The Detroit Red Wings fell to 3-3 on the year after a 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Vancouver to open their three-game Western Canadian road trip. They will look to rebound and get back above .500 tonight in Calgary.
Anthony Mantha scored four unanswered goals in the Detroit Red Wings second game of the season. A 4-3 victory over the Stars on October 6th to move the team to 2-0 under new GM Steve Yzerman. They are 1-3 since and coming off back-to-back losses where they were outscored 10-3.
Since being hired, Yzerman has called for patience from the fan base. He says that he “can’t tell you in three years we’re going to be this. In five years, we’re going to be this.” Evident by the teams up-and-down, 3-3 start to the year. It’s impossible to know what this team is at this point in time.
However, one player that Yzerman has to be impressed with is Anthony Mantha. Even in a limited sample size. Yzerman brought up Mantha by name during his introductory press conference as one of the players he sees as a “foundation for a core.”
Mantha is the right wing on the so-called MLB line (named for the last initial of Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi and Dylan Larkin) who have been the lone bright spot for the Red Wings when it comes to scoring. Aside from one goal against the Nashville Predators from Luke Glendening, the MLB line has totalled 19 points in the first two games.
Mantha is expected to have a big season as he is will be a restricted free agent after the year is over. During the first two games of the season, he has not shown anything to say that he is not up to the challenge of proving that he deserves a large contract. Whether that contract comes from the Detroit Red Wings or another team remains to be seen. The Red Wings could look to trade Mantha for draft picks in order to accelerate their rebuild.
Red Wings’ head coach Jeff Blashill said that “He’s exponentially better when he’s playing with confidence and that’s what you are seeing right now. When he’s moving feet, you’ve got a guy who’s 6 foot 5 with speed and great hands. He’s showing that whole package right now.”
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In the game against Dallas, the Red Wings got off to a sluggish start, likely due to the early 2 am arrival in Detroit following their game in Nashville. The slow start against Dallas was evident throughout the first period.
However, that changed quickly. Mantha exploded for four goals and became the first Red Wing to score a natural hat trick (three unanswered goals) since Brendan Shanahan in 1998. He is also one of the six Red Wings to score a hat trick in the team’s home opener and third with a natural hat trick. John Sorrell was the first to accomplish the feat in 1933.
Mantha was named the second star of the week ending on October 6th by the NHL, along with New York Ranger Mika Zibanejad and Toronto Maple Leaf Auston Matthews. This is just a continuation of the end of the 2018-19 season which saw Mantha score eight goals and 15 points in the team’s last eight games.
The Red Wings announced on social media that Right winger Evgeny Svechnikov, has been assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Red Wings’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, ahead of the game against the Vancouver Canucks. This is not surprising given the fact that Svechnikov had not played in the three games since being called up after their game on October 8th.
Svechnikov had missed all of the 2018-19 season after he tore his right ACL during a preseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. ‘This is it. This is the day. I was counting for this day all year,’ Svechnikov said. ‘I’m super-excited, super-pumped, also tired but that’s really nothing that matters now. The camp was really tough, but it’s all behind and now it’s fun time to go.’
Svechnikov was assigned to Grand Rapids in order to make room for the return of center Frans Nielsen as well as defenseman Trevor Daley. Both players had been injured in the home opener for the team against the Dallas Stars.