After a stinging loss at the hands of the Washington Capitals on Saturday night, one would think that the Red Wings would be determined to take their frustration out on the Columbus Blue Jackets and avoid their first losing streak of the season.
One would be wrong.
A goal by R.J. Umberger 21 seconds into the game set the tone for the BJ's, as a game Columbus squad finally earned their first win of the season, defeating the Wings 4-1 at Nationwide Arena. Unlike the game on Saturday night against the Caps, the score actually flattered the Wings, who were on their heels for most of the game.
It's hard to analyze this game and figure out why it played out the way it did. Was it a hungry Blue Jackets team that wasn't going to be denied? Or are the Wings in the midst of their first slump of the year? Follow the jump as we try to figure it out.
It's pretty easy to figure out what wrong tonight: take some poor goaltending, throw in a lack of skating, sprinkle in some questionable goaltending and put it all against a team looking for their first win, and it shouldn't be surprising that the Wings were on the wrong end of the result. The positives were few and far between for a team that looked like they were coasing throughout the game.
- Remember after the Avalanche game when I jokingly suggested that there might be a goaltending controversy? Nevermind. Ty Conklin was fighting the puck all night, and poor rebound control led to the first goal while being caught out of position caused the second one. Even when he was making saves, they weren't clean, and he looked extremely uncomfortable for most of the game. Jimmy Howard, we're all happy that your baby boy is healthy and your family is growing: now get the fuck back to work, because the Wings need you.
- Questionable refereeing? I'm going there? You're damn right I am. Entering the third period, the Wings were down 2 goals, and despite being out-played, it's the Blue Jackets, so there was a chance for a comeback. Then Rick Nash nearly Cirque Du Soleil'd himself after being nudged by Jonathan Ericsson to draw a penalty, then Pavel Datsyuk gets a penalty moments after being boarded by Samuel Pahlsson. This isn't even talking about all of the picks the Blue Jackets were throwing in the third period after taking the lead.
- Regardless of the refereeing, the Wings were pretty terrible in all aspects tonight. The top line was non-existent, the second line was inconsistent, and the defense looked like it did last season. We said it a lot last year, but when your third line is your best one in a game, you're likely looking at a loss. Unlike Saturday night when the Wings played decently but had everything go against them, tonight was about being outplayed by the Blue Jackets and getting beaten.
- Player of the game for tonight was Darren Helm, one of the few Wings who looked like they gave a damn for most of the game.
Kudos to the Blue Jackets for getting off the schneid and finally entering the land of the teams with a win. For the Wings, they'll have some time to figure out what to change when they head back home on Friday night for a date with the Sharks, a team that has not gotten off to a strong start. The first meeting with the team that ended your season the year before is usually a big one, and Friday will be no exception. The Wings have a chance to get back to their winning ways and make a statement that these last 2 games were aberrations. Hopefully they learned from tonight that lackadaisical effort won't be good enough on any night, even against a team that doesn't have a ton of talent like the Blue Jackets.