With Oskar Sundqvist still not practicing, Detroit Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde is thankful to have the Michael Rasmussen suspension over.
“(Rasmussen) helps,” Lalonde said. “There’s a huge difference. It spreads your lines out. On paper that’s your third center. That’s a big difference from what we’ve looked at the last couple of games.”
The Rasmussen absence was particularly noticeable in the 8-3 road loss to the Buffalo Sabres.
Detroit’s Michael Rasmussen has been suspended for two games for High-sticking Boston’s David Krejci. https://t.co/g67t7uLT6p
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) October 28, 2022
“If you go back to the game it was going to be a tough matchup period, because they have four extremely talented lines and we got exposed a couple of times,” Lalonde said. “That home change, them able to get (Tage) Thompson out on same favorable matchups. At least you get to manage that at home. I thought for the most part we were able to do that (at home) against Minnesota.”
Lalonde said there is no timetable for Sundqvist’s return. He is simply listed as day-to-day.
“It’s an upper body injury that’s not long-term but it’s obviously kept him out,” Lalonde said.
Lalonde pegged defenseman Jake Walman (offseason surgery) as being a week away. “(But) no exact time on either of those guys,” Lalonde said.
One of the Red Wings’ missions moving forward is to stay out of the penalty box. Nothing brings that home more than the success they had in beating the Minnesota Wild last week and then losing to the Sabres Monday night.
“I just think it was managing our game. If you compare the two games, we just talked about the difference in turnovers,” Lalonde said. “You talk about — managing your games, penalties. We took one vs Minnesota and we killed it and got some huge momentum. If you recall it was the broken stick penalty kill. The boys were excited and got some jump out of that.
“This last game we take six penalties. Penalty minutes. Penalty power play time was over seven minutes for Buffalo, less than a minute for us.”
The Sabres had about a minute 5-on-3 and around 45 seconds 4-on-3.
“That’s not managing your game,” Lalonde said. “The most disappointing penalty for me and for us as a group trying to manage that game, we got the game to 4-3 and we had a little push going. If you guys recall we had
(Filip) Hronek all alone in the slot with the puck with the goalie screened and he misses the net. And then shortly after that (Joe Veleno) took a holding penalty 200 feet from our net.
“At the time it’s 4-3. They make it 5-3 with seven minutes left on that power play. You’re giving yourself no chance when you’re giving up seven minutes on the power play. It drains players, it gets our lines screwed up. We need to get back to where we were Saturday.”