Luke Richardson collected his first win as a head coach in Chicago’s last game. Following an unusual layoff, his Blackhawks will look for two consecutive victories on Friday when they host the Detroit Wings.
It is the home opener for the Blackhawks, who lost at Colorado and Vegas before beating San Jose 5-2 on Saturday.
“I try to downplay my role here,” Richardson said. “(Patrick Kane) gave me the puck after the game and the team congratulated me, but really I’m here to try to help them. I’m so happy for them to get their first win and looking forward to them getting their second.”
Sam Lafferty led Chicago with two short-handed goals and an assist, while Jason Dickinson supplied one goal and two assists in his Chicago debut.
Dickinson, who played for Vancouver last season, was held up by immigration issues.
“Sometimes things just click,” Richardson said of Dickinson. “We talked about it (Saturday), he had a chance to come in here and have a fresh start and he took advantage of it.”
It’s also a fresh start for Richardson, who had been an assistant with Montreal before getting the Blackhawks job in June.
“It’s awesome for him to get his first win as a head coach,” said forward Taylor Raddysh, who had a goal and an assist against the Sharks. “It’s special to be a part of that. We’ve just got to keep building off that and keep getting better every day.”
Chicago will face a Detroit team that should also be quite fresh after a three-day layoff. The Red Wings won their first two games before suffering a 5-4 overtime loss to Los Angeles on Monday.
Detroit didn’t feel like a loser afterward. Captain Dylan Larkin prevented an empty-net goal with a hustle play. Oskar Sundqvist then sent the game into overtime with a last-minute goal.
“It wasn’t perfect all the time throughout the first three games here but the way we approached every period, every game, there’s a lot of positives,” Larkin said.
The biggest positive has been improved depth, thanks to free acquisitions and trades by general manager Steve Yzerman during the offseason. The Red Wings were heavily reliant on their No. 1 line for offense in recent years. They now have more threats throughout their four lines.
“We trust every line, every line has produced some offense,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “We’re getting it from our defense, and that’s good. You talk about depth. We have basically three of our top six forwards out … and we still have a deep lineup with offense throughout. That’s a real good sign.”
Detroit will have to get through at least the next few weeks without some of those players. Robby Fabbri is still recovering from knee surgery. Tyler Bertuzzi suffered an upper-body injury during the second game.
Jakub Vrana missed the Kings’ matchup for personal reasons. It was revealed on Wednesday that Vrana had entered the player assistance program of the NHL and NHLPA.
David Perron, one of those free agent additions, had two goals and assisted on Sundqvist’s tally. One of Perron’s goals came on a power play, the team’s first man-advantage score this season.
“We’ve been working all through training camp, so I don’t think it’s a surprise,” Larkin said of the team’s quick start. “We’ve always had that work ethic. We’ve had a good start. I don’t want to get too high right now. We need to keep going and keep getting better but the results are starting to come.”
–Field Level Media