As the Red Wings near the end of the first quarter of the season, four defensemen have accounted for 34 percent of the team’s goals, which shouldn’t come as a mystery considering that nearly a third of the shots have been generated from the blue line.
Still, how have the Wings’ blue-liners had so much success to this point?
“Sometimes things like that just happen,” said Niklas Kornwall, who has six goals and is tied with Nicklas Lidstrom
for second in goals among NHL defensemen. “I think that's something we would like to do on a more regular basis, and not just chip in here and there. Anytime you can spread out your offense it can only do your team good. We've had some success in the past with some goals from the D-men but everything starts from a solid overall game. Lately we've been doing OK.”
In some ways, the offense from the defensive corps has been a blessing, especially since Pavel Datsyuk
and Henrik Zetterberg
have experienced uncharacteristically slow starts to the season with four goals each.
“We know when we're playing good and we know what we're doing right,” said Zetterberg, referring to himself and his Euro Twin. “We just have to figure why we're playing bad and just do better.”
Lidstrom, Kronwall, Ian White
and Brad Stuart
have scored a combined 18 of the Wings’ 53 goals. White and Stuart have three goals each. The team continues to lead the league in shots per game (35.2) while the defense is registering 10.3 of those shots taken.
But the most impressive first-quarter performance, Lidstrom said, just might be the all-around job that Kronwall has done.
“He's just so sound defensively, playing against the top lines, and he has some offensive skills too, whether it's knowing when to jump up into the play or moving the puck on the power play,” Lidstrom said. “It's great to see he's been rewarded by getting some points and scoring goals for us.
“And we have Stewie chipping in. … Anytime you can get the defense involved in the offense it can only help your team.”