Four Takeaways from Red Wings’ West Coast Trip

The Detroit Red Wings were busy finishing up their west coast trip Tuesday morning when Nicklas’ news about Nicklas Lidstrom returning home broke. Los Angeles Kings (L4-0), Anaheim Ducks(SOL 4-3), and San Jose Sharkss (OTL 3-3) were the Red Wings’ opponents on this trip. The Red Wings ended the trip with 0-1-2. Their overall record is now 16-16-5, three more points than the Boston Bruins. However, they have played five more games than Boston.

Red Wings made many mistakes on their west coast trip. They fell behind in all three games at the start of intermission. They fought back and won two separate 2-1 wins in the Sharks and Ducks games. Lastly, Alex Nedeljkovic continues to shine amidst the Red Wings’ struggles.

Nick Leddy, Detroit Red Wings. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

The playoff push, although still very much within reach, is slowly disappearing with these losing skids which the Red Wings keep finding their way on. They are returning to Little Caesars Arena tonight, where they will take on the Winnipeg Jets – another team in the wildcard hunt.

Red Wings’ Sluggish First Period Efforts

While traveling to the west coast, the Red Wings found themselves coming off their first (and only) win of 2022 – a 6-2 win over the Sharks at home. The Red Wings were still on a bad streak, with just 3-6 in their last nine games. Despite some confidence gained before the trip, they were humiliated in Los Angeles’ first period, being outshot 27-1. Detroit was unable to overcome the Kings and lost to them.

The Calder Cup was a huge showdown between Trevor Zegras Moritz Seider, and Lucas Raymond. It was the perfect opportunity for rookies to shine. The Red Wings set out to get back on track and score two points when they arrived in Anaheim. The Red Wings were down 1-0 in the first intermission. Bertuzzi and Larkin were both injured and left the game, which meant Raymond was alone.

Dylan Larkin Detroit Red Wings
Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings) (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images).

After making it through three-on-three overtime, Red Wings lost in a shootout. Zegras won Calder Showdown. He scored the first goal, with an assist on the goal, and also won the man advantage. Raymond and Seider each scored an assist.

The Red Wings needed to win San Jose with only one of the four points they had. They fell apart again and were down at halftime. After a hard-fought game, both teams lost two skaters and went to overtime. But it didn’t last long, as Sharks captain Logan Couture scoredJust one minute into the extra time, the game-winning goal was scored.

Close Games: Blown Red Wings leads

Despite their bumbling and stumbles in the first period, both Sharks and Ducks games were won 2-1 by the Red Wings. Red Wings have shown great skill in close games, and they are finding new ways to score two points. They are currently 13-5-2 in games that were decided by less than two goals.

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The tides turned during the west coast trip. The Red Wings led in close games, but managed just two of the possible four points. Hopefully this isn’t an indication of future games down the stretch, but losing two games they tend to win is not a good omen of things to come.

Nedeljkovic Continues to Shine During Red Wings’ Struggles

Relying on goaltending is not only important for every team in the NHL, but the Red Wings have especially been expecting extra help from goalkeeping all season – primarily from Nedeljkovic. With Thomas Greiss’ shaky play over the season, Nedeljkovic has positioned himself nicely as goalie one on the depth chart.

Alex Nedeljkovic, Detroit Red Wings
Alex Nedeljkovic – Detroit Red Wing (Photo: Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

His position was further strengthened by his west coast trip. Nedeljkovic was faced with a barrage against the Kings in the first period. Despite not making a comeback, he managed to keep it within reach. He saved 38 of the 41 shots he received.

Nedeljkovic continued his good play in the second period of the game, making great saves after save to keep the Red Wings alive and give them a chance at winning. The offense didn’t help Nedeljkovic, only scoring two goals on 19 shots in three periods. Nedeljkovic finally gave up the overtime goal and sent aside 37 of 40 shots that he saw. Nedeljkovic’s only complaint is that the overtime goal was too weak. Nedeljkovic was outstanding on the road trip, and he is continuing his excellent season in Detroit.

Red Wings Powerplay & Nick Leddy

There were also a few bright spots along the way. The power play is the first stepThe Red Wings scored a power play goal in each of their past two games and are now 2-9 overall on this road trip. (from ‘St. James Detroit Red Wings, with ‘relentless schedule,’ get hope from play in net, Power Play’ Detroit Free Press, 1/13/22). These numbers aren’t eye-popping by any means. This is a higher percentage than their season percentage, which could make a difference in the man advantage.

Nick Leddy, a Red Wing, scored his first goal for the season. He fired a wrist shot from above the circles and beat the Sharks’ goalie glove side. His trade value could increase if Leddy is able to provide more offense down that stretch.