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The Breakdown: Red Wings Not At Their Best, Still Win; Bertuzzi Out

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Alex Nedeljkovic, Detroit Red-Wings
Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic made 37 saves in Saturday's 5-2 win at New Jersey.

A year ago – let’s face it, for several years on the go – this was a game the Detroit Red Wings would’ve lost.

Instead, they found a way to win without their A game.

After Friday’s 3-0 NHL season-opening win over the Montreal Canadiens, Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde was stressing the vital importance of consistency. Good teams are bringing it every night.

Those good teams are also finding paths to victory when the road is rife with potholes, and that’s what the Red Wings did during Saturday’s 5-2 road triumph over the New Jersey Devils.

Trailing 1-0 after one period, losing first-line winger for half of the game, the Red Wings managed to find a way, with just 11 forwards and playing the second game of back to backs.

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Detroit was outshot 22-11 in the second period, yet went to the dressing room ahead 4-2. Then in the third period the Red Wings locked it down for the victory.

“Ned probably bailed us out in the second period,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said on the Bally Sports Detroit postgame show.

Making his first start of the season, Alex Nedeljkovic was blocking 37 shots for the victory.

“I really liked our third period,” Lalonde continued. “Our third period looked a lot like us last night. You saw the commitment to winning in the third – us getting above pucks, our tracking. And obviously we ate a couple of pucks, blocked a ton of shots.

Red Wings Bertuzzi Suffers Injury

One of those blocked shots sent Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi to the sideline for the remainder of the night. The puck appeared to his Bertuzzi in the right hand as he was crouching to make the block.

“Real quick in the training room they just said upper body,” Lalonde said. “We’ll know more on Monday.”

Balance In Detroit Attack

Defenseman Ben Chiarot counted a goal and an assist in the victory. Jakub Vrana, David Perron, Dylan Larkin and Dominik Kubalik also scored for the Red Wings.

“We stuck to our structure,” Chiarot said. “For us to have success, we’re gonna have to be a really good defensive team, and I think both nights we did that. Guys are thinking defense first and not cheating for offense.”

Red Wings Facts And Observations

  1. Two games into the season, eight different Red Wings have scored goals. Elmer Soderblom, Michael Rasmussen and Olli Maatta scored in the win over Montreal
  2. Besides changing goalies from Ville Husso to Nedeljkovic, Lalonde made one other roster change. The was the insertin of center Pius Suter for Joe Veleno
  3. The Pistons aren’t the only Detroit team capable of hitting buzzer beaters. Larkin’s goal to put the Red Wings up 4-2 came with 0.8 seconds left in the second period
  4. Detroit is 2-0 to start the season for the first time since 2019-20. Lalonde is just the fourth coach in franchise history to start his tenure at the helm of the team 2-0. The other three – Jeff Blashill (2015-16), Mike Babcock (2005-06) and Jimmy Skinner (1954-55) – all started 3-0.
  5. On Saturday, goalie Sebastian Cossa was recalled from ECHL Toledo to AHL Grand Rapids. Making his pro debut, Cossa, the 15th player chosen in the 2021 NHL entry draft, made 29 saves for the Walleye in a 6-2 victory on Friday
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