I'm just glad Jimmy didn't pull a hammy here.
There comes a point in every season when a team has to just play. It doesn't matter what's going on, whether it be bad bounces, injuries, or any number of things. Sometimes a team needs to just man up and do win the games they're supposed to win.
Tonight the Red Wings took on a desperate Kings team that wanted to exact some revenge after last week's collapse in Detroit. They responded by taking control of the game early, notching the first 2 goals as they cruised to a 5-2 victory.
The story was the same as it's been: Detroit gets off to a bad start, then fights back with a few goals to make it close and interesting and we think that it means the team has no quit in them. The problem is that the constant trailing early is a troubling sign. When will it stop?
It's nice that the team responds and tends to not completely give up. But at what point does the lack of a 60 minute effort start to get concerning? Let's not forget that there are still NHL players on this roster that have a good amount of talent. There should not be this significant of a drop-off in play simply because the IR is stacked.
This was just a poor effort from the opening puck drop. Bullets after the jump.
- It was nice to see Jimmy Howard back in the Wings' net, but I wouldn't call his performance tonight All-Star worthy. There was some rust as he was couldn't control a rebound on the first goal, his positioning was off on the second, and he looked like he was fighting the puck at times tonight. It will be interesting to see if he gets the start tomorrow in Anaheim as a way to shake off this loss.
- The passing, in a word, was craptastic. The only line that seemed to be able to move the puck with any fluidity was the first, and while we want to chalk that up to a lack of consistency on the lines, these are professional hockey players. Putting pucks in skates and not being able to move the puck from the defense to the forwards hinders what little puck possession the Wings play these days.
- Nicklas Lidstrom has now missed the most consecutive games in his career (7 after tonight), and yet he still has to miss 2 more before he has missed half of an NHL season due to injury.
- When the most fire you see out of the team is Henrik Zetterberg getting mad after a dive by Dustin Brown, you know the team is not mentally engaged.
- Whether he's injured or not, Dan Cleary is becoming a liability every time he takes the ice. If he is indeed as hurt as they say he is (his knee was drained again), then it's time for him to sit down and rest, because a gimpy Cleary is not as good as a healthy Andersson or Tatar. There's absolutely no reason why the Wings can't get some energy into the lineup.
- Colin Fraser tries to hit Brendan Smith. Colin Fraser leaves the ice looking hurt. I've got Smith at #6 on the depth chart right now, even with everyone healthy, and he's gaining very rapidly on Kyle Quincey.
- The upside in cheering for a team that has a garbage power play is that you don't get upset when calls are missed by the refs.
- The Kings scored an EV goal, PPG, SHG and ENG. There's not a single aspect of the game tonight in which the Wings were better. Not one.