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Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings - From The Sublime To The Ridiculous‏

Detroit Red WingsThe Red Wings continue to send me to the opposite ends of the emotional spectrum with their form.

They are currently 2-3-2 from their last 7, but were 5-1-1 from the 7 before that. Crazy isn’t it? We’ve lost 2 of the 3 games at home this month, and there are two more to go (Coyotes come to Detroit tonight).

I mean, what’s going on? We play well for two weeks, and then we drop out for two. The Islanders game was shocking, and I touched on it last blog, so I won’t go into detail. Next up, we fought hard and beat Carolina at home to take two points and prove that the Islanders game wasn’t a trend.

Next up, we took a trip to Texas and faced the Stars. A tight game after Detroit roared into a 2-goal lead in the 1st, and then got pegged back in the 2nd and 3rd, before one of the most controversial shootouts ever. Ott’s effort hit Howard, and landed on the goal line. Howard’s scramble to remove the puck was successful on the second attempt, whilst the official closest to the play said no goal. The two trailing officials said goal, so it went to video replay. The video footage was non-conclusive, and so the officials decided that they would vote, and as the decisions had gone earlier, they vote 2 to 1 in favour of a goal. Ott’s goal stood, and Eaves was unable to level the tally, so Dallas took the win.

The next night, Chicago came to the Joe, where the game again was very tight, and at 3-3, went to OT and eventually a shootout. The moves displayed by the players and goaltenders in this shootout have to be seen to be believed. Some of the talent shown to score and save these shots is just astounding. Datsyuk and Bertuzzi scored the really flashy efforts, whilst the other big news from this game was Patrick Eaves. He fought Versteeg in the first period, in what ranks up there in the best fights I’ve ever seen. Eaves said afterwards that the fight was due to some history between the two, and boy, you could tell.

Against the Capitals, Detroit dominated the game. The Caps offense was uncharacteristically quiet as Detroit romped through the first two periods, throwing 31 shots at Theodore, but still coming out the start of the 3rd in a 1-1 game. Detroit took the lead again, before the Capitals scored twice in a minute to take the game away from the Wings. The defence did their job, with a certain Mr Ovechkin limited to no goals, 1 assist, no shots and a -1 points tally. The Wings outshot the Caps 46-23, but still couldn’t put the puck in the net enough to take the game. Osgood was preferred during this game, and it seemed goaltenders were key. Theodore won the game for Washington, no doubt.

The Wild were next, and provided the Wings with the 3rd shootout in 4 games. At 3-3 (Eaves on the scoresheet again), the game went to OT and finally to the shootout. Howard must have been dreading this. Luckily though, as the shootout entered its 8th round, Belanger was denied by Howard, and Miller was able to score on his attempt, giving the Wings their first OT win since Dec 11th 09 .

Finally, LA came to the Joe, and found themselves 2-0 down in the first 8 minutes. As usual though, the Wings weren’t able to hold the lead, and LA were able to fight back into the contest, eventually taking the game 3-2. Also worth noting that in the second intermission, a bloke was found climbing the catwalks above the ice. He had to be removed by the authorities before the game could continue.

So the defence looks good. We’re outshooting a lot of other teams and we’re managing to limit the influence of big players. However, the goaltending is an issue. We’re outshooting teams that we then lose to. Also, the offence is a big problem. As was pointed out to me earlier today, Detroit have scored the least goals in the league, except for Boston, putting us 29th in the list of goalscoring. This is simply not good enough. Injuries are only a partial excuse. The defence works. We have conceded just 128 goals, which gives us the 7th best defence in the league. So what do we need?

A goaltender, proven at this level and that can handle this pressure? A rugged, scrappy forward, to help Helm, Eaves, and Filppula to make the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lines more productive? I think perhaps we need both.

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