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Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings: Good Times

Detroit Red WingsFunny isn’t it, how Hockey can turn on its head, throw the stats in the bin, and provide you with such mixed emotions?

The Detroit season is 18 games old now, and the second set of 9 games are a whole other world away from the first set. In the first 9 games Detroit played this season, they posted up 3-4-2 (8pts), scoring 25 and conceding 31. These were bad times, and with Franzen out injured. It looked like this whole season may be a very bad egg.

However, something happened (I’m yet to figure out what) that spurred the team on considerably at this point. The next 9 games (up-to-date as of 16th Nov 09) the Wings racked up a 7-1-1 (15pts), scoring 37, and conceding 23.

I mean, what went on? Did Babcock lose his temper and lay down an ultimatum? Did the team finally get that pride, and sense of honour, that every Wings fan has when they see “11-time Stanley Cup Champions” written at the Joe? Is it due to my newly acquired, super special, mega lucky underpants? Who knows?

The last 3 games in particular have been either a masterclass in Detroit offense, or hard fought games culminating in the Wings being able to fight hard for a solid win. Obviously the Blue Jackets game was the former. It needs no introduction, but suffice to say it was a joy to watch, and more importantly, it filled the team, the staff, and the fans with confidence. When your lines are just hanging on after injuries to key players, it’s good to see multiple scorers, good to see a solid defensive showing, and good to see Brad May announcing his return by fighting Jared Boll.

The matchup against Vancouver the next night was a much harder-fought affair. After the fight with Boll, May had a gashed eye, but fought Rypien anyway. The match was a very even game I feel, with the final result not really indicative of the game. The Canucks outshot the Wings, but couldn’t get the puck past the staunch goaltending of Jimmy Howard. That’s right, you read correctly. Jimmy Howard. Now, as one of young Howard’s biggest critics (no, really!), this is pretty difficult to say, but in both the Columbus and Vancouver games he.was.awesome. In total for both games, he faced 58 shots, allowing just 2 goals. That’s good numbers for any goaltender, young, old, veteran or rookie. Both he and Osgood have seen their stats rise in this recent good form, but Howard should be proud of his performances.

Detroit’s 3rd game in 4 nights was against Anaheim. The Ducks were in the middle of a long road trip and were fighting to get some results from it. It looked like they were well in the mix throughout the game, and even though Detroit took a 2-0 lead, it was no surprise when the Ducks came back to level at 2-2. What was a surprise, was that the Wings then took the lead twice more, only to be pegged back once again by Anaheim. At 4-4 I thought we were finished for goals, but with 5 minutes left in the 3rd, Zetterberg popped up to put away his 2nd of the night. The Ducks looked visibly worn out at this point, and you could see they just didn’t have the legs to pull it back to 5-5. They sat back and hoped to catch Detroit on the rush. Unfortunately it didn’t happen, and the Wings are more than happy to pin a team into their defensive zone. Helm got the 6th, and then in the last moment Zetterberg caught and empty netter to notch up a hat-trick.

The Wings are now back up into the higher reaches of the league, and with the troubles we had earlier in the season, I can’t say I’m unhappy with our progress. Also, big kudos go out to the Carolina hurricanes for their 1st win in 14.

The Red Wings start their march to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Good times.

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