Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

The Detroit Red Wings looked to bounce back from two straight losses when they faced off against the Boston Bruins. The Red Wings left town with a three-game losing streak, losing 4-1 to the Bruins on Oct. 28. What are a few takeaways from the loss?

Veleno Continues to Prove His Worth

Coming into the season, Joe Veleno had been seen as a player who could be entering the most crucial year of his young career. He has not been able to fully live up to the expectations of a first-round pick and has struggled to play consistently for the team. So far this season, though, he has been able to be one of the team’s most consistent players from the bottom-six of the lineup, and this continued against the Bruins.

Related: Red Wings’ Veleno Approaching Make-or-Break Season in 2023-24

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He was one of the few bright spots that came out of the 4-1 loss, with contributions that do not necessarily end up on the scoresheet or get recognized a lot. He led the way from the faceoff circle, having won 70% of his draws in the game, and gave the team a chance to make something out of them. Along with his faceoff dominance, he continued his strong play on both ends of the ice, showing hustle in the dirty areas of the offensive zone and helping out in the defensive zone as well, showing off his two-way play. He scored the Red Wings’ lone goal off a nice play that started from a turnover forced by one of the new Red Wings, Daniel Sprong, which led to some nice puck handling by Veleno before a rocket of a shot over Jeremy Swayman’s shoulder.

Joe Veleno continued his strong start to the season and was one of the few bright spots for the Red Wings against Boston. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

His play throughout the game led to him getting the opportunity to play in crunch time minutes at the end of the game when the team was attempting to tie the game up. Leading into the season, GM Steve Yzerman made it clear that he wanted Veleno to force the coaching staff to put him into positions like this but that it would have to be earned. So far, he has done just that with a strong start to the year.

Power Play Comes Back Down to Earth

After starting the season scorching hot, the Red Wings powerplay came back down to earth against the Bruins, going 0 for 4 on the night. In fairness, the Bruins’ penalty kill is the number-one ranked penalty kill in the league for a reason, so it was a true test for both Red Wings’ powerplay units, who have started great. The test was failed by the Red Wings as they were unable to get any true chances on Swayman while on the powerplay. At one point, the Bruins had more shots on net shorthanded than the Red Wings had while on the powerplay.

The Bruins penalty kill limited the time and space that the Red Wings had on the powerplay, and the Red Wings were unable to adjust to the style of play the Bruins played against them. The top powerplay unit led by Dylan Larkin, Alex DeBrincat, and company were unable to get many chances at all, and when they did get chances on the net, they seemed to be over-selective with their shot choices, leading to missed chances and opportunities.

Bruins Are a True Measuring Stick for Red Wings

Coming into the season, many people thought the Bruins would be taking a step backward this season after the loss of so many players, but they have not missed a stride to start the season outside of a hiccup against the Anaheim Ducks. The consistency and solid play that the Bruins have been able to display is something the Red Wings are most likely striving to be like. This game was an early season measuring stick for the team and its fans as well, along with possessing one of if not the best goaltending tandem in the league with Swayman and Linus Ullmark. After the five-game win streak, many were hyped up about the team and talking about how great the season would be, and for good reason. But this game showed more or less where the Red Wings stand against one of the league’s best teams and gives them a baseline (early on) of what they need to truly work on to get to where they want to at season’s end: the playoffs.

What’s Next for the Red Wings

The Red Wings travel to New York looking to get off the losing skid, taking on the Islanders on Oct. 30 before returning home and playing the 2022-23 Eastern Conference champs, Florida Panthers on Nov. 2.

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