The Detroit Red Wings return to play tonight against the Washington Capitals. Thanks to the play of three rookies, a few new bodies, and the health of important players, the Red Wings enter the New Year with a 15-13-3 record. The Red Wings have been terrific at home (11-3-2) which is good for 5th in league standings. If the Red Wings improve on the road, could they actually make the playoffs?
Here is a look back at the entertaining season the Red Wings have provided so far, and what we can expect in the New Year.
The Red Wings started the season with an entertaining 7-6 OT loss to the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. It was a game that Detroit should have won in regulation after having a 6-3 lead with less than 13 minutes left in the game but, the game showed that the Red Wings were going to provide a different entertaining look this season.
The Red Wings continued the month with entertaining hockey and with the exception of a 6-1 loss in Montreal, Detroit were in every game. With Tyler Bertuzzi leading the way, the Red Wings were a dangerous team. When Bertuzzi had to sit out two games in Canada, the Red Wings lost steam and both games. This showed the vulnerability of the team and the fact that this team, although improved, still lacks the depth to challenge the top teams on a consistent basis.
Defenseman Moritz Seider took home NHL Rookie of the Month honours and helped solidify the defense.
Detroit played 14 games in 29 days during November. The team started the month with two road losses to Montreal and Boston and dipped below the .500 mark temporarily. Detroit rallied and went 7-3-1 for the remainder of the month and started to look like a team that played hard every night.
The three rookies, Lucas Raymond, Moritz Seider, and Alex Nedeljkovic continued to help propel the team to new heights. Lucas Raymond took home Rookie of the Month honours. There is a renewed optimism in Hockeytown. Up to this point, the Red Wings are fun to watch and seem to be improving before our very eyes.
Detroit started the month with a 4-3 OT win against the New York Islanders. This was followed by three very convincing losses and the Red Wings faithful started to lose hope that this was going to be just another lost season.
Sandwiched between a 5-3 loss to Carolina were two victories against the Islanders and New Jersey. The team currently has a record of 15-13-3 and are in 2nd place for the final playoff Wild Card spot.
An inconsistent record of 3-4-0 for the month was halted due to several Covid-19 cases. The Red Wings had four games postponed and the NHL pulled all players from the February Winter Olympics in China.
Prior to the break, Dylan Larkin was named the first star of the week after scoring five goals in three games.
Detroit will complete 2021 tonight by returning to action after a 12 day layoff.
The Red Wings are scheduled to play 15 games in January and three games in February. The four games that were postponed will now be slotted in during what was supposed to be an Olympic break.
The schedule is condensed and difficult for the Red Wings. The next two months will determine if General Manager Steve Yzerman will be a buyer or seller at the March 21 trade deadline.
Whatever happens in 2022, one thing is certain, this is a young exciting team that is only going to improve as we enter the next phase of the rebuild.