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.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bruins Bounce Back

The Bruins came into Detroit having lost 3 straight games and looking for a second win of the season. Their game reflected their desperation, as they dominated the Wings physically in the early going and for the majority of the night. The Bruins were fully engaged defensively and kept the Wings from using their speed by dominating the play down low and in front of the net. Thankfully Jimmy Howard was there to bail the Red Wings out on numerous occasions and steal a point for the home team. It was was easily his best performance of this short season as very few Wings matched his output tonight.

Bruins Goal #1- After a little chaos in the neutral zone Quincey ends up as the first forechecker. After a nice pass Krejci finds himself in a footrace with Kindl and the result was no surprise. Krejci puts home the breakaway to give the Bruins the early lead.

Red Wings Goal #1- After very little in the way of offense by the Wings, the kid line finally gets in on the forecheck and creates a turnover. Tatar is able to fish the puck out of the pile and snipe one on the blocker side.

Bruins Goal #2- The Bruins continue to work the puck down low and dominate on the cycle. Glenny leaves his man to double the puck and when a pass squeaks through the Wings are forced to scramble. With all the switches, Glenny and Z are late to support in front and Kelly is left alone in front.

Red Wings Goal #2-The Red Wing's PP had been pitiful all game, generating only 1 shot in their first 3 attempts. Finally in the third they start to find some chances starting with the 2nd unit. Then after a quick change the 1st unit comes out and Nyquist walks in from Datsyuk's usual spot on the PP, snipes far side and ties things up.

Aside from Howard I thought the Kid Line and Nyquist looked pretty good. Kindl and Z both had rough games, but at least Z's can be explained by going up against Bergeron and Chara all night. Not the Wing's best effort, but Jimmy steals them a point.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Ducks Trip Up The Wings

With one of the perennial playoff teams of the West the Wings needed to bring their A-game. Early in the game the Wings dominated zone time but were not getting pucks to the net. The Wings problems were mostly self-inflected as 9 turnovers provided the Ducks with enough scoring chances. The game was mostly even through 2, but in the third the Wings really poured it on. After the Wings just missed on a multitude of chances it seemed like this game was headed to overtime. Then Getzlaf gets away with a pretty egregious hook on Kronwall and puts it away to steal the 2 points. I'm not sure what the NHL has to do, but they can't allow that blown call to decide the game. Two points in October are the same as 2 in March and can completely change the playoff landscape. The Wings had 53.16% of possession at even strength against a good Ducks squad and deserve to be undefeated. I'm pretty rattled after that one, so only a few observations after the jump.