The Red Wings' perfect preseason is over thanks to the Chicago Blackhawks dressing their honest-to-God top six forwards and even their top pair because this game was their preseason opener and it was at home and you kind of want to win those games. The Wings got an early goal by the hot-handed Luke Glendening and then couldn't finish it off, giving up the tying score to Patrick Kane in the 2nd and losing on
Duncan Keith's overtime slapper. [Edit: Toews tipped it]
That's really all the recap you need. It's preseason, and the process is more important than the results. Observations from tonight's game.
- Neither team was very good in this one. You could see the skill evident plenty of times, but passes which would hit sticks weren't connecting. Both teams played fairly carefully with each side getting one rather long shift in the offensive zone (Detroit in the first and Chicago in the third).
- Detroit's defense did not look particularly good, but that's not entirely an awful thing. While the four horsemen played fairly well yesterday in Pittsburgh, they didn't see top-six competition. Detroit's middle-four defensemen had trouble consistently moving the puck up and out of the zone against Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Kane. That's not alarming, all things considered.
- What was worrisome there was the play of Jakub Kindl, who started off well enough, but looked more lost than Aaron Rome by the end of the game out there. That's not a promising sign.
- Elsewhere on defense, DeKeyser got himself caught up ice a couple times, but only got burned for it the one time that Kane scored. Quincey was quietly solid except for a noticeable third period error. Brian Lashoff looked a bit nastier than usual, but was otherwise pretty quiet. Brendan Smith looked too fancy sometimes and too simple some other times, but he was also pretty consistently hounded by Hossa all night and that's a tough assignment.
- In goal, both Gustavsson and Mrazek played well enough. Monster's only mistake was not stopping Kane on a breakaway while Mrazek was screened on the game-winner.
- At forward, Teemu Pulkkinen stood out among the guys fighting for spots. The Mule-Hank-Goose line showed flashes of brilliance, but couldn't put it all together. Justin Abdelkader does indeed look faster and a bit more-focused than last season, but he was on the perimeter far too often. Stephen Weiss looked like a competent NHLer, which was a nice step. Among the grinders, they looked... well... grindy. Callahan tried hard but wasn't very noticeable. Nosek had one good play and a bunch of not-much-happening minutes. Ferraro, Nestrasil, and Porter effectively took up space.
- The bright spot on the night was the 4-for-4 penalty kill by the Wings (including 3 in the first period). Chicago's power play wasn't terribly impressive, but the Wings pressured well and stayed in lanes.
Next up for the Wings is another tilt against Chicago on Thursday. I'm pretty sure we're going to see a garbage squad from the Hawks in that game. So far there's no TV network covering this one. Hopefully we'll at least have radio for it.