3 Red Wings Inconsistencies That Need to Be Addressed

The Detroit Red Wings’ season has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. The club has experienced the highs of win streaks, the longest being five games, while also experiencing the lows of losing streaks, including two separate four-game losing streaks. Inconsistencies are causing Detroit to miss out on essential points and a possible playoff spot for the first time since the 2015-16 season. In this article, I will touch on goal production, home and away performances and Tyler Bertuzzi being in and out of the lineup.

Goal Production

Detroit has been scoring more this year than in years past. However, the scoring is inconsistent, tending to be more on the wrong side of good. Beginning with games Detroit wins, the goal differential between the team and opponents is 1.69 (3.72 goals for and 2.03 goals against). Winning games by over a goal and a half is a great stat and Red Wings fans have enjoyed watching these games this season.

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Looking at losses you start to see some inconsistency in goal production. In games Detroit loses, the goal differential is a staggering -2.46 (1.87 goals for and 4.33 goals against.). On average, Detroit is losing games by almost two and a half goals. The difference between these two numbers is staggering. Not only does this mean when they hit the ice, they either have it or they don’t, but they are also closer to losing the games they win than they are closer to winning games they lose. This can be dangerous because if Detroit starts to drop a couple of games they should win, we will miss out on critical points. Also, it is unlikely they come back and win a game they are losing, not allowing Detroit to come back and steal some points. This goal production inconsistency is hindering their ability to secure crucial points.

Lineup With and Without Bertuzzi

As the media has said over and over, Bertuzzi is the only player left in the NHL without the Covid-19 vaccine, meaning he is not allowed to cross the border and play any games in Canada. Obviously, missing a player on your top line is going to cause some hiccups in scoring and point production, but when Bertuzzi is missing, Lucas Raymond and Dylan Larkin look lost on the ice.

Beginning with Bertuzzi in the lineup, Detroit is 11-6-3, a respectable record. Larkin and Raymond have benefitted from playing alongside Bertuzzi. Larkin has accumulated 18 points, and plus-8 in 17 games with Bertuzzi in the lineup. While Raymond has amounted 20 points and plus-6 in 20 games with Bertuzzi. This top line, when all together, plays well and produces because of it.

Lucas Raymond, Detroit Red Wings
Lucas Raymond, Detroit Red Wings (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

However, here is where the inconsistency comes into play. Bertuzzi has missed a couple games in Canada earlier in the year, but right now is dealing with the Covid protocols, causing him to miss eight total games so far. Looking at the same two players production without Bertuzzi is eye-opening. Larkin has amassed a measly four points and minus-8 in seven games, with Raymond only amounting to four points and minus-6 in eight games without Bertuzzi in the lineup.

These differences are killing Detroit. Bertuzzi’s linemates; Larkin and Raymond, go from a point a game to a point every other game player and get scored on more regularly. The discrepancies in play with and without Bertuzzi is certainly hurting Detroit in the long run.

Home vs. Away Performance

At the hometown barn (Little Ceasars Arena) Detroit is playing nice all-around hockey, including good defense and adequate offense, amounting to a 9-3-2 record, giving them 20 points in 14 games. However, the road is a different story, playing poor defense and not finding the back of the net nearly enough. Accumulating a 4-9-1 record, nine points in 14 games.

These differences are what separate mediocre hockey teams from good hockey teams. Good teams will steal some road wins and at minimum capture points in more than five of 14 games. The goal differential at home is only .43 (3.14 goals for and 2.71 goals against), while the goal differential at opposing barns is a staggering -1.72 (2.42 goals/game and 4.14 goals against/game). Meaning the Red Wings tend to get blown out on the road while playing hard fought brutal games at home.

Fixes

What can Detroit do to help right the ship and fix these woes? Beginning with Bertuzzi staying healthy. Understanding he can’t play in Canada, Bertuzzi needs to stay healthy and safe from Covid (just now finishing a stint on the Covid Protocols) so he doesn’t miss any unnecessary games. Staying healthy allows the top line to always play together and grow the chemistry brewing.

Tyler Bertuzzi - Red Wings
Tyler Bertuzzi, Detroit Red Wings (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Bertuzzi being back in the lineup will help with goal production issues. However, Detroit needs to tighten up on the road defensively to help keep them in more games and have the chance to steal points and maybe a couple of wins.


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