The Detroit Red Wings top line of Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi ended the 2018-19 season on a high note. Detroit’s high-scoring trio picked right up where they left off with a four-goal game from Mantha in Sunday’s win over the Dallas Stars.
The top line has combined for 16 points in the first two games. The Red Wings are 2-0 after victories against the Nashville Predators and the Stars. Detroit’s top-scoring group has found a chemistry that has some taking notice of the Detroit Red Wings top line.
Detroit Red Wings Top Line Flying High
Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill put the young forwards together late in the second half of last season. Bertuzzi was the main beneficiary of the group last season as he became the first Wings player to record at least three points in four consecutive games.
The start of the season has Mantha the main scorer for the line. He’s got five goals in the first two games. Max Bultman of The Athletic (Subscription required) said Mantha told him that his confidence was “as close or the same thing as my last year in juniors, and since then it’s never been as close.” The 25-year-old lit up the Val-d’Or Foreurs of the QMJHL with a pair of 50-goal seasons before turning pro.
Mantha had been dealing with a hand injury early last season, which limited his scoring. The Longueuil, Quebec native got into a scoring groove late in the season and it carried over to the IIHF World Championships for Team Canada.
Larkin seems to be taking the next step as the future captain of the Red Wings. The Waterford, Mich. Native has three assists and a goal this season. He’s the steadying force on the team that has been feeding both Bertuzzi and Mantha. He’s one of the most competitive players in the league and has manager to harness that. The 23-year-old has learned a lot about being a leader under former captain Henrik Zetterberg.
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Detroit was down two goals against Dallas before the top line took over and pushed the team over the line. Mantha got the ball rolling with his goals and the Red Wings got by with a 4-3 victory over the Stars.
Saturday’s win against the Predators was also impressive. The Red Wings were able to hold off a team that overpowered the Minnesota Wild with a huge third period. The Larkin line combined for nine points in Detroit’s 5-3 win.
The feat was also impressive considering that forward Andreas Athanasiou was out for the first couple of games. There’s hope that he will play in Tuesday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks. Hopefully, his return will give the club some more scoring depth.
What It Means
The Red Wings hot start may eventually cool off. They may fall back in the back of an emerging Atlantic Division. However, there seems to be a glimmer of hope for the rebuilding club. Players like Larkin, Bertuzzi, Mantha and Athanasiou in the pros and the crop of youngsters in AHL Grand Rapids are waiting to come join the big club.
Detroit will need secondary scoring If it wants to stay in the race, but their top line is playing some of the elite in the league.
DETROIT, MICHIGAN – OCTOBER 06: Anthony Mantha #39 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his third goal of the game with Dylan Larkin #71 and Tyler Bertuzzi #59 while playing the Dallas Stars at Little Caesars Arena on October 06, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. The Red Wings won the game 4-3. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)