3 Takeaways From Red Wings’ Shutout Victory Over Blue Jackets

The Hockey Writers

The Detroit Red Wings, coming off a 6-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, hit the road on Oct. 16 for a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets and came out on top by night’s end, 4-0 over the Blue Jackets. The Red Wings were led by three second-period goals and strong goaltending from James Reimer.

Red Wings’ Forward Depth On Display

During the offseason, general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman made numerous moves that added depth to the team’s forward group in hopes it would help balance out the lineup, and so far it seems to be working out. Each of the Red Wings’ four forward lines impacted the game in their own ways throughout the victory against the Blue Jackets.

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The top line of Dylan Larkin, Alex DeBrincat and Lucas Raymond set the tone for the team with their solid play in the offensive zone, getting numerous quality scoring chances and bringing some energy. Larkin finally got rewarded for his solid start to the season with a powerplay goal in the second period from DeBrincat and Moritz Seider.

The middle six forwards displayed the same kind of impact in the offensive zone as the top line did against the Blue Jackets, with Michael Rasmussen getting in on the scoring in the second period off a forced turnover by JT Compher in the offensive zone and Andrew Copp scoring his first goal of the season. Compher continued to show his value and impact in the faceoff circle again, winning just over 70 percent of his draws and playing a solid defensive game as well.

JT Compher Detroit Red Wings
JT Compher, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Joe Veleno took advantage of playing on a line with Daniel Sprong and David Perron, making quality plays at both ends of the ice and factoring into the scoring with an assist on Shayne Gostisbehere’s first goal as a Red Wing. Veleno’s play is a welcomed sign for the former first-round pick who is entering a make-or-break type season. The fourth line of Klim Kostin, Austin Czarnik and Christian Fischer did not factor into the scoresheet but played the roles of pests and Kostin made his presence felt with a few big hits and a fight against Columbus’ Erik Gudbranson in the third period.

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Through three games, the Red Wings’ forward depth seems to be one of the team’s biggest factors, having 10 different players scoring a goal so far.

Reimer Looks Solid in Net

One of the head-scratching moves that Yzerman made this offseason was bringing in James Reimer on a one-year deal to be Ville Husso’s backup after a down season with the San Jose Sharks. But Reimer played a very solid game in his Red Wings debut and became just the third Red Wings goalie to post a shutout in their first game in a winged-wheeled jersey.

Related: Evaluating the State of the Red Wings’ Goaltending Situation

Reimer held the Red Wings in the game throughout the first period while the defense seemed to struggle in their own zone with pressure from Columbus, making big stops on numerous high-quality chances. He also played a big role in keeping the Blue Jackets off the board during four penalties that the Red Wings had to kill off, once again making solid saves on high-quality chances.

Even though he only faced 23 shots, Reimer made timely saves and kept the Red Wings in the game when need be and had a solid start to his time in Detroit.

Solid Special Teams Play From Red Wings

With the help of Reimer, the Red Wings killed off all four of the Blue Jackets’ powerplay opportunities. The penalty kill was led by Compher, Copp, Larkin and Rasmussen for the most part on the forward side and Jake Walman, Seider, Justin Holl and Ben Chiarot on the defensive side. The forward group made it hard for the Blue Jackets’ powerplay to get set up 100 percent while also creating their own chances to score with a few forced turnovers as well. On the defensive side, Walman and Seider laid their bodies on the line blocking multiple shots throughout the game.

Moritz Seider Detroit Red Wings
Moritz Seider, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

On the powerplay, the first unit of Gostisbehere, Seider, Larkin, DeBrincat and Perron got rewarded for their solid play and puck movement when Larkin scored his first goal of the season off a nice breakout play from Seider. The second unit made their presence felt as well, getting a goal off a rebound on a shot from Lucas Raymond that Copp put in the net. Both units held offensive zone pressure and showed good puck movement when given the opportunity.

With the continued chemistry building and puck movement on both powerplay units, the Red Wings are looking at a much-improved powerplay from last season.

Game Notes

  • Head coach Derek Lalonde went with a 12-forward, six-defensemen lineup, with defenseman Jeff Petry being the odd-man out for the game.
  • Austin Czarnik made his 2023-24 season debut for the Red Wings, playing on the fourth line.
  • The Red Wings’ powerplay sits at 40 percent on the young season (tied for second in the league), while the penalty kill sits at 83 percent.
  • Blue Jackets’ expected starting goaltender Elvis Merzlikins did not play in the game, leading to an emergency call-up by the team for their backup goalie.

What’s Next for the Red Wings

The Red Wings return home for one game, taking on Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 18 before hitting the road once again as Alex DeBrincat makes his return to Ottawa on Oct. 21.

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