Making Sense of the Current Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings will make the playoffs, there is no doubt in my mind, but let’s wake the hell up, eh boys?

Once again, the team collapsed by giving up a few goals quickly, and that in a game they had dominated for the most part.  The Minnesota Wild pulled the Royce Gracie last night as they spent the entire match on their back and still got the submission victory.

The first goal that came only two minutes in, was a puck thrown in the general direction of the net and this is where the inexperienced defense bit the Wings in the ass. Brendan Smith was casually gliding toward the front of the net and was looking at the puck. He failed, to get body position on Devin Setoguchi who he just battled with in the corner and by losing the body position he failed to get his stick to block the pass and the shot. Oh well, no biggie. Detroit kept buzzing and had 18 shots on net that first period and no one really felt any panic.

The disallowed goal was infuriating, but all you can do is moan, grind your teeth, and get back to playing.

The second period had a different feel to it. The Wild actually outplayed the Wings and were able to out-shoot Detroit 12 to 8. The Wings took three penalties and gave up two goals on the PK (three total in one period). That is not good, not one bit. The cluster-fudge goals that were results of mental mistakes and signs of a team that was a bit frustrated by the first period, maybe even reminiscent of the season so far.

The good news is that Nyquist looks like a natural goal scorer on that breakaway.  I mean he made it look too easy.

What is very interesting about this game though is that the final shot total was 38-19 Detroit, as in the third period the Wild only managed two shots on net and the Wings had 12.  That figure is just staggering especially if you count the amount of times the Red Wings players missed the net in prime real-estate areas. Franzen has been especially bad at hitting the net this year as his shooting percentage is below his average of 12 % and is currently sitting at a lowly 8.1%. That makes a difference.

You really do not have to look deep into the Red Wings schedule that has been filled with games where the Wings are just rolling well but can not put the puck in the net. Case in point the game against the Calgary Flames where they out-shot the Flames 38 to 22 yet lost 5-2, or the last loss to the Wild where the shot clock read 31-24 in the Wings’ favor, or in pretty much every game against the Blue Jackets where the Red Wings had more shots on net.

Does having more shots on net guarantee a victory?  Obviously it does not.  The point to consider is the game breaking mistakes the Wings make that causes their hard work to be washed away and this is how they lost some important games this season. This is the big issue here. The lapses in their defense have caused tons of games to slip right through their fingers.

Just look at the goals that Calgary scored.

The loss against Calgary to me is the exact same game we saw last night against the Wild. Every mistake the Wings made ended up in the net and the offense could not get a bounce or a snipe to make up for it. Against the Vancouver Canucks we were down 1-0, just six seconds into the game, yet the offense found a way to win and battle back.

Detroit needs secondary scoring and they need it badly.  The top six is not producing enough points to win games on an everyday basis and I’m not sure how they are going to find it. Helm should help kill penalties, Samuelsson should help with scoring and the power play, and Bertuzzi might bring back a little bit more size and offense. Are those three the answer? I don’t know. I know that the Wings are a better team than they are playing right now and should be a better team once the above three come back.

The Wings have two games coming up against the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks are on fire and have just defeated the mighty Hawks. After a loss like last night’s a team as strong as the Ducks is not exactly what the Dr has ordered, but it will be a really good test for the Wings. Two games and four points are up for grabs along with a potentially huge confidence boost if they can muster a W against one of the league’s best.

Oh, and Kenny…Let’s channel your inner Jedi and make a good trade before the deadline – please.

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photo credit: bridgetds via photopin cc