The 2021-22 NHL season is off to a pretty good start for the Detroit Red Wings. Through three games, Detroit has scored at least a point each time out while going 2-0-1.
With a hot start offensively, the Wings have piqued the interest of wayward fans. Will this be the season that Hockeytown sees a revival?
Detroit Red Wings vs. Calgary Flames: NHL Odds
Bertuzzi sparking the offense
The most noticeable thing about this season’s Red Wings squad is its ability to score.
Through three games, the Wings have put up 13 goals, which ranks tied for fourth in the NHL right now. They have scored at least three goals in each of their three contests thus far.
Sixth-year left wing Tyler Bertuzzi put the league on notice with a four-goal performance in the opener against Tampa Bay as part of a 7-6 overtime loss.
He has since added a fifth goal and has a team-high six points thus far on the season.
Aside from Bertuzzi, Vladislav Namestnikov is the only other Wing with multiple goals, as he has two. Six others have found the net this season.
Prior to the season, the Wings lost Jakub Vrana to a shoulder injury. The fourth-year player had 11 points in 11 games with Detroit last season, and there were high hopes for a productive season. He is out four months with the injury.
Dylan Larkin gets physical
Seventh-year captain Dylan Larkin got the headlines in the season opener as well when he was ejected from the game.
Larkin punched Tampa’s Mathieu Joseph from behind after Joseph drove Larkin into the boards. The captain was also suspended for one game, but perhaps earned some respect around the league for fighting back.
Larkin returned to the lineup on Tuesday night and led the Wings to a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets with a pair of assists. He has scored a point in both games he’s played in this season.
Oddsmakers not buying into Detroit Red Wings
Despite the nice start, oddsmakers aren’t really believing the Red Wings betting bonanza will last long.
In the Eastern Conference race, BetMGM Sportsbook puts Detroit at a distant +8000 to win. Only the Buffalo Sabres (+10000) have worse odds.
GoldenNugget Sportsbook has a wager to consider, as it lists the Red Wings at +12500 to win the Atlantic Division. That’s a pretty big payout for a division race.
In the points race, DraftKings had set the over/under for Detroit at 80.5 points on the season. The Wings had 48 points in the 56-game season last year and just 39 over the 71-game season in 2019-20.
The last time Detroit got more than 80 points in a season was 2015-16, where the Wings amassed 93 with a 41-30-11 record.
Defense a concern for Detroit
Although Detroit has had good results in the standings and in the box scores, defense is a concern early on.
The team signed Alex Nedeljkovic to a two-year deal in the offseason to mind the net. The third-year goalie showed promise last season with the Carolina Hurricanes, posting a 1.90 goals-against average over 23 games.
In the opener, Nedeljkovic was lit up for seven goals on 48 shots. Although his defense deserves some blame for taking so many shots, Nedeljkovic will have to be better going forward. He also had some struggles in the preseason, which is worrisome.
Thomas Greiss has started the last two goals in net and allowed just two goals over 64 shots for a .969 save percentage. The veteran netminder appeared in 34 games for Detroit last season and had a 2.70 GAA and a .912 save percentage.
Expect both to get a lot of opportunities to prove they are the primary goalie for Detroit this season.
Nedeljkovic is the favorite in the eyes of the oddsmakers, as he has +2200 odds at DraftKings to win the Vezina Trophy this year for the league’s top goaltender. That’s right in the thick of the odds list.
Road trip awaits
Detroit has had the luxury of opening the season and home for its first three games. That will continue on Thursday when the Wings host the Calgary Flames (0-1-1).
Following Thursday, Detroit makes its first road trip of the season for three games. The Wings will have a weekend back-to-back against the Montreal Canadiens (0-4-0) and the Chicago Blackhawks (0-3-1), then take on the Washington Capitals (2-0-1) next Wednesday.
After a short stop home on Oct. 29 for a game with the Florida Panthers (3-0-0), the Wings then have four straight on the road.
The next few weeks should provide a much clearer picture as to where the Wings will stand this season and if they can truly make a run at the postseason.