Young players attract notice as Red Wings beat Bruins

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Filip Zadina eased fears with his power-play goal, then an assist on Vili Saarijarvi’s third-period goal.

Detroit — If you’re a believer in the Red Wings’ future, you had to love this game.

Evgeny Svechnikov scored his second consecutive winning goal Saturday, this time in overtime, as the Red Wings defeated the Boston Bruins, 4-3.

Svechnikov one-timed a pass from Luke Glendening out of the corner at 1 minute, 42 seconds in overtime, giving the Wings their third consecutive exhibition victory.

BOX SCORE: Red Wings 4, Bruins 3, OT

And it was many of the Wings’ prized prospects doing all the scoring.

Filip Zadina (power play), Dennis Cholowski, Vili Saarijarvi and Svechnikov scored the Wings’ goals.

The future was clearly on display.

Here are some observations from the Wings' third consecutive preseason victory:

Filip Zadina's 'comeback'

All those people who were saying Zadina was already a bust after that first preseason game can ease up a bit.

It was one game. One measly exhibition game. But you knew the overreaction would happen.

Saturday Zadina eased fears with his power-play goal, then an assist on Vili Saarijarvi’s third-period goal.

Zadina wasn’t perfect, he’s still adjusting to the speed of the NHL, but this should calm everyone’s concerns.

“He was much better than the other night, definitely a step in the right direction,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “Obviously the one-time shot, three in a row on the power play, he’s very willing to shoot it.

“It was a different lineup, not quite the lineup we faced in terms of regular NHL players (against Chicago) but it was a real good step in the right direction and shows good confidence by him.”

Cholowski forcing Wings’ hand

He scored a goal, snapping a shot off Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, and into the net in the first period, giving the Wings a 2-1 lead, and saw plenty of time on the power play and penalty kill.

Cholowski is making it difficult for the Wings’ decisoin-makers to send him to Grand Rapids to begin the season.

“For sure that’s the goal every day, come in and have that in my head,” Cholowski said. “That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Svechnikov’s impact

There was a sense Svechnikov had become a forgotten man in the organization given all the other first-round highlights the past few years, but Svechnikov is quietly re-establishing himself.

Svechnikov played a gritty game in over 14 minutes of ice time against Boston.

“He needs to make sure he’s responsible and that he’s heavy on the puck,” Blashill said. “He did a good job of that tonight. He played well.”

Svechnikov is playing with much more confidence than he did last season, when an early injury derailed him.

“I didn’t have much confidence and it was a struggle for half the year,” Svechnikov said. “I found myself eventually and in the second half, I was here a little bit (with the Wings), and working on confidence, it was huge. When you have confidence you can do way more things.”

Smith's scrap

One thing Smith has shown from the start of the prospects tournament to the halfway mark of the exhibition season — he is potentially one, tough, rugged power forward.

Smith got into a scrap with Boston’s Mark McNeill, he continues to play hard hockey, and if he can fine-tune his skating and work on his quickness a little bit, Smith could help this team down the line.

Blashill wants to see Smith play a more simple game in Grand Rapids to begin his pro career.

“He’s a big, heavy, mammoth guy, with pretty good hands and pretty good sense, so just make sure you’re not getting too cute,” Blashill said.