The Detroit Red Wings looked to bounce back against the Dallas Stars after blowing a lead late into the third against the Columbus Blue Jackets. They didn’t start off on the right foot, and the rest of the game followed suit outside of a strong middle frame.
The Red Wings and Stars started the game off by trading chances on both ends. The Stars appeared to get the better of the chances, and Alex Nedeljkovic needed to make some high-quality saves four minutes into the first period. Then, former Red Wing Luke Glendening started in on the forecheck and helped to create another chance. It sounded as if after Joe Pavelski failed to put it in the back of the net, Jason Robertson put it off the pipe. Even though Stars fans celebrated, the puck never fully crossed the goal line. It looked like it hit Tyler Bertuzzi in the face as well, so it’s time to start the Vezina campaign.
Filip Hronek was called for hooking on Michael Raffl, and despite getting some solid chances, the Stars failed to score. Nedeljkovic had done everything he could before Ryan Suter scored his second goal of the season from the high slot. A great pass from Radek Faksa right to his tape and tons of traffic in front was the perfect recipe to get the game’s first goal. The game became 1-0 Stars after the already tilted ice became even more so.
The rest of the period went by relatively quickly. It took Detroit fourteen and a half minutes to get another shot after their second, and it wasn’t necessarily high-danger. The puck came sailing from the point straight through to Jake Oettinger’s chest, and he made the save. The Red Wings started to create some momentum towards the end of the period. They decided to start throwing shots towards the young goaltender, but nothing got through in the end.
It was a suboptimal period for a team that needed to come out hot and create some momentum early. There wasn’t a ton to like, even with the momentum in the final minutes. The only chances they generated were very low danger. If you’re going to be throwing pucks at the net from out high, there need to be people crashing the net. No one was sitting in front, so it meant nothing in the end.
Score: 1-0 Stars
Shots: 12-4 Stars
Stand-Ups: Alex Nedeljkovic
Sit Downs: the defense in its entirety
After a slow and sloppy first period, the Red Wings wanted to come out and show what they’re actually made of. Instead, the Stars start the period right where they left off. Miro Heiskanen threw a puck at the net from the blue line straight off the faceoff, and Jamie Benn was standing in front, tips the puck perfectly between Nedeljkovic’s glove and left pad. It was quickly 2-0 Stars.
The top line of Lucas Raymond, Dylan Larkin, and Bertuzzi created a decent one-time chance. Still, the young Larkin flubbed the shot with a wide-open cage, and Oettinger was allowed to recover and make the save.
The puck movement from the Stars was excellent, and the Red Wings didn’t have the pace or awareness to keep up with it. There was no defense being played. Very few sticks were taking up lanes, and the anticipation of passes was essentially zero. There were tons of one-time opportunities for the Stars, and eventually, the line with Roope Hintz, Pavelski, and Robertson broke through. All it took was some excellent skating after a puck retrieval along the wall by Hintz and a great shot over the blocker and into the top corner. It became 3-0 Stars.
I hope you didn’t go anywhere, though! After an errant pass in the offensive zone by the Stars forward, Sam Gagner and Filip Zadina attacked the other way. Thanks to a feathered saucer pass from the veteran and a sweet backhand to the far side by the young guy, Red Wings cut the lead to two goals, 3-1 Stars.
Now, we’re cooking. It took way too long for the Red Wings to get the legs churning, but the game changed dramatically once they started. The puck movement and decision-making were crisp, and the Stars appeared to be on their heels. All it took was a penalty to bring the deficit to one goal. Who doesn’t love a Larkin snipe? If you don’t, I highly suggest watching the goal that he scored from the left side. The metal music he created is great for the body, mind, and soul, and now the game is 3-2 Stars. The assists from Raymond and Moritz Seider are just icing on the cake.
The rest of the period was silent in terms of goal-scoring, but the chances were still there. Thanks to a puck going through the wickets of defenseman Marc Staal, the Stars came back with a great opportunity, but a ridiculous extension by Nedeljkovic stopped a sure goal from going in the net. With less than a minute remaining in the period Michael Rasmussen got a great chance standing in front of the net. However, Oettinger made a giant pad save that you could hear from Mars, ultimately denying him.
Score: 3-2 Stars
Shots: 24-15 Stars
Stand-Ups: Larkin, Raymond, the power play, Zadina,
Sit Downs: In-zone defense
With the ice tilted in their favor heading into the intermission, the Red Wings obviously wanted to continue right where they left off. The top line moved well on and off the puck, and the special teams clicked for a goal. However, there was a problem. Larkin was not on the bench, and it was announced that he would not come back to the game. With the top-line center missing, that made it more challenging to get back into the game and keep the momentum up.
Unfortunately, it went exactly the opposite way that everyone wanted it to go. The Stars bounced back after losing all of the momentum in the second period and regained a two-goal lead. After some strong forechecking, forcing the Red Wings to cough up the puck, and putting it deep behind the net, Robertson gets a nice tip pass from Pavelski, and he wraps it around and through the five-hole of Nedeljkovic to make it 4-2 Stars. It only took 3:48, and that’s certainly not what you want if you’re head coach Jeff Blashill.
It’s chances galore for the red and white, but the puck just isn’t bouncing the way that the team needs it to. Rasmussen continues to push the pace and create strong chances, but it seems as if Oettinger is just everywhere that he’s putting the puck.
A bit of chippy hockey leads to a scrum along the half wall, and after that, not much happens. Pius Suter centered the first line with the absence of Larkin, and they managed to generate some offense, but again, Oettinger had the answers. With the Red Wings down, it was time to create some energy, and Seider did just that by sending a gasp through the crowd on a stand-up hit on Raffl at the blue line. It was completely clean on a player who had his head down exiting the zone. It’s encouraging to see a young player be not only extraordinarily skilled but also completely willing to play the body.
Once again, the Red Wings pick it up towards the end of the period but end up not getting anything substantial. After some shenanigans with the net empty and defensive zone faceoff win by Glendening, Robertson gets his second of the game to make it 5-2 Stars.
Score: 5-2 Stars
Shots: 30-30 tie
Stand-Ups: Seider, Rasmussen
Sit Downs: Defense
It was a pretty cut and dry game from the beginning. The Red Wings came out flat in an away game against a Stars team that needed to prove they could score goals outside of the power play. The defense was atrocious for most of the game, and even with some bright spots, there was very little to like. The offense looked better as the game went on, but it just wasn’t enough after falling down by a few goals early in the game.
Nedeljkovic, who made 25 saves on 29 shots faced, did everything he could to keep the Red Wings in the game, but with the combination of poor defense in the zone and excellent shots by the Stars players, it’s pretty much impossible to keep them in it forever. It wasn’t what anyone envisioned the Red Wings would look like after everyone was unhappy with the showing at the end of the game in Columbus, Ohio. Now, the focus is on when we can get Larkin back.
Coach Blashill said Dylan Larkin was removed from the game due to COVID protocol.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) November 17, 2021
One standout player that I didn’t talk about nearly enough is Rasmussen. He had a fantastic game, and even if you are concerned with his output in the box score, it appears as if he’s beginning to do the little things correctly. Just like with Zadina, tangible improvement is the essential part at this stage. The goals, assists, and points will come in time. What matters now is getting the correct habits built up, and that is what he showed tonight. His fundamental mindset of getting to the net helped create some seriously great chances that nobody could capitalize on, including himself. He should be proud of the game he played, and everyone should look at this as a sign of better things to come.