Raise your hand if you wrote the Detroit Red Wings off with under ten to play in the third. I was actually nodding off at some points and was ready to file the wrap as soon at the clock hit zeroes.
Then Tyler Bertuzzi happened. The first observation is what has been a rinse-repeat moment for the Red Wings, it’s been Bertuzzi, Lucas Raymond, Moritz Seider, and Dylan Larkin serving as the catalysts for victory this season. Throw in another strong performance from Alex Nedeljkovic and there’s certainly a pattern. Though they’ll need more from others, it’s fun to watch for the time being and is a nice departure from watching the L’s stack up.
Here are seven other observations from the Red Wings 4-3 overtime victory over the Sabres:
2: Pius Suter got the jolt he needed playing on the first line with Bertuzzi and Raymond. On Friday I was lucky enough to be a guest on The Hockey Writers Grind Line and I noted that maybe Suter just need a change of scenery in terms of line assignments.
Sometimes you get lucky when making predictions.
Suter was huge on the tying goal, slipping a beauty to Bertuzzi who finished it off after dancing between two defenders. He came into the game with two points and ended up doubling it by game’s end.
3: Bertuzzi continues to set the tone offensively as he notched his seventh and eighth goals, but following that, seemed to be just a few strides away from his second hat trick of the season. Whether it was a point blank shot late in the third or the steal he had in overtime which nearly resulted in the game winner, Bertuzzi continues to shine for Red Wings. He’s a spark both physically and offensively, and one can only wonder how many goals he would have had last season without missing all but nine games.
4: On Seider’s first NHL goal, Bertuzzi was the perfect decoy. Seider willed his way to that goal, all but shoving Rasmus Asplund out of the way en route to potting his first career goal. Bertuzzi though had been buzzing since his second and was the perfect foil for Seider to take the shot. Jacob Bryson dropped to shut off the passing lane, and the rookie defenseman, to his credit, didn’t panic and instead, snapped it past Dustin Tokarski to finish off the comeback. It’s a testament to Seider’s intelligence on the ice, but man, how wise does he make Steve Yzerman look every time he makes a smart play like that.
5: Speaking of making Yzerman look smart, how about Raymond? It’s humorous now to think there was debate about him being on the roster at the time–but it’s simple to see why. There were still unknowns heading into the regular season but that has all been vanquished just twelve games into the season. Raymond had three points–all assists–and continues to drive offense almost every time he’s on the ice. Superlatives and comparisons aside, he’s stealing the show in Hockeytown and along with Seider, is looking more and more like a top tier candidate to win the Calder Trophy.
6: Michael Rasmussen was the focus of my piece on Wednesday and also Winging it in Motown’s Jake Rivard yesterday. Rasmussen was supposed to be a breakout candidate this season but instead he’s appeared as more of a breakdown. It’s certainly early still in the season, but the expectations remain high for the 2017 ninth overall pick. He continues to look slow on the ice and in overtime, he scuttled a pass to…no one…that again killed any chance at an offensive opportunity. One can only imagine Mickey Redmond’s quip:
It’s not to pile on Rasmussen. But it sure feels like there’s only so much time before the front office has seen enough. Because…
7: Joe Veleno absolutely belongs. And this is where it becomes an interesting kerfuffle for Detroit because when Larkin returns and Jakub Vrana is cleared in a few months, who sits or is moved to either Grand Rapids, placed on waivers, or dealt? It seems that it would be a battle between Givani Smith and Rasmussen at this point–as guys like Sam Gagner, and Adam Erne will be lineup staples. This gives the next few months another subplot to watch because as I’ve tweeted and even discussed with others, I don’t think Yzerman is done dealing former first round pieces away.
8: This was absolutely a game the Red Wings lost in the past and it was refreshing to see them not only rally, but put it away in overtime. It’s a cherry on top that it was Seider recording his first career goal. It wasn’t a very entertaining 53 minutes of hockey, but they sure made up for that in the final six and a half of the third and first three of overtime. Yep, secondary scoring is a concern and it’s untenable to rely on the same drivers each game. But the positive is that those true talents are now in the lineup. Now Yzerman will build around them.
It’ll probably be a couple more years, but if it’s been some fun now, imagine what it will look like then.