Red Wings ‘need more out of more lines,’ says Blashill

10 Comments

Detroit has to be happy about the production from its new top line of Henrik Zetterberg, Justin Abdelkader and Dylan Larkin — the trio has combined for 20 points in the first five games.

But lines two, three and four? Those are a problem.

“We need more out of more lines,” head coach Jeff Blashill said, per the Free Press.

The chemistry that Zetterberg, Abdelkader and Larkin found almost immediately has eluded other forward groups.

Brad Richards, one of the club’s big free agent acquisitions this summer, had been skating with Tomas Tatar, with middling results — no goals and just four combined assists — so, ahead of Wednesday’s game against Edmonton, Blashill shuffled things up.

Tatar moved to a line with Riley Sheahan and Gustav Nyquist, while Richards skated between Darren Helm and Teemu Pulkkinen.

Statistically speaking, it’s easy to see what areas of the game Detroit’s secondary (and tertiary) lines need to improve.

The Red Wings’ possession metrics are down (second-worse Corsi, per war-on-ice.com) and the club sits last in the NHL in shots per game (21.4). Blashill also stressed the need for his team to avoid getting pinned into its own defensive zone for such long stretches.

“In three of the five games, it’s been the three-minute and four-minute range where we spend more in our D-zone than our O-zone,” he said. “That to me is the concern.”