The future pieces of the Detroit Red Wings blue line was on full display Saturday afternoon. While Simon Edvinsson made his NHL debut, the Red Wings couldn’t overcome the Colorado Avalanche in a 5-1 loss.
Costly mistakes would burn Detroit in the end.
Pius Suter evened the game up with a snapshot that rifled past Alexandar Georgiev later in the first period. The Red Wings outshot Colorado through two periods but Nathan MacKinnon accelerated through the neutral zone and ripped a shot past VIlle Husso at the midway point of the second. Detroit had been doing a good job of containing the Colorado attack until that point. Later in the period, Colorado converted a four-on-three power play into another goal, taking a 3-1 lead into the third period.
Edvinsson drew a penalty with 17:25 remaining in the third but the Red Wings and there were a number of chances but unlike Colorado, Detroit couldn’t capitalize. Adding insult to injury, they’d surrender a short handed goal and then another marker just 56 seconds later.
The result spoiled Edvinsson’s debut and showed that Detroit still has a way to go. Despite outshooting Colorado (34-23) and decisively winning the battle in the faceoff circle (63%-37%), it was the little mistakes that cost Detroit in the end.
Afternoon hockey. 👌 pic.twitter.com/IT0Urx3imN
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) March 18, 2023
Mistakes, Penalties Doom the Red Wings
Mistakes and penalties ultimately sealed Detroit’s fate. Against top tier teams, the margin of error is narrow. The few Detroit made cost them dearly.
MacKinnon’s goal was an example of Detroit’s inability to contain the superstar. On a simple drop pass just inches from the red line, MacKinnon rushed with the puck and blew past the Red Wings defensemen, potting the second Avalanche goal. Detroit was caught flatfooted and the Avalanche took advantage.
Later, Detroit ended up on the wrong side of a four-on-three penalty kill, yielding the third goal. The shorthanded goal from Lars Eller doomed Detroit.
Eller was tripped up in Detroit’s zone, but managed to fish the puck away from Dominik Kubalik. With three Red Wings surrounding Eller, the Avalanche took advantage. Just 56 seconds later, Colorado answered with another goal as Mikko Rantanen was left all alone in front of the Detroit net. MacKinnon started the play, found Evan Rodrigues who turned Edvinsson and Jake Walman inside-out, and dished to Rantanen, who was one-on-one with Husso. He buried it and suddenly it was 5-1. Husso was pulled following the goal.
Though the Red Wings stayed with Colorado through the midway point of the second period, the defending champs’ depth, skill and speed put the Red Wings away.
There’s promise on the horizon for Detroit. But it was another lesson that the young core still needs more critical pieces around it.