'It was a good first game for him': Red Wings lose to Sharks in Filip Zadina's debut

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Detroit Red Wings right wing Filip Zadina skates against the San Jose Sharks in the second period.

Detroit — Even having Filip Zadina in the lineup Sunday didn’t change the Red Wings’ luck.

Zadina, the Wings’ first-round pick last June, made his NHL debut but it didn’t help on the scoreboard, as the Wings lost to San Jose 5-3.

The Wings had a 3-1 lead eight minutes into the second period after Mike Green scored, but watched the Sharks score four consecutive goals to close out the game’s scoring.

BOX SCORE: Sharks 5, Red Wings 3

Joe Pavelski scored two consecutive goals 45 seconds apart, tying the game and then giving San Jose the lead. Pavelski then scored into an empty net to complete his hat trick, giving him 35 goals.

The Sharks outshot the Wings 16-3 in the second period, changing the complexion of the game.

They held the Wings without a shot for 26:42 between the middle of the second until late in the third period.

“When they scored on the power play and scored right after (both Pavelski goals), that crushed us from a mental state,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We can’t allow that to happen.

“When they get on top of you in the third, they do a real good job of trapping and we didn’t handle the trap very well. Similar to the other night, we need more lines creating on offense on a consistent basis.”

Truthfully, though, many of the fans who came out Sunday were more intrigued with watching Zadina play than the Wings overall.

They didn’t get to see a whole lot of June’s first-round draft pick.

Zadina, 19, played just over 10 minutes (10:38) in his first NHL game on 17 shifts, being credited with one shot, one hit and the rest zeroes across the rest of the statistic line, except for a minus-1 rating.

Playing mainly on lines centered by Jacob de la Rose and Luke Glendening, with Michael Rasmussen on the opposite wing, Zadina also saw shifts with Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou in the middle.

But Zadina was held off the scoresheet.

“I wasn’t focusing on being nervous, I was just trying to play fast and with the puck,” Zadina said. “But it didn’t go the way we wanted.

“I had one chance at the end of the game. Hopefully, I get a chance to play the next game and it will be better. I have to be better.”

Blashill was satisfied in getting Zadina around 10 minutes of ice time, and felt it was good debut.

“He was good, I didn’t think he was great, but he was good,” Blashill said. “If he was great he probably would have gotten more. He had moments he was trying to create space for himself and that’s what he is going to have to do. 

“It was a good first game for him.”

Zadina will not play more than nine games with the Wings on this promotion from Grand Rapids. But to earn ice time over the likes to Anthony Mantha, Athanasiou and Tyler Bertuzzi on the wings, Zadina will have to earn it.

“He hasn’t earned that spot to be above those guys, and I’m not going to give it away,” Blashill said. “He’s going to have to find a way to keep earning more.”

Zadina will not remember his first NHL shift kindly. San Jose’s Tim Heed was credited with a goal at 3:46 of the first period after the puck ricocheted off Rasmussen’s skate past goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

With the NHL trade deadline approaching Monday at 3 p.m. (EST), the Wings could be active and one of the players who could attract interest is forward Gustav Nyquist.

If Sunday was Nyquist’s farewell in a Wings’ uniform, it was memorable, as he scored his 16th goal late in the first period, giving the Wings a 2-1 lead.

Darren Helm and Mike Green added Wings goals.

The Wings (23-31-9) are winless in five games and have won only twice in the last 10 games (2-6-2).

“We don’t try to look for excuses, we have to find a way to be better than we have been,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “It doesn’t matter the age of your team, or the age of your guys, we have to find a way to be better for 60 minutes and find a way to play 60 minutes.”


Twitter: @tkulfan