After an enjoyable weekend in Chicago, I come back to watch the Wings lose their sixth straight game against Dallas yesterday afternoon. I'll be the first to admit that after loss four, I climbed aboard the stress train. Before I get to the Wings game later tonight, let's review where the Wings stand.
- 6 straight losses (according to the NHL.com preview, it's our longest losing streak in 17 years)
- Lead the Western Conference by only 8 points (they led it by 17 in January)
- Star forward Henrik Zetterberg has not scored in the last five games
- Starting goaltender Dominik Hasek is out with a sore hip flexor
- Top three defenseman Niklas Kronwall is still out with a sprained clavicle
- Top two defenseman Brian Rafalski is out with a sore groin
- One of our top six forwards and possibly one of the grittiest, Dan Cleary, is out for most of the season after suffering a fractured jaw and consequential surgery
- Our No. 2 goaltender, Chris Osgood, allowed three goals in the first period in each of his last two starts resulting in head coach Mike Babcock to put 23 year old Jimmy Howard in net to start the game against Dallas.
I am definitely stressed, but not panicked at this point in time. All of these injuries are not incredibly long term so they all should be healthy by playoff time. However, it has certainly exposed weaknesses, particularly our depth at defense. I think the absence of Kronner and Rafalski have shown how much Detroit relies on the two for a jump on the power play. Plus, how scary is our defense right now: Lidstrom, Chelios, Lilja, Lebda, Meech, and Quincey. Scary to Wings fans, but not so much to our opponents.
The Wings continue their five game road trip with a stop in Denver when they take on the Colorado Avalanche, who have injury and losing problems of their own. Joe @ Mile High Hockey doesn't seem to like Colorado's chances, while I'm not overly impressed with the Wings play and they could very well continue this crappy losing streak.
Well, the good news for the Detroit Red Wings is that they should have no trouble ending their six-game losing streak tonight against the Avalanche. They're no doubt crazy motivated to win right now, being at home against an old rival and struggling to regain the momentum that has carried them through the season up until just recently. Of course, six straight losses means they still only have 15 for the whole season, but you know they're tired of seeing that "L" in the box scores.
The Avs, on the other hand, are starting to embrace the L. Or, I should say, "Commit To The L." No team looks more committed to losing right now than Colorado, with the exception of the Flyers, of course.
The game starts at 8pm (EST) and will be shown on Versus. Go Wings!