That was better.
The Red Wings put forth a nearly-full-game effort on Monday night in the last home opener at Joe Louis Arena, as opposed to the 20-minute efforts to open the season in Tampa and Sunrise, and it got them a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.
Yeah, there were negatives. There were shifts where they shot themselves in the foot trying to clear the zone. There were still too many missed passes. In a game that it feels like the Red Wings dominated, they still allowed 32 shots.
But there were more positives than we saw in the first two games, too.
Mike Green‘s shot has been unleashed. He’s doing what he was brought to Detroit to do and has his first career hat trick to show for it. Two nights after an awful outing, he had maybe his best game as a Red Wing.
And Darren Helm finished, too. I don’t know what he did over the summer but he looks like he’s skating better than he has in a couple years.
Thomas Vanek with three assists is having an impressive start to the season.
I don’t recall Petr Mrazek having to make any insane saves – like he did in Tampa, for example – but after allowing eight goals in two games, he needed a shutdown night. Only goal against came on a rush where the puck deflected off a teammate’s stick. Not bad.
And speaking of that goal… I said it on Twitter, I’ll say it again here, I really liked Brendan Smith‘s effort on that play. He forced Dzingel to wait until it should have been too late. If that pass didn’t go off Sheahan’s stick and past Mrazek, I think it ends up in Turris’ skates, not in the net.
I will say that I don’t love the fights. I don’t think fighting is a necessary part of hockey. I liked seeing Chris Neil beg for a fight and then Justin Abdelkader land some solid shots on him, but at the same time I wish Abdelkader hadn’t obliged him. It is interesting, though that the Wings’ fights this season have all been by players who were with the team last year (since Steve Ott‘s “fight” in Tampa was just roughing). This isn’t a new player skewing the numbers, it’s the existing players playing differently. I wonder where that change came from.
Of course, I have to talk about the arena itself and the game presentation. While there was a lot of talk of this being the last home opener at Joe Louis Arena, I don’t feel like the “last” aspect was played up. There are at least 40 more games left there, including the actual last game. This felt like a home opener, not a last game. As it should.
It kind of annoys me that the Wings ended up dropping the Farewell to the Joe patch from their jerseys. I didn’t like it, and I think they could have done better on the Gordie Howe patch, but there’s no reason they couldn’t have done both.