New Detroit Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde hasn’t changed his players’ style as much as he has altered their attitude. What he asks of his players is a commitment to play the game right way.
Since last Thursday, it seems as if his players are fully buying in.
For the third game in a row , the Red Wings played a strong, simple and iron willed game, checking all of Lalonde’s boxes. For the third consecutive game the result was a Red Wings victory. On Sunday, the Red Wings erased a two-goal deficit to beat the New York Rangers 3-2 in overtime on Dominik Kubalik’s power play goal.
Over the past three games, the Red Wings have beaten the Washington Capitals, New York Islanders and Rangers and given up a total of three goals.
“I know it’s a small sample size, but guys are competing and they are getting what they deserve,” Lalonde said.
Second in Atlantic
What they have deserved is a 7-3-2 record over 12 games. That’s good enough for second place in the Atlantic Division. This is a better start than was expected. The Red Wings have only given up 11 goals in their seven wins.
Against the Rangers, the Red Wings were down 2-0 after one period.
“I think after not very good the first period I think the second one was really good,” Kubalik told Bally Sports. “I think we deserved to get back into the game. Our special teams were really good. We had some chances, some looks on the power play in the first. We just couldn’t find a way to get it in.
Goalie Ville Husso‘s strong play has been central to Detroit’s success, but Sunday Alex Nedeljkovic was in net for the Red Wings. He came into the game with ugly statistics, mostly because he was in net when the Red Wings weren’t tight defensively.
“I think the guys really wanted to pick Ned up with a good performance because they left him out to dry the past couple of times,” Lalonde said.
How good was Nedeljkovic?
“Huge, huge,” Kubalik said. “Like (Saturday) with Huss, today it was Ned. Those guys give us a chance every night. That’s perfect. I’m very happy for him.”
Faces and Observations
1.Forward Matt Luff scored his first goal as a Red Wings players on a redirection. Ben Chiarot’s drive was going two feet wide of the net when Luff’s stick changed its flight path. It was the 15th goal of Luff’s NHL career. He has previously played for the Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators.
Defenseman Moritz Seider is starting to hit his full stride. He played a season-high 27:44 minutes and contributed two assists and two hits.
The Red Wings are struggling in the faceoff circle. But they won 53% of the draws against the New York Rangers.
Filip Hronek might be Detroit’s unsung hero thus far. He has seven assists in 11 games. Hronek is also +7. He delivered seven shots on goal against the Rangers.
The Red Wings face the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday, and they will be without forward Josh Anderson. He was suspended by the NHL for a check from behind on Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.