Last season, two games at the end of February against the Ottawa Senators turned the Detroit Red Wings’ season upside down thanks to two losses back-to-back that ended up pushing them out of serious playoff contention. In their first meeting of the 2023-24 season, it seems like that was in the back of the minds as they came out and beat the Senators on the road 5-2 on Oct. 21. The win pushes the Red Wings’ win streak to four games after winning on Oct. 18 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Special Teams Lead the Way for Red Wings
Coming into the game against the Senators, the Red Wings possessed one of the league’s best special team units, and they helped carry the load yet again for the team. The penalty kill was put to the test six times in the game and they were able to kill off five of the Senators’ opportunities, which is a feat in itself with the Senators possessing a powerplay led by players like Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle, and Claude Giroux. This group was held to one point on the powerplay with Tkachuk assisting on the solo powerplay goal that was scored by defenseman Jake Sanderson.
While the penalty kill did its job, the powerplay continued its hot start to the season, especially the first unit of Dylan Larkin, Alex DeBrincat, Moritz Seider, David Perron, and Shayne Gostisbehere. After a first period that saw the Red Wings pretty much get no offense generated, the powerplay got an opportunity in the last two minutes and cashed in seven seconds in when Larkin found Gostisbehere for an open shot that beat Joonas Korpisalo to get the game tied at one heading into the second period.
The second period saw the powerplay score yet again off a goal from Perron after another nice pass from Larkin to the slot where Perron showed off some nice footwork, being able to kick the puck from his skate to stick for a quick shot to give the Red Wings a 3-1 lead. The final powerplay goal came in the first minute of the third period with another example of the great puck movement the first unit has shown so far this season, with Larkin being the benefactor of a pass from Gostisbehere in the slot and using the Senators defenseman as a screen in front of the net to beat Korpisalo.
While it’s only been five games, the Red Wings’ powerplay seems to be clicking on all cylinders and has surely been an exciting thing for fans to watch so far.
Husso Keeps Red Wings Alive
The performance Ville Husso had against the Senators may have been his best so far this season, stopping 36 of the 38 shots that he faced. Out of those 38 shots, 28 of them came in the first two periods. In the first period, Husso kept the team alive with some big saves on quality chances off the stick of numerous Senators players and did the same in the second period to preserve the Red Wings’ lead.
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With the quality of play and consistency that Husso played with in this game, he could be and is hopefully building some momentum and should end up being a major factor for team success going forward.
Veleno Has a Big Game
Coming into the season, Joe Veleno had been talked about as entering a make-or-break season with being a restricted free agent at year’s end after only signing a one-year deal in the offseason. He is another player who played his best game of the young season against the Senators, leading to his first two-goal game of his NHL career.
While Veleno had two goals on the scoresheet, his entire play is what also stood out. He was noticeable in the offensive zone, causing havoc on forechecks and also using his playmaking abilities to help set up other opportunities for the Red Wings. His offensive play was obviously on display when he scored off a reverse-type pass from behind the net from offseason acquisition Christian Fischer that gave him an open net to shoot at for his first goal of the game and later cashed in on a crisp cross-ice pass from Daniel Sprong to give the Red Wings a 5-1 lead and put the game out of reach.
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Many are most likely hoping that Veleno can build off this game, have a successful season, and become the player that the organization has hoped he would be after drafting him in the first round of the 2018 Draft.
What’s Next For the Red Wings
The Red Wings return home to play the Calgary Flames on Oct. 22 before welcoming the Seattle Kraken to Detroit for the first time this season on Oct. 24.