Detroit – Jeff Blashill said the Detroit Red Wings had the most time in the offensive zone in two seasons, in the win Saturday against the Ottawa Senators.
Early it is, with just the third game of the season on tap Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. in Dallas.
But better territorial play is something the Wings have sought for a few seasons.
Along the power play, clicking at 22.2 percent, a perfect penalty kill, Jimmy Howard’s .961 save percentage, and the line of Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Martin Frk playing as if they can provide Henrik Zetterberg’s line with some second-line support this season, things are going pretty well.
That the Red Wings’ shots on goal have lagged the Wild and the Senators in all six periods of regulation is of little concern.
“I pay way more attention to chances than I do to shots,” Blashill said.
The Wings meticulously track and record their own scoring chances which, often enough, differ from the NHL tallies, he has said.
“Including shots blocked and shots that missed the net, we had the advantage in total shots,” Blashill said, of the win in Ottawa.
“The other thing I looked at was the zone time, so that’s a real positive.
“That just means then you are not defending. So those are the positives from the other night.”
Jimmy Howard in the starting net at practice is a strong indicator he will play against the former Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill’s Stars team, touted as one of the most improved rosters in the league.
But Blashill said that decision will be made Tuesday.
Jonathan Ericsson also skated with Mike Green in defensive pairings at practice Monday, with Xavier Ouellet and Nick Jensen together. That would be a change from the first two games, as Niklas Kronwall rounds back into playing shape (groin).
Kronwall said he hopes to enter the lineup for the first time this season, by the end of the week.
It is Trevor Daley’s 34th birthday, and he is looking forward to returning to both Dallas and Chicago later this week, the two cities where he played before winding up with the Penguins, with whom he just won consecutive Stanley Cups.
His stint with the Stars proved long and successful, but his cup of coffee with the Blackhawks ended far less so.
“Absolutely, that’s where I started and I spent a long time, there,” Daley said, of getting back to Dallas.
“I’m looking forward to getting back there.
“I got traded before we went back to Chicago, so I’ve never been back there before,” he said. “So, I’m excited to go back.”