In their first game back since All-Star Weekend, the Detroit Red Wings offense powered them past the Philadelphia Flyers in a 6-3 win. Let’s take eight observations away from the victory on the road.
#1: No defense – until the third period. For the first couple of periods, it seemed as though neither team was interested in playing defense. However, the Red Wings put on the clamps in the final period. With their goalie in net, Philadelphia managed to put just one shot in goal in the third. Both the defensemen and forwards stifled the Flyers offense.
#2: Every line was buzzing. Detroit’s six goals came from six different players. Only two skaters failed to notch a shot on goal (Tyler Bertuzzi and Joe Veleno, although they did each notch an assists), as each line put pressure on Carter Hart with flurries of shots. The Red Wings had one of their better offensive performances Wednesday night, and it wasn’t just one line doing all the work.
#3: Penalty kill was excellent. Philadelphia’s power play went 0-5 against the Red Wings. Detroit’s penalty kill went on a bit of a rough stretch, so it’s nice to see it step up. The unit will be tested heavily against some of the best power plays in the league in the next few weeks – Wednesday was certainly a good start.
#4: Bertuzzi on the second line is a good thing. Since Bertuzzi has been injected into the top line, Pius Suter and Robby Fabbri have both gotten better (both Fabbri and Suter had a goal and an assist against the Flyers). The talented winger just makes the entire line more dangerous in the offensive zone.
#5: Zadina had a decent night on the top line. He didn’t show up on the stat sheet, but Zadina actually had a solid night. He had four shots on goal, and didn’t look out of place on the top line. Zadina is playin with a lot of confidence right now – he just has to translate that into points.
#6: Not Nedeljkovic’s best night. Alex Nedeljkovic finished with a .875 save percentage on just 24 shots against. However, the Red Wings came away with the win. Obviously, you want your young goaltender to be stellar every night, but it’s nice to see that the team can bail him out occasionally. Lord knows they owe him a few.
#7: Back to .500. With the win in Philly, the Red Wings are back to .500. Losing streaks have dropped them below a few times, but they always seem to bounce back. Let’s see if the team can finish the year at .500 – or even a little higher.
#8: Don’t set expectations too high. Yes, the win in Philadelphia was a good one. It was one of those nights where the Red Wings were the better team for a majority of the game – the offense was firing on all cylinders and the defense clamped down in the third period. However, after Saturday’s matinee against the Flyers, the Red Wings enter a brutal stretch of play. The rest of the month is sure to be tough – don’t set expectations for this squad too high based on just one game.