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Red Wings Shift Keys: Filip Hronek’s Two Goals Against Columbus

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When the season started, it wasn’t as if the Detroit Red Wings were counting on Filip Hronek to be scoring goals at a high clip. So three goals in two games, including a pair against Columbus in Detroit’s 6-1 win Saturday night, is a bonus for Detroit.

Gone are the questions about what Hronek’s role would look like. Now, he’s a player making an impact defensively as well as making his offensive game a threat every night.

Hronek, it turns out, might very well blow past his career high of 38 points set last season. Maybe Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde sums it up best.

“We’re only 18 games in but it’s been a really good start for Fil,” Lalonde said.

A Closer Look at Hronek’s First Goal

Lalonde noted that on Hronek has been more “assertive” and “fast” this season. It’s exactly what happened on his first goal of the night.

After surrendering a goal which tied the game, Lalonde noted that Hronek took it personally.

“What I was really proud of and excited about his game, he directly had his fingerprints all over the first
goal against,” Lalonde said.  “Simply got beat one-on-one and it led to a backdoor tap-in, something he hasn’t done all year. I thought he took it very personal, letting his teammates down. “And the rest of the game he was going to get it back for them. And he did.”

Twice over in fact.

The first of Hronek’s goals came on a play where he simply pinched in and went to a loose puck. It started when Dominik Kubalik checked defenseman Marcus Bjork on the end boards while he was trying to clear the puck. The clear was successful, but Bjork’s teammate Mathieu Oliver ended up chipping the puck in midair, causing it to bounce into the slot.

Seconds after the clear, Hronek will take advantage of the bouncing puck

Enter Hronek. He zips into the slot and perhaps just half a stride in, releases a wrist shot that beats Joonas Korpisalo. Assertive and fast indeed. The goal would stand as the game winner.

Hronek quickly capitalizes and gives Detroit a 2-1 lead.

A Closer Look at Hronek’s Second Goal

It was another shift where Dylan Larkin made something out of something routine. But it was again Hronek’s heads up play and aggresiveness that led to his second goal.

Even though no one but Hronek even saw it go in the net.

Larkin begins by exiting his zone and drawing two Blue Jackets to him as he skates over the red line. At the top of the screen near the Red Wings bench waits Hronek.

Larkin enters the zone and how has Hronek as a trailer. Moritz Seider is about to go off for a change while three Blue Jackets are stacked low near the net. Hronek sees that he has a lot of space as another Blue Jacket rushes back (out of screen) to defend.

Larkin sees Hronek alone and will make the pass, hitting Hronek on the tape. From there, he only has to skate in.

Hronek accelerates and by the time defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov can react, Hronek has a point blank chance.

Gavrikov’s effort is too little too late as Hronek roofs the puck past Korpisalo and it’s only Hronek who reacts. It’s a good two-three seconds before it’s confirmed by the referee, and by this point, Hronek has haunted the Blue Jackets on two chances–both a result of assertive plays.

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Red Wings Need Hronek To Keep Up the Aggressiveness

Though he had 38 points last season, Hronek was a dismal -29 and at times, appeared to lack confidence on the ice. In just 18 games, he’s a +8 and has 14 points (4-10).

Lalonde credited defense partner Olli Määttä as a contributor to Hronek’s stronger play. Määttä deflected it back to Hronek and credits him for being a source of Detroit’s turnaround.

“I think since the start of the season he’s been a huge part of this, a part of the success,” Määttä said.  “He’s gonna be that in the future, too.”

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