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Detroit Swept by Chicago in Weekend Series

The Detroit Red Wings didn’t fare well against the Chicago Blackhawks in their two-game set this weekend. Although the goaltending was strong in the first four games, Thomas Greiss allowed three goals on 24 shots on Friday, and Jonathan Bernier allowed six on Sunday, including two early first period goals.


Detroit coach Jeff Blashill speaks to the media.

Puck management and special teams were the keys in Detroit’s loss on Saturday according to coach Jeff Blashill. Not only did the Wings allow two power play goals from the Blackhawks, but they also failed to score on five power plays of their own. Scoring on the man-advantage continued to plague this team as they just haven’t found ways to score. Through five games, their special teams had only scored once (8.3%).

“I thought the first ten [minutes] we had opportunities to score and we didn’t score,” said Blashill. “I thought we hurt ourselves way too much tonight. And obviously when you go negative on specialty teams it’s hard to win. So we have to be better on our power play and better on our penalty kill, and our puck management has to be better.”

Chicago scored three unanswered goals, two on the power play (one in each period plus an empty netter). Patrick Kane scored the first goal as a shot was blocked by Detroit defenseman Alex Biega and the puck landed at Kane’s stick, which he proceeded to stuff between the post and pad of Greiss. Calvin DeHaan scored in the middle frame, with Ian Mitchell recording his first NHL point on the play. And Andrew Shaw scored the third from Kane and DeBrincat.

The Wings were playing without five players. Forwards Robby Fabbri and Adam Erne were already on the COVID-19 protocol list and were unavailable. Prior to the game, forwards Filip Zadina, Sam Gagner, and defenseman Jon Merrill were also added to the list. As a result, Darren Helm and defensemen Christian Djoos and Biega were able to join the lineup.

Detroit’s lone goal was from the captain Dylan Larkin, who came off the bench, streaked across the crease, deked and scored on rookie goalie Kevin Lankinen. Frans Nielsen and Marc Staal assisted.

Sunday’s contest began with sloppy play from the Wings. Swiss rookie Pius Suter scored his first two NHL goals against Bernier. The first came at the 4:42 mark, when a long shot from DeHaan deflected to Suter who scored on the rebound. Several minutes later, he found twine again as Mattias Janmark dished a perfect pass on the power play.

The Red Wings found the scoreboard 41 seconds into the second period as Tyler Bertuzzi scored on a lengthy 5-on-3. Filip Hronek passed to Larkin from the point, and Larkin fired a pass to the net-front Bertuzzi, who redirected the puck past Lankinen.

In the first five minutes of the second, Chicago had a 2-on-1 and a breakaway, both of which Bernier managed to stop. However, later in the period, defenseman Connor Murphy wristed a shot from the high slot which Bernier could not save.

The Hawks carried that momentum into the final 20 as Detroit unraveled. Janmark scored in the first minute, from Kane and Murphy; an excellent pass from Kane set up the goal, which he is often known to do. Anthony Mantha was standing next to Janmark, but did nothing to deter him from receiving the pass and shooting. The 6-5 forward could have prevented the goal by getting more involved and reading the play.

Bertuzzi tried to stop the bleeding by scoring his second power play goal of the game at the midway mark, cutting the Hawks’ lead to two. However, that would last only 49 seconds, as Suter completed the hat trick, leading a 2-on-1 and firing a wrist shot past Bernier to make it 5-2.

Rookie Philip Kurashev made it 6-2 as he skated across the crease and scored rather easily on Bernier. Djoos, Filppula, and Rasmussen all converged on the crease but failed to prevent the shot.

Despite the lopsided score and being outshot 35-27, a positive Detroit can take away from this game is that the power play finally clicked, striking twice on five opportunities. And Bertuzzi and Larkin both had great performances. The Wings will need their star players to continue leading by example if they are to win games this season.

It was a disappointing weekend for the team, as Chicago was winless in their first four games, but even against a Hawks team that was without Jonathan Toews, Kirby Dach, Brent Seabrook, and Alex Nylander, they still allowed 10 goals. With so many roster changes involving COVID, Detroit will hopefully stabilize once their players are cleared to return from the COVID list.

Note: Givani Smith and Taro Hirose made their season debuts in the matinee.

 

Kevin Sporka

Kevin Sporka

Kevin Sporka is the Senior Media Analyst and Detroit Red Wings beat writer at HOHM. He is also the author of the Fantasy Hockey Fridays, In Retrospect, Milestone Monday, and Legends By the Number segments.
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