We broke down the forwards earlier, now it's time to compare defense to defense and have a goalie fight... I mean check out Jimmy Howard and Tuukka Rask head-to-head.
Jeff also wrote a great post introdicing us to the Bruins defensemen.
With Jonathan Ericsson unavaliable in this round, the Wing will be stuck with both Brian Lashoff and Jakub Kindle in the lineup.
Torey Krug - Kevan Miller
We talked about defense scoring a bit in the "What Do The Stats Say" post, and as you can see, Boston got significantly more goals and points from their defensemen,, though the percentage of team totals is quite a bit closer. One of the stats that look very lopsided is power play goals by defensemen. The Wings have a pitiful 7 PP goals from D-men, while the Bruins have 18. It's significant to note, however, that 10 of Boston's power play goals came from Zdeno Chara who has been the net front guy all season. Since we don't have a defensemen in the net front role, and typically only have one defenseman on the ice for a power play, that explains the disparity.
|DETROIT||DEFENSE MATCH UP|
|24 (11.06% of team total)||Goals||44 (17.05% of team total)|
|50.83%||Avg FF% Close 5 v5|
|28.35%||Avg Time Weighted EV Qual Comp||26.84%|
|16 (9.76%)||EV Goals|
|7 (4.27%)||PP Goals|
Defense has been a season long weakness for the Wings, and though it's gotten better as Smith has improved and he and Quincey are no longer regularly on the same pairing, this is going to be the area we have to have all hands on deck. Brendan Smith has the best Fenwick close at even strength on the team (thought he only has the 4th highest competition) yet Miller is the only D-man on the Bruins with lower possession numbers than Smith.
|Johnny Boychuk||Brendan Smith|
|Zdeno Chara||Brian Lashoff|
|Torey Krug||Niklas Kronwall|
|Dougie Hamilton||Jakub Kindl|
|Matt Bartkowski||Kyle Quincey|
|Kevan Miller||Danny DeKeyser|
The defensive match-ups makes me more than a little nervous.
If you need a preview of Tuukka Rask, Jeff has that covered as well. Rask can be a scary goalie because he's so good. How good? He was 5th in wins, 2nd in save %, 4th in goals against, and led the NHL in shut outs with seven. Yes he plays in front of the deepest team in the league, and one of the best defense corps, but he's darn good and the Wings are going to have to throw everything at him (including Dan Cleary's walker) and be relentless. Rask can steal games and I expect him to be Boston's best player.
Jimmy Howard is a very good goaltender as well, though his numbers alone this season are deceptively low. Jimmah has had a not good season by his own standards and his pre-olympic roster announcement was painful to watch many nights. Who cares about the beginning of the season now though? He's won 7 of his last 11 games, going 7-3-1, and he's playing the best I've seen him all season. Jimmy's going to have to stand on his head (metaphorically of course, because literally standing on your head would be an awful strategy for a goalie) and beat the Bruins over the head with his giant... manhood, in order for us to win this series, but it's doable.
Is it time for Wings Playoff Hockey yet?