Detroit — The Red Wings are likely to score more goals this season, but it didn’t show during Friday’s exhibition game against Washington.
Granted the Wings didn’t have their full NHL lineup by any means, but the Capitals did a fine job quieting the Wings offensively, while defeating the Wings 2-0.
Washington outshot the Wings 31-19 and didn’t give up many prime chances at all against a split-squad of Wings.
“I kind of liked some of the things we did,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “We held them to one goal (one Washington goal was an empty netter), we didn’t give up a lot. The other night (a loss to Chicago) despite only giving up three goals you saw many odd-man (rushes), a 2-on-0 from the blue line in, so they’re appreciating some things in our game, so there’s some positives.
“Would we have liked to create some more offense? Yes, but the reality of camp is certain lineups (depending) where you are in camp, and you’ll have nights like that. They made one play more than us, and (the Wings) probably had some inexperience and some rookies got lost in coverage on that goal against which is good, those kids have to go through those and experience things.
“It’s all part of them growing.”
John Carlson capped a strong Washington shift pinching from the point and converting a feed from Lucas Johansen to beat goaltender Victor Brattstrom, who had just replaced Ville Husso at 13 minutes, 35 seconds of the second period.
Lars Eller than clinched the outcome for the Capitals with an empty net goal at 18:54 of the third period.
Husso, in his Wings’ preseason debut, stopped all 15 shots he faced before giving way halfway through to Brattstrom.
“It was nice to get out there and play an actual game,” Husso said. “It’s always a little different than practice or a scrimmage, so it was nice. We played great. Just the one goal 5-on-5, but for me as a goalie, you want to get out there and get the timing back and feel of the puck. It was nice to get out there.
“It’s always nice to have those guys (a strong Washington lineup) playing against them. That’s how it’ll be during the season.”
The Wings had rookie forwards Jonatan Berggren and Elmer Soderblom and defenseman Simon Edvinsson, all in the lineup.
Playing his third consecutive game, Soderblom wasn’t credited with a shot on net and was minus-1 in 14:35.
“I give the kid a lot of credit, that was a grind,” said Lalonde of the three games in four nights. “We want to get some of those kids plenty of games, plenty of opportunity and he’s one of those guys and that’s a hard ask of him. He’s done pretty good. You can see some tired in his game at time, he was involved in the goal against, but that’s valuable to go through.”
The special teams, which were woeful last season, have offered optimism during these exhibition games but were a mixed bag against Washington. The Wings were 0-for-2 on the power play, but also killed both Washington penalties.
Lalonde likes the depth and versatility the Wings possess, particularly to having power play options.
“Special teams on the whole, I’m optimistic about where they’re at,” said Lalonde after Thursday’s practice. “They’ve both had good starts. They are going through some details. The structure looks fine.
“We have a little more luxury, a little more depth, where we feel guys can battle for power play spots. You are going to see a lot of guys net-front. You may see Dylan Larkin in this exhibition net-front, may see Tyler Bertuzzi net-front. You may see (Lucas) Raymond net-front. It’s a little combination of we want the puck maybe going through different guys on the half-wall.
“So all those guys, maybe outside of Mo (Seider) on top, maybe outside of (David) Perron and his one-timer side, those other three spots, we are going to be rehearsing guys throughout those spots throughout (the last five games).”