The Detroit Red Wings are undefeated in regulation after their first five games. It certainly has been an exciting start to the season for the Detroit Red Wings. Five games into the season, they check in with a 3-0-2 record. Besides blowing a two-goal third-period lead against the Chicago Blackhawks, it's hard to pick out a particular area where they have struggled so far.
Here are three things in particular that have gone right for the team to this point.
1. Scoring, and Plenty of it!http://gty.im/1434173345
The Detroit Red Wings scored 20 goals (an average of four per game) through those five games. The best part about that statistic involves where the scoring has come from. Rookie Elmer Soderblom has found the back of the net twice already. Oskar Sundqvist, Joe Veleno, and Adam Erne have scored. Michael Rasmussen and Pius Suter, as well.
Signed as a free agent in the offseason, David Perron leads the team with four goals. Fellow free agent signing Dominik Kubalik also has three and a total of eight points. Captain Dylan Larkin has also scored three goals.
They have also received an unexpected scoring boost from unlikely sources on the blue line. Ben Chiarot and Olli Maatta have each tickled the twine, and Maatta has recorded five points already.
Ville Husso and Alex Nedeljkovic have combined to create a very solid goaltending tandem.
Acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Blues in the offseason, Husso has been outstanding. In three starts, which included a shutout in the first game of the season, he has a goals-against-average of exactly 2.00. His save percentage is outstanding as well, at 93.9%. His record stands at 2-0-1.
Nedeljkovic, on the other hand, has been solid as well. In his two starts, he is 1-0-1 with a 2.96 GAA and 91.2% save percentage.
Before the season, I predicted that these two would combine to post top-fifteen numbers in goal for the year for the Detroit Red Wings. To this point, that prediction looks to be right on point.
3. Special Teams
Before Sunday's game, the power play had struggled a bit. But after finding the back of the net three times on the man advantage on Sunday, the Detroit Red Wings' efficiency on the power play has skyrocketed to 23.8%. Expected to help exponentially on the man advantage, Perron has scored two power-play goals.
Not to be outdone, the penalty kill has been outstanding as well. In fact, the proper word would actually be “perfect.” In 18 short-handed situations, they have not yet allowed a single power-play goal.
Steve Yzerman made many off-season moves to add to the Detroit Red Wings. So far, it's quite fair to say that those moves have been of benefit. Husso, Chiarot, and Maatta have significantly improved the team's back end. Perron, Kubalik, Soderblom, and Copp have improved the offense.
First-year head coach Derek Lalonde has certainly enjoyed some early success, to be sure. But, in a long 82-game season, we can be certain that not everything will go this smoothly the whole year. But considering this start, it's not unfair to think they might be better than expected.
I also predicted that the Detroit Red Wings would miss the playoffs this year. While I'm not completely ready to come off from that prediction, this start to the season has certainly created some new dialogues about the team. It's still really early, and the playoffs are far away. But maybe this team could be on the verge of a season that is a little more special than we initially expected.