The Detroit Red Wings (24-19-12) wrapped up another week of exciting hockey with a blowout loss to Philadelphia Flyers followed by a shootout win and overtime loss to the Washington Capitals. The three points accumulated has put the Wings back in the same position they finished last week in; 8th seed in a crowded Eastern Conference playoff race.
Here is my plus/minus report to breakdown the Red Wings’ successes and failures from the past week.
+ The Goose is Loose (Part 3) – Hat Trick Edition
Gustav Nyquist can’t be stopped, for the 2nd week in row he claims a plus mark in my weekly. Nyquist is finding the scoring areas and putting the puck in the net. With his hat trick against the Capitals this afternoon, he now has 8 goals in 9 games.
The hot streak comes at a perfect time for Nyquist as he is trying to make his case to replace Johan Franzen on Sweden’s Olympic roster. After his performance these past two weeks it would be a shame if he didn’t get the call. I mean Gus has already proved he can fill in for another Olympian on the Red Wings’ roster, Pavel Datsyuk.
+ Not Backing Down
In both games against the Washington Capitals the Red Wings conceded the opening goal. In the 127 minutes of hockey, the Wings held onto the lead for less than a period (19 minutes and 26 seconds). While the Capitals held control of the scoreboard for 44 minutes and 41 seconds.
The message is simple. The only thing that matters is the score at the end of the game because at the end of their home-and-home series both teams came away with 3 points. Keep crashing the net and good things will happen. Even in the Philadelphia shutout, if a few bounces would have went the Wings way it could have been a totally different outcome.
– PK Woes
The penalty kill has given up 12 goals in the last 12 games. The icing on the cake came today as Alex Ovechkin slapped home the game winner in overtime on a power play. It was the third power play goal of the game for Washington. The PK unit focused all their attention on Ovi and it backfired.
Single covering Ovechkin on the Capitals man advantage left the puck carrier wide open. This is the NHL, leave anyone open and they will make you pay. It just didn’t make much sense to me. At least pressuring the puck can create turnovers to get out of our own zone. This scheme led to dangerous shots by the open puck carrier and that created quality scoring chances almost every time.
I have to chalk this minus up on the game planning. The PK wasn’t working and Mike Babcock refused to make any in-game adjustments.
– Not Sunny in Philadelphia
I’ll keep this minus short and simple. A 5-0 shutout is never good, let alone getting shutout in three consecutive road games. I’m glad that streak is over but the plus/minus report doesn’t easily forget about the past.
+/- Rating = Even
It was another up and down type of week. The 1-1-1 record is as average as you can get. Average isn’t good enough if the Red Wings are going to make playoffs.
Here’s to hoping they can do better this week before heading into break for the Winter Olympics.
February 3: Vs. Vancouver Canucks
7:30PM EST on Fox Sports Detroit Plus
Standings: (27-20-9) 4th Pacific Division, 8th Western Conference
Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Oct. 30, 2013 at Vancouver/Canucks 1 – Red Wings 2
Prediction: Both teams need the points, but the Red Wings are playing better hockey at the moment. Last 10 games: Wings 4-4-2, Canucks 3-7-0. Red Wings 4 – Canucks 2.
February 6: @ Florida Panthers
7:30PM EST on Fox Sports Detroit
Standings: (21-27-7) 7th Atlantic Division, 15th Eastern Conference
Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Jan. 26, 2014 at Detroit/Red Wings 4 – Panthers 5 in a SO
Prediction: Also the last meeting for these two Atlantic foes. The Panthers took three out of the four games so far. The only win the Red Wings got came on the road. So, I’m expecting a similar outcome once again. Panthers 3 – Red Wings 4.
February 8: @ Tampa Bay Lightning
7:00PM EST on Fox Sports Detroit Plus
Standings: (32-18-5) 2nd Atlantic Division, 3rd Eastern Conference
Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Dec. 15, 2013 at Detroit/Red Wings 0 – Lightning 3
Prediction: This isn’t the last time the Wings will see the Lightning. They will met once more on March 30th. I can’t see the Wings pulling this one out with almost half the team looking forward to playing in Olympics. Lightning 3 – Red Wings 1.
One week, three games, and six points up for grabs before the highly anticipated Olympic tournament is underway. The Wings can’t afford to look ahead when there are five other teams in the Eastern Conference within two points of their last wildcard spot.
Every point counts.
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