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Five Takeaways From Red Wings Loss At Toronto; Veleno Car Pools With Yzerman



Joe Veleno, Detroit Red Wings
Red Wings center Joe Veleno was back in the NHL Saturday, scoring a goal and an assist in a 5-4 loss at Toronto.

Late goals, an early goal and overall lax defensive play ended up spelling doom for the Detroit Red Wings in a 5-4 loss Saturday to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Scotiabank Centre.

Here are five takeaways from the Red Wings’ third regulation time setback of the NHL season.

Red Wings Committing Two Of Hockey’s Cardinal Sins

Among the time-honored taboos in the hockey are that teams should never surrender goals in the final or first minute of a period. The Red Wings did both in Saturday’s loss. And they committed the former faux pas twice.

Detroit allowed Toronto’s first goal with 14 seconds remaining in the opening period. The Red Wings fell behind 2-1 on a goal with 18 seconds to play in the second frame. Just 17 seconds after the drop of the puck to start the third period, the Leafs made it 3-1.

“It’s momentum and you feel like – especially the late goals – you could’ve got our of those periods without giving them up,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I thought in the first we would’ve been lucky to get out without giving up a goal. We were right there and we gotta find a way to finish that period out, gain our feet a little bit better and get going.

“Obviously, the one right away in the third hurts. Now it’s a credit to our guys that they didn’t back down and kept fighting but ultimately, you can’t give up that many goals and expect to win. We gotta do a better job defensively.”

Red Wings Joe Above Average

Recalled from AHL Grand Rapids, center Joe Veleno was a definite spark in his first Red Wings game of the season. Veleno scored one goal. He set up another, feeding Vladislav Namestnikov for a tap in. Veleno faked Toronto forward William Nylander out of his jock just inside the blueline, gaining open ice to send the feed to Namestnikov.

“I wanted to work hard and show what I can bring at this level and how I can play,” Veleno said. “At the same time I wanted to play with confidence and have some fun. I tried my best to do those things to be successful and I thought it went fairly well.”

Since Tyler Bertuzzi is under NHL suspension for refusing to get his COVID vaccination and being unable to play in Canada, it created a roster spot for Veleno. If the Red Wings want to keep Veleno in Detroit beyond Tuesday’s game at Montreal, they’ll need to make an additional roster move.

Car Pooling With The Boss

Veleno caught a ride to the game from Detroit with Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman.

“I had to wake up early in GR, head to LCA and get tested (for COVID) and then Steve was on his way there,” Veleno said. “It just made sense to drive with him. It’s not that far of a drive, rather than going to the airport and taking a commercial flight and having to do the cross-border stuff. I thought it was going to take longer and be a lot more stressful than just driving.”

So what type of discussions go on during a four-hour drive with your boss?

“There was some hockey talk,” Veleno said. “There was that Michigan-Michigan State football game. We had that on the radio for a little bit. I ended up sleeping a little bit. I was tired.

“It was nice of him to offer to drive me to the game.”

Rookies Continue To Deliver

Veleno’s goal and assist, plus a helper by Moritz Seider pushed the Red Wings further into the NHL rookie scoring lead. They’ve collected 19 points from first-year players.

“I think it’s important for guys to push and to show that they can be impact players,” Blashill said. “I thought Joe in the third was impactful.”

Seider’s eight points are a Red Wings record for a rookie defenseman in his fist nine games, surpassing Nicklas Lidstrom (7 in 1991-92).

“We got a lot of young guys playing important roles on our team, so they need to play good hockey, because we don’t want to have guys on our team that are young and are playing and we’re losing,” Blashill said. “We want guys that are gonna help us win hockey games.”

Oesterle Debut

Defenseman Jordan Oesterle was the last member of the Red Wings’ season-opening roster to see game action when he suited up Saturday against the Leafs. Oesterle, from Deaborn Heights, Michigan, collected an assist in his Red Wings debut.

“I thought he did a good job,” Blashill said. “It’s not easy sitting for as long as he sat. We know he’s a good player, though, just like we know Troy Stecher’s a good player, Gustav Lindstrom’s a good player.

“We think we have eight good defensemen. What they can do is come in and play good hockey and he did that.”