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Detroit Red Wings Better Than Last Year, but Still Have Many Problems to Fix

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COMMENTARY | The Detroit Red Wings took four points out of a possible six to start the 2013-14 season.

It's a big improvement from the beginning of the season last year, where they got dominated in the first game against St. Louis in a 6-0 loss and needed a shootout win against Columbus to get their first two points.

While three games is a small sample size, it's very apparent this team is far better than the team that came within one game of making the Western Conference finals last year.

Stephen Weiss already has his first goal as a Red Wing notching an overtime winner in the game on Friday, October 4 against Carolina, and Daniel Alfredsson's blistering slap shot at the point on the first power-play unit is a welcomed change.

The Red Wings faced a 2-0 deficit in Carolina and never gave up on the game as Henrik Zetterberg scored the game-tying goal with less than a minute remaining. Good teams find ways to steal games. The Red Wings did have some bounces go against them, but they never panicked and found a way to win a game they had no business winning.

Power play struggling

However, the Red Wings still are struggling to generate opportunities on the power play. Even with the addition of Alfredsson, the Red Wings' power play has yet to convert -- 0 for 8 after three games. Alfredsson is taking a lot of shots, which is a good sign since this team always seems to elect to pass and make the perfect play rather than simply getting pucks on the net and looking for rebounds.

However, a lot of Alfredsson's shots aren't reaching the net, whether it's because they are being blocked or because they are missing wide. As long as Alfredsson keeps taking shots, they will find the net eventually. The Red Wings also need to get bodies in front of the net, create havoc for opposing goaltenders and get shots from other people not named Alfredsson.

Penalty kill one of the positives

On the plus side, the Red Wings penalty kill has been fairly good. They killed off all seven penalties against the Buffalo Sabres, allowed one against the Hurricanes and allowed two against the Bruins.

The second power-play goal they allowed against the Bruins was more lack of focus and being on the back end of playing three games in four nights rather than any serious issue. While none of the Red Wings players and coaches will use the three games in four nights as an excuse, it was apparent near the end of the Boston game that guys were tired and not executing the way they normally do.

No one expected this team to be perfect in the first three games of the season. There is a lot of work to be done, but the Red Wings got four points in three games and will have the next four days to rest before hosting Phoenix on Thursday.

Tom Mitsos is a Michigan native who covers the Detroit Red Wings for the Yahoo Contributor Network. He also co-hosts a Red Wings podcast called The Octopod, and is a high school sports reporter at MLive Media Group. You can follow Tom on Twitter.

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