The Detroit Red Wings sought to get back to its winning ways but were beaten handily by the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. Joe Veleno notched a goal, and continues to show that he really does deserve a full time gig now in Detroit. Aside from that, here are eight other observations from Detroit’s third loss in a row:
1: Moritz Seider limping off the ice after taking a shot in the knee was just the cherry on top for an absolute craptastic game. Here’s hoping it’s not serious and doesn’t result in a long layoff for the best defenseman on the team.
2: Givani Smith finally scoring a goal after sitting for some time is hopefully a spark that gets him going. Smith was a healthy scratch and when he finally made his way back in, he drove the net hard on a scrum near the crease and registered his first goal. Smith hasn’t produced at what many hoped, but this could maybe be a start.
3: The Red Wings penalty kill has been a thing of beauty, seeing a perfect 18 for 18 in what had been an achilles heel for the team. At least that’s going well.
4: The late second period goal was a result of a turnover by Danny DeKeyser, who again, just looks to be out of gas. He’s been battered by injury and sure, I know he wears the A, but he just hasn’t looked like a top six defenseman. It was a brutal attempt at a clear that was knocked down and turned into a late period goal, which made it 4-1. In a scoring chance earlier, he started an offensive rush after escaping the penalty box, went low into the crease, but ended up impeding a scoring chance. I just don’t want to bag on the guy, but it’s tough to watch him paired with Moritz Seider because one can only wonder if it’s slowing the rookie’s play down.
5: Kudos to the Golden Knights fan whose gritty, loud voice was constantly picked up chanting “Lets Go Knights” for most of the broadcast. At least it wasn’t a “Wooooooo!”
6: As the game wore on, the Wings appeared to wear down getting outshot and frankly, outplayed from the middle of the second period on. After a couple well played games, the Red Wings have looked slower and tired after the 5-3 loss to Columbus on Monday. Coupled with the clunker against Dallas (though some can argue Larkin’s exit didn’t help matters) and a rough showing versus Vegas, Ken Daniels isn’t wrong when he indicated that Arizona might be considered a must win.
7: Which brings me back to Jeff Blashill. A few observations ago, I thought the team was turning a corner, and his work with the younger players was commendable. Now again on a three-game losing streak and having played two (and a half) of those three games with Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi, the same issues keep cropping up. Does it mean anything right this minute? No. But I do think that a loss to Arizona might, for the first time, justify some truly legitimate questions on whether Blashill makes it beyond the season.
8: Some of the credence that pressure may be ramping up was his reaction to the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James following the 2-0 loss to the Capitals. She asked a question about the Red Wings struggles in shooting the puck only to see it blocked.
While he didn’t yell or go “Torts” on her, he didn’t take kindly and was rather curt, something the normally vanilla Blashill doesn’t do in an interview. St. James backed off and switched gears, but the exchange (Starts at the 2:22 mark with her question) was a bit testy and awkward. Losing grinds on the best of coaches and players–perhaps it’s all that is.
But it’s not unfair to wonder if there might be some more pressure than usual with the critical pieces of the Yzerplan now in Detroit. It could very well be an up and down type of year for the Red WIngs, where they play see-saw with wins and losses. But lately, it’s been how they’ve looked and how they’ve lost that at times, certainly feels like the same old movie is being played again. The only difference is that the new cast provides Blash with talent he lacked in season’s past.
What means for his future is anyone’s guess. But Daniels was right with his comment and we’ll see how they come out on Saturday evening.