The Red Wings fall to the Panthers 4-1 and open the season 0-2. Do I really even have to explain this one? It’s going to sound like a broken record. The offense was underwhelming, the defense played poorly, and the goaltending was inconsistent. There is nothing new here.
The Panthers’ Vincent Trocheck opened up the scoring just 70 seconds into the game. This one, well, it sucked. It was a bad goal, but it wasn’t exactly a goal that you can blame on anyone. Trocheck threw the puck out in front of the net and it took an unfortunate bounce off Larkin’s skate and right past Mrazek into the net to take the early 1-0 lead.
Not long after, Colton Sceviour scored to help the Panthers take a 2-0 lead about halfway through the first period. This one was also unfortunate. Riley Sheahan had a solid scoring chance, but Panthers’ goalie Roberto Luongo made a big save which then resulted into an odd-man rush for the Panthers down the other end of the ice. Brendan Smith took a bad angle and did not have the speed to be able to catch up to Sceviour slicing through the middle. While it was a shot that Mrazek more often than not will make, it is hard to put the blame on Mrazek for this one. It was merely an unfortunate turn of events that lead to this scoring chance.
Darren Helm picked up his 1st of the year to make the game 2-1 just 3 minutes later, however, and the Red Wings were right back in it. After a good forecheck by Nyquist for the second consecutive game, Helm was able to bury the centering feed from Nyquist. The game went back and forth throughout the rest of the first period and into the second period. Of course, the Red Wings were being outplayed for the majority of this and Mrazek had to come up huge several times. Nonetheless, things were looking okay for the Red Wings heading into the final stanza.
What do we all know, as Red Wings fans, is about to happen next? Yes! Correct, the Red Wings are about to put out another underwhelming third period effort. The Red Wings’ comeback attempt was halted with just over two minutes to go in the game when Aleksander Barkov netted his 2nd of the season. Do we HAVE to talk about this goal? This might’ve been one of the worst goals I have ever seen the Red Wings give up. What was Mike Green doing on this play? Both DeKeyser and Green were fighting for the puck by the boards leaving two Panthers completely wide open in front of the net for an easy rebound goal.
Jonathan Marchessault would later tally an empty netter to ultimately put the game away and shut down the slim glimmer of hope the Red Wings had left.
Now, there shouldn’t be too much made from these first two games. Yes, the Red Wings have played poorly, but it’s only been two games. Is it time to worry? Yes and no. There is still a lot of time left and the Red Wings are capable of getting some win streaks. They do have the same issues that have been hampering this team for the past four years, though, and that is reason for worry. There are still many issues in this Red Wings’ lineup, particularly on the defensive side of the puck. While Jacob Trouba would be a welcomed addition, even he alone would not be able to save the inconsistent defensive play from this team.
If the Red Wings are not able to put up better efforts through all aspects of the game quickly, this could be a very long season.
I would like to give a special thanks to my friend Seth Colbry. A few of his thoughts were used in this piece. He is a dear friend of mine and can often be found at a local pizza tavern watching the Red Wings’ games.