Turning in another impressive home-ice performance, the Detroit Red Wings were shutting out the New York Islanders 3-0 on Saturday at Little Caesars Arena. They’re now 5-1-1 on home ice during the 2022-23 NHL season.
Now if only they could figure how to put such efforts into a suticase and take them on the plane as they were heading to New York. The Red Wings and New York Rangers will be facing off Sunday at 5 p.m. ET on the ice at Madison Square Garden.
It’s not merely that the Red Wings are showing a poor road record. That they are, going 1-2-1 away from home this season. It’s how they are performing in those away contests – especially the most recent ones – that is of utmost concern to coach Derek Lalonde.
On their last road trip, the Red Wings were taking an 8-3 shellacking at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres. Pror to that, they were absorbing a 5-1 smackdown in Boston from the Bruins. That’s an 0-2 record in the standing and a 13-4 deficit in the goals column.
“Obviously our last two road games, we didn’t give ourselves much of a chance,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “We’ll see where we’re at.”
Red Wings Not Matching Up Well
The way Lalonde is viewing it, the Rangers could be presenting difficulties for his club much like the ones that Buffalo was utilizing to create mayhem for the Red Wings.
“We’re playing another deep forward group,” Lalonde was explaining. “We may have some uncomfortable matchups there. Guys have to find a way to get through those.”
The solution will be stemming from what the Red Wings are opting to accomplish when in possession of the puck, especially within their own end of the rink.
“Manage our game,” Lalonde was listing as the key to road success. “As good as we played the (Thursday) night (in a 3-1 win over Washington), we still had some puck play issues. A lot of turnovers.
“That was the only thing we worked on (Friday at practice) and for the most part I thought we were pretty good (Saturday). We didn’t have those egregious turnovers.
“Those turnovers just keep piling up on you and there’s too much zone time. (Saturday) we didn’t do that. We were clean for most of our game. That led for us to probably win the possession battle. Positionally we were spending more time in our zone.”
A similar formula could reap dividends in the Big Apple.
“We’ll need to manage the puck very well there,” Lalonde said.
Alex Nedeljkovic, the victim in the loss at Buffalo, is getting the start in goal for Detroit on Sunday.