8 Observations from the Red Wings 4-3 win over the Kraken

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The Detroit Red Wings came away with the extra point in a shootout against the Seattle Kraken in the two franchises first ever meeting. The win was Detroit’s fourth straight, and there is plenty to be excited about following the victory.

#1: The LCA is a tough place to play. For the first time since the move from the Joe, the Red Wings home ice is a dangerous place to play. Detroit is 8-2-2 at Little Caesars Arena thus far, claiming victories over upper-end teams like the Oilers and the Blues. The fans are starting to show up and the team is making life difficult for visiting teams.

#2: Lucas Raymond illustrated why he won rookie of the month. After the end of November, the NHL announced that Raymond was the rookie of the month. He proved he deserved the accolade against Seattle. Throughout the night, some of the Wings best offensive pushes and chances came from the rookie from Sweden. Eventually, it resulted in a goal in the third period (he also had a goal earlier in the game, but review determined it was offsides and overturned it). Raymond has been Detroit’s best offensive forward throughout the year, and he just keeps gathering points. If he keeps this up, he won’t just win rookie of the month – he’ll be crowned rookie of the year.

#3: Moritz Seider illustrated why he won rookie of the month in October. Detroit’s other star rookie was not going to be outdone by Raymond against the Kraken. Seider nabbed two assists in Detroit’s victory, and he leads all rookies in assists (with 14). Although he didn’t quite earn rookie of the month in November, he’s been just as solid and it doesn’t look like he’ll slow down any time soon.

#4: The offense can perform without Bertuzzi. Just before the puck dropped at LCA Wednesday night, it was announced that Tyler Bertuzzi would miss the game due to COVID-19 protocols. When he’s missing on the roster, the offense usually puts up a paltry showing, as the lineup struggles to replace his production – but tonight, they managed to go shot-for-shot with Seattle and score three goals in regulation.

#5: The lack of depth is a concern. Although the offensive pieces did just enough against Seattle to pull off a win, there were points in the game where it was clear that the bottom-six for the Wings is well below average. Vladislav Namestnikov and Adam Erne are the best of a struggling bunch along the bottom lines, and it doesn’t help when the lineup is missing Bertuzzi, Joe Veleno and Mitchell Stephens. Players like Kyle Criscuolo and Givani Smith are inserted into odd spots on the lineup to fill the gaps.

#6: Alex Nedeljkovic is the number one goaltender this year. Heading into the season, it was a bit unclear what the goaltending would look like for the Red Wings. Would they go for a 1A 1B system, swapping the Nedeljkovic/Greiss duo throughout the season, or would one become the clear number one netminder in Detroit? Well, that’s been answered. Thomas Greiss wasn’t bad against the Kraken by any means, but a sub .900 save percentage (.875) on just 24 shots is not spectacular. Greiss has not played poorly this season, but Nedeljkovic is playing borderline elite hockey right now. Neddy has comfortably secured in the role as starting goaltender for the Wings, and tonight just proved that point.

#7: Michael Rasmussen is having a bad year. Plain and simple, the forward has been bad all year, and he was atrocious against the Kraken. Missed passes, whiffed shots and lost puck battles – not much was going right for ‘Ras. I held out hope early in the season, especially considering a decent end to last year, but he has just not looked like an NHL forward, and certainly not an NHL center. Last night’s game against Seattle was a culmination of that poor play for Rasmussen.

#8: The Red Wings are currently in a playoff spot. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves – it’s unlikely Detroit will find themselves in this position come playoff time; but for now, the Wings are the first wildcard team out of the east (although their winning percentage isn’t quite as good as the teams right behind them). While playoffs aren’t too realistic, it’s impressive that the Red Wings are still very much in play 24 games into the season. That just has not been the case for quite some time in Hockeytown – is the rebuild finally turning a corner?

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