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Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Postgame: Wings After Dark

The Red Wings are getting part of their California roadtrip out of the way early this year and appears to not work out that well for them. The Wings lose this one, but with some dignity.

This is the best way to lose, if there is one. Never really on their heels, the Wings came out swinging and swinging hard. Completely out shooting and leading this game in its entirety.

The result isn’t pretty, but the Wings played beautifully.

Worth Mentioning…

  • Trevor Daley went down with an injury early in this game. He did not return. The Wings lost their oldest defenceman for this game, forcing the young blueliners to play and they looked much more active and mobile than in recent memory.
  • Anze Kopitar scored from an impossible angle for the opening goal of this game. It is too pretty to be mad about.

  • Larkin was caught in the middle and Sulak looked to correct his misread, but this was still a terrific effort by Kopitar. The Wings probably could have been more defensively-sound to prevent this, but you can’t really blame a team when the forward has to go to his backhand from a weird angle to score.
  • In the second period, the Wings were able to tie up the game with this flukey goal from Mantha. He definitely meant to pass it across the net, but it just ended up in the back of the net. Nothing to complain about here.

  • Cholowski got an assist on this goal, so he is officially a point-per-game defenceman.
  • Paul LaDue scored for the Kings. A young defenceman that has only scored four NHL goals in his career and two of those are against the Red Wings – so typical.
  • Bertuzzi and Dion Phaneuf battled all night. That led to the eventual outburst of Phaneuf pummeling Bertuzzi while he was on the ice and both teams getting involved in fights or other roughing. It was messy and led to Hronek being out of the last 15 minutes of the game.
  • After that exchange, the Kings scored again on an extremely weird goal that Bernier basically caused all by himself.

  • From purposefully knocking the net loose to not handling the puck well, Bernier did not look good on this goal.
  • The Nyquist-Larkin-Mantha line had yet another dominant game. They controlled the play when they were on the ice without any doubt.
  • Mantha led the team with a Corsi differential of +21 at 5v5, also a total of 0.8 xGoals. A solid performance by the young winger.
  • The Red Wings lost 4-2, but it was still an entertaining game that gave a ton of hope.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this game was a good sign for the future. To go up against a possibly playoff-bound team like the Kings and outshoot them to such a degree is a success for this team. Especially after the horrid showing against the Blue Jackets, this game was a breath of fresh possession-based hockey air.

The kids played well and that’s all that matters. No one looked out of place playing against a team that has two Cups to their name in the last decade – a small feat that can be important at the beginning of this season.

This is all you can hope for a rebuilding team. The players that you want performing well and want around your team for a long time, performs well. A few blunders by Bernier led to some goals, but you can’t put the sole blame on him. The Wings had 4.22 expected goals, to the Kings’ 2.14, according to MoneyPuck. They were throwing shots from everywhere and getting key scoring chances from everywhere.

Blashill earns some credit for this well-played game. He put out the young rookies and they played well. Giving them a chance to play more than just 12 minutes a night is so valuable to their development.

The Red Wings return to action at 10:00 p.m. EST against the Anaheim Ducks tomorrow. Look out for our pregame in the morning!