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Despite missing two major pieces of their offensive attack, the Detroit Red Wings remain the National Hockey League's only team without a regulation loss so far this season. Both Tyler Bertuzzi and Jakub Vrana remain out of Detroit's lineup, as the former is on the shelf with a broken hand while the latter continues his treatment in the NHLPA Player Assistance Program for an undisclosed personal issue.
Newcomers David Perron and Dominik Kubalik have been red-hot for the Red Wings, piling on the points and helping Detroit to their best start to a new season in 11 years. But according to head coach Derek Lalonde, also in his first season with Detroit, fans shouldn't start celebrating too early just yet and that there is still plenty of room for improvements to be made.
“Anytime you’re building a new process, if you get results, it helps,” he said following this morning's skate. “We’ll go through many games this year where we don’t get results with a good process and vice versa. The process has been pretty good, buy-ins pretty good. And fortunately, we’ve been rewarded. It’s exciting."
“I had someone tell me today we’re the only team without a regulation loss. I also want to be like, ‘Pump the brakes'. "Even analytically we’re an average five-on-five team. We need to improve. We’ve gotten outstanding goaltending, and our special teams to date have been very good. We’re still a long way to go to be a top team or even be in the conversation of being a middle-pack team in this league.”
The Red Wings are hosting the New Jersey Devils tonight at Little Caesars Arena, whom they beat in the second game of the season. However, the Devils come into the Motor City on a hot streak of their own, having won their last three in a row prior to dropping last night's game against the Washington Capitals. And Lalonde is pleased with the detail work that his team has been working on.
“Us working to get above pucks, us skating to get to certain areas within our structure,” he said. “With that said, it’s five games. You want to be cautious. Right now, we’re an average five-on-five team that is competing very hard.”