Red Wings Season And Playoff Thoughts
The season first. Bad start, shaky middle, and solid end.
After losing 15 of the first 25 games (.400), it looked like Detroit were going to be in the middle of the pack, and fighting hard for points even this early in the season. The injuries piled up high, and fast, with multiple AHL call-ups pulling on jerseys game after game for a month or two. Howard emerged as a gifted and reliable goaltender, albeit after a very suspect start.
Things were only the slightest bit better over the festive period, as Detroit lost 16 of the next 30 (.466). Lines were shuffled continuously as players returned from injury or got injured. Datsyuk was struggling for form, Zetterberg wasn’t lighting the lamp, and the Wings looked in real danger of drifting away from the post-season, for the first time in 19 years. Many Red Wings (myself included) summised that this was something we’d avoided for so long, that we didn’t really know how to react. I am used to winning 8 out of 10 games, and so this was bit reality check, and a big worry.
Finally the Wings found their feet, or skates, (especially after the Olympic break), with enough time to haul themselves into the playoff zone. They lost just 9 of the last 27 games (.666), which cemented them a place in 5th, 102 points, and a full-strength team, hungry to overcome their poor season (by Detroit’s high standards) and put in a good show to play deep into the playoffs.
As for the quarter final matchup, Phoenix were not my first choice, but also not my last. I would have preferred to have faced the Sharks, as our style of hockey really causes them problems, but at the same time, I really wanted to avoid the Blackhawks as we always need a few games under our belt before facing them. Maybe we play a similar game, I don’t know, but it’s always a close-fought thing, and I’d rather that happened later on into the playoffs.
The Coyotes surprised a lot of people this season. They had a large amount of OT/SO wins, and so hopefully this will mean that Detroit will be pushing hard to get them put away before the OT periods. Too many OT games, and everyone is worn out before the next game even gets to the 3rd.
We’re coming into the playoffs in great form, on the back of a really hot goalie and with a defense that is tightening up with every game. Plus we have Datsyuk. Need I say more?
Sorry puckgal, but I’ll say the Wings in 6.