Cleary And Kronwall Crushed By Cruising Quick
Since my last blog, my Red Wings have posted 2-3-1, which is a little disappointing considering the form we were in earlier on. However, when you’re collecting enough points to stay top of the Division, and Conference, then I’m not about to complain.
We lost to LA in OT, and then to San Jose and Nashville, before bringing ourselves out the slump with a great, hard fought, 4-2 win over Montreal, where the game could have gone either way several times, and was only secured by Eaves’ empty net goal at the death. I honestly feel like if we’d played for a minute longer, Montreal would have tied it. I managed to flick onto the game just as the puck dropped against New Jersey, and within 90 seconds, Detroit were 2-0 up. A start like that will always kill off your opposition’s morale and motivation, so it was no surprise to see the Wings run out 4-1 winners.
And so to last night, where we were thoroughly schooled by the LA Kings…again. Something about the Kings really disrupts the Wings play. They get so frustrated with the Kings defense, that the forwards pile on pressure, and the defencemen cut in from the blue line to help, and then we’re caught on an odd-man rush. It’s no surprise to see us concede 5 with the way we were playing, but what WAS a surprise was to see Jonathan Quick produce a 51-shot shutout. I mean really. Some of those saves were ‘save of the season’ types, especially that one with the stick. I think we need to introduce species-testing in the NHL, because I’m sure Quick isn’t human after that performance! Cleary must have felt the frustration as his rich vein of form could not capitalise and he was blanked at every opportunity, and I also notice Kronwall registering 4 shots, when he usually fires wide for tip-ins or he fires at the man screening for a deflection. It’s rare he’ll fire for goal, but he was obviously trying to kick-start the Wings offense. Take nothing away from the Kings, and Quick in particular, who certainly deserves the plaudits for an outstanding performance, which even surprised Drew Doughtry.
The Wings outplayed the Kings in most aspects of the game. Shots were 51 for DET and 26 for LA (Detroit registered 26 in just the 2nd period). The Wings won more faceoffs, threw more hits, and had more powerplays. Yet still we couldn’t put one past Quick. In the third, it was obvious the Wings had lost their motivation, when at that point you are outshooting the opposition 38-17, and yet you’re 2 goals down, it’s going to crush your spirit. Detroit went on to concede three times in the third.
The Red Wings are 7 games through their mammoth 16 game month, and if we can win tomorrow night against St Louis, then I think we’ll be ok. From a possible 32 points, I think we’ll be happy with 24 or so. Anything less and we might start to lose our grip on the Conference. What will be very telling, is that we play the in-form Dallas Stars twice over the festive period. That should be a true test of who will be the team to beat in the Western Conference.
Finally, I leave you with a little British Hockey. The Coventry Blaze and the Nottingham Panthers are not exactly good friends, but nobody expected a full bench-clearance brawl in the second period, resulting in a combined 235 penalty minutes! Suspensions weighing in at:
Brad Cruikshank (Coventry Blaze): 9 matches
Aaron Nell (Coventry Blaze): 1 match
Paul Thompson (Coventry Blaze head coach): 2 matches
Jade Galbraith (Nottingham Panthers): 1 match
David Graham (Nottingham Panthers bench coach): 3 matches
Marc Levers (Nottingham Panthers): 1 match
Danny Meyers (Nottingham Panthers): 7 matches
Alex Penner (Nottingham Panthers): 5 matches
For your viewing pleasure, and especially worth viewing, just to see the Goaltenders getting involved!