New season, same Red Wings. Kinda.
Like many games last season, Detroit didn’t look particularly good in their season-opening 3-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night. I don’t think it’s fair to say it’s entirely the same, though.
The Wings never really got going last night, and most of the opportunities they did get came from the top line of new captain Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, and Tyler Bertuzzi. That’s a familiar look. But (eye-test only, maybe the stats don’t back this up) I thought the third line of Valtteri Filppula, Sam Gagner, and Mathias Brome also generated some chances and on a team starved for secondary scoring, that’s important to see.
Specifically, I really liked the play of Brome in his NHL debut. I don’t recall him looking out of place at all. On Twitter I called out one specific play in the second period where he powered through the Hurricanes’ defense to get to the front of the net, even though nothing came of it.
On defense there was a bit of a bright spot in that, after giving up the opening goal early in the first period, the Red Wings did not collapse, as they did so many times last season. Carolina didn’t score again until a long power play in the third period before adding an empty net goal. The Hurricanes still managed to take 43 shots but (again, eye-test), it seemed like they were less-dangerous opportunities.
Of course, that’s a low bar for the team to clear.
Thomas Greiss looked good in his first start for the Red Wings. It seems ridiculous to say but he managed to make a 40-save night look quiet.
It’s one game. And Detroit certainly had games like this one last year. If the Wings rattled off a string of games like this one, it would probably be an upgrade over last season’s disaster. Eventually they’re going to need something better, though.