On Sunday night (Oct. 1), the Detroit Red Wings got their first look at the number one pick from this year’s draft in Connor Bedard when they took on the Chicago Blackhawks in preseason action. By night’s end, the Red Wings came away with a 6-1 victory over their Original Six rival.
Solid Goaltending From Reimer and Lyon
Both of the newly-acquired goaltenders the Red Wings signed this offseason played in the game versus Chicago, with James Reimer getting the start in net. While Reimer did not face much pressure to start the game, when he was called upon he made some key saves to keep the Red Wings ahead in the game. Overall, he stopped all 13 shots he faced in just under 30 minutes in the net for the Red Wings.
Alex Lyon played the back half of the preseason game and also looked solid in net, stopping 16 of 17 shots he faced. The one shot Lyon did allow came off of a shot from the point after Red Wings forward Christian Fischer lost his stick which opened up a lane for Chicago’s Louis Crevier to have a shot on net. Lyon was also a big part of keeping the Blackhawks’ powerplay at bay, making numerous stops during a five-on-three advantage the Blackhawks had in the second period. Overall, Lyon made six saves with the Blackhawks on the powerplay.
With both Reimer and Lyon having played solid preseason games so far, there could be a tough decision for the Red Wings to make on who will be Ville Husso‘s primary backup for the season.
Red Wings’ Special Teams Stand Out
While the Blackhawks did not have all of their top players playing in the game, the Red Wings penalty kill was able to kill off each of the six man-advantages that the Blackhawks had in the game. The biggest penalty kill was in the second period where they killed off a five-on-three. What also stood out is the opportunity given to this year’s top pick Nate Danielson. He recorded just over 2:30 of short handed time on the ice and got a couple of offensive zone chances off his efforts on the penalty kill, including forcing a turnover by Bedard that ended in Simon Edvinsson having an open shot on net.
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The Red Wings powerplay has been a bright spot throughout the preseason so far and that did not change against the Blackhawks. While they only cashed in one of their three powerplay chances, the unit of Michael Rasmussen, J.T. Compher, David Perron, Shayne Gostisbehere and Daniel Sprong looked solid together, showing good puck movement that led to numerous scoring chances throughout the game. One of the Red Wings’ free agent additions, Gostisbehere, also seems to have really settled into the “quarterback” spot at the top of the powerplay unit, showing off good patience with the puck and good playmaking ability from the point.
Top Line Leads Red Wings’ Offense
The top line that the Red Wings put out on Sunday night consisted of Rasmussen, Perron and Compher. Three of the most veteran players in the forward group of the lineup led the way for the offense, whether it be in five-on-five play or on the powerplay.
Between the three players, they totaled eight points including two goals from Rasmussen who has performed well throughout the preseason after having his season cut short due to injury. He is proving that when healthy, he can be an important part of the Red Wings lineup.
Outside of the numbers that show up on the scoresheet, Compher was able to control the faceoff circle well having won eight of the ten faceoffs he took, and also added three points to the scoresheet including an assist on Rasmussen’s first period goal.
Even though the Blackhawks did not play all of their NHL-likely players against the Red Wings, the positives that came for Detroit are still something to be excited about and something to look forward to when the two teams match up against each other again on Tuesday (Oct. 3) in Chicago. The Blackhawks are expected to dress more of their NHL players in the game.