By CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Sports Editor
The 2013 NHL season has started and for many fans, that’s excellent news. For Red Wings fans, Saturday night wasn’t the happy start to the season they expected.
For the first time since 1958-1959, the Detroit Red Wings were shutout in a season opener. They traveled to St. Louis to open the regular season, one of 13 games on opening day, and soon found out the Blues meant business.
One of the best teams in the regular season last year, the Blues accounted for 109 points and the second seed in the Western Conference. They were ousted by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings in the second round.
The Red Wings were quick to find how life without Nicklas Lidstrom was on Saturday night. It wasn’t good. In a 6-0 blowout loss, the Red Wings were only able to muster 14 total shots in the game and only dish out 12 hits. The Blues, they had 36 shots, and 25 hits.
Detroit was outplayed in nearly every aspect of the game. Without Lidstrom, as well as the retiring Tomas Holmstrom, the Red Wings have no players left from the 1990’s teams.
Also without Jiri Hudler and Brad Stuart, the Wings were hoping to replace the now flattened backend. They added former Red Wing Mikael Samuelsson, former rival Nashville Predator Jordin Tootoo, former Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, and backup goaltender Jonas “The Monster” Gustavsson.
They also added unknown Swiss star, Damien Brunner. He started and finished the night on a line with newly named captain, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.The three combined for just three shots on goal, all by Brunner.
Once St. Louis got the scoring going, they didn’t stop. They scored twice in each period, as five were let in by starter Jimmy Howard, and the last one, by Gustavsson.
Blues rookie Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice in his NHL debut while Blues winger Chris Stewart also scored twice.
Missing from the Red Wings lineup, forward Todd Bertuzzi, who is out for a chunk of time, according to GM Ken Holland, with mononucleosis; forward Darren Helm with a sore back; defenseman Jakub Kindl with a groin injury, and forward Patrick Eaves who was a healthy scratch.
Forward Jan Mursak was injured in the first period and was seen leaving the rink with his arm in a sling. He is expected to be out with an upper body injury tonight against Dallas.
With only 46 games remaining in the season, the Red Wings need every player healthy and every chance they can get to win and make the playoffs. If they don’t, their 21 consecutive year playoff streak could come to an end.
Oh, and in that 1958-59 season when they were shutout in the opener, that year they didn’t make the playoffs, ending their consecutive 20-year run in the playoffs.