PITTSBURGH — Filip Zadina didn’t just end a drought, he ended with the type of play the Detroit Red Wings have urged him to make.
When Zadina scored Friday at PPG Paints Arena it marked the first time since Nov. 30. Both nights the Wings won on the road — Friday, 3-2 in a shootout; back in November, it was 2-1 at Boston.
The goal against the Penguins was only Zadina’s fifth of the season.
“I had not scored in a long time and scoring this one was such a huge relief,” Zadina said. “I got the monkey off my back, and now I hope and believe that I will do better and the puck will start going in.”
Zadina was drafted at No. 6 in 2018 because he used his shot to such effectiveness as a junior. But three seasons into his NHL career, he has struggled, and the coaching staff has urged him to get around the net more. That’s where he was when he got a piece of Nick Leddy’s one-timer from the high slot.
“I think the best part of that power play goal, honestly, was the poise he showed below the goal line to get the puck up top, and then going to the cage and scoring those dirty goals,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Him and I have talked lots about this. It’s hard to score skilled goals on a consistent basis in this league. It’s hard to beat goalies, not even just from the outside, but in the upper slot. So you have to find ways to score net-front type goals, so it was great for him to be there and it was a good mentality by that unit to shoot the puck.”
Zadina, 22, played the first 20 games of the season on the second line, and he has consistently been part of the power play. He has had games with seven shots on net —and no goals to show for it. Goal scorers often score in bunches, so perhaps Friday’s celebration can ignite Zadina for a strong second half.
“To see the puck go in the net, it was great,” Zadina said. “I believe it will start going in now.”
One game doesn’t erase three months of disappointing results for Zadina, but it’s a start.
Contact Helene St. James at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.