra point in the standings. The young, chippy team from Detroit earns it’s second road victory of the year against one of the better lineups in the league.
But it doesn’t get easier from here.
Friday night, the Wings host the Florida Panthers. Although the squad is embroiled in some controversy (Head Coach Joel Quenneville resigned due to the findings in the recently released Chicago Blackhawks investigation), they currently sit atop the Atlantic Division with a 7-0 record. The Panthers are an extremely talented team and present all sorts of nightmare matchups for Detroit.
Then it’s two straight trips to Canada, facing off against the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. While the two teams haven’t lived up to preseason expectations, the Leafs still have top-end talents throughout the lineup and the Canadiens handed Detroit their worst loss of the young season last week. The Wings will also be without their leading goal scorer, Tyler Bertuzzi.
They return to the U.S. for two more road games after that, traveling to the always tough Boston Bruins and then the surprisingly solid Buffalo Sabres.
After the four game road trip, they return home for a four-game home stand against some quality opponents – the Vegas Golden Knights, the Edmonton Oilers, the Washington Capitals and the Montreal Canadiens.
The Detroit Red Wings are a tough team to play against this year. In their overtime win against the Caps, they showed a fight and resilience that’s been missing for some time, which is especially exciting considering the opponent.
It is way, way too early in the season to start saying this this team is a .500 squad yet. But the next few weeks should be very telling for Detroit – let’s see if this team is real.