DETROIT - The Red Wings finished the preseason with a 6-1-1 record as they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Now it's decision time for Wings coach Jeff Blashill and the coaching staff to finalize the 23-man roster by 5 p.m. Tuesday.
1. Thomas Vanek : When the Red Wings signed Vanek, it was largely because Vanek is a natural goal scorer. But Vanek can pass, too. On the Wings' first goal in the first period, Vanek sent the puck from the left circle to Gustav Nyquist at the right side of the net, making it easy for Nyquist to beat Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen. At the end of the second, Vanek dropped the puck to Brendan Smith who came into the left circle and beat Andersen.
Quotable: "I thought Vanek did the things he has to do to be real successful. He made some real real offensive plays. I thought for the most part he did the things defensively he needs to do. We still got to get a little bit better on some of the tracks." - Blashill
2. Henrik Zetterberg : Zetterberg was making his preseason debut and started on a line with Frans Nielsen and Tomas Tatar. Zetterberg assisted on Dylan Larkin's 5-on-3 goal at 8:11 of the second. Zetterberg played 18:36 had one shot on goal and finished minus-1.
Quotable: "Felt OK, felt like a first game. It was fun to play with Frans and Tats. I thought we got better as the game went. It was nice to get this in. Obviously it would have been tough to go straight into Tampa so I'm pleased that I was able to come back." - Zetterberg
3. Anthony Mantha/Andreas Athanasiou: Both Mantha and Athanasiou were pretty good this preseason. Mantha had three goals in his five games and Athanasiou had one goal and three assists in five games. But the fact is that both are waiver-exempt so in order to make the team, they had to stand out significantly like Dylan Larkin did last year.
Quotable: "I didn't think him or Double-A were good enough, though, to be honest with you. They got to be better than that. These are big games for those guys and on two of the three, they got to be better. So that's part of, I told the young guys in camp to slap me in the face and tell me you're better than other options. It can't be a period, it's got to be 60 minutes. But with that said, I thought they picked it up in the third." - Blashill
4. Gustav Nyquist: Nyquist is looking for a bounce-back season after scoring just 17 goals last season, one year after scoring 27. In his last two preseason games, Nyquist has two goals and three assists. Nyquist finished the preseason with two goals and four assists in four games.
Quotable: "I think the last two games Nyquist has played have been great. I think he's been hard on the puck, he's chased the puck down on the forecheck to create turnovers. I showed two clips before the game where he did it. He was the reason (Brendan Smith) scored. He started that Smitty goal at the end of the second. When he wins puck battles like that he's a really good player and I thought he's been really, really good the last two games." - Blashill