Detroit Red Wings weekly: Flipping the switch

The Detroit Red Wings (14-7-7) are finally playing like the Detroit Red Wings. It’s a perfect 3-0-0 week for the Red Wings as they defeated the Boston Bruins (6-1), New York Islanders (5-0), and the Ottawa Senators (4-2) to expand their winning streak to 4 games. Normally I breakdown the good and bad from each week, but this week it’s all pluses; the best week of the season by far for the Wings.

The Pluses

+ Puck Possession

detroit red wings

Alfie has played a key role in Datsyuk’s absence. (Photo Credit: Andre Ringuette / Getty Images)

Keeping the puck is always ideal but as the NHL is transitioning into a more fast paced two-way game, having an effective counter strike is also key. These past three games the Wings found that balance between puck possession in the offensive zone and finding the right time to counter. It’s a tricky aspect to balance because the offense always wants to keep the puck, but they have to shoot eventually.

Normally, the Wings cycle the puck once or twice before looking to get a shot off. By limiting the number of cycles on the offensive end it allows more time for counter-attacks. If the defense can hold up and not allow goals it’s a great weapon to have. The Wings have a weapon of mass destruction in Darren Helm. His speed makes him one of the most dangerous counter-attacking specialists in the NHL.

+ Secondary Scoring

Speaking of Darren Helm, he helped spark the Wings into finding their secondary scorers. Having lost the scoring prowess of Pavel Datsyuk for the week; Helm, Drew Miller, Gustav Nyquist, Daniel Alfredsson, Tomas Tatar, and even Niklas Kronwall picked up the slack for the Red Wings.

The 6 of them combined for 12 of the 15 goals scored this week. Before this week, the 6 of them combined for 16 goals all season. Helm’s injury and Nyquist playing in Grand Rapids had a lot to do with that. It’s great to have them back.

detroit red wings

There you are Drew Miller. (Photo Credit: Jana Chytilova / Freestyle Photography / Getty Images)

+ Miller Time

This week has simple flowing transitions. I like it.

Drew Miller flipped the switch this week for 3 goals. I almost forgot that Miller was still a Red Wing (if it wasn’t for his grey hair I would have). As a role player, Miller isn’t expected to score many goals, but 2 points during his first 24 games to start the season is just unacceptable.

Somebody must have told him that his job was on the line. Miller could be the odd man out when Danny DeKeyser is ready to return from LTIR. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Drew was on the Red Wings’ trading block right now as they look to free up some cap space.

The Minuses

None. I thought about including Pavel Datsyuk because he is still out with his possible concussion but the team stepped up without him. That’s a positive in my book. Also, I already mentioned Datsyuk’s injury as a minus in last week’s weekly.

+/- Rating = + 3

This is the first positive rated week I have given the Wings since the first week of November. It looks like they survived a rough November. I had their season total coming into this week at even, now into December the Wings are +3.

Can they keep it going? Here is who they have to face this week along with my predications.

December 4: vs. Philadelphia Flyers

8:00PM EST on NBC Sports

Standings: (12-12-2) 5th Metropolitan, 10th Eastern Conference

Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Oct. 12, 2013 at Detroit/Red Wings 5 – Flyers 2

Detroit Red Wings

Henrik Zetterberg led the way with 2 goals the first time the Wings faced the Flyers this season. (Photo Credit: Dave Reginek / Getty Images)

Prediction:  I should really pick the Wings to lose because that’s my luck lately. But I’ll stay with logic; Wings should win so I will pick them to win. Red Wings 3 – Flyers 2

December 6: @ New Jersey Devils

7:00PM EST on Fox Sports Detroit

Standings: (11-11-5) 4th Metropolitan Division, 9th Eastern Conference

Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Apr. 5, 2012 at Detroit/Red Wings 1 – Devils 2

new jersey devils

Former Red Wing Damien Brunner is off to a slow start with just 8 points. (Photo Credit: Gregg Forwerck / Getty Images)

Prediction: Again, if I want the Wings to win I should pick them to lose. I just can’t do that. The way Detroit has been playing over the past week is too good to have New Jersey trip them up. Devils 2 – Red Wings 4

florida panthers

Player to watch: Scottie Upshall.

December 7: vs. Florida Panthers

7:00PM EST on Fox Sports Detroit Plus

Standings: (7-15-5) 7th Atlantic Division, 15th Eastern Conference

Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Apr. 1, 2012 at Detroit/Red Wings 2 – Panthers 1 in a shootout

Prediction: The first of back to back games with the Panthers, and the first of two games the Wings should win against their divisional opponent. Red Wings 5 – Panthers 2

It’s a very easy week ahead for the Red Wings. The Flyers, Devils, and Panthers have combined record of 30-38-12. After what I saw this week, these three teams shouldn’t slow the Red Wings down. But, I have been wrong before and my spotty prediction record proves that.

So come on Wings, it’s about time you backed me up for a change. Let’s keep this winning streak going!

You can follow me on Twitter @AEisen13 and while you’re at it, follow @isportsweb.

Read more Red Wings rumors, news and opinion on our Detroit Red Wings page.