Andreas Athanasiou scored his first goal of the season for the Detroit Red Wings during the game against the Nashville Predators on Monday night. This is a welcome sight for Athanasiou given the fact that he was projected to be one of the top scorers for the team before the season started.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) November 5, 2019
This was the lone bright spot for the Red Wings against the Predators, however, as Nashville would go on to score six unanswered goals to defeat the Red Wings 6-1. Jimmy Howard was pulled from his net and replaced by Jonathan Bernier in the second period after giving up five goals in 4:34.
If history is to repeat itself, Athanasiou could be on the verge of a hot streak. The 25-year-old Greek center has always been a streaky scorer. Athanasiou has scored 74 goals in 262 games played after being drafted 110th overall in the fourth round of the 2012 NHL entry draft.
The fact that Athanasiou had so many assists to this point has led the Red Wings to believe that he was close to breaking through on the scoresheet. He has four assists in the last seven games coming into play against the Predators on Monday night. Hopefully, this first goal is a sign of things to come as Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi and Dylan Larkin have to be frustrated as they have accounted for nearly 56 percent of the team’s goals coming into play against the Predators.
The loss to the Predators drops the Red Wings’ record to 1-11 in their last 12 games. This type of losing streak is usually what gets the coach of the struggling team fired. Jeff Blashill said he is not worried about his job security though.
“We talk, we talked a long time yesterday and today,’ Blashill said regarding his relationship with general manager Steve Yzerman. ‘Talk about our team, talk about the guys. After games, you’re reviewing how the guys played, just normal conversations.”
An interesting development about Blashill’s contract was reported by Jeff Hancock of SB Nation on October 2nd. It is Hancock’s understanding that the extension that was thought to be for two years is actually a one-year contract extension with a team option for the second season.
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This season was supposed to be about the development of the young core of Red Wings (Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou). Aside from the second game in which Mantha scored four goals, his offensive output has been largely missing. Tyler Bertuzzi is tied with Mantha with 14 points. Dylan Larkin has totalled four goals and eight assists for a total of 12 points.
Blashill started the season with Larkin, Bertuzzi and Mantha on the same line. However, as Blashill is known to do, he began to put his lines through the so-called “blender,” and shuffled up the combinations.
How are three players supposed grow confident playing together if a coach is playing them on different lines? If Blashill is let go at some point, the new coach would be wise to play three of the most talented players on the roster together to develop their chemistry as a line.