Renewed Detroit Red Wings boast healthier lineup, face Chicago Blackhawks at Little Caesars Arena tonight
The Red Wings team, returning to Little Caesars Arena on Monday after a six-game road trip, is nothing like the one that started that trip.
The wings have strikers Robby Fabbri, Sam Gagner, Adam Erneand Filip Zadina and defense attorney Jon Merrill have all returned from the COVID-19 protocol and have had a positive impact on the road trip at different times.
Goalkeeper Jonathan Bernier returned from an upper body injury on Saturday and had a big hand in beating Nashville 4-2.
Above all, this Wings team is playing with the defensive structure that Blashill believes is necessary if the wings are to be competitive this season.
The Wings only won two out of six games on the trip, but after opening with a lousy loss to Tampa Bay, they played well enough to have earned points in each of the games.
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“You look at the Boston Bruins and every year they are one of the under-scoring teams. They have some talented players and you consider them an offensive team, but what they really are is really stingy defensively,” said Blashill. “That is certainly our recipe for success. When you do a good job, you find that you get more insults, you create transition opportunities, and you have more puck, and those are things that cause more insults.
“Boys understand that and are absolutely thrilled. We just have to build on it. “
Bernier believes the wings have been effective since the start of the season.
“We had a good start to the season and when we lost all of these guys (through the COVID protocol) it seemed to take a lot away from us,” said Bernier. “But our last four or five games have been pretty good. We just have to keep doing the right things and good things will happen. “
Luke Glendening returned to the line-up on Saturday and had his best three-point game (one goal, two assists).
“I don’t think a lot of people see what he’s doing out there. They get all the little details right like blocking shots, great faceoff guy. It’s really hard to play against him every night,” said Bernier .
… Tyler Bertuzzi (Upper body) missed the entire six-game road trip and Blashill wasn’t sure Bertuzzi would be ready to return to the ice this week.
… Fabbri has scored goals in three of the last four games and has recovered well from the virus that hit Fabbri as hard as any player who has had it.
“He’s competed, and when he competes he’s at his best and using his skills,” said Blashill. “I was a bit tough for him after that (Fabbri’s first game back). The reality is, it was asking a lot of him. “
Blackhawks at Red Wings
► Allusion: Monday, 7:30 p.m., Little Caesars Arena
► TV / radio: FSD / 97.1
► Outlook: Chicago (7-5-4) won a two-game series from the Red Wings (4-10-2) earlier this season. … Chicago have won four of their last five games, three of them in overtime… RW Patrick Kane has an MVP season (seven goals, 22 points).