I know that on last week's podcast, I called this loss. I saw it as a huge trap game where the Wings would be flat after an emotional pair of wins against actual good teams. Being half-right doesn't make this loss any easier to take.
However, before everyone breaks their ankles jumping off the bandwagon, let's remember that trap games are traps for a reason. They are games that should seemingly be easy to win against an inferior opponent, but for whatever reason the better and more talented team simply doesn't get the job done. It could be a lack of effort, it could be some bad bounces, it could be a missed call.
Tonight all of those things conspired against the Wings to hand the Wings their second straight home loss, a 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche. The point streak is now history, and the Wings are just another team with 26 wins at home. It was the Wings' third loss in a row as they lost ground to both St Louis and Nashville, winners in their respective games.
Losses like this always make a fanbase insane. The effort was clearly not there in the first 2 periods, but the third saw a very spirited response by the Wings that ultimately fell short. Ultimately they did not play well enough to win the game and that's what led to their loss.
After the jump, some thoughts about the game.
- For the last 3 games, we've watched the Wings try to generate scoring chances without Pavel Datsyuk, only to see the team struggle offensively. However, before we completely freak out and declare the season dead, let's not forget that there are very few teams out there who could continue to succeed with the loss of their best player. I loved Babs putting the Flip-Huds-Z line back together, because that line was been great all season and clearly has a lot of chemistry.
- It was reported after the game that Jonathan Ericsson sustained a broken wrist and will be out for a month. I know there are going to be people out there actually happy about this, which is stupid, but this is not good news. Love him or hate him, Ericsson has been better this season, and Jakub Kindl is a definite downgrade if he's put in the line up. Personally, I'd like to see Mike Commodore get some playing time with Kyle Quincey to form an ornery third pairing.
- Special teams. Whatever. At this point, it's a joke, although at least they weren't outscored tonight, tallying a late PPG to make up for the SHG in the first.
- Speaking of the SHG; it was an absolute joke that there was no penalty called. I get that the Avs player lost his balance, but a player can not interfere or trip an opponent, regardless of the cause. The goal never should have been allowed to count, and after the final 5 minutes where the Avs were allowed to just trip, hold and interfere with any Wing skater with impunity was ridiculous.
- However, the refs were not the reason the Wings lost this game. A terrible start combined with defensive miscue after miscue where Avalanche players were allowed to camp out in front of Jimmy Howard the way Wing fans will for playoff tickets were the difference tonight. It reminded me of so many past February nights where the Wings lose motivation when playing a bad team, and when that team is playing with a lot of urgency and desperation to climb out of 11th place in a futile attempt to make the playoffs, the Wings have trouble matching that and lose. It sucks, but I'd much rather lose to bad teams because the Wings don't care than have them unable to beat the good teams in the NHL. I find it hard to get too upset because the Wings gave up a goal on a fluke bounce and then a goal that shouldn't have counted to fall behind early. I wasn't happy with their effort either, but it's just a meaningless game in late February.