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Detroit Red Wings

Winning is Identity Red Wings Can Get Behind

Identity Line scores three goals in 6-3 victory over Islanders



Christian Fischer
Red Wings forward Christian Fischer was good for three points in Thursday's win over the Islanders.

Lately, as the Detroit Red Wings were squandering games and frittering away what was once a massive lead for the final NHL Eastern Conference playoff spot, who are these guys was a fair question to pose.

In more recent action, there’s been a completely different answer to this query. Just as they were doing during their impressive run during January and February, the Red Wings are again playing to an identity and with an identity. And because of that, you can once more identify this team as a success story.

You can also thank the so-called Identity Line for setting the tone and setting that bar high.

The forward unit of Christian Fischer, Andrew Copp and Michael Rasmussen were not accountable during Thursday’s huge 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders, they were also showing the way in the accounting department.

Copp scored twice, his first goals in 21 games. Fischer would open the scoring with a dynamic breakaway tally. He was good for three points. With Rasmussen dishing a pair of assists, the trio combined for seven points.

It wasn’t merely that they were setting each other up. In the process, they were setting a tone for their teammates.

This Is Red Wings Identity

That unit forechecks like fiends. They thrive in matching up with top players from the opposition and grinding them into the ice surface.

“We all have similar mindsets and obviously three big bodies,” Fischer said. “Obviously doing some matchups with other lines. The three of us, we love that type of thing.

“It’s the game within the game if you could shut down those big boys amd make life hard for them. I think we’re just on the same page.”

Thursday, that was the front page. Following a scoreless opening frame, Fischer would finally put a crooked number up on the scoreboard. Breaking into the clear down the left wing, he cut to his forehand and slipped the puck past the outstretched glove of Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin.

“Came up with it on the spot,” Fischer said of his breakaway move. “It (puck) was on its side, too. We hate to see that.

“Found a way to put it in. Got a little excited there in the celebration.”

Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin offered a one-word response regarding what it means to the team when that group is firing on all cylinders.

“Everything,” Larkin said. “I think we know when they’re rolling like that, they turn the game. It gives us a look. We have an identity line.

“They play hard on pucks and obviously they’re all responsible defensively. They really play in the offensive zone and wear other lines down.”

And when they’re wearing on the other team, the rest of the Wings wear it well. They step up to take advantage of the openings created for them by their identity group.

Doing It The Right Way

“Playing the right way,” is what Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde likes to call it.

“All their success came off simple hockey,” Lalonde continued. “They’re owning the middle of the ice, they’re defending correctly, they’re playing off the forecheck, everything we want out of a team game.

“They took a lot of pride in getting the (Bo) Horvat matchup tonight and they won it, and it was a big part of the win tonight.”

And just like that, Detroit is again looking like a playoff squad. The Red Wings are three points clear of Washington and five ahead of the Islanders.

For their long-suffering fans, that’s an identity that they’ll happily identify with.