Detroit Red Wings
Five Takeaways: Thomas Greiss Sharp After a Month’s Absence to Spark Red Wings win
Thomas Greiss played his first game since Jan. 9 and posted 32 saves to lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Red Wings’ sweep in the home-and-home series gives them their first winning record (22-21-6) since Jan. 21.
“I thought (Greiss) played really, really good coming back,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “He was in control of his game. I thought he controlled rebounds. I thought the puck stuck to him. ”
Here are five takeaways from the Red Wings’ home triumph:
Greiss Showed No Rust
Thomas Greiss had only played two games since Dec. 18, and none over the last 33 days. COVID and Alex Nedeljkovic’s quality play kept Greiss on the sidelines. But his inactivity seemed to have no effect. This was one of his sharpest performances of the season. The Flyers are a struggling team, but the Red Wings gave up too many quality scoring chances.
But Greiss saved them, highlighted by a breakaway stop against Travis Konecny with 8:21 left in the third period. The Red Wings hanging onto a 3-2 lead.
Most goalies need to play regularly to stay sharp, but Greiss has a history of being able maintain his consistency even if he isn’t playing.
“He’s a really even-keeled person,” Blashill said. “He’s not super excitable. He doesn’t have big highs and lows. I also think he’s a really good professional, so he went to work with Jeff Salajko, our goalie coach. He went to work and made sure he was ready when the opportunity came. I think he would’ve liked to have that opportunity a little bit earlier but the way things kind of worked out before the break and after the break, this is the decisions that our coaching staff has made. He stepped in tonight and I thought played really, really well. Why can he do that? Because (Thomas Greiss) works really hard at his game, made sure he was ready.”
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The Bertuzzi Effect
Since coach Jeff Blashill moved Tyler Bertuzzi to the second line, the Red Wings’ offense has been more dangerous and balanced. Bertuzzi (six goals, 14 points in his last 11 games) has played brilliantly with Pius Suter and Robby Fabbri. A Fabbri pass set-up a Bertuzzi goal in this game. Fabbri now has 10 points in his past 11 games.
“It became apparent to me as the season was going on that we started to get into a rut where we were almost becoming a one-line team,” Blashill said. “I know we won’t win that way, so I needed to try to spread it out a little bit. Bert, I think is a good enough player that he can help carry a line. He can be a huge impact on any line he goes on to. Those guys played together in junior. Fabbs and Bert have good chemistry. Suits does a real good job of making plays for them and is also a pretty good defensive player. It just felt like a line that could have a lot of success.”
When Blashill moved Bertuzzi to the second line, he said the biggest question was “Can Larks’ line continue to produce without Bert?”
The answer has been ‘yes’
Larkin posted three more assists to give him four multi-point games in his past five games. He has 11 points in his past five games.
The bigger question at that time was can Larks’ line continue to produce without Bert. So far that answer’s been yes.
Since Dec. 14, Larkin has 27 points (14-13-27) in 20 contests since Dec. 14 vs. N.Y. Islanders.
Another mission for Larkin is to get Filip Zadina scoring and the Red Wings captain already having some success. He set-up Zadina for his sixth goal of the season.
“We played together last year,” Larkin said. “He works hard, he’s worked hard through this period where I’m sure he would admit he’s struggled and hasn’t played up to his standards. But the chances have always been there. ”
Larkin talked to him after Blashill put them back together.
“I said, ‘Let’s work,” and we create all our chances through work ethic and the way we compete, and he’s done that the past couple games,” Larkin said. “He moved his feet, and scored a nice goal tonight and I think you could see the confidence coming back and I’ve seen with him when he’s confident he’s a dangerous player.”
What a shot from Zadina, who was in the right place to pick up the puck after Larkin gained the zone. *Huge* goal for Filip. #LGRW pic.twitter.com/K4NGW47ytg
— Ryan Hana (@RyanHanaWWP) February 12, 2022
Lucas Raymond. Anton Lundell. Trevor Zegras. Tanner Jeannot. Michael Bunting. The NHL is overflowing with hotshot rookies. All of them have had instant impact, especially Raymond. He has accomplished some feats that no Red Wings’ teenager has done since Steve Yzerman.
But it’s hard to make a case that any of the high-profile rookies have done more for their team than Seider. He has the game-winning power play goal against goal against the Flyers. He now has five goals, and three of them are game-winners. The Red Wings’ rookie record is four set owned by Reed Larson.
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“We’re going to continue to need him to do that and more and get better and do it in his own way,” Larkin said. “He’s been real solid but we need him to, as the games pick up and we push later in the season, the competition keeps getting better and the game gets faster and more physical. I’ve seen it a couple weeks ago, we played Pittsburgh and Toronto on a back to back. I was really impressed. He had a tough couple of matchups and did really well. The highlights are the highlights but he’s done it consistently.”
Seider now leads all rookie defensemen in points (32), PPG (2), PPP (14), GWG (3), OTG (2) and shots (99). Seider tied Colorado’s Bowen Byram for the NHL rookie defeneman lead with his five goals.