New players, a new coach, a new system, and a fresh start are exactly what they need. And a week with two wins and two goals against is an excellent start.
An excellent opening week for the Red Wings Blue line. What a change from last season! A 3-0 shutout in the Friday game and a 5-2 win in the Saturday game is an excellent start. The Red Wings’ blue line was the among the weakest in the league last season. There are wrinkles to smooth out, but the improvement is obvious, and the trajectory is in the right direction.
A look at Detroit’s first game of the season.
The Montreal Canadiens are the consensus last-place team in the Atlantic Division. Three of the Canadiens’ defensemen played their second career NHL games, and their first games were on Wednesday. Likewise, the forward group is young and untested.
Nonetheless, this was still the opening game of the new-look Red Wings. The first test was passed. We hadn’t seen the defensive corps manhandle opponents before as they did on Friday.
The ability to push people around never has an off day and is a great sign as we advance. There were a few mistakes. But every mistake was erased by a razor-sharp Ville Husso.
Detroit Red Wings: Game One Individual Reports
Moritz Seider was as expected. He was the leader of the defense. Seider played with physical confidence and high hockey intelligence, as he has from the first day of his career. A solid, strong skating rock of a player.
He was beaten on one play as Brendan Gallagher had a half-step, corralled a bouncing puck, and had a great break on goal. Husso made the key save. Someone clearly told Seider to shoot more as he fired several wrist shots at the net, hoping for a rebound or deflection. But there was a bit more offensive flair from being paired with the best defensive partner he has had in his early career.
Ben Chiarot was a difference-maker. He started scrums and intimidated the young Canadiens. On several occasions, he cleared out the front of the crease. The team has not had an imposing physical presence like this in a long time.
Solid coverage and good skating. Someone who is excellent in his own zone is a significant upgrade. The biggest part of his game might be allowing Moritz Seider to unleash his game.
Ollie Maatta was excellent. He did not make mistakes. A confident presence on the backend is much welcomed. Found simple outlets, made strong breakouts, and minimized time defending. Maatta is a fine addition. He is an excellent partner for Hronek. Hopefully, Maatta’s confidence will be contagious.
Filip Hronek was good with the puck. He moved well and is dangerous. He was not bad on the second power-play unit. Point shot accuracy is still a question, but he was solid.
Robert Hagg was a mystery player on the blue line before this game. Yet, he was the picture of calm. He is not a dynamic player, but his composure under the forecheck is a major contribution.
Gustav Lindstrom looked stronger in defensive zone coverage than last year. Not a difference-maker, but he made several excellent outlet passes and kept the pressure off.
Detroit Red Wings Game One Summary
The three new faces were not only improvements over last year but also brought out the best in the three veteran Detroit Red Wings blue liners. A fine start to the season.