The Detroit Red Wings (29-22-13) had one of the most eventful weeks of the season going (1-2-1) with 12 goals for and 14 goals against. However, the 3 points gained weren’t enough to keep pace in the Eastern Conference and the Wings fell out of the tightly contested playoff picture.
My plus/minus report will breakdown the positives and negatives from the week that was to help give a better sense of the current state of the Detroit Red Wings.
+ Goals, Goals, Goals, and More Goals
The Red Wings had their best offensive night of the season on Friday against the New Jersey Devils by scoring 7 goals. The most the team has scored in a single game this season. The top line of Johan Franzen, David Legwand, and Gustav Nyquist led the way with 11 out of the 20 points acquired in the victory.
The outburst is best the Wings have had since February 24, 2013 when Damien Brunner (now a New Jersey Devil) got the better of Roberto Luongo for 2 goals and 2 assists in an 8-3 thrashing of the Vancouver Canucks.
I wish I could stop the article here and call it a day but I can’t. The Wings lost three games this week making this result against the Devils the shiny beacon in what turned out to be a dark and dismal first week of March.
- Zombies in the Big Apple
The matinee game against the New York Rangers today was tough to watch. The Wings had absolutely no urgency from puck drop and it carried over until the final horn sounded. To keep this brief, they looked like zombies on the ice. No sustainable energy and constantly chasing after the puck.
I don’t know if the time change had something to do with it or what, but they looked like a completely different team than the one that just scored 7 goals two days ago.
Head coach Mike Babcock summed up my thoughts perfectly in his post-game comments, “That was probably our worst game since January 1st. We did not play very good. I was disappointed with our group. We, obviously, as a coaching staff didn’t have them well prepared.”
It certainly looked like it which is inexcusable for a game that is being shown on national television.
- Closing out Games
On the eve of the trade deadline, New Jersey Devil’s winger Stephen Gionta stole at least a point away from the Red Wings with a game winning goal 37 seconds left in regulation. A flashback to what happened a week before when the Montreal Canadians tied the game up with seconds left regulation to force overtime. Luckily in that game the Wings still got the victory. This time they got nothing.
Then again against Colorado, on Nick Lidstrom’s jersey retirement night, it was the same story. They gave up a goal with 32 seconds left in overtime; another heartbreaking loss.
However, that loss didn’t sting as much as the one against New Jersey because they played well and came away with a hard fought point against a really good Avalanche team. It’s a loss I would classify as an acceptable defeat, compared to one against New York which was just plain pathetic.
+/- Rating = -1
After winning the first two games out of the Olympic break, expectations were high coming into this week. They certainly didn’t meet those expectations, but it was still a very eventful week. A 7 goal outburst, a #5 raised to the rafters, and 2 nail-biting defeats.
What will this week have in store? Hopefully a few more wins.
March 11: @ Columbus Blue Jackets
7:00PM EST on Fox Sports Detroit Plus
Standings: (33-26-5) 4th Metropolitan Division, 8th Eastern Conference
Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Oct. 15, 2013 at Detroit/Red Wings 2 – Blue Jackets 1
Prediction: This game is crucial, a must win. The Wings can’t give up points to teams fighting for the last playoff spots like they are. Coming off the embarrassing loss in New York, I expect an inspired performance in Columbus. Blue Jackets 2 – Red Wings 4.
March 14: Vs. Edmonton Oilers
7:30PM EST on Fox Sports Detroit
Standings: (22-34-8) 7th Pacific Division, 14th Western Conference
Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Nov. 2, 2013 at Edmonton/Oilers 0 – Red Wings 5
Prediction: Is there tanking in hockey or are the Oilers just always going to be bad? While Edmonton continues to stockpile their young talent and fail to be relevant this time of the year, the Wings show off their own “kid line” and get the much needed 2 points. Red Wings 3 – Oilers 2.
March 16: @ Chicago Blackhawks
7:30PM EST on NBC
Standings: (37-13-14) 2nd Central Division, 3rd Western Conference
Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Jan. 22, 2014 at Detroit/Red Wings 5 – Blackhawks 4 in a SO
Prediction: I “strongly dislike” the Blackhawks as much as the next Red Wings’ fan but I have to be honest with myself. The Wings would need a miracle to keep this game close. They are banged up with key players injured. Chicago is by far the better team right now and they will also have revenge on their mind after losing the last regular season meeting in the thrilling 5-4 shootout (shown above). Blackhawks 4 – Red Wings 1.
Only 18 games left. I know it’s been said over and over again but it’s 100% true: Every point counts.
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