DETROIT — The Golden Knights’ offense feels a bit like that Gordon Ramsay commercial with the chef using his talents to hand out free samples in the supermarket.
Despite a wealth of proven offensive talent, the Knights entered Sunday’s game against the Red Wings ranked in the middle of the league in scoring.
“I think we’re still creating opportunities,” right wing Reilly Smith said prior to the 3-2 loss to Detroit. “Sometimes the puck just doesn’t go in.”
Sunday was the 11th time in the past 13 games the Knights were held to three or fewer goals.
They averaged 2.89 goals per game through their first 18 contests, which was 16th in the league at the start of Sunday, and their goals per 60 minutes (2.85) was 19th overall.
In addition, the Knights ranked 26th in 5-on-5 goals before scoring twice against the Red Wings.
“We always say the same thing: Get more people to the net,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “I thought we played OK for most of the game (Saturday) and then in the third period we let it slip away. Too many penalties again. We’re doing some good things, but we’ve got to be better.”
Rebuilding Red Wings
Gallant said he was surprised when his former Red Wings linemate Steve Yzerman was hired as Detroit’s general manager in April, despite the rumors.
“Stevie’s a die-hard Red Wing and been there a long time,” the Knights coach said. “I’m sure he’ll do a good job and turn things around.”
Yzerman led Detroit to three Stanley Cups during his 22-year playing career and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. He was hired as Tampa Bay’s general manager in 2010 and built the Lightning into a powerhouse before stepping down last September.
Yzerman has already started putting his stamp on the Red Wings with a series of trades, including the acquisition of forward Robby Fabbri from St. Louis on Wednesday.
“We’re good friends, and I think it’s huge for the organization,” Gallant said. “Stevie played his whole career in Detroit. I’m sure he’s going to finish his career in Detroit now.”
Defenseman Deryk Engelland was a healthy scratch for the first two games of the road trip, forcing him to take a look inward.
He returned against Washington on Saturday and was in the lineup again Sunday against Detroit, skating with Nick Holden as his partner. Jon Merrill was a healthy scratch after being penalized twice and finishing with a minus-2 rating against the Capitals.
“You’ve got to be better when you’re scratched, just take it all in and use it to your advantage,” Engelland said. “Take things you weren’t doing great and try to fine tune them a little bit and do what you can.”