The Detroit Red Wings fell to the Washington Capitals 4-3 in overtime on Friday night. The Wings have now dropped 5 straight with the last 4 games all ending in overtime or a shootout. Hockeytown is getting restless; what’s it going to take for the Detroit Red Wings to seal a victory?
To start, it’s definitely not home ice advantage. The Wings have matched the franchise record for longest home losing streak with 7 games. Luckily the team is in New York to face the Islanders on Saturday.
Secondary scoring has been an issue lately, but Johan Franzen and Danny Dekeyser showed no signs of that against the Capitals. So, for the time being, even secondary scoring isn’t enough to get a win.
How about the special teams? Surely something needs to be fixed there?
Not really; the power play has gone 4 of 9 the past two games and the penalty kill is 17 for 18 in their five straight loses. You can’t bash those numbers. So, what is it?
Why can’t the Red Wings get over the hump to get the two points instead of the one?
A “one size fits all” answer would be ideal but I can’t pin point one. Especially over these past two games they have been playing the Red Wings brand of hockey we all know and love.
But I didn’t make you read all of this without at least trying to give you an answer. In fact, I will give you two similar reasons why I think the Red Wings can’t seem to buy a win.
1. Overtime 2. Shootout moves.
Simple answer, I know. But hear me out.
The Wings seem to lose their poise late into the games and it’s getting into their heads that they are choking. By the time they reach overtime it looks like they have already thrown in the towel. Just look back at the 4 on 3 power play late into overtime against the Capitals; they didn’t get a single quality scoring chance. To be brutally honest, they already looked defeated. At one point they didn’t even bother putting a man in front of the net to screen. They were trying to play for the shootout.
With all the skilled players the Wings have you would think playing for a shootout would favor them. It did favor them, a few years ago when the shootout was first introduced to the game. But now, every team in the league is narrowed in on Red Wings’ shootout moves.
I take that back, it’s not just every team in the league, it’s also the fans. I had a strong feeling that Pavel Datsyuk was going to go backhand back to his forehand. You want to know why? Check out this video of all of Datsyuk’s shootout attempts in his NHL career; nearly half of them is that same move (for being the “Magic Man” Datsyuk really only has three go to moves in the shootout). It’s the same problem with Todd Bertuzzi’s spin-o-rama. We have all seen it. The goalies have a strong sense that it’s coming.
If the Red Wings want to win then they have to avoid getting single points. This sounds counter-intuitive but from what I have seen over the past 5 losses it’s true.
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