The Detroit Red Wings got their season going on the right foot last night with their 3-0 shutout victory over the visiting Montreal Canadiens at Little Caesars Arena, their first Opening Night victory since 2019. Rookie forward Elmer Soderblom tallied his first NHL goal, while Michael Rasmussen and Olli Maatta both scored empty-net goals; Ville Husso picked up his first shutout in a Detroit uniform since his acquisition this past summer from St. Louis.
“The important thing is not only getting the first win but getting it the right way,” Lalonde said. “We played a complete game. You worry a little bit about the psyche of playing well and not getting rewarded with the outcome. Tonight, it all came through for us.”Derek Lalonde via MLive
But they won't have too long to feel good about it, as they're right back at it tonight on the road in Newark, N.J. for a matchup against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Detroit had no trouble with them last season, winning all three matchups that included Dylan Larkin‘s first career hat trick in December as well as a 5-2 win in the season finale.http://gty.im/1237322691
While the Devils dropped their opening game against the Philadelphia Flyers earlier this week, they'll be looking to avoid an 0-2 hole in front of their home fans. Take a look at three keys to tonight's game that should enable Detroit to come away with a win.
Get to goaltender Vitek Vanecek early
The Red Wings came out of the gate flying last night, peppering Habs goaltender Jake Allen with 25 first-period shots. Tonight, they'll be facing Devils goaltender Vitek Vanecek, who will be making his first start of the year after Mackenzie Blackwood failed to impress against Philadelphia. Making things uncomfortable for a goaltender in his first start with a new team (as he was acquired from Washington this summer) will bode well for Detroit.
Neutralize Devils captain Nico Hischier
The Devils will be getting a boost to their lineup with the season debut of captain Nico Hischier, who was injured during New Jersey's exhibition opener and hadn't suited up since. The center tallied 60 points last season and is known for using his speed to get around the defense of the opposition.
Get strong goaltending from Alex Nedeljkovic
With Husso starting last night's game in Detroit, head coach Derek Lalonde stated earlier in the week that it would be second-year Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic getting the nod between the pipes tonight. Like most of his teammates, Nedeljkovic posted positive numbers through the first half of last season before things began to fall apart defensively after the calendar turned to mid-January. He also happens to be an unrestricted free agent at the season's end, and he'll be looking to start his year on the right note.
Tonight's game will begin at 7:00 PM EST with coverage on Bally Sports Detroit as well as 97.1 The Ticket.