Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Top Line Steps Up

Despite starting the game on separate lines, a lackluster start from the Red Wings forced Babcock to rejoin Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Abby on the top line. The result was three goals in the third period two from Abby and Datsyuk tacked on a beauty with under a minute left to seal the deal. Not the best effort from the Wings as they struggled early in the game and fell behind due to some defensive miscues. However they finally got some offense from the big guys to make a tough call early and the defensive issues irrelevant. A great win for the Wings but they still need some offense from the middle 6 if they're going to continue winning like this.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Wings Give Back 2 Points to the Flyers

Two nights after stealing two points after getting dominated by the Penguins the tide turned as the Red Wings thoroughly outplayed the Flyers only to fall 4-2. The Red Wings had a Corsi of 72.53% at EV but again seem unable to find the back of the net. Sheahan scored early after the new Kid Line used their size to work the puck in front, but it was given right back when Grossman caught Kronwall and Tatar sleeping in the d-zone. Then Ericsson attempted a dangerous and aggressive play on Voracek, and managed to get a stick on the puck, but Voracek did enough to hack it into the middle and give Raffl a breakaway. The Red Wings would tie it up again after Helm does a great job to retrieve the puck and find Pavel alone in front. But what was in my opinion a soft call on Kronwall found the Flyers on the PP and Schenn sneaks one through Monster. Smith was unable to get the puck to the net when out on the 6-5 and the Flyer find the empty net to seal the deal.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

OT Win Gives Perspective

Down 3-1 with only 3 minutes left, the Red Wings were getting the result they deserved. Dominated for most of the night, the Penguins completely controlled the neutral zone. While the Penguins had multiple odd man rushes the Wings seemed to be dumping the puck in continually and throwing sloppy passes all over the ice. The Power Play was held scoreless again and the Penguins seemed to be on cruise control. Howard gave up two goals I'd expect he would want back while the Red Wings could seem to get nothing by Greiss at the other end. Following Kunitz's goal to put the Penguins back up by 2 I had little hope that the Wings would get even a point from this match. Then a great pass from DeKeyser saw the Captain split the defense and fire an absolute missile top shelf to cut the lead to one with 3 minutes remaining. Then despite the Pens controlling the puck and looking to score on the empty net and seal the victory, the Red Wings somehow held on and made one last rush down the ice. Datsyuk, with a man draped over him, walked to his backhand, patient as ever he passed back to Kronwall who fired a wrister on net to tie the game and earn the Wings a point. After being outplayed for 57 minutes I was perfectly content with a tie, and with only a minute left in OT it seemed like we would be headed to the shootout. With only a minute left Greiss fights off a shot by Smith on a 3-2 and the puck finds its way into the corner. Z goes in after it and gets a stick on the Pens outlet pass, pushing in right into the slot where Abdelkader would jump on in and fire one in off the post to steal a Red Wings win.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Habs Spoil Datsyuk Return With an Assist to the Ref

It was a great game by two potential playoff opponents that featured elite offensive talent stonewalled by two of the leagues best goaltenders. The Red Wings looked good early, but were unable to capitalize on a number of power play opportunities. While I was encouraged by the chances created on PP, it only counts if it goes in the net. The same can be said of the Kid line, who even with the addition of Nyquist was unable to burry any of the many chances they created. A great individual effort and a fortuitous bounce by Z gave the Wings a 1-0 lead. It looked like the Wings had scored another off a beautiful play from both Z and Datsyuk, but it was waved off due to incidental contact which I will discuss later. The Habs would score late as Galchenyuk found a loose puck and wrapped it in, then steal the 2nd point when Desharnais snuck a rebound in the short side a minute into overtime.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Wings Take Round 2 In OT

This game was clearly the 2nd half of a back to back as both squads seemed to have heavy legs for the majority of the night. The fatigue lead to grade A opportunities from both sides yet no one was able to capitalize in regulation thanks to some great saves by both Gustavsson and Bernier. Just as I was preparing for another shootout, Kronwall cut through the neutral zone after receiving a great pass from Big E. Kroner drove to the corner and passed back to Z in the high slot where he hammered a one-timer inside the post for a Red Wings win with under 10 seconds left in OT.

Red Wing's PP System Analysis

Exactly one month ago I broke down how the Red Wing's PP was able to stay competitive without a right handed shooter. While most fans assume that the skill of the Red Wings should result in PP goals, the pieces simply do not fit together like the elite units in the NHL. In addition, with a full season to study coaches smarter than myself were able to determine how to shut down the Wings. I showed you how it works, now I'll show you what the opposition is doing to shut them down.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Wings Take Leafs in Round 1

Coming off a very unimpressive performance the Wings were looking for a big start to this home and home with the Maple Leafs. The Wings struggled early as the Leafs were doing a great job of congesting the neutral zone and forcing the Wings to block a lot of grade A opportunities. Eventually the Wings were able to generate a little more offense and took advantage of a few fortuitous bounces to take an early lead they never relinquished.