5 Best Red Wings Killers of the Past 10 Years

The Hockey Writers

Every player has a team that when they see them on their schedule, they light up. Since the 2013-14 season, the Detroit Red Wings have been this team for a few players every year.

Nikita Kucherov – Tampa Bay Lightning

Once a draft pick by then-general manager Steve Yzerman, Nikita Kucherov has been able to light up the stat sheet when he plays against Detroit. But in his first three regular seasons against the Red Wings, he only tallied seven points total and was held off the stat sheet in seven of the 11 games he played in. That changed in the 2016 Playoffs though, when he was able to score a total of eight points in a five-game series that saw the Lightning best Detroit 4-1.

Nikita Kucherov Tampa Bay Lightning
Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The best season that Kucherov has had against Detroit came in the 2018-19 season when he scored four goals and three assists for a total of seven points in four games played. He has also been a pain for the Red Wings while on the man advantage, tallying a total of nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points.

In total, Kucherov has been able to put up 42 points, including 20 goals and 22 assists in 33 career games against Detroit. Since the 2013-14 season, the Red Wings have a lowly 9-23-8 record against the Lightning and Kucherov has played a major role in it all.

Evgeni Malkin – Pittsburgh Penguins

Red Wings fans know how much of a pain playing against Evgeni Malkin has been, dating back to the back-to-back Stanley Cup Final matchups between the Red Wings and Penguins that ended with Malkin winning the 2009 Conn Smythe Trophy. But he has continued to haunt Red Wings fans throughout his career, including the past ten years.

The best season Malkin has had against Detroit in the past ten years was in the 2021-22 season where he had five goals, three assists, and eight points. This also included a hat trick on March 3, 2022. He was also involved in the scoring in all three games the two teams played against each other in the 2021-22 season.

Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Malkin has also been a force on the power play against the Red Wings like Kucherov. In 22 games played against Detroit, he has put up 10 goals, eight assists, and 18 power play points. In total, he has scored 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points in the 22 games he has appeared in. The Red Wings also have a losing record of 11-14-2 against Pittsburgh since the 2013-14 season that he has been able to contribute to.

John Tavares – New York Islanders/Toronto Maple Leafs

John Tavares has been able to light up the stat sheet against the Red Wings with two teams since 2013, the New York Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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While in New York, Tavares was somewhat held in check by the Red Wings, only being able to tally five goals, 13 assists, and 21 points in 15 games. This included eight total power play points (two goals, six assists). But when he left the Islanders after the 2017-18 season to join the Maple Leafs, he was able to do more damage.

Once arriving in Toronto, Tavares was able to make an immediate impact in the Original Six matchup, totaling a goal, four assists, and five points in three games in 2017-18. He was able to continue doing damage the following season, scoring two times, adding five assists and seven total points in the 2018-19 season. This has been his best season against the Red Wings since the 2013-14 season.

Detroit Red Wings Jimmy Howard Toronto Maple Leafs John Tavares
Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard stops Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

In 15 games played as a Maple Leaf, Tavares has been able to total 22 points with nine goals and 13 assists. In 30 total games between the Maple Leafs and Islanders, he has put up 14 goals, 26 assists and 40 points. Of those points, 12 came on the power play with three goals and nine assists in total. The Red Wings went 7-6-2 against the Islanders in this span, while going 4-10-1 against the Maple Leafs.

Sergei Bobrovsky – Columbus Blue Jackets/Florida Panthers

Another player who has been able to play well against the Red Wings with two teams, Sergei Bobrovsky has been in net for both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Florida Panthers since the 2013-14 season.

In his time with the Blue Jackets, he was able to put together a 10-4 record, with a 2.09 goals-against average (GAA), .933 save percentage (SV%), and one shutout in 15 games played. His best season against the Red Wings came in the 2016-17 season, going 3-0 with a 1.31 GAA and a .958 SV%.

Related: Florida Panthers’ Sergei Bobrovsky Does the Unthinkable Again

After moving on from the Blue Jackets and signing with the Panthers before the 2019-20 season, Bobrovsky has been almost unbeatable against the Red Wings. He has compiled an 11-1 record along with a 1.49 GAA, .945 SV% and one shutout. His only loss against the Red Wings as a Panther came in the 2020-21 season and he was still able to put up an impressive 1.50 GAA. Bobrovsky has been a goalie the Red Wings have not been able to crack too often in the past ten years.

Andrei Vasilevskiy – Tampa Bay Lightning

Another Lightning player who was drafted by Yzerman has been able to silence the Red Wings’ goal-scoring efforts. Ironically enough, Andrei Vasilevskiy was drafted by the Lightning with the first-round draft pick they acquired from Detroit for defenseman Kyle Quincey.

Since breaking into the league during the 2016-17 season, Vasilevskiy has been able to absolutely dominate the Red Wings in net. In 16 total games played, he has put up a 14-2 record with a 2.08 GAA, one shutout (Feb. 25, 2023), and a .929 SV%. He did not lose his first game against the Red Wings until April 19, 2022, and has since lost one more in the 2022-23 season.

Andrei Vasilevskiy Tampa Bay Lightning
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Vasilevskiy’s best season statistically against the Red Wings was during the 2020-21 season, where he totaled a 4-0 record, with a 1.49 GAA and .935 SV%. He has been a key component to the Lightning’s success against the Red Wings since joining the league and has shown no signs of slowing down.

These five players have all been more than successful and a key factor in their teams’ success against the Red Wings over the past ten years. Red Wings fans are hoping that this trend comes to an end sooner rather than later.

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