The Detroit Red Wings (9-4-2) got back to their winning ways by beating the Vancouver Canucks 2-1, Calgary Flames 4-3, and Edmonton Oilers 5-0 this week on the road. It was a perfect bounce back week after getting swept during their three-game home stand. The Red Wings will finish out their Canadian road trip on Monday when they face the Winnipeg Jets (5-8-2).
But before I get ahead of myself, let’s take a look back at the week that was through my plus/minus report.
+ Happy Healthy Helm
Darren Helm didn’t waste any time getting reacquainted with the team: he scored a breakaway goal 5 minutes into the game against the Oilers. It was his first game back since January 25th, 2013. That was the only game he played in during the 2012-13 season because of back issues.
He looked like his old self Saturday night in the 10 minutes Babcock let him on ice, which is exactly what the Red Wings needed out of their speedster. The Edmonton Oilers are known as a speedy team and Helm made them look slow. Helm’s goal last night gave me a flashback back to his goal in Game 7 of 2011 Playoffs against the Anaheim Ducks.
+ Abdelkader – Andersson – Tatar Line
Babcock struck gold (or should I say oil) with this new line combination against Edmonton. They looked like the solid 3rd line the Red Wings have been searching for all season. Justin Abdelkader’s physical presence in front of the net allowed Andersson and Tatar more room to use their creativity and agility. And just like Abdelkader’s old line mates Datsyuk and Zetterberg know, getting more open ice to the playmakers creates better scoring chances for the team.
+ Lucky Bounces
The hockey gods were on the Red Wings’ side this week. There is no other way to put it.
Example 1: Game winning goal against the Vancouver Canucks.
– Role Players Production
I brought this up in my plea to get Gustav Nyquist back in a Red Wings’ uniform and although the Wings went 3-0-0 this week it’s still a major problem. Patrick Eaves (2 games) and Jordin Tootoo (7 games) have yet to produce a single point. Mikael Samuelsson (5 games) has just a single goal. Drew Miller has a goal and an assist in 15 games. Daniel Clearly is only a point better than Miller through 15 games, surely not what the Red Wings had in mind when they brought him back.
So, I have backed up my Nyquist argument again. Can’t one of these ineffective role players be sacrificed to bring Detroit’s top prospect back? It’s sickening to think that one of the best 12 forwards in the organization is stuck in the AHL because the Wings like to reminisce on their past.
It’s time to move on to the younger and newer generation.
+/- Rating = +2
I’ll be the first to say that the Red Wings got lucky in winning all three games this week. But sometimes being lucky is better than being good. My +2 rating brings their season total to +1, a little deceiving considering their record is 9-4-2. Let’s hope they can build that up a bit to match their record.
They will have three games to do just that this week. Here is this week’s preview and predictions:
November 4: @ Winnipeg Jets
8:00PM EST on Fox Sports Detroit
Standings: (5-8-2) 7th Central Division, 13th Western Conference
Last Meeting against the Red Wings: (As Atlanta Thrashers) Nov. 24, 2010 at Atlanta/Thrashers 5 – Red Wings 1
It’s the first time the Red Wings have played in Winnipeg since they ended the Jets 1995-96 season in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. After that season, the Jets were moved to Phoenix. But last season, the Atlanta Thrashers were relocated to Winnipeg and NHL hockey was back in Manitoba.
The Jets will welcome the Red Wings to MTS Centre on what could have been a 7 game losing streak if they hadn’t beaten the Dallas Stars in a shootout on October 26th. They are slipping down the standings with no end in sight.
Prediction: The Red Wings are by far the better team on paper. Now they have to go out and prove it. Red Wings 4 – Jets 1
November 7: Vs. Dallas Stars
7:30PM EST on Fox Sports Detroit
Standings: (6-6-2) 6th Central Division, 11th Western Conference
Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Apr. 27, 2013 at Dallas/Stars 0 – Red Wings 3
All you need to know about the Dallas Stars is Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. When they get shutdown the Stars struggle score. If the Wings can keep them in check, a victory over their former Western Conference foes is very likely.
Not enough background? Well, you can head on over to the Dallas page for some more great content about the Stars.
Prediction: The Wings head back to Joe Louis Arena and continue their winning ways. Red Wings 2 – Stars 1
November 9: Vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
7:00PM EST on Fox Sports Detroit
Standings: (10-4-0) 1st Atlantic Division, 2nd Eastern Conference
Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Nov. 30, 2011 at Detroit/Red Wings 4 – Lightning 2
I will admit, I didn’t think the Lightning had the pieces to get a playoff spot this season. But here they are leading the Atlantic division after 14 games. I said in my Atlantic division preview at the start of the season that offense wasn’t going to be a problem for Tampa Bay, and they have showed just that averaging 3.36 goals per game.
Three of their four loses have come against top-notch offenses: Boston Bruins (twice) and the Pittsburgh Penguins. So, their offense has been able to cover up their questionable defense and young goal tenders Ben Bishop and Anders Lindback during their victories.
Prediction: If the Red Wings are still on a winning streak heading into this game they should have no problems knocking the Lightning down a peg with their high scoring offense. Red Wings 3 – Lightning 2
This might be wishful thinking but I have the Detroit Red Wings going 3-0-0 this week and expanding their winning streak to 6 games. That would bring their record to 12-4-2 and could possibly be the best record in the Eastern Conference after next week.
Read more Red Wings rumors, news and opinion on our Detroit Red Wings page.