During the recent six game win streak for the Detroit Red Wings, they scored 21 goals and gave up just eight. Since then, they’ve been outscored ten to five and lost games against the Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, and Philadelphia Flyers. Although it doesn’t have a direct correlation, Thomas Vanek has missed their last four games. How can Detroit increase their scoring and start taking pressure off of their goaltending?
Detroit Red Wings Look to Ignite Scoring
Find A Way to Get Zetterberg and Abdelkader Scoring Again
Last season through ten games Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader combined for 17 points including a hat-trick in the opening game for Abdelkader. This season has been much less successful for the captain and alternate captain respectively. They have combined for just five points. They also have just a single goal, which was scored by Abdelkader against Nashville. The low point totals for the two have come as a surprise in the early portion of this season. Zetterberg lead the team in 2015-2016 with 50 points while Abdelkader added 42 points. Based on their track records, both players should rebound scoring wise. This spike in production needs to come soon if the Red Wings are to continue their strong start.
Determining the Best Forward Lines
In his two years at the helm of the Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill has not been hesitant to make line changes to promote scoring punch. He has continued this trend through ten games this season to moderate success. Their most successful line has been Gustav Nyquist and Thomas Vanek on the wings with Darren Helm manning the center position. Now with Vanek injured with a muscle strain his spot on the third line is being taken by Andreas Athanasiou. With the fourth line held down by Steve Ott, Drew Miller, and Luke Glendening, that has put Riley Sheahan in a position that he doesn’t seem cut out for in the top six forwards. Blashill has put different players in the top six to the teams scoring, but hasn’t found consistent success with any lineup yet.
When Does it Become Mantha Time in Detroit?
The Grand Rapids Griffins (Red Wings farm team) have played seven games this season. Through those seven games, Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha has an AHL leading seven goals. If Detroit determines that Vanek is going to miss a significant amount of time they need to promote Mantha. In previous seasons his goal scoring and defense weren’t up to the par necessary to play everyday in the NHL. Also hindering his staying power in Detroit was the lack of room in the top nine forwards. As a scorer, his game better suits a role in the top nine, whereas Athanasiou had a game that could be successful on any of the forward lines. If he gets called up, that would likely make Steve Ott a healthy scratch. Sheahan would move to a bottom six forward spot that might suit his game better.
Main Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images.