The Detroit Red Wings iced a different roster of players opposite the Buffalo Sabres as compared to the roster that played in Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout win against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Red Wings’ “B” team defeated the Sabres 6-2, in a game that was closer than the score indicated.
While Detroit surrendered the game’s first goal despite out-shooting the Sabres 18-9 in the 1st period (to Rasmus Asplund), they broke through early in the 2nd, with goals from Robby Fabbri, Lucas Raymond and Troy Stetcher (all scored within a 3:12 span), the Wings took a little nap and let the Sabres come back to within 3-2, and Luke Witkowski gave them breathing room just before the 3rd period, scoring the 4-2 marker;
And the 3rd period was something of a snoozer, with neither team’s special teams connecting, but Lucas Raymond found Robby Fabbri for an empty-net goal with 2:18 remaining (affording Pius Suter his 3rd assist of the night), and that was that…Though Jon Martin deked his way into a 6-2 goal before all was said and done.
It wasn’t as much of a blowout as it looked–the Sabres had a really good push in the 2nd and 3rd–but Detroit prevailed thanks to better scoring depth and fine goaltending between Nedeljkovic and Brattstrom.
The Wings got the only goal of the practice shootout as well, with Robby Fabbri scoring a gorgeous top-shelf marker.
WXYZ’s Jeanna Trotman posted a report regarding the Red Wings’ preseason opener against Buffalo tonight, discussing Lucas Raymond’s debut and the Wings’ desire to perform in front of their own fans again:
#RedWings host Sabres for preseason home opener w/ fans allowed in full @ LCA. Crowd can expect debuts of Lucas Raymond & Moritz Seider.
Blashill: "The human element of it in sports, the fans matter. That's where the emotion, where the connection to the community comes from." pic.twitter.com/Xtl3Sh1E5O
Erne made a pair of nice passing plays, setting up Michael Rasmussen and Ryan with goals in Wednesday’s victory in Chicago. Coming off, arguably, the best season of his career, Erne showed glimpses of perhaps building on what he showed last season.
“I talked to Adam at the end of last season and told him he made more plays as the year went along, than he had in him, to be honest,” Blashill said. “He’s earned it (playing time, larger role) the hard way, where he wasn’t given anything. He’s had to earn his minutes, and he’s done it.
“On the power play, he’s getting a little bit of time on the penalty kill, but what he’s done is made more plays with the puck. He’s really worked hard at it outside of the regular season, to increase his vision with the puck and make more plays scanning ahead of time, before you get it (the puck).”
“Ultimately we’re going to have to rely on depth more than necessarily one or two high-end guys,” coach Jeff Blashill said Thursday. “But there’s a lot of guys that haven’t necessarily proven that they’re that type of player that are top-six quote-unquote players. That doesn’t mean they can’t be that at all. It just means they’ve got to prove it, and there’s unknowns involved in that, the unknowns probably uncertainty from our aspect.
“But the positive thing for us is, we do have seven more exhibition games. I mean, we do have a lot of games to be able to look at guys and see how they do.”
Blashill referenced the New York Islanders as an example of how a team can use its depth to overcome injuries and win. The Islanders advanced to the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in consecutive seasons despite injuries to center Casey Cizikas (eye) in 2020 and captain Anders Lee (knee) in 2021.
“They do it right, meaning they’re committed to their game plan, they stay with their game plan, they don’t wander outside their systems, they play to their system structurally, and they’re just real committed to it,” Blashill said. “That’s ultimately what we’re going to need to do to have success here. We’re going to have to be super committed to it. Part of that is making sure you don’t give up easy chances and making sure you’re really good defensively, and they’ve done a good job of that.”
“It’ll be a lot of fun playing here,” Raymond said after the morning skate. “It’s something I dreamt of since I was drafted. To finally be here, to be able to play tonight will be an incredible feeling. Of course, there’s always nerves the first game of the season. Just trying to treat it like every game and be calm. To be in this arena in a Red Wings jersey is really special.”
Raymond, the fourth overall pick in the 2020 draft, will be skating on a line centered by Pius Suter, with Robby Fabbri at left wing when the Red Wings face the Buffalo Sabres (7:30 p.m., livestreamed on DetroitRedWings.com).
“They’re two really good players,” Raymond said. “They make great choices out there. It makes it easier for me to play.”
Coach Jeff Blashill said for Raymond to succeed, he must have the puck a lot.
“He’s a really smart player, he’s good with the puck, he can make a lot of plays,” Blashill said. “He’s got to make sure he has the puck a lot. How do you have the puck a lot? Either you get in the right spots, or you work to get open or you work to get it. And you play good defense to make sure you’re not defending all night. That’s how you end up with the puck. I think he’s an accountable player defensively. If he goes through the whole night and he touches the puck two times, he’s not going to be real effective. If he’s got the puck on his stick all night, we’re all going to walk out of the building saying, ‘Man, he was good.’ “