When it comes to the end of the NHL regular season, teams who are not in the playoffs usually go out and play their best hockey.
For a team that is in this situation, their fate has already been decided. As such, all they need to do the rest of the way is go out and play their game and play loose. Positive results usually follow.
One team that currently fits this theory is the Detroit Red Wings. The team has won six straight games and look like a team that could end up being good in the future.
One player on this team that has really been getting the job done is forward Tyler Bertuzzi. In his team’s 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, April 2, Bertuzzi, 24, became the first player in Red Wings’ history to record three or more points in four straight games.
Because of his recent play, Bertuzzi now has 47 points on 21 goals and 26 assists in 71 games. I know that may not seem like a lot, but in looking at his last several games, it is easy to see that Bertuzzi could end up becoming a big-time player for this franchise moving forward.
The team’s head coach, Jeff Blashill, marveled at Bertuzzi’s fine play during this stretch after his team beat the Penguins on April 2. The bench boss told NHL.com correspondent Dave Hogg that it’s surprising because of the players that have played for this franchise.
“You think of the players for this franchise and the winning that’s been done here and the number of goals that have been scored in different eras … I couldn’t believe it,” Blashill said.“
Speaking of being a big-time player for the Red Wings, forward Dylan Larkin has been that way all season long for this hockey team. Larkin, 22, currently has 73 points in 74 games on 32 goals and 41 assists.
Wings’ fans have to be excited about this guy’s future. Larkin can put the puck in the net, setup his teammates with a perfect pass, and use his speed both to get back into the defensive zone and create offense down the other end of the ice.
Another player that has been stepping up for this team as of late is forward is Anthony Mantha. Mantha, 24, currently has 47 points in 65 games on 24 goals and 23 assists.
In all, the three players mentioned above, who all play on the same line, have combined for 17 goals and 38 points during this six-game winning streak. These guys are all young, can create offense, and seem to be able to read other on the ice.
While the team will be heading to the golf course at the end of the regular season, their recent play is hopefully a sign of things to come in the future. The team is young, they work hard, they are learning how to play the game the right way, and they have a head coach in Blashill, who was recently given a two-year contract extension, who has been developing this hockey club the right way.
This franchise may still be in rebuilding mode, but they are certainly headed in the right direction.