DETROIT — When his team isn’t playing well, Red Wings’ first year coach Derek Lalonde has already shown that he likes to shuffle his deck to find a better hand to play.
After his team fell behind 4-0 to Columbus, Lalonde moved Robby Fabbri to center between Tyler Bertuzzi and Lucas Raymond. “And it worked,” Lalonde said. “From the line change on, we got a little spark.”
It’s all about options for Lalonde. With Pius Suter scratched, he was down a center. He wanted to move Michael Rasmussen to the wing. “Sometimes for a spark I like Ras on the wing,” Lalonde said. “..Ras on the wing is a guy who will hunt pucks, create things off a forecheck. We wanted that and work back from there.”
The line changes helped in the third period when the Red Wings scored three times before bowing 4-3.
Coaches love Fabbri for his versatility. Jeff Blashill used him occasionally at center when Dylan Larkin was out. Fabbri is effective. He was 5-2 on faceoffs against Columbus. “Fabbs was good there — he won some draws and the line had some jump,” Lalonde said.
Red Wings Improved?
The eye test and various analytics point to the Red Wings being a better team. But the halfway point of the season, the Red Wings are performing at the same level there were last season.
They were 18-17-6 for 42 points after 41 games under Blashill in 2021-22. Under Lalonde after 41 games, the Red Wings are 18-16-7 for 43 points.
“There’s definitely areas where we’ve progressed,” captain Larkin said. “After tonight’s game I don’t really want to get into that right now. It’s clear that we’ve progressed. We’re more deep. But we’ve been talking about it, getting on a run, stringing some wins together. Then tonight happens and it’s frustrating. That’s kind of been the story of the season. We win two or three and then we can’t find the fourth or fifth and get on a nice run.
Moritz Seider was the only Detroit defenseman to play more than 20 minutes. He logged 21:11… Lucas Raymond scored a third period goal and now has give goals and 10 points in his past seven games… Larkin (161-235-396 in 544 games) is one point away from tying Igor Larionov (89-308-397 in 539 games) for 21st place on Detroit’s all-time points list.