The typical hockey fan probably didn’t recognize many of the Detroit Red Wings or Anaheim Ducks players in Monday’s lineup.
It doesn’t matter. Between two real young teams that provided good entertainment, though the Wings didn’t like the end result.
The Ducks edged the Red Wings, 3-2, in a shootout at the Honda Center, keeping the Wings winless. Anaheim’s Troy Terry was the lone was goal scorer in the shootout, as the Ducks went to 3-0 on the season.
The Wings had opportunities, especially in the second period to take a two-goal lead — but didn’t — and are still searching for their first victory (0-1-2).
Tyler Bertuzzi and Darren Helm had Wings goals, while goaltender Jimmy Howard made 25 saves, including several great ones in overtime that kept the Ducks from winning earlier.
The Wings’ defense is decimated with injuries, as are the Ducks’ forwards. There were a total of 12 rookies in this game, an abnormally large number for these two teams, who usually depend on veterans.
There was plenty of back-and-forth scoring chances at times with the inexperienced lineups, but that made for some fun hockey, this early in the season.
Helm gave the Wings a 2-1 lead, knocking in his own rebound at 14:56 of the second period. But Jakob Silfverberg tied it for Anaheim at 2-2 at 8:29 of the third period, putting a loose puck in the crease past Howard.
Here are some other talking points from Monday’s game:
1. Firing blanks: The Wings were 5-1 in shootouts last season, so they had to feel good entering this shootout. And especially with Frans Nielsen (48 career shootout goals, most among active players), and the usually reliable Thomas Vanek and Gustav Nyquist lining up.
But Ducks goalie John Gibson turned away all three, Nielsen barely controlling the puck, with Vanek and Nyquist not fooling Gibson at all.
2. Bertuzzi bingo: Tyler Bertuzzi has been one of the best Wings in these opening three games.
His goal in the first period was a treat to watch, very smooth, a goal his uncle Todd would have scored. Bertuzzi took a slick pass from Michael Rasmussen, did a 180-degree turn as he skated through the slot, and slipped the puck past Gibson.
That’s two goals in three games for Bertuzzi, who has offense that probably few knew he had when he was drafted.
3. Keeping his head: Rasmussen, incidentally, looked a little better adjusted to the speed of the NHL in this game.
In the first two games, there was a tendency for Rasmussen to rush the play, make a quick pass or immediately shoot the puck instead of taking that extra split-second.
There was sense Rasmussen slowed the game down, and in turn, he was more noticeable on the ice, including earning his first NHL point on the Bertuzzi goal.
4. Swedish finesse: Same with Christoffer Ehn, who had his best game of the young season.
Ehn played more than 15 minutes, and his line with Helm and Luke Glendening produced a goal (Helm) and was a thorn for Anaheim throughout the night.
Ehn, 22, could turn out to be a nice find for the Wings. The fact he played pro in Sweden is apparent; he knows what he’s doing on the ice.
Ehn is better defensively right now, but he displayed some offense in Sweden and could develop that here over time.
5. Rough patch: The Wings need a victory here soon to maintain some confidence, but you look at the schedule and there aren’t many potential ones looming.
They face Toronto at home on Thursday and then travel to Boston, Montreal, Tampa and Florida — all of which will be difficult games.
This young Wings team somehow has to continue to keep grinding. For this current lineup, this is a daunting schedule.