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Detroit Red Wings

The Breakdown: Defense Kicking In For Red Wings But Offense Vanishes

Detroit drops to 1-2 on the NHL preseason; in Chicago on Saturday



Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde
Derek Lalonde like the defensive effort of the Red Wings.

Detroit Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde was liking what he was seeing from his club’s defensive systems on Friday. The offense? Well, you can’t have everything.

A 2-0 loss to the Washington Capitals at Little Caesars Arena was marking the third successive NHL preseason game for the Red Wings in which their goals for total diminshed. However, the talk of defensive systems on the Detroit bench and the display of defensive acumen on the ice was music to Lalonde’s ears and a sight to behold for his eyes.

“I kind of liked some of the things we did today,” Lalonde said. “We held them to one goal (and an empty net tally). We didn’t give up a lot of chances.

“Even the other night, despite giving up only three goals (and an empty netter in a 4-2 loss to Chicago), you saw many odd-mans, a two-on-0 from the blue line in.”

Detroit was 31st in the NHL in goals against last season. Lalonde is making improved defensive play a point of emphasis during the preseason.

At one stage of the game, a Detroit forward made an ill-advised pinch into the offensive zone. Lalonde noted that many of the players on the bench were hollering to their teammate to get back on the defensive side of the puck and not leave the team exposed.

“I think they’re starting to appreciate some things in our game, being above puck play, gapping,” Lalonde said. “I think there’s some positives. Would we have liked to create some offense tonight? Yes.

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“The reality of camp, certain lineups, where you are in the camp, you’re going to have nights like that. They made probably one play more than us.”

Facts and Observations

  1. Defenseman Simon Edvinsson turned in another solid performance along the Detroit blueline. He led the Red Wings in hits (five) and shared the lead in shots on goal (three) with center Michael Rasmussen
  2. Playing center in the injury absence of Andrew Copp, Rasmussen turned in another strong performance. He drew the assignment of going against Capitals No. 1 center Evgeny Kuznetsov. His work at the dot wasn’t great, though. Rasmussen lost 11 of 16 faceoffs
  3. Forward Austin Czarnik came into the Red Wings lineup. Little-known trivia – in a preseason game playing for the Boston Bruins, Czarnik scored the first-ever NHL goal in the new LCA
  4. Forward Elmer Soderblom played his third game in four nights as the Red Wings seek to acclimatize him to life as an NHLer. Lalonde sensed he saw a little tired in Soderblom’s game. the 6-foot-8 Swede was -1 and without a shot on goal
  5. While Lalonde has been effusive in his praise of Detroit defensemen like Ben Chiarot, Moritz Seider and Edvinsson, Lalonde’s response to a question about the work of Gustav Lindstrom was that it was a query better directed at assistant coach Bob Boughner