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Five Takeaways from Detroit Red Wings’ First Regulation Loss of Season



Lucas Raymond, Detroit Red Wings
Rookie forward Lucas Raymond still playing well enough to stay with the Detroit Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings lost 3-0 to the Calgary Flames at Little Caesars Arena to fall to 2-1-1 on the season. Jacob Markstrom made 33 saves to earn the shutout.

Worst Game in Opening Four

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin said post-game that the team just didn’t bring the same level of emotion that they brought to their first three games. They started fine, and then seemed to let the Flames gradually take command.

“(The Flames) were way more desperate than we were,” Larkin said.

In the third period, the Flames did a good job making the the Red Wings travel 200 feet to score. That’s a hallmark of a Darryl Sutter-coached team.

Bad Timing for Low Energy

The Red Wings’ next game is Saturday in Montreal where they will meet a desperate Montreal team that has started 0-5. The Detroit squad will be without Tyler Bertuzzi who can’t enter Canada because he refuses to be vaccinated. He says his decision not be vaccinated is “a personal choice.” Bertuzzi leads the Red Wings with five goals.

What that means is Filip Zadina or Robbie Fabbri will likely move up to the first line, and other lines will be shuffled.

The expectation is that Canadiens, struggling without Shea Weber and Carey Price, will come out with more emotion than the Flames did. The Canadiens have only scored four goals in five games.

Blashill said the Red Wings can’t afford to have off nights when it comes to energy and emotion. The rebuilding Red Wings aren’t yet good enough to win on talent alone.

“We have to be close to perfect in that (energy) area,” Blashill said.

Goaltending Not the Issue

Alex Nedeljkovic was solid. He only gave up two goals. The third goal was an empty-netter. On most nights, giving up two goals will give you a win.  Not against Calgary on Saturday

Nedejkovic has lost both of his starts. It is likely Thomas Greiss, with a 2-0 record and 1.00 goals-against average and  .969 save percentage, will start in goal for Detroit in Montreal. Then, Nedeljkovic would start Sunday in Chicago.

Old Habits on Power Play

The Red Wings started the season looking like they were going to improve dramatically on their 11% power play percentage of last season. They moved the puck crisply, looking dangerous even if they didn’t score.

But they have reacquired bad habits over the past two games, having more trouble controlling the puck in the offensive zone. They opted for a few too many longer passes, instead of the short passes assistant coach Alex Tanguay wants

The Red Wings are now two-for-14 on the power play. That’s 14.2%, That puts them back in the bottom third of the league again.

Lost On the Intangibles

Detroit Red Wings’ first line of Tyler Bertuzzi, Larkin and Lucas Raymond had nine shots and their No. 2 line of Robbie Fabbri, Pius Suter and Flip Zadina had six shots.

That’s 15 shots and no goals. Calgary goalie Jacob Markstrom was very good, but the Flames was more driven to control the rebounds than the Red Wings were to pounce on the rebounds.

Givani Smith, perhaps sensing the Red Wings needed an energy boost, fought Milan Lucic. But that didn’t get them going.

On one of Calgary’s goals, it seemed like a power play because Fabbri could barely move after blocking a shot. The Red Wings just couldn’t seem to rise up to cover for Fabbri. That play summed up their entire night.